Category archive: Corey Hart
This is a pitcher-catcher partnership that Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Rich Harden could like.
Harden, in his Texas debut, pitched two innings of one-hit ball and Saltalamacchia and Matt Brown each hit a three-run homer, leading the Rangers to a 13-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Harden, who spent the past 11/2 years with the Chicago Cubs, had one walk and one strikeout and gave up one unearned run.
"Rich looked great," Rangers catcher Saltalamacchia said. "He was throwing all his pitches with command, which is big, and he was just working on things. He looked comfortable. I could call anything at any time."
-- The Associated Press
MARINERS' AARDSMA TWEAKS GROIN (7:07 p.m. ET)
Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma tweaked his groin during his one-inning outing Thursday against San Diego, but the Mariners do not believe he will miss much time.
"We don't think it's very serious and he might miss one outing hopefully and that's it," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "It was the very last pitch and he felt something in his groin. Hopefully, we caught it before it gets to be anything serious."
Aardsma worked the third inning, issuing a walk to leadoff batter Yorvit Torrealba. He then got Everth Cabrera to hit into a double play. He induced Tony Gwynn Jr. to end the inning with a left-side groundout.
Aardsma started last season as the team's set-up man, but when Brandon Morrow lost his effectiveness, Aardsma assumed the closer's role on May 15. He had 38 saves in 42 opportunities after going 128 big-league appearances without a save.
-- The Associated Press
MYERS STRUGGLES WITH CONTROL IN ASTROS DEBUT (6:11 p.m. ET)
Brett Myers showed off his new threads during the Astros' windy spring training opener.
Unfortunately, the veteran pitcher's control wasn't quite as sharp as his new uniform.
Myers, the longtime Phillies hurler, allowed three runs -- two earned -- in two innings, but the Astros rallied with nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and cruised to a 15-5 win over a Washington Nationals split-squad on Thursday.
"The good thing was that my ball was moving a lot," Myers said. "The bad thing is I couldn't control where it was moving."
-- The Associated Press
Bay, a former Red Sox left fielder, went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout in his first game of the spring and first live action with the Mets since signing a four-year, $66 million contract in December.
The Mets brought in Bay to add power to the lineup after he recorded 36 homers last year.
-- The Associated Press
Jennings threw live batting practice for the first time on Wednesday and will throw one more time in game-like situations before the A's slot him into their pitching plans.
Jennings said his arm felt great the morning after his latest throwing session. The A's plan to stretch him out as a starter or long relief. He moved to the bullpen with the Texas Rangers last year.
-- The Associated Press
YANKEES DH JOHNSON SCRATCHED WITH STIFF BACK (2:41 p.m. ET)
New York Yankees designated hitter Nick Johnson was scratched from the starting lineup for Thursday's game against Philadelphia because of a stiff lower back.
Johnson was signed during the offseason to take the spot of 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, who is now with the Los Angeles Angels. Johnson hit an RBI double in the Yankees' exhibition opener Wednesday.
Johnson was hurt during batting practice, saying the problem stemmed from wearing spikes for the first time instead of turf shoes on the mats used in the cage.
"Caught a spike," Johnson said. "I felt a little something. I could have played. We'll see how I feel tomorrow."
-- The Associated Press
RANGERS SIGN CRUZ, ANDRUS, 12 OTHERS (2:37 p.m. ET)
Outfielder Nelson Cruz and shortstop Elvis Andrus are among 14 Texas Rangers who signed one-year contracts Thursday before the team's first spring training game.
With the moves, the Rangers have every player on their 40-man roster signed for the 2010 season.
Cruz, who hit .260 with 33 home runs and 76 RBIs in 128 games last season, got the biggest contract Thursday at $440,000. Andrus got $418,420 after being one of the AL's top rookies (.267, 33 stolen bases).
The others who signed, all for at least the $400,000 major league minimum, were infielder Joaquin Arias; first baseman Chris Davis; left-hander Matt Harrison; right-handers Eric Hurley, Warner Madrigal, Guillermo Moscoso, Darren O'Day, Alexi Ogando and Pedro Strop; and catcher Max Ramirez.
-- The Associated Press
COMMERCIAL ORDEAL (10:30 a.m. ET)
Big leaguers Ken Griffey Jr., Torii Hunter, Ryan Braun, Orlando Hudson and Carl Crawford appear in a new TV commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods. The ad shows Griffey and Hunter racing through the store, and concludes with the other players arguing vehemently over whether Hunter was out on a tag play with Griffey at home plate.
