Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson is on his way to Europe -- a trip that will see him serve as an ambassador to Major League Baseball, where he will conduct clinics and then have the luxury of spending the rest of his time as a tourist.
Granderson's agent, Matt Brown, believes that Granderson is the perfect choice for this project.
"I'm biased, because I think the world of him, but he's the perfect guy to do it," Brown told the Detroit Free Press. "He's excited about baseball. He loves to give back. He's such a great communicator.
"They're going to walk away thinking, 'Wow, what a special guy. That's what Major League Baseball players are like.'"
Granderson is just excited to get to go to Europe.
"And," he pointed out, while speaking from his parents' house in suburban Chicago a few days ago, "I don't have to pay for it."
Hudson joins select company: Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson became just the sixth player to win a Gold Glove in both the National League and American League after learning he earned the award Friday. Hudson is also one of only two second baseman, joining Brett Boone, to win the award in both leagues.
"I tell you what, it's a great feeling to win one Gold Glove in your career and now I have one in each league," Hudson told the Arizona Republic. "It's an honor. It's a great feeling to be one of only six players to win Gold Gloves in both leagues."
Hudson won the Gold Glove for second baseman last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and is the first Arizona infielder to win a Gold Glove. The only other Gold Glove winner in Diamondbacks history is center fielder Steve Finley, who won the award in 1999 and 2000.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense," Hudson said. "I owe a lot to (Toronto third base coach) Brian Butterfield. Every day he worked with me.
"Then I got traded to Arizona and all of a sudden now I'm with Jay Bell. He would keep telling me the same things Brian Butterfield was telling me and adding some things about his way, so now I'm feeling more comfortable playing second base."
Hudson led all Major League second baseman with 116 double plays turned and had only 13 errors in 833 chances. Despite the Gold Glove, Hudson thinks he can still improve on his defense.
"I hope to cut that (errors) down by eight to 10 next year," Hudson said. "I can think of 10 of those 13 right now that were just a lack of concentration. The ball would go into my glove and I got kind of lackadaisical."
Pujols shows he's more than just a hitter: St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has won his first Gold Glove, adding just one more impressive piece of hardware to his trophy case.
"Albert continues to make himself into a totally complete player," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "It's a tribute to how hard he's worked that his defense is now recognized along with his other skills."
Pujols says that he looks at this award as something he needed to make people realize how hard he works to be much more than a hitter.
"I just wanted to be a consistent and complete player," Pujols said. "I don't want people saying about me, 'He's a great hitter but he can't play out there.' If you make our infield better, you can save games. I can go 0-for-4 and still save games. Now that I've got one (Gold Glove), hopefully I can build on it."
St. Louis third base coach Jose Oquendo acknowledged how hard Pujols has tried to make defense a priority. "He worked real hard for it. He put the time in from the beginning and it paid off," said Oquendo. "I told him from the start he could be a Gold Glove winner if he wanted it. He did. I know he's very proud. It's a big accomplishment."
Pujols said that Oquendo has been a big help for him.
"I've always had good hands but Oquendo helped me relax and just play the game over there," Pujols said. "He worked with me a lot from the first day I went over there. He never stopped, not three years ago, not this year."
Phillips may move to short: Brandon Phillips made quite a splash in Cincinnati this season, and as the Reds prepare to put a team together for 2007 there is a chance that Phillips could find himself moving to shortstop.
"We'll see what happens this winter -- if we come up with a shortstop or we don't," Reds manager Jerry Narron told the Cincinnati Post. "We all think he can play shortstop and we're all pleased with the way he played second."
Phillips, who played a very small amount of shortstop in 2006, says he will do what the team asks.
"If everything doesn't work out at shortstop, I can go back to second," Phillips said Sept. 22. "But if everything does work out at short, I would love to stay at short."
The move is anything but certain, but it is clearly something the team is considering.
"We didn't get a fair look at Brandon at shortstop the latter part of the year," said Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky. "But he has played a lot of it in his history."
Krivsky added that time will tell what becomes of the idea.
"It's a situation that will evolve over the winter and we'll see which way we think we set up the best," Krivsky said. "The good part is, he's athletic enough to play (shortstop) and I think he would welcome the challenge of playing that position."
Grudzielanek crosses one off career to-do list: Kansas City second baseman Mark Grudzielanek has won his first Gold Glove Award, becoming the first player to do so on a team with 100 or more losses since Gary Pettis did so in 1989.
"I'm very excited about it," Grudzielanek told the Kansas City Star, "because it's one of the things I wanted to accomplish in my career. It's just a great accomplishment to finally get over the hump and finally win one of them."
After being on some winning teams over the years, Grudzielanek admitted that winning the award as a Royal did come as a bit of a shock.
"It's surprising that it happened with a team that wasn't on the front page a lot," he said, "unlike the teams I was with in the last few years (with Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers). That really means a lot to me."
He has, after all, had some outstanding seasons before with no hardware to show for it.
"After last year and the one year (2004) I had in Chicago," he said, "I felt like I didn't know what else I had to do. After not getting it last year, I just thought, 'You know what? I can't worry about this because, obviously, it's not about what you do on the field. It's a reputation thing.'"
Manager Buddy Bell says that in order to fully appreciate what Grudzielanek brings to the table you have to be around him.
"You have to see him play every day to appreciate him," said Bell. "He is so fundamentally sound. He doesn't have a lot of flash, but he's solid in everything he does."
Now the Gold Glove second baseman says he plans to keep improving his play. "For this to happen," Grudzielanek said, "it's really motivation to do more and come back stronger and put forth an effort like I did this past year."
Indians eye Gonzalez's veteran leadership: Free Agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez recently met with the Cleveland Indians, and general manager Mark Shapiro and Gonzalez's agent Gregg Clifton agreed that the meeting went well.
"I think it was very positive," Clifton told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "Luis was impressed with Mark, and I think Mark was impressed with Luis."
Gonzalez, who hit .271 with 15 homers, 52 doubles and 73 RBI for Arizona this year, would be a good fit in Cleveland, according to Clifton.
"Mark didn't say this, but they had such a good 2005, and then took a step back in 2006," said Clifton. "I think they're looking for a guy who can show them the way if they hit another bump in a road. Somebody who can say, 'Guys, I've been through this before.'
"Luis relishes the veteran role. And it's not like he can't play. He had over 70 extra-base hits. ... And he's very motivated after what happened this year with the Diamondbacks."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.