Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Now that the waistline has expanded once more with Holiday goodies, it is time to get back to the "important" things in life. That means all things baseball, of course.

If anyone is looking for a little extra inspiration I suggest a visit to www.CarePages.com. Care Pages is the website of the Shepherd Center, the catastrophic care hospital in Atlanta where Pensacola (FL) Pelicans ace Rusty Begnaud was taken for rehabilitation not long after the tragic swimming pool incident last June which left the hurler paralyzed from the chest down.

Rusty's parents, Calvin and Pat, show the grit this entire family seems to display, with their in-depth updates on the 26-year-old's progress now that he is back home in New Iberia, LA. And they find so many ways to express the joys or the small steps of progress in Rusty's new life, whether it is through his new flat screen TV, his talk to a church group of teenagers or his work just to transfer from his (wheel)chair to mats and learning to roll from his back to his side.

We should all gain strength from the Begnaud family.

This corner also would like to send best wishes along to longtime St. Paul (MN) Saints publicist Dave Wright. Dave, who had been at the center of the storied Saints franchise from its infancy, has left that assignment. What stories he must have tucked away in his mind of the days of Kevin Millar, Darryl Strawberry, the hundreds of other players who have come and gone plus all of the promotional stunts that helped put this franchise as well as Independent Baseball on the map.

Good luck, Dave, with whatever you do down the road.

For those of you wondering what the signing of catcher Rad Barajas by Philadelphia might mean to top Indy Baseball grad Chris Coste I don't feel you need to fret too much. Media reports have said the signing of the 31-year-old Barajas should take some of the burden off Carlos Ruiz, who seems likely to be given a chance to become the No. 1 backstop. That much appears to be true, but we were told some time ago the Phillies wanted to carry three catchers which makes it unlikely they expect Ruiz to be behind the plate every day.

And, it is evident Manager Charlie Manuel has not forgotten Coste's contributions in 2006, pointing out to the media during the Winter Meetings that Chris had hit .328 and "did a heck of a job the last part of the season." Since he was catching at least twice every time through the rotation it seems doubtful his starting time will come to a standstill.

Coste, who will play at 34 in 2007, also seems destined to getting some pinch hitting duties and possibly fill-in time at third base and third base. We also know he wears well on his managers.

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