The five players filmed the spot at a Dick's store in Dallas in the first week in February. "It was an all-day event,'' Braun said. "It's amazing how much goes into a 30-second commercial.''
Hunter said he spent almost 11 hours at the store -- several more than any of the other participants.
"They all left after six or seven hours, and I was still there doing all the running in the store,'' Hunter said. "I was sweating so much, it took them 30 minutes to get the sweat off me. Man, it was a workout.''
Wherever Hunter goes this spring, somebody asks him, "Torii -- safe or out?''
"It was Griffey's commercial, so it's going to seem like I was out,'' Hunter said. "But I was safe. I got in there.''
-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com senior baseball writer
THERE GOES MY HERO (8:47 a.m. ET)
Tim Lincecum has back-to-back National League Cy Young Awards and a two-year, $23 million contract in his back pocket to show for it. But that hasn't made him jaded about meeting a childhood hero.
Lincecum, a Seattle native, was talking to reporters after throwing an inning against the Mariners when Ken Griffey Jr. -- a player he rooted for as a boy -- dropped by to say hello.
"Lincecum, what's up? I just wanted to say hi," Griffey said, extending his hand.
"It's a pleasure," Lincecum replied, looking awestruck as he shook Griffey's hand and watched him walk away. "It was nice meeting you," he added as Griffey headed for the Mariners' clubhouse.
Lincecum paused, let out a breath and said, "Man. Wow. He just came over. That was pretty cool."
He paused again. Then, he asked the media surrounding him, "What were we just talking about?"
Later, Lincecum acknowledged the experience took him by surprise.
"I followed him. I'm a Seattle native, so getting to watch him do his thing, actually all those guys -- [Jay] Buhner, [Joey] Cora was awesome," he said. "Just to have a guy like that come over, it caught me off guard."
-- ESPN.com news services
HAMELS EXPERIMENTING WITH SINKER (8:11 a.m. ET)
Cole Hamels' bread-and-butter pitches have been his fastball and changeup. This spring, the Phillies starter has been working on sharpening his curveball and adding a cutter as well.
But Hamels is also tinkering with a fifth pitch -- a sinker. He's tried it out during games before, with mixed results, and now wants to see if it can become a permanent part of his arsenal, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
"A few games, I would throw it, but it would get hit, and I would say, 'Forget this,'" Hamels said, according to the report. "But it's still something I'm throwing in the bullpen and am working with."
Hamels and Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee don't remember how many times Hamels tried throwing a sinker last year.
"If you're trying to pin me down to specific dates, I don't remember, but he threw it more than you might think," Dubee said, according to the report. "It could be a good pitch for him."
-- ESPN.com news services
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW (7:51 a.m. ET)
A vision test during a team physical exam has confirmed what Brewers outfielder Corey Hart has suspected since last year -- he's nearsighted.
"It kind of started last year, but I didn't really think about it," he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I just kept playing. The ball was a little fuzzy at times, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal."
Rather than eyeglasses or contact lenses, Hart plans to wear prescription goggles in the field to correct his vision, according to the report. He's hoping he can get accustomed to wearing them during spring training.
"I'm hoping they work for me," he said, according to the report. "I don't want to have any trouble picking the ball up. Right now, it's a little fuzzy."
Why wasn't the problem caught last year? "I guessed right [on what letters were shown on the eye chart]," Hart said, according to the report. "This year, I guessed wrong. By the third letter, I was like, 'Maybe H?'"
-- ESPN.com news services
Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said that Jason Schmidt, who made his second start of the spring, is no longer a candidate to begin the season in the rotation because there is not enough time for his rehab from shoulder surgery.
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Schmidt threw 42 pitches in two scoreless innings against the A's. With three weeks to go before Opening Day, Torre said there's not enough time to get Schmidt ready to take the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
"This is all about some time down the road, getting him back, but at this point I have no idea when that is," Torre said. "After what he's been through with the surgeries and the whole thing, I think we can look at it as continuing rehabbing."
Schmidt, 36, has not pitched in the majors since June 16, 2007. The three-time All-Star has undergone two shoulder operations since then.
"I'm just trying to get out on the mound," he said. "I'm not looking at opening day or five days from that. I just want to eventually pitch in a game in Los Angeles and pitch in the big leagues. I'm not setting a timetable."
BEDARD BACK ON MOUND (9:10 p.m. ET)
Erik Bedard had a simple goal for his first outing since March 5.
"I was just trying to feel healthy," he said.
