Notes from a day in baseball:
• 1. Nomar Healthy; Merging Traffic Ahead. You're all familiar probably with the freeway traffic condition signs in Los Angeles, those giant electronic scoreboards warning motorists of impending snarls and accidents. What you probably didn't know is that the signs also include an hourly health update on Dodgers shortstop/first baseman/whatever Nomar Garciaparra. Down in the lower right-hand corner you'll see Nomar status; active, or Nomar listed as day-to-day in flashing lights*. It's a public service at no extra cost to the taxpayer. Unless something happened on his way home, Nomar is currently healthy, celebrating his return to the Dodgers' lineup (his second game since coming back, actually) with a grand slam that helped L.A. to a 6-2 win over the Astros in Houston on Monday. Garciaparra missed the first 17 games of the season with a strained rib cage muscle. Oh, and Andy Pettitte had a no-hitter going into the seventh. That's not going to be on the sign.
• 2. King Kong Ain't Got Nothin' On Him. Not to get all mushy here, but can we take a moment to reflect on the phenomenon that is Albert Pujols? Again? One more time? Maybe? He hit his MLB-leading 12th home run on Monday (we hear it was crushed), leaving him one shy of the record for April (shared by Ken Griffey Jr. and Luis Gonzalez). The Cardinals beat the Pirates 7-2. Ever wonder why people are still pitching to him, by the way, and not to Barry Bonds (three walks Monday vs. the Mets)? Because Pujols is not a dick. That's just our guess.
• 3. They're Still The Swingin' A's ... just up until Monday, they hadn't been The Connectin' A's. Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth to lead Oakland's 3-2 win over Texas. The A's came into the game last in the A.L. with a .221 average. It was Chavez's 192nd homer as a third baseman, breaking the franchise record he had shared with Sal Bando.
• 4. This Could Be The Start Of Something Big. The good news for the Phillies: Manager Charlie Manuel shuffled his lineup, and it worked; Philadelphia winning 6-5. The bad news: It was against the Rockies, and we're pretty sure that if you placed Alan Greenspan in the leadoff spot it would not have altered the outcome. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Bobby Abreu, hitting 1-2-3 in the Phils' lineup, went 5-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBI over the first three innings.
• 5. They're Not Booing, They're Saying 'Joonnnnes ...' OK, They're Booing. First of all his name is Jacque, and that's trouble right there. We're talking about Jacque Jones, who signed a $16 million, three-year contract with the Cubs during the offseason and came into Monday's game with Florida hitting .200. Lower, after starting the game 0-for-2. All of this tested the patience of the notoriously good-hearted, patient Cubs fans, especially those in the right-field bleachers, who had some helpful criticism for Jacque between innings. But Jones' three-run homer in the eighth provided Chicago with a 6-3 victory, puttting his execution on hold. Stay tuned, though.
* = May not be true.