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Cooper could be first manager fired

Cooper could be first manager fired
The Astros needed to start quickly to keep owner Drayton McLane from interfering. It didn't happen, creating the realistic possibility that Cecil Cooper will be the first manager fired.

"He can fly, but once teams figure him out, he's going to hit .240," the scout says. "And his glove is terrible. He's a 40-error guy at third base.

"I think he's afraid of the ball, personally. If he gets buzzed and pitchers start throwing a lot of breaking balls to him, he's in big trouble.

"He's just a guy."

Around the horn

Teams are not pitching Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz as carefully as they did in the past, one American League coach notes, sensing that above-average velocity gives him trouble. Ortiz, 33, needs to get his bat going earlier against good fastballs, leaving him more vulnerable to breaking pitches.

The Red Sox believe that Ortiz, while a less dominant hitter than he was from 2003 to '07, still can be a impact bat. He had better be — Ortiz and right fielder J.D. Drew are the Sox's primary power threats from the left side ...

One scout who has seen the White Sox says that shortstop Alexei Ramirez looks uncomfortable at the plate, taking a big, long uppercut swing.

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Ramirez, a native of Cuba, was only 4-for-29 last April while playing in the U.S. for the first time. Perhaps he is uncomfortable in cold weather; the White Sox opened the season at home against the Royals and Twins, then visited the Tigers ...

Interesting that Angels manager Mike Scioscia allowed right-hander Scot Shields to pitch the ninth inning for the save last Friday night against the Red Sox. Shields threw only two pitches in the eighth, but Scioscia almost certainly would have used Francisco Rodriguez in a similar situation last season.

Scioscia said he stayed away from new closer Brian Fuentes in part because he did not want to burn too many relievers; righty Jose Arredondo had appeared earlier in the game for one-third of an inning. OK, but Fuentes evidently needs to gain Scioscia's trust ...

The Red Sox, while continuing their search for a young catcher, probably would be satisfied if Jason Varitek and George Kottaras combined to give them league-average production at the position — and frankly, that should not be so difficult for the two catchers to accomplish. The league averages at the position last season were .256/.325/.390.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 15, 2009

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