Bedard pitched one inning in the Mariners' 4-3 victory over the Dodgers on Monday, allowing one run and two hits. The left-hander, who had been sidelined with sore buttocks, also issued a walk.
"I was just throwing pitches, trying to get people out as I do usually," he said. "My [butt] feels good and that's that. Just warming up I knew it was fine."
LINCECUM SCRATCHED WITH FLU (9:08 p.m. ET)
Giants ace Tim Lincecum was scratched from Monday's scheduled start against the Angels because of the flu.
Lincecum said he's improving and manager Bruce Bochy said the right-hander is now set to start Wednesday against the Cubs. Lincecum will take Randy Johnson's place -- the Big Unit will skip a turn because of biceps soreness.
"Just precautionary," Bochy said. "It's just a little cranky. That's all normal spring training stuff."
Lincecum is scheduled to start the regular-season opener April 7 against Milwaukee.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has not allowed an earned run while retiring 20 of the 22 batters he has faced in three exhibition starts. He has given up one hit and one walk.
LOOPER FINE AFTER LINER TO HEAD (7:49 p.m. ET)
One injury nearly led to another for right-hander Braden Looper.
Looper, who has been sidelined with a strained oblique muscle, took a glancing line drive off the back of his head while throwing the first of two innings in a simulated game. Looper said it didn't faze him and he finished the outing.
"I felt great today physically, even if I wasn't as sharp as you would like," Looper said.
SAMARDZIJA BACK TO BULLPEN? (7:47 p.m. ET)
Jeff Samardzija had one more start to prove he deserved serious consideration for the Cubs' starting rotation. He likely made manager Lou Piniella's decision easy.
Bill Hall hit a three-run homer off Samardzija, who gave up five runs in the first inning after getting the first two outs, and the Brewers beat Chicago 9-6 on Monday.
Piniella plans to begin revealing the Cubs' rotation later this week after giving everyone one more start and Samardzija most likely will be in the bullpen because of the emergence of left-hander Sean Marshall as the leading candidate to be the fifth starter.
Samardzija went 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 26 relief appearances last season for the Cubs and said he'd be happy in any role.
"I don't know what's going to be next for me, but obviously I'll be ready to pitch. I've said before I don't mind pitching whenever or wherever. I'll just be ready to go whenever they call my name," Samardzija said. "I really don't have a preference, like I said with my pitches and everything and where they're at, I'm pretty happy with them, so I feel like I'll leave it up to the upstairs to make a decision what they feel is best for the team."
PIMENTEL OUT AT LEAST 6 WEEKS (7:31 p.m. ET)
Royals right-hander Julio Pimentel will be out at least six weeks with an elbow injury and possibly the season, if surgery is required.
The Royals say Pimentel has a nondisplaced bone spur fracture in his pitching elbow. The bone spur is close to the ulnar collateral ligament.
Manager Trey Hillman says the 23-year-old is waiting for a second opinion on whether he needs surgery.
Pimentel is one of Kansas City's top pitching prospects. He suffered the injury while throwing a pitch Friday against Hank Blalock of the Rangers.
Pimentel was acquired in a 2006 trade with the Dodgers.
CARDS NO CLOSER TO NAMING CLOSER (6:48 p.m. ET)
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa could go with Chris Perez, Jason Motte or Ryan Franklin, who had 17 saves in 25 chances last year when he took over from Jason Isringhausen, as closer. Or he could go with a mix of all three.
"I think we're all getting a little tired of people asking who's the closer," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "We've been pretty up front that we're going to use these three weeks."
Franklin believes La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan know whom they want. The manager, however, isn't tipping his hand.
"You just see how they pitch and the impression they give you, and if one guy emerges he becomes the closer," La Russa said. "If he doesn't, they all kind of share it."
CANO COULD PLAY FIELD FRIDAY (6:42 p.m. ET)
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had an MRI Monday that found bursitis in his right shoulder and he could play the field on Friday.
Cano will pinch hit or be a designated hitter until then. He had a pinch-hit single during the sixth inning of New York's 12-0 win over the Phillies on Monday.
"It feels better," Cano said. "I'll be ready in a few days."
Cano has experienced tightness behind his right shoulder all spring training. He resumed playing catch before Monday's game.
Cano didn't tell the Yankees about his shoulder problem before joining the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The Yankees told Cano, who is taking anti-inflammatory medication and performing strength-building exercises, that the next time he has any problem to let the training staff know.
LEYLAND NOT SURE WHEN ZUMAYA WILL RETURN (5:53 p.m. ET)
Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn't sure whether injury-plagued reliever Joel Zumaya will be ready for Opening Day.
