THE GUESSING GAME: Phil Hughes is auctioning off Yankee memorabilia on his site -- wonder if he's gotten permission from the club? -- and is offering an autographed Ian Kennedy hat to the fan (or non-fan, I suppose) who correctly guesses Kennedy's ''most common nickname around the clubhouse''. Among the guesses: IPK, Mighty Mouse and Dorothy. (Dorothy??) (philhughes.wordpress.com)
PICKING UP RIGHT WHERE WE LEFT OFF: When last we saw Mike Mussina, he was struggling through a dismal second half of the season. Yesterday he was just as bad in his first exhibition performance. (New York Post)
SWING AND A MISS: Jack Curry of the New York Times made a brief post on his blog about a conversation he had with Jason Giambi about the guessing game between batter and pitcher. Read the bit about David Cone and Miguel Tejada and you'll know why so many people have no use for undisciplined, free-swinging hackers.
I GET IT: The Angels' Chone Figgins would agree with that. (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY TO-MAHT-O: Michael Salfino -- the main writer on projo.com's Fantasy Sports Blog -- is bucking conventional wisdom concerning the Mets' Carlos Delgado. He thinks Delgado may have something left. (sny.tv)
I SAY POTATO, YOU SAY PO-TAHT-O: One day after the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jim Salisbury wrote that Cole Hamels had no reason to be upset with the Phillies' renewing his contract at $500,000, his Inquirer colleague, Bob Ford, blasted the Phils for being cheap with Hamels.
GODSPEED: Rhode Island's Davey Lopes, now the Phillies' first-base coach, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. (Philadelphia Inquirer) Thankfully, he's expected to make a full recovery and has told some of the Phils' players he'll be back in six weeks.
THE GREAT WHITE NORTH: And it especially feels that way to the newest Blue Jay, Scott Rolen, since Tony La Russa is now in another country. (New York Times)
ALL SMILES AGAIN: On the other hand, La Russa has kissed and made up with Ray King. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
LOST LOVE: In an essay in Slate reprinted from his book The Bill James Gold Mine 2008, James relates that the recently retired Craig Biggio was his favorite player for a long time . . . and then he wasn't.
SETTING THE BAR LOW: Baseball Musing's David Pinto isn't impressed with Padres' owner John Moores' yearly goals.
UNSOLICITED ADVICE: I've always loved Baseball Musings, and feel Pinto is one of the baseball writers on the Internet. He's holding his yearly pledge drive and if you agree with me, consider making a donation.
FASHION STATEMENTS: The blog ShysterBall takes a look at the best and worst uniforms of each National League team through the years.
LIKE SPYGATE, FOR INSTANCE: Astros owner Drayton McLane says Congress has more important things to deal with than the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. (AP via yahoo.com)
WE WERE SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU: The Cardinals deny they were lax about policing their players' PED use, even though they had more active players listed in the Mitchell Report than any other team. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
LEGAL MANEUVER, STEP ONE: Brian McNamee's lawyers are seeking a dismissal of Roger Clemens' defamation suit against their client. (New York Daily News)
ERROR, CLEMENS: SI.com's Michael McCann thinks Clemens' legal strategy has completely backfired.
WILD RIDE: The words "Steve Blass Disease" were in the Scottsdale air Monday when the Giants' Noah Lowry walked nine, threw two wild pitches, and fired three balls to the backstop in one-plus inning against the Rangers. (San Francisco Chronicle) It was so disconcerting that even the Texas players were concerned for Lowry. (Dallas Morning News)
HERE AND THERE: Brad Hawpe and the Rockies are close to agreement on a three-year deal (foxsports.com) . . . A torn nail in his right index finger is preventing the Blue Jays' A.J. Burnett from throwing a curveball (Toronto Star) . . . Snakebit A's shortstop Bobby Crosby now has back spasms (San Francisco Chronicle) . . . Darryl Strawberry is back with the Mets (mlb.com) . . . Jim Leyland says the Tigers won't force Brandon Inge to catch. (Detroit News)
OLD FRIENDS: The recovering-from-surgery Pedro Martinez says he feels like ''the Pedro of '97, '98", which is good news for the Mets. (SI.com) Only problem is, Pedro was actually better in 1999 and 2000 than he was in '97 and '98 (baseball-reference.com) . . . Nomar Garciaparra wasn't exactly the most fan-friendly Dodger at the team's recent Autograph Day (espn.com) . . . Matt Mantei's shoulder is hurting again, which could mean his career is over (Detroit Free Press) . . . Chris Reitsma, in camp with the Mariners, says he feels great. (mlb.com)
-- ART MARTONE