Spring headlines: Roy Oswalt set to announce future plans

Big League Stew

Baseball is back! Here at Big League Stew, we'll take a quick dash around the league each morning in an attempt to keep you updated on all the springtime storylines.

Did you ever have to make up your mind? Roy Oswalt has dawdled all offseason, but it's said he's close to finally making a choice from the lovin' spoonful of teams interested in his services. An announcement comes close and MLB Trade Rumors gives us the reminder that the Cardinals, Rangers and Red Sox have all been linked to the 34-year-old right-hander.

• Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that one of Oswalt's close friends "wouldn't be surprised" if the pitcher takes the Cardinals' deal that he previously was not very impressed with.

• So at what point does the sweetest sounding phrase in the English language become "Pitchers and catchers ... and every position player who doesn't want to be seen as lazy"? Early report dates are becoming the norm for non-battery members, as evidenced by the fact that seven of the eight Braves starters are already in camp.
• And if you're not in camp early, you need a good excuse like Ruben Tejada. The Mets' replacement for Jose Reyes is having visa problems and can't get out of Panama.

[Related: Octavio Dotel's wife can't recall all 13 of his MLB teams]

• Then there's Dodgers pitcher Ronald Belisario. Last year he told everyone he missed camp because he lost his passport in Venezuela, but the truth came out on Wednesday that he had tested positive for cocaine during a drug test at the U.S. embassy. He'll be suspended for the first 25 games of the 2012 season.

• Will Robin Ventura drop more "o-bombs" this season than Ozzie Guillen dropped f-words? Probably not, but the crutch word for the South Side's new manager is obvious.

• Speaking of Chicago managers who favored a certain word, Lou Piniella will say "look" roughly 28,000 times in the 20-30 games he'll work for the YES Network this year.

Joe Maddon on Zim Bear: "It's cuddly, it's warm, it's cute. It's something you definitely don't want to take to bed with you.''

• Ryan Howard is spending his rehab time with reruns of "The Real Housewives."

• One final update on one of the more important baseball stories this week: Carlos Beltran tells Derrick Goold that he has received the bill for Jonathon Niese's nose job and intends to make good.

Spring training has started, so don't miss a beat ...
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