"I have no predictions," Leyland said Monday.
A day earlier, Leyland said Zumaya probably would not be ready for the start of the regular season on April 6.
Zumaya is a talented but injury-prone 24-year-old power-pitching right-hander who has missed much of the past two seasons. He was scratched from an intrasquad game Saturday because of a neck cramp.
By Monday, Zumaya apparently had improved.
"He feels better," Leyland said. "I'll leave it at that."
BYRNES' RETURN DELAYED (5:39 p.m. ET)
Eric Byrnes' return to the Diamondbacks' lineup has been delayed a few days.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin had thought about putting Byrnes in the lineup when the Diamondbacks play Oakland in Phoenix on Tuesday. Instead, the outfielder will play in a minor league game.
"He wanted to play, I wanted him to play, but it's probably the smart thing to do to make sure we cover all the bases before he gets out on the field," Melvin said before Arizona played Colorado on Monday.
The Diamondbacks have Thursday off, and Melvin said Byrnes, recovering from hamstring injuries that sidelined him for all but 52 games last season, could play Friday when they face the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe.
"It makes sense," Byrnes said. "I'm just anxious to be out there, but I think the best thing is to totally listen to the trainers at this point. It's been a nine-month process, so I put my trust in them and I have no problem with it."
ALVAREZ AMONG BUCS CUTS (5:28 p.m. ET)
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' top draft pick last year, was among eight players sent back to their minor league camp.
Alvarez and right-hander Ron Uviedo were optioned to Class A Lynchburg. Right-hander Jimmy Barthmaier was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Right-hander Jeff Sues and catcher Steve Lerud were optioned to Double-A Altoona.
Right-handers Juan Mateo and Daniel McCutchen and infielder Shelby Ford were reassigned to minor league camp as the Pirates trimmed the number of players in their major league camp to 45.
Alvarez signed a major league contract with Pittsburgh last fall, so he already was on the 40-man roster when he reported to his first spring training camp.
"It was a lot of fun," said the 22-year-old Alvarez, who was 8-for-18 (.444) with one homer, five RBIs and three strikeouts this spring. "I didn't really know what to expect. I took it all in, and it was great. It was a great thrill and I learned a lot."
FRANCO TAKES ON NEW ROLE (5:26 p.m. ET)
Julio Franco is joining the Mets -- as a minor league manager, not as a player.
The 50-year-old, who had 2,586 hits during 23 major league seasons from 1982 to 2007, will manage the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets. In addition, New York hired Mike DiFelice as manager of the Kingsport Mets.
Franco, who played for the Mets from 2006 to '07, will be joined at Gulf Coast by pitching coach Frank Fultz, hitting coach Tom McCraw and additional instructor Luis Rojas.
DiFelice spent 13 seasons in the major leagues and was with the Mets from 2005 to '07 before spending last year with Tampa Bay. He'll be assisted by hitting coach Ryan Ellis, pitching coach Jonathan Hurst and bench coach Juan Lopez.
In addition, New York agreed to a minor league contract with 34-year-old infielder Junior Spivey, who hasn't appeared in the major leagues since 2005. He played in two games with Boston during spring training last year, then was released.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Ramirez should be all right after a couple of days. Florida is off Tuesday.
Ramirez has played two games since returning Friday from the World Baseball Classic after the Dominican Republic was eliminated. He went 1-for-2 with a double while playing shortstop on Friday and then 0-for-3 as the designated hitter on Saturday.
Right fielder Cody Ross was scratched because of tightness in his left calf.
The right-handed Hirsh, who was vying for the fifth spot in the rotation, is 0-1 with a 12.19 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this spring.
Colorado also optioned pitchers Samuel Deduno, Ryan Mattheus, Shane Lindsay and Steven Register to the minors, along with infielders Hector Gomez, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr.
The team reassigned pitchers Cedrick Bowers, Brandon Hynick and Matt Daley, catcher Michael McKenry and outfielder Matt Miller to minor league camp.
With the moves, the Rockies now have 43 players on the major league spring training roster.
PEDROIA IDLE UNTIL THURSDAY (3:08 p.m. ET)
Manager Terry Francona said Dustin Pedroia won't be allowed to participate in any baseball activities until Thursday, when he's expected to take batting practice after suffering his abdominal strain during the World Baseball Classic.
WILLIAMS' COMEBACK STALLS (2:07 p.m. ET)
Jerome Williams, trying to return to the majors after his once-promising career was stalled by weight problems, was among eight players the Athletics sