* Tom Gorzelanny told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that "(After) what happened last year, I know the importance of coming into Spring Training in great shape." Gorzo added that "It shows that I am taking my preparation seriously and that I'm ready to be a good Major League pitcher."
He's 15 pounds lighter now than at this time last spring. Makes you wonder, though, why so many guys, especially with a new administration on board, came to camp looking like Pillsbury Dough Boys last season.
Gorzo, Matt Capps, Ronny Paulino...guess they all learned a lesson the hard way, both about themselves and the new bosses.
* The Blue Jays claimed RHP T.J. Beam off waivers from the Pirates on Thursday. Beam, 28, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.7 K/9 in 45-2/3 innings for the Pirates in 2008.
We're still wondering why he got the ax instead of Dave Davidson or Romulo Sanchez, especially as the suits claimed all winter that Beam had a realistic shot of making the bullpen out of camp. We don't expect Davidson or Sanchez to challenge for a job.
* For those of you looking forward already to the 2009 draft, the Pirates will get back-to-back selections in the second round (#48 & 48a), with the second pick serving as compensation for not signing Fresno State's Tanner Scheppers.
* The pride of Duquesne U, LHP Joe Beimel has drawn interest recently from the Diamondbacks, Tigers, Rockies, and Phillies, but still hasn't gotten the terms he wants.
* Daryle Ward signed a minor league contract with the Reds.
* Kevan Smith, back-up QB at Pitt, has decided to cast his fate with Panther baseball this year. He's a big guy - 6'-3", 240 pounds - and was a hammer when he played at Seneca Valley. Smith is going back to catching, and following in the steps of guys like Drew Henson and John David Booty, although a better comparison might be with J.R. House. He could be worth keeping an eye on during the next couple of seasons.
* The Bucs aren't the only team staring down the arbitration barrel with a young outfielder. In Saint Louis, Ryan Ludwick asked for $4.25M and was offered $2.8M, while Rick Ankiel asked for $3.3M and the Cardinals countered with $2.35M. Both seem likely to settle their differences in front of a arbitrator later this month.
* Why hasn't Ben Sheets inked a deal? How about because he's likely to have elbow surgery for a a torn flexor tendon. Sheets hopes for a July or August return, but could lose the entire season. No wonder he wanted a three-year deal, hey?
But if he's not signed by the draft, the team that inks him won't have to give up a first-round pick. So he could get a lot of love later in the summer, either as a deadline-type pickup or a via a cheap guarantee, incentive-laden contract for a club that could warehouse him until 2010.