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Picked-Off: Spring Training Boxscores 3/20/2009

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SP Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay Rays:  Despite Spring numbers being meaningless, Neimann has convinced many pundits he deserves to be retained on the basis on 11 innings of one-run ball at the expense of David Price rather than immediately dealt of designated for assignment.  Yesterday, he gave-up nine earned runs in two thirds of an inning.

SS Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals: With all the regulars in the line-up, Aviles hit 3rd.  If this turns out to be a harbinger of the regular season, then Aviles could become the top SS in the American League.  With Coco Crisp and Dave DeJesus in front of him, Aviles should see a fair amount of opportunities with runners on-base.  Sadly, a KC regular is Willie Bloomquist who would hit ninth and shorten the line-up.

2B Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies:  Now hitting .333 after nine ABs, there appears to be little doubt Utley will be ready for Opening Day.  Want some nitpicking?  He has struck out three times and has no extra-base hits.  Somehow that feels like complaining that the blind archer who missed the bull's eye by thismuch.

C Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles:  Has the rest of the major leagues caught on?  Wieters went oh-fer-oh with two walks in yesterday's game against the New York Mets.  Honestly, I think Wieters would beat Mike Ditka in any contest.

3B Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins: With six ABs from the lead-off spot, Bonafacio ranks 7th this Spring in the category.  His slash stats are two thirds good for a speedy glove man - .288 AVG and .423 SLG - but his OBP of .327 says he is getting lead-off ABs so the team can see him in as many ABs as possible before deciding what to do with their corners.