Veteran third baseman Casey Blake was released by the Rockies on Tuesday, as reported by The Denver Post. They were hoping he would be able to cut it as their starting third baseman, but they just didn’t see enough out of Blake to trust him.On top of Blake’s .150 batting average this spring, the Rockies had extra incentive to cut him loose because they have a couple youngsters that they can use at the hot corner in 2012.It will be interesting to see if Blake catches on anywhere else. He’s always had a reputation of being a valuable veteran presence, but he’s getting up there in age and his health isn’t what it used to be. The question now is not what kind of effect Blake could have on a given clubhouse, but whether he’ll be able to provide any production at the plate.There are no guarantees to that end. Even still, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Blake resurface with another team at some point this season. A guy with his reputation won’t go unclaimed.Alex Cora, St. Louis CardinalsVeteran infielder Alex Cora got the axe on Sunday, along with veteran catcher Koyie Hill, as reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.Many moons ago, Cora was a steady presence at second base with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He didn’t hit much, but he and Cesar Izturis formed a solid double play combo.Cora settled into a role as a part time, light hitting infield option off the bench a few seasons ago, and he’s stuck to it ever since. The trouble is that Cora isn’t the only player in the world who can fill a role like that, so he’s only going to catch on if a team feels like it needs a veteran.Cora’s versatility and experience make him worth a paycheck, and my guess is that he’ll get one. Provided he still wants to keep playing, of course.Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesRemember when Jack Cust was the primary slugger in the Oakland Athletics lineup?Seems like a long time ago. Now, Cust will be looking for a job after being released by the Astros, a move that was reported by the Houston Chronicle.Cust still has a ton of mlb jerseys from china
power, but he was 0 for 24 this spring before he was finally cut. This fits with what we’ve seen from Cust in the last couple of seasons, as he’s gone from being a solid power hitter to being a likely candidate to flirt with the Mendoza line.Cust will no doubt look to catch on elsewhere, but the reality of his situation is pretty gloomy. Who’s going to want a guy who couldn’t cut it with the Astros?When Zach Duke went 8 2 with a 1.81 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 2005, it looked like the Pittsburgh Pirates had something special.Not so much. Since then, Duke is 40 72 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. It’s no surprise that he was only able to score a minor league deal with the Astros. They cut him on Tuesday, per the Chronicle.This is probably the end of the line for Duke. He’s still young and doesn’t come with any major injury concerns, but he’s done enough to prove over the years that he’s likely to do more harm than good when he’s on the mound. He’s been in baseball ever since 2006, yet he’s never climbed any higher than Single A.His release by the Yankees is notable simply because it’s strange to consider the fact that the Yankees just cut loose a member of the Mattingly family. Preston is the son of former All Star first baseman Don Mattingly.The Phillies signed Pineiro to a minor league contract in December. The signing gave them some rotation depth, and it gave Pineiro a chance to compete for a championship. The deal made sense for both sides.