2011 March

1stBud Selig announces that respected author John Thorn will serve as the official historian of major league baseball. Thorn takes over for the late sportswriter Jerome Holtzman, who was baseball’s historian from 1999 until his death in 2008.

The Indians sign free agent P Chad Durbin to a one-year contract.

18thFormer player, manager and scout Charlie Metro dies at age 92 in Buckingham, VA.  Metro changed his last name from Moreskononich after a sportswriter told him it was too long to fit in a printed box score.

The Mets release veteran second baseman Luis Castillo. The team was miffed because Castillo was the last veteran to report to camp.  He will sign a minor league deal with the Phillies next week but will be cut.

21st  The Mets release pitcher Oliver Perez, eating most of the $12 million it still owes him. Suffering with a painful knee, Perez refused to go to the minors last year and the Mets refused to use him for a month. He appeared in just 17 games with a 0-5 mark. He will hook on with the Nationals.

25thThe Yankees send pitcher Sergio Mitre to the Brewers for OF Chris Dickerson. Milwaukee will sell him back to the Yankees on June 29thbut after 5+ innings with New York, the veteran’s ML days are over.

The short Cubs career of Carlos Silva is over as Jim Hendry announces that the fifth starter in the rotation is prize rookie Andrew Cashner. As expected, Silva rejects an offer to go to Triple-A and is handed his release, though the Cubs are responsible for his $11.5 million salary. Silva got off on the wrong foot when he got into a shoving match with teammate Aramis Ramirez after the first inning in his first spring training outing. The Cubs made three errors but Silva allowed 2 homers and gave up six runs. Silva had a 1-2 record and a 10.90 ERA in five spring appearances and his ML career is through. Cashner beat out both Silva and Braden Looper for the fifth starter spot. Upon hearing the news that he wouldn’t make the team’s big league roster, Looper announced his retirement.

27thThe Nationals trade OF Nyjer Morgan to the Brewers for minor league prospect Cutter Dykstra and cash. Morgan was suspended twice this past year, the first time for throwing a ball into the stands that hit a fan in Philadelphia (the penalty was dropped on appeal). Morgan also angered the Marlins when he crashed into catcher Brett Hayes, separating his shoulder, and the next day by stealing two bases when the Nationals were up by 11 runs.  The excitable Morgan will hit .304 this year and become a fan favorite with his alter ego, Tony Plush.

28thThe Royals obtain C Matt Treanor from the Rangers for cash.

The Padres acquire IF Alberto Gonzalez from the Nationals for P Erik Davis and cash.

31stThe Brewers become the first team in 42 years to open their season with back-to-back homers as Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez connect off Edinson Volquez of the Reds. Cincinnati comes back with 4 runs in the bottom of the 9thand wins the game, 7-6, on a walk-off HR by Ramon Hernandez. It is also the first opening day game in 25 years in which the first and last batter in the game hit a HR.

The Dodgers edge the Giants, 2-1. Don Mattingly becomes the first rookie manager to defeat the World Series champions on opening day since Lou Piniella accomplished the feat in 1986.

The Braves shut out the Nationals, 2-0. Jason Heyward hits a HR in his first at bat of the year, becoming just the second player in history to hit a homer in his first at bat in his first 2 ML seasons. Kaz Matsui accomplished the feat in each of his first three seasons for the Mets in 2004-2006.

The Padres defeat the Cardinals, 5-3, in 11 innings. Cameron Maybin homers in the top of the 9thto tie the game, then singles in the go-ahead run in the 11th. Albert Pujols is 0-for-5 and grounds into 3 double plays, the first player ever to hit into 3 double plays in a season opener.