With Alcides Escobar projected as shortstop for the 2010 season, the Brewers traded J.J. Hardy to the Twins for Carlos Gomez.

"When you can't get pitching back, you do something to help your pitching. Carlos will help on defense. He can run balls down and he has a plus arm," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Gomez, nicknamed "Go-Go" by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, hit .229 with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 28 RBIs and 14 steals in 315 at-bats for the Twins in 2009. The Brewers believe Gomez will improve on those numbers, pointing to his 2008 season with Minnesota when he hit .258 with seven home runs, 59 RBIs and 33 steals.

"He's still learning; he has areas to work on," Melvin said. "Speed plays on both sides of the white lines. Guys with speed sometimes develop later. [Hitting coach] Dale [Sveum] will go to work with him."

Strasburg gets rave reviews in Arizona: The Nationals have been impressed by 2009 top draft pick Stephen Strasburg in the Arizona Fall League.

"He was outstanding," Nationals vice president of player personnel Ray Clark told the Washington Post. "I have seen him since he was a junior in high school. Never have I seen him throw better. He hit 101 [mph] many times; he was mostly in the 99 range.

"He always had a sharp breaking ball, but I'd never seen him throw a change-up before. It was devastating. It is a well above-average pitch. It was 92-93 mph and unhittable. He was very, very good. Like most young guys, he's still got to work on the strike zone, keeping the ball down, but he's not far away at all."

Teahen ready to return to third: Mark Teahen, traded last week from the Royals to the White Sox, is happy his new club plans to play him third base and move 2009 rookie Gordon Beckham over to second base.

"I came up in the Minors as a third baseman," Teahen told the Chicago Tribune. "That's my comfort position. I can handle the outfield, but third base is my No. 1 position."

In 2006, when playing third base, Teahen hit .290 with 28 home runs and 69 RBIs.

"I've always produced better when left alone, and playing third base [is where] I've been most productive," he said. "My hope is settling in there and putting up more offensive numbers."

Manny back for Year 2 with Dodgers: Manny Ramirez has exercised his option to remain with the Dodgers.

"Obviously, he enjoys L.A.," agent Scott Boras told the Los Angeles Times. "If he went into the marketplace, the real negative was that he could end up playing in a place he wasn't comfortable playing."

Myers sees 11-year tenure with Phillies end: The Phillies have decided not to offer a contract to Brett Myers, who has been with the organization for 11 years.

"We have genuine fondness for Brett, especially after this year, when he worked so hard to make it back from surgery and participate on the field. We have great respect for that," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Daily News.

"Brett is one of our own," Amaro added. "He was here 11 years. It's difficult to let a guy go, just like it was difficult with Pat [Burrell] last year. At the same time, sometimes you have to think about change, so we made the decision. Brett will have opportunities on another club. He's very versatile. He can be a starter or a reliever."

Cuddyer settles in for two more years with Twins: The Twins decided to pick up their 2011 option year with Michael Cuddyer, who batted .276 with a career-best 32 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2009.

"We're optimistic that he's going to keep performing at a high level," Twins general manager Bill Smith told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "He's been a good player for us. He had a good year this year, and we're counting on him to continue to be a leader on the field and off the field."

Cuddyer, 30, told reporters he enjoys playing in the Twins organization and would consider negotiating an extension with the club.

"No doubt," he said. "It's definitely an avenue both parties would like to explore. I'm not sure when, but I'm definitely open to talking about [an extension]."

Lee-Hamels being counted on for 1-2 punch: With Cliff Lee back in the fold for the 2010 season along with 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Phillies are confident about the top of their rotation.

"If we get Cole Hamels pitching back where he was, we'll have a pretty unbelievable No. 1 and No. 2, really," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Daily News. "He wants to succeed, and I think many of the issues he had were [because] he was kind of fighting himself, creating expectations of himself.

"I think it can be a good learning experience. He's a young player with a tremendous amount of talent, and in some ways this could be a blessing in disguise. He can learn a lot from it."

Thames looking for a new home: Marcus Thames is a free agent following his release by the Tigers last week.

"I'll be fine; I'm in good spirits," Thames told the Detroit News. "I talked with Skip [manager Jim Leyland], and it's just business."

Free agent Putz looking for teams: The Mets have declined their 2010 option on former closer J.J. Putz, who missed most of the '09 season following surgery during the season to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.

"J.J. is playing catch now and says his arm feels great," agent Craig Landis told the New York Daily News. "He would listen to offers from any team, including the Mets. There have been no such discussions with the Mets about any possible offer. We don't know at this juncture what kind of deal we will eventually sign. We'll see."

Wang ready to get back on throwing plan: Chien-Ming Wang, who had season-ending shoulder surgery on July 29, was frustrated by his inability to help the Yankees this season.

"I couldn't do anything," he told the New York Daily News.

Wang is scheduled for an appointment Monday with Dr. James Andrews, who performed his surgery. Andrews will determine when he can start a throwing program, but Wang believes he can pitch in rehab games by April or May.

Proctor strikes deal with Braves: The Braves finalized terms of a contract with free agent Scott Proctor, who sat out all of the 2009 season after having Tommy John surgery in May of last year.

"As we found in our experience with Peter Moylan and Tim Hudson in 2009, pitchers typically return to game action in about 12 to 13 months after ligament-replacement surgery," Braves general manager Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We are looking forward to Scott returning to full health and helping our club in 2010."

-- Red Line Editorial