MLB will closely follow the NFL's attempt to get players to agree to blood testing for HGH. It's going to be hard for the Players Association to reject those tests if other sports are using them. … At some point after Opening Day we'll find out if the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez really did agree to a seven-year, $154 million extension at the time he was acquired from the Padres. Both parties have denied it, but a lot of executives on other teams believe the Red Sox were trying to avoid a hit on their 2011 luxury tax. … Brian Wilson's strained left oblique is a significant concern for the Giants. He almost certainly will open the season on the DL, with Santiago Casilla a ninth-inning replacement. … One scout says one of the great unasked questions of the spring is how much will Cardinals pitchers miss Brendan Ryan, who might be the best defensive shortstop in the majors. The Brewers pitching staff likewise will long for Alcides Escobar, who went to the Royals in the Zack Greinke trade. That longing will be exacerbated because Yuniesky Betancourt is an all-hit, no-field replacement. … Some people are having second thoughts about the Angels as serious challengers to the Rangers because of Kendrys Morales' continuing leg problems. But replacement Mark Trumbo is an intriguing player, arguably offering more power than Morales. Manager Mike Scioscia said he could play Howie Kendrick at first. … The Marlins are searching for stopgap options at third base after Matt Dominguez hung around the Mendoza line in spring training. The Marlins considered moving Omar Infante there but decided they like him as Hanley Ramirez's double-play partner. … With Curtis Granderson sidelined, Andruw Jones could start in left field for the Yankees on Opening Day. Outfield depth is a concern for the Yankees, who traded Sergio Mitre to the Brewers for outfielder Chris Dickerson last week.
Phil Rogers, Tribune Newspapers