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Albert overload, Santana is back

Just when the skies were a nice “Dodger Blue,” it looks as if a cloud or two will be rolling in. Just a little over a week after it was announced that the Guggenheim Baseball Management group – which features Magic Johnson – would purchase the team for a reported $2 billion, reports have begun to service that other owners in the league have voiced concerns over the details of the deal. Going into this weekend a report surfaced that several MLB owners have questioned why the Guggenheim group has not filed a more detailed Purchase and Sale Agreement. This aspect of the sale would detail where the money is coming from and who stands to benefit from the baseball-generated revenue.

California is “Albert overload.” The Orange County Register sent 70, count them, 70 reporters to the Los Angeles Angels home opener against Kansas City on Friday, April 6. Why? To focus on every move from the new kid in town, Albert Pujols, who was playing in his first game at Angel Stadium. The “News Mob,” as the paper dubbed its gaggle of employees covering the game, literally covered every facet of the game. From its real estate reporter writing about the increased property value around Angel Stadium to a technology reporter examining in the at-bat music. Somewhere in that mix there were reporters that actually wrote about the game. What a novel idea.

While Angel fans understandably were excited about their first up close look at Pujols, the bulk of opening week attention seemed to be focused on starters. From the season debuts of 2011 Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw to the return of New York Met stud Johan Santana, there were plenty of fans watching who did what on the hill. Santana, who got the start in the Mets season opener against Atlanta, saw his first major league action in 19 months after undergoing shoulder surgery in September 2010. Santana’s fastball didn’t quite have its traditional bite, but his slider and changeup were as deadly as ever, as he held the Braves scoreless through his five innings of work during the Mets’ 1-0 win. Though he left with a no-decision, the outing was clearly a success and step in the right direction for Santana as he yielded just two hits and two walks while striking out five. Perhaps the best indicator that Santana is returning to his old self wasn’t so much the black and white of the numbers, but the fact that after the fifth inning he joked with Mets skipper Terry Collins that he felt like he had one more inning in him.  

“I’m able to throw all my pitches and not really think about anything,” Santana told the media after the game.

Eyes were also keyed on an very intriguing match up in Detroit, as Tigers ace Justin Verlander faced Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox, who are looking to rebound from a subpar 2011. Verlander gave up just two hits and fanned seven during his eight innings of work. Lester, meanwhile, gave up one run on six hits and three walks. Neither factored in the decision, but Lester had trouble with his command at times and was on the hook for the loss until the Red Sox offense plated two runs in the ninth.

Joba Chamberlain doesn’t even need to be on the mound to get people talking about him. Chamberlain, who was already trying to recover from Tommy John surgery, had surgery to repair his right ankle that he dislocated while jumping on trampoline with his son at a kids play center in Florida. Chamberlain said he feels he can pitch again this later year, but indications are that 2013 is more likely.

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