Big League Stew - MLB

Welcome to 'Duk's Dozen, a streamlined selection of 12 morning-fresh links and items to start your baseball day. It welcomes your submissions here or via Twitter.   

1. Vicente Padilla(notes) might be a puzzling choice to be the Dodgers' opening day starter, but he could end up being far from the worst Los Angeles has ever seen. Using WAR stats from the last 50 years, Larry Granillo came up with what ended up being the 10 worst statistical choices for the first start of the season, a list that includes Hideo Nomo(notes) in 2004 (and Jack Morris in 1993). Wezen Ball

2. Albert Pujols(notes) and the Cards have decided to put extension talks on the back burner until after the season. No rush, as he won't become a free agent until after 2011. Post-Dispatch

3. Braves GM Frank Wren is saying that money won't be a "part of the equation" when deciding if Jason Heyward(notes) will head to Atlanta to start the season. And it really can't be, not if the Braves have any designs on stealing the NL East from Philly. Talking Chop  UPDATE: Heyward has made the team, according to @ajcbraves

4. If you haven't carved 10 minutes out of your day to read Dave Brown's epic Answer Man session with Padres closer Heath Bell(notes), make sure you do so today. Big League Stew

5. Payback time? Joe Girardi and some Yankee media relations guys are playing paintball with some of the writers today. NYT Bats Blog

6. Nick Piecoro gets 10 good minutes with Bill James. Arizona Republic

7. Philadelphia artist Dan Duffy just got clearance from the MLB to sell his artwork, which is fashioned from the words and statistics of his subjects. Very cool stuff. The 700 Level

8. Mike Leake(notes) is a longshot to win the Reds' fifth starter job, but he — and not Stephen Strasburg(notes) — would be the first 2009 draft pick to reach the bigs. Fanhouse

9. Smitty somehow comes up with 10 positive things about the Pirates and none of them mention pierogis or Primanti Brothers. Rum Bunter

10. On the off chance you didn't read Joe Posnanski's great take on Nomar Garciaparra's(notes) "there's no stat yet that measure heart" quote. JoePo

11. The lady who was looking to go all the way for World Series tickets had her day in court on Thursday and went 1-for-2 on the charges in front of her. USA Today

12. Speaking of prostitution and teams from the NL East ...  WSBTV

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