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i'm battling a bug of some sort, so just a quick post today. to begin with: cards face sandy koufax jr in a spring-training tilt; kip wells pitches for our side. gameday is right here, and you can also listen to mike and john call the game live.

community projections are up for braden looper and david eckstein. re looper: bdief has now seen two of looper's spring starts; he's got another diary up with some impressions. re eckstein: will carroll dropped this ominous remark about him in the first "under the knife" column of 2007:

David Eckstein is almost ready to start swinging a bat again. The chronic oblique problem is something to be very worried about, at least until he proves he's past it. A full offseason, albeit with some wrasslin' added in to his normal training regimen, didn't heal it up ...
if eckstein continues to have trouble with that thing and is sidelined for any length of time, aaron miles and brendan ryan inherit the shortstop position. i like what i've seen of ryan so far, but he's only had about 250 plate appearances above class A; miles is what he is. together they're the very definition of "replacement player." eckstein is 3 or 4 games better than replacement in an average year, and 5 or 6 games better in a good year; if he misses half the season battling this oblique thing, it could cost the team 2 or 3 games in the standings.

he's scheduled to return to the lineup today; don't swing too hard, david.

other readings:

what's up with the nris? you got me --- maybe they just try harder, have more at stake. i haven't broken things out to this level of detail for the cards, but their nris are generally doing well; bozied, ankiel, ludwick, and gonzalez are hitting a combined 27 for 68 (.397) with 3 homers. cabrera and negron, though, have combined to go 8 for 48 . . . the cards haven't gotten many innings from nri pitchers, just 14 --- but only 3 runs scored in those innings (1.93 era), and only 14 baserunners reached.