A) How significant is the re-hiring of infield coach Perry Hill? Consider: Hill was Pittsburgh's infield coach for one season, 2009. That year the Pirates lost 99 games but led the majors in fielding percentage, committing just 73 errors. The year before Hill arrived in Pittsburgh, the Pirates committed 107 errors and ranked 21st in fielding. The year after he left, 2010, the Pirates totaled 127 errors, tied for most in the majors. Not saying that Hill was entirely responsible. But the statistical comparisons are striking.
Spoke with Hill this afternoon and he can't wait to get his hands on Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and the rest of the infield gang. Said Hill: "I think both of those guys could be -- with the amount of talent they possess and the skills they have -- I think they both could be in the top part of their positions. Gold Glove? I don't know. But they can be mentioned in the same breath as the elite players at their position, if they apply themselves. That's part of my job, to make sure that the work they need gets done."
Check out this profile article written about Hill during his only spring training with the Pirates. Good stuff.
B) More bad news for left-hander Sean West. West appeared in only one game in the Arizona Fall League, allowing four runs on four hits and a pair of walks in two innings before experiencing discomfort in his left elbow. Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest termed it "some type of elbow strain" in a teleconference Wednesday with reporters announcing the Edwin Rodriguez managerial hiring. "We do not believe it's serious," Beinfest said. "He's had a tough year." Beinfest said West was returning to South Florida to have the elbow examined by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan.
C) It was obvious from Beinfest's comments that the Marlins are concentrating more on Uggla than they are on Ricky Nolasco in terms of negotiating contract extensions. Said Beinfest: "We've had discussions with Dan Uggla and those continue. We do have interest in Ricky on a multi-year contract, and those things have not been as active as it has been on the Uggla front. But that doesn't mean it won't happen."
D) The Marlins brought back Rodriguez on a one-year deal after striking out with Bobby Valentine and running into a brick wall with Ozzie Guillen. Tell us your thoughts on the hiring? Good? Bad? Makes no difference?