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Picked Off: Spring Training Boxscores 3/4/2009

SP Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins:  He threw three shutouts innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and struck out two.  Buster Olney recently wrote Liriano has changed his pitching style to rely less on his slider.  If this results in fewer strikeouts, will Liriano be a slight disappointment in fantasy circles?

OF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins:  I admit I am slightly obsessed with figuring out if last season's Span is the real one or if it is the Span from his previous five professional seasons.  His previous minor league high for drawing walks was 44 in 2005.  He drew 40 in the next two seasons.  Then drew 50 alone in half a major league season.  Add in the 26 he took in AAA, and Span walked to first base 76 times! 

If last season is the real Span, then he is going to be one of the better lead-off hitters in baseball.  I'm thinking something like Brian Roberts.  To that end, he walked twice and stole a base yesterday.

SP Kenshin Kawakami, Atlanta Braves:  With three more shutout innings, Kawakami has thrown five shutout innings.  Of a little concern, he walked three in the WBC-depleted Yankees line-up.

SP Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals:  Sticking with pitchers who threw three shutout innings against a WBC-depleted team, the Nationals' #1 prospect faced the Mets yesterday.  Unlike Kawakami, he did not walk anyone and struck out three while allowing no hits.  As a matter of fact, Zimmerman has five no-hit innings under his belt to start the Spring.

SS Chin-Ling Hu, Los Angeles Dodgers:  He went 2-4 yesterday and was caught stealing.  With Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson in the middle, Hu has little chance to get 200 ABs assuming healthy seasons from those two.  However, he should be first in line should an injury to either occur.  The broken leg of Ivan DeJesus made sure of that.

OF John Mayberry, Jr, Philadelphia Phillies:  The WBC is going to strengthen the conventional wisdom that Spring Training stats are meaningless in another way.  The ones accumulated in the exhibition games don't count.  Lost in that will be a player like Mayberry who went 2-3 with a HR, his second of the Spring but one that will not show-up in the Spring Training stats on MLB.com.

Junior has had a good spring though 17 ABs with a 353/450/647 line.  This 2-3 is missing.  An 8-20 start with 15 total bases would make it on to fantasy players radar.  Keep in mind Mayberry is likely to be the corner outfielder recalled if Ibanez/Werth are out any a while.