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There are a couple of administrative items that I thought I would cover in a separate thread. They concern new member registration and posting challenges.

In case you didn't notice we cut off new member registrations a month or so ago, for the second time. The reason was to stop spam registrations. At Batters Box we have a two step registration process, you fill out a few details and then we can approve you or not. We have always been actively deleting spam registrations so our membership list doesn't get bloated. Over the past few years we would get between 50 and 70 spam applications per day. We would know they are spam usually by the registration name, either it was an incomprehensible mix of letters, numbers and symbols or it fitted a pattern where there is a name followed by say two numbers and we would have ten requests by jim10, jim 12, and so on. This was a pain in the butt but we could manage.

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Little help here, Bauxites ... is there a legitmate reason a player's uniform number might be used (after it is "retired") by someone OTHER that that specific retired player?  (In other words, I am not looking for examples of players with retired numbers who came back to uniformed status, presumably either to manage or coach, if perhaps only in Spring Training?

I can think of at least two instances it has actually happened -- indeed, I expect most baseball fans can at least think of the first one I will mention -- but are there others? Read on and let everyone know of any other instances you can recall where this has already happened, or at least a situation (give a specific example if possible) where that legitimately COULD happpen.

The first example, of course ...

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As we start the new season here in Da Box we need a few fine men or women.  Our writing schedule has us publishing a series thread for the major league Blue Jays, our regular minor league updates, and other thoughts that our writers feel compelled to make public. 

However, several roster members have allowed the real world to interfere with their Box duties and we could use some help.

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As you are aware, the Blue Jays begin their regular season at home this Tuesday night when the Cleveland Indians are in town. If you happen to be in the Vancouver area, the back-to-back Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians are inviting you to watch the game as they are hosting an Opening Day Bash at Mahony & Sons at 1055 Canada Place, Unit 36, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. You might even win a prize, such as a pair of tickets to see the Jays in Seattle this August.

Otherwise, how are you getting ready for the first game of 81 at the Thunderdome? Do you have a ticket? Will you be watching on TV? Listening on the radio? Checking your cell phone or iPod (that'll be me!)? How are you celebrating the return of the regular season?

This was the scene during last year's home opener. R.A. Dickey will begin the 2013 campaign with his first knuckleball for strike one at 7:07 p.m. Eastern Time.
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The WBC is over, the Dominican Republic are "World Champions" and the Jays will have all of their players in camp within a day or two.  The Jays have eleven days of spring games left before they head north for the Tuesday home opener.  There are few decisions left to be made, basically the backup catcher and the long man in the bullpen.   Otherwise the roster is set, the starting pitchers are known, the batting lineup is 90% set with second base the one unknown.

Spring training, up to this point, has had as its objective to get the players in shape, particularly the pitchers arms.  Players returning from injury need to be tested.  And roles and responsibilities need to be defined.

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Here’s a thread to discuss all the latest spring training developments from Dunedin and around the majors while we all anxiously await Canada’s opening match in the World Baseball Classic on Friday afternoon.

My right shoulder is so restless it hurts, I'm giving Yahoo's fantasy baseball pages ten thousand hits a day, and my marginal utility from hearing "Centerfield" has been above zero for weeks now. That can only mean one thing. It's time for spring training baseball!
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Easily the best thing about February.
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ESPN's Keith Law has released his Top 10 Prospects list for each American League East club. His top five Blue Jays prospects are pitchers and has seven hurlers rated among his top 10. The Jays did not fare very well in his farm system ranking.


No. 2 and trying harder: Roberto Osuna was Keith Law's number two Blue Jays prospect. The Mexican righty just turned 18 today.
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A couple of years ago I came out of my bunker, but I saw my shadow.
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I confess I didn't see any of last night's game, but it sounded slow and painful for fans of the blue team. Eight walks and zero strikeouts for Romero? How is that even possible?

Anyway, just figured we could use a new big-league thread. Here it is.
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It has been a strange season for the Toronto Blue Jays.  They have been hovering around the 500 mark for much of the season despite losing a lot of key players to injuries and despite some notable poor performances.  The list of the bad things that have happened to the team is lengthy:

1. Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Sergio Santos, Drew Hutchison, Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan and Luis Perez are all on the 60 day disabled list.

2. More recently Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and JP Arencibia are on the 15 day DL.

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You can make a decent argument that Clifton Phifer Lee is the best starting pitcher in baseball. Granted, thanks to the intidimidating presence of future first ballot Hall-of-Famer Roy Halladay, it might be easier to argue he's not even the best starting pitcher in his own team's rotation. (And thanks to the continuing emergence of Cole Hamels. may even earn a bronze in the City of Brotherly Shove). But the case can be made for the lithe lefty.

Still, look at his performance last night against the Dodgers -- 7.2 IP, six hits, two runs, one walk, 12 strikeout, seven shoutout frames to begin the game. What's that, it  must be his seventh or eighth win of the year already? Um, not quite ...

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That headline courtesy of Bauxite BlueJayWay from the Advance Scout thread.  The Jays are once again being accused of stealing signs.  That assertion was strongly suggested by Baltimore starter and losing pitcher Jason Hammel in the wake of Wednesday's 4-1 victory by Toronto at the Dome.

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I'm not sure how one would look this up, or even if it's worth looking up at all. But as the Yankees finally erased the "0" in the team's 2012 win column today, I started thinking about an oddity regarding the team's pitching staff.

Nobody has noticed -- again, perhpas because it's not worth noticing? -- that four of the five pitchers in the '12 Yankee starting rotation have last/family names that end in vowels -- Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova and Garcia. (Thanks a lot, Phil Hughes.) And that doesn't even count recent off-season acquisition Joel Pineda (yet!) ...

When you also consider the Bronxpen is anchored by a guy named Rivera and includes stalwarts named Rapada and Soriano (but we're not counting the silent-lettered Cory Wade here), there could be an awful lot of Yankee games pitched entirely by pitchers with Italian/Latin/Far Eastern vowel-ending names. And when Pineda returns from injury, if he bumps Hughes back to the 'pen (though he seems more likely to bump Garcia), the Yankees could get upwards of 140 starts from the ends-with-a-vowel Name Club For Men. Would this be a record?

I have no idea. Do you?

The following wholly unscientific observational data is pulled from BaseballReference.com's list of the Top 200 winningest pichers of all time, From Cy Young's 511 at #1 down to Sandy Koufax's T200 total of 165 ...

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