At 42, Borders is ancient by baseball standards. But like Merlin in the legend of King Arthur, he is living his career backward. He was the World Series MVP in 1992, won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics and played in the Triple-A All-Star Game in 2003. Borders was playing for his 10th big-league organization at the Milwaukee Triple-A affiliate in Nashville last week when the catching-desperate Mariners traded for him and quickly called him up to the majors. Meanwhile, his old teammate, John Olerud, just signed with the Red Sox and is about to play in the minors for the first time in his career.

"I'd tell [Olerud] to take his kids there with him and enjoy it," Borders said. "Sure, there are negatives, but don't look at those. Look at the positives. It's family-friendly and more relaxed. It's fun." …

In further ancient minor leaguer news, 45-year-old Oil Can Boyd made the roster for the independent league Brockton Rox, giving the former teammate of Carl Yastrzemski an outside chance (make that waaaaaayyyy outside) of returning to the majors for the first time in 14 years. And Rickey Henderson, now of the San Diego Surf Dawgs, told reporters he should be playing in Yankee Stadium. "The Yankees have that guy (Tony) Womack playing left field," Henderson said. "If I can't play that position at least as well as he can, I'll hang up the spikes right now.'' …

There are many factors shouting at players to retire rather than hang around the minors in their 40s. Family. Aching bodies. Long, uncomfortable bus rides. Family. Miserable wakeup calls. Lousy food. Small crowds. Family. But when you consider how precious a baseball career is  and how fun it can be -- the question is not why Borders, Oil Can and Rickey keep playing it at whatever level will take them. The question is why so many others don't …

An alert reader, J.B., points out that of the 68 announced players who tested positive for banned substances, 45 percent were pitchers (31 total) and 27 percent of the position players were catchers. This might be an early indication that players who take these substances do it, not to bulk up for home runs, but to recover quicker and better from draining performances …

Win Blake Stein's Money
This week's department: Oddly, They Still Dated Annie Savoy.

Question: If John Olerud plays at Triple-A Pawtucket as expected, who are the only players who will have played their entire professional careers without spending a day in minors since the draft started in 1965?

Answer: Dave Winfield and Bob Horner (though Horner did play in Japan).

Infield chatter
"I'll go to Pawtucket for a couple hours, and then let's go get the Yankees."

-- Oil Can Boyd on his career plans after the independent league Brockton Rox

Jim Caple is a senior writer at His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," is on sale now at bookstores nationwide. It can also be ordered through his Web site,


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