The Old Left-Hander, aka Joe Nuxhall, was in great spirits this morning in the clubhouse. The reason? He played 18 holes of the golf yesterday -- and played well. "I was hitting the ball straight -- 230," he said. "I usually hit my 6 iron 120. I was hitting it 135. I was saying, 'what's going on? I look like I know what I'm doing.'" His score? "I would have shot 82 if I could putt," he said.
Nuxhall got so carried away talking about his golf game that he failed to notice that Gary Schatz, the Sports Ticker coorespondent, had shown up at camp. Lonnie Wheeler also joined the Ed Smith Press Corps.
But it was good to see Nuxie so upbeat less than a week after leaving the hospital.
Jerry Narron almost gave us the pitching lineup for the first couple of exhibition games. But he wanted pitching coach Dick Pole to tell the pitchers first.
Rob Butcher gave us the rotation a little later. Eric Milton will start the exhibtion opener Thursday, followed by Kyle Lohse Friday, Harang Saturday and Arroyo Sunday. That lines up for Harang to start Opening Day, as he did last year.
Narron also mentioned right-hander Brad Salmon as a pitcher who's been impressive early in camp. Salmon, 27, combined to go 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA and five saves at Chattanooga and Louisville last year. He throws hard -- not 98 mph -- but harder than the other relievers. His 72 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings at Louisville point to that.
My man Kevin Kelly is in the air on his way here. He'll cover the club tomorrow. The only baseball activity I'll witness tomorrow is the odd Wiffle Ball game on Siesta Beach.