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Yahoo! Sports' MLB analyst Ryne Sandberg gives four answers to four pressing questions in the major leagues.
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Are the Cubs cursed?
It's hard for me to totally disregard the possibility. Nomar Garciaparra takes two steps out of the batter's box and rips his groin muscle away from the bone. Kerry Wood has been plagued by shoulder woes. Now Mark Prior takes a line drive off his throwing arm and breaks a bone – you just don't see that happen every day.
That said, last year's World Series win by the Red Sox gave me a sense of optimism. The right personnel and the best talent possible will overcome any kind of a curse.
Similar to Curt Schilling's lingering injury problems, would you have spent time on the DL in exchange for a World Series ring?
No question about it. It would take a broken arm or leg to keep me out of a World Series ... I just wonder if Schilling hurried back too early this year, with all the excitement in the aftermath of winning a World Series. He took the "I'll get healthy in the offseason" approach to last October. But I'm not sure he took enough time away this spring.
Do the White Sox need Frank Thomas to win it all?
Sometimes when the team is winning without a certain player, it's possible for that player to change the whole chemistry of the ball club when he returns – in a negative sense. If Thomas can blend into this team and demonstrates that he believes in playing Ozzie ball, under those circumstances he can be an asset this season. But Chicago has demonstrated it can win without Thomas, who had three at-bats in his return from the DL on Monday and promptly got hurt again.
I would think that a World Series appearance is the one thing a player like Frank is playing for at this point. I would hope anyway.
Is Buddy Bell the answer in Kansas City?
Buddy Bell is a fine choice. He's the type of manager you can build with. He'll help develop young talent. And he has managerial experience, which is hard to come by these days. As a player, Buddy was hard-nosed, consistent. He got a lot out of his abilities.
The Royals obviously have to improve their talent; it's safe to say it doesn't matter who was managing this year, their fate would have been the same. It's the front office's responsibility to improve the product they put on the field. They're off to a good start with Buddy Bell.