Monday morning backstops
• Sure, Masumi Kawata gave up a homer to Alex Rodriguez yesterday. That's happened to a lot of pitchers. The real story was that Kawata became the oldest player to make his major league debut since 1960. For the back story, here's the fluffy version, and here are the cold facts. What's odd about Kuwata? Yes, he's 39. What's really odd, though, is that he got a shot with the Pirates after four horrible seasons in Japan. Beginning in 2005, his ERAs with the Yomiuri Giants were 5.93, 6.47, and 7.25 ... and he spent 2006 in the minor Eastern League, pitching in only six games. No, the Pirates are not desperate.
• This is the first time this season I've mentioned Francisco Cordero, and I feel bad about it. Just the other day, somebody suggested that Cordero was on his way to the best season in the history of relief pitching, so I resolved to address that notion this week. So of course, over the weekend, all that talk went away. As MVN's Joey Matschulat writes, when Cordero finally blew a save, he really blew one. So now let's keep our eye on J.J. Putz, who's 18-for-18 in save chances.