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Short Detour

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

There were a lot of things Justin Ruggiano could have thought when he was surprisingly sent back to minor league camp early in spring training. But Ruggiano, who'd played seven games for the Rays after an unexpected September callup and looked to be a contender for the fifth outfielder spot this spring, took it this way:

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Tampa Bay Rays

That Special Something

Evan Grant -Premium Content

It takes something to make grizzled Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor smile. Whatever it is, Derek Holland has it. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound lefthander, one of the last draft-and-follows signed before the new signing deadline went into effect last year, has quickly made an impression on Connor and the entire Rangers organization.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Texas Rangers

Change For The Better

Alex Speier -Premium Content

The low-90s fastball and sweeping slider had already elicited swings and misses. But it was Nick Hagadone's final pitch in an intrasquad game this spring that stood out. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound lefthander spun a changeup that left a righthanded-hitting minor leaguer lunging. Catcher Luis Exposito greeted the pitcher enthusiastically in the dugout.

Majors | #2008#Boston Red Sox#Organization Reports

Dominican Fruition

John Fay -Premium Content

Johnny Cueto's one-hit, 10 strikeout, no-walk effort in his debut was encouraging on its own merit. When looking at what it could mean for the greater good of the Reds, the importance is even more evident. Cueto is the first product of the Reds' academy in the Dominican Republic to make it to the big leagues. The Reds' pipeline to Latin America dried up when Marge Schott pulled out in the 1980s. The Reds made some sporadic attempts in the early 2000s to re-enter, getting players of the likes of Jose Acevedo and Ray Olmedo.

Majors | #2008#Cincinnati Reds#Organization Reports

Not Short On Heart

John Millea -

Numbers don't lie, and neither does performance. Shortstop Chris Cates hopes his numbers will prove he belongs in professional baseball, but not the number that represents his height. Cates stands 5-foot-3, which makes the former Louisville player the smallest player in the pro ranks. But he knows that how he performs—not his size—will be the most important factor in his career.

Majors | #2008#Minnesota Twins#Organization Reports

Fielding Machines

George King -Premium Content

Brian Cashman didn't hesitate when asked how good shortstop Ramiro Pena is defensively. "He is a high-end fielding machine," the Yankees' general manager said of the 22-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico, who signed in 2005. "We are fortunate that we have two shortstops at Double-A and Triple-A who are fielding machines."

Majors | #2008#New York Yankees#Organization Reports

Assigned To Relieve

Andy Call -Premium Content

Shawn Nottingham found an immediate upside to what might have been considered bad news by other pitchers. The 23-year-old lefthander was told by his bosses at the end of spring training that he would no longer be a member of the rotation at Double-A Akron. He would instead work out of the bullpen.

Majors | #2008#Cleveland Indians#Organization Reports

He’s Back

Adam Rubin -Premium Content

Righthander Carlos Muniz's finest major league moment came as the Mets' season was crumbling around him. Four days after his debut, in his second relief appearance, Muniz combined with John Maine and Willie Collazo on a one-hit shutout of the Marlins.

Majors | #2008#New York Mets#Organization Reports

A Phone Call Away

John Hickey -Premium Content

In a logical progression, this might well have been the year for lefthander Ryan Feierabend to step up and break camp with the Mariners. Baseball is not about logical progressions, however, and rather than being on the Seattle roster, Feierabend found himself the Opening Day pitcher for Triple-A Tacoma. He never really had a chance to make the roster, not with Seattle going with an 11-man staff and with the Mariners having added two starters over the winter in Erik Bedard and Carlos Silva.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Seattle Mariners

Not All About Stats

John Perrotto -Premium Content

Neal Huntington looked past the statistics when Phil Dumatrait hit the waiver wire last October. The lefthander made six starts for Cincinnati last season and went 0-4, 15.00 while pitching a total of 18 innings. Yet that did not deter Huntington, the freshly minted Pirates general manager, from claiming Dumatrait.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Pittsburgh Pirates

Versatility Helps

John Maffei -Premium Content

SAN DIEGO—When Callix Crabbe reported to spring training, the only thing fans knew about him was that he had an interesting name. By the time spring training was over, they had learned the 5-foot-7 bundle of energy could play the game. The Padres took Crabbe from the Brewers in the major league Rule 5 draft in December, so it was an all-or-nothing deal when he got to camp. And he knew it.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#San Diego Padres

Adding Deception

Jack Magruder -Premium Content

The Diamondbacks had spoken to the Reds in previous years about lefthander Jon Coutlangus, so when the Reds designated him for assignment on Opening Day, it simply opened another door. The Diamondbacks acquired Coutlangus for minor league outfielder Daniel Perales on April 7, giving them another lefthanded reliever in an organization that remains a bit thin in that specialty.

Majors | #2008#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports