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Birthday morning news round-up

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Hey, Pay Attention to Me: Today I turn 25 years old. This is amazing, of course.

The Mets have released Alay Soler, who was the ace of the Cuban national team before defecting and signing with New York in 2003. Soler never worked out, like a lot of the Cuban players don't. Jose Contreras was supposed to be the Cuban Roger Clemens or whatever, and he's never been more than a solid major league pitcher. Kendry Morales was supposed to be an athlete and he's definitely not. To be totally blunt, Soler is just a fat guy that can't pitch at the major league level.

Wade Miller may have taken the lead in the race for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation after a pretty good outing on Tuesday, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts in four innings. His velocity is still not back to pre-injury levels (87-89 on his fastball), but that will likely never change unless he goes to the bullpen where he can cut loose. Piniella likes Miller's toughness and moxie or some other bunk, which is certainly something Mark Prior isn't known for. Angel Guzman is also still in the race, and Piniella is waiting at least until Friday, when Guzman pitches again, before he seriously addresses the race.

I wish Pete Rose would shut up already. Rose talks and talks and talks about selling baseball, but it's just more conman horseshit from a self-absorbed man that got himself into his own mess and now enlists "fans" as the reason he should be reinstated. He has never once really accepted responsibility for his own actions, just going far enough to then follow it up with, "Plllleeeeease?" Rose promotes himself, nothing more, and I hope he stays banned forever.

The Mariners sent Jim Parque to the minors. The story of Parque's return to baseball is a hoot:

The 31-year-old left-hander won 31 games in the major leagues from 1998-2003, including 30 with Chicago. He was running a baseball academy in Puyallup, Wash., last fall when a student taunted him as being "washed up" and challenged him to pitch against him. Surprising arm strength led to a Mariners tryout.

Well, gosh, I didn't see The Rookie. I always heard Jim Parque was a jerk.

Yahoo! Sports has some stupid thing on their MLB page about Johnny Damon v. Andruw Jones, as if there's legitimately a question there.

Cristian Guzman is BACK. Expos fans must be psyched.

The Red Sox may be interested in trading for Armando Benitez. In other potential closer news, Seth McClung is flopping in camp for Tampa Bay. Chad Orvella and Al Reyes are considered the top candidates to replace him if he should lose the job that has been his to lose this spring.

Sammy Sosa is continuing to hit the ball a little bit. There's almost no doubt he'll be Texas' DH on Opening Day.

A-Rod is prattling on about finishing his career with the Yankees, because hot A-Rod gossip is still all the rage. They should have just gotten a third baseman instead of Doug Mientkiewicz.