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4:10 PM ET, March 15, 2012

Ballbug

 Top News: 
Will Leitch / GQ:
Is Baseball Ready for Bryce?  —  Dear MLB: Please don't muzzle the most entertaining prospect since Babe Ruth.  Thank you, fans everywhere  —  “F**k!!!”  This is Bryce Harper—the erstwhile pastime's answer to LeBron James, Mozart child prodigy of the great game.
Paul Casella / MLB.com:
Shortstop Signed Through 2015, With Club Options For '16 And '17  —  The Royals agreed to a multiyear extension with shortstop Alcides Escobar on Thursday, signing the middle infielder for four guaranteed years through the 2015 season with club options for each of the following two years.
Discussion: baseballmusings.com
RELATED:
Ben Nicholson-Smith / MLB Rumors:
Royals Extend Alcides Escobar  —  The Royals announced that they signed shortstop Alcides Escobar to a four-year extension through 2015.  The deal with the Wasserman Media Group client includes club options for 2016 and 2017.  The contract guarantees Escobar $10.5MM through 2015, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets.
Marc Topkin / St. Petersburg Times:
Tampa Bay Rays' Hellickson shrugs off theory he was more lucky than good  —  Jeremy Hellickson says he knows he'll have to make some adjustments to hitters to continue his success in the majors.  —  Times]  —  PORT CHARLOTTE — Lucky would be winning the lottery.
Fox Sports:
Progress stalls on Cain's contract talks  —  The chances of the San Francisco Giants signing right-hander Matt Cain to a contract extension before Opening Day are rapidly diminishing.  —  Cain's representatives spoke Wednesday with Giants officials, and the two sides failed to make progress toward a deal …
RELATED:
Chuck Stark / Kitsap Sun:
Todd Linden gets another shot with the Giants
Discussion: McCovey Chronicles
Tyler Kepner / New York Times:
On Baseball: San Francisco Giants Counting on Pagan and Cabrera
Bill Ladson / MLB.com:
Wang strains hamstring while fielding vs. Yanks  —  Nats right-hander stumbles attempting to record out at first base  —  VIERA, Fla. — Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang left Thursday's game against the Yankees in the third inning after falling down while running toward first base after fielding a ground ball.
Discussion: Yahoo! Sports
Dan Lependorf / Hardball Times:
Is there a better way of comparing players between historical eras?  —  How do we compare players from different eras of baseball to each other?  We can't just compare raw numbers, since baseball today is a wildly different game than baseball was in 1920.  Was Barry Bonds' best season stronger than Babe Ruth's best?
Discussion: THE BOOK
Bob Nightengale / USA Today:
Cohen has strongest Dodger bid, plans to hire Tony La Russa  —  PHOENIX - Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen emerged Wednesday as the strongest bidder to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, and plans to hire Tony La Russa to a key front-office position, according to two Major League Baseball officials familiar …
Discussion: Deadspin, HardballTalk and MetsBlog.com
New York Post:
Blue Jays quietly becoming threat to Yankees  —  DUNEDIN, Fla. — Imagine what the Rays would look like with the finances to keep all of their best players.  —  Now stop imagining.  Because it is happening.  Unfortunately for the Rays, it is not in Tampa Bay.  Heck, it is not even in this country.
Joe Christensen / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Baker's elbow a concern again for Twins  —  CLEARWATER, FLA. - Scott Baker's throwing elbow has become a concern for the Twins again.  —  Baker would have pitched Thursday, when the Pirates come to Fort Myers, Fla., but his inability to get loose in a B game against Pittsburgh last Saturday raised some red flags.
Discussion: HardballTalk and Twinkie Town
Rob Kuznia / Daily Breeze:
Lennox Little League returning $1,200 donation from local strip club  —  The financially troubled Lennox Little League is returning a $1,200 donation offered to it by a strip club, a day after a Daily Breeze story about the contribution spread to other media outlets across the country.
Discussion: HardballTalk
Andy Martino / NY Daily News:
NY Mets pitching prospect Matt Harvey impresses again in outing Wednesday  —  Righthander's blazing fastball on display against minor leaguers as team brass watches  —  NY Mets' fireballing prospect Matt Harvey reaches as high as 96 mph on radar gun Wednesday.
Discussion: New York Post and MetsBlog.com
Andy Martino / NY Daily News:
NY Mets third baseman David Wright learns he has muscle tear, still expected to be ready for Opening Day  —  MRI reveals tear of muscle on left side of rib cage  —  David Wright is optimistic he'll be ready to face the Braves at Citi Field on April 5.  —  PORT ST. LUCIE …
 
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 More News: 
AJ Cassavell / MLB.com:
Kershaw dominant as Ellis, Kennedy go deep
Discussion: True Blue LA
Steve Gilbert / MLB.com:
Young guns impress on the hill for D-backs
Discussion: AZ Snake Pit
John Schlegel / MLB.com:
Santana day to day with right shoulder bruise
Discussion: Halos Heaven and Yahoo! Sports
Seth Livingstone / USA Today:
MLB players, staff eager for new iPad release
Discussion: baseballmusings.com
Carrie Muskat / MLB.com:
Wells throws three scoreless innings in loss
Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com:
Barmes, Presley drive in four for Pirates
Discussion: Bucs Dugout
 Earlier Picks: 
Associated Press:
Prince Fielder Homers, Has Three Hits for Tigers
David Murphy / Philly.com:
A quick look at the infield trade market. . .
Discussion: Phillies Nation
Adam Kilgore / Washington Post:
Mike Rizzo: Nationals not shopping John Lannan
Discussion: MLB Rumors and Over the Monster
Adam Berry / MLB.com:
Garcia taken for X-rays for right hand bruise
Discussion: Yahoo! Sports
Associated Press:
Phillies' Halladay Pounded by Twins in 6-4 Loss
Discussion: Yahoo! Sports
The Heater Feed:
Upton and Jennings leave game after colliding in outfield
Discussion: Yahoo! Sports
 

 
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Rachel Strugatz / The Business of Fashion:
Coty Buys Majority Stake in Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics

Variety:
Taylor Swift Can Play Her Old Songs at American Music Awards as Big Machine Reaches Agreement

Phil Boucher / People.com:
Meghan Markle Tackles Tabloid Rumors About Frogmore Cottage, Baby Shower and Dad in Court Documents

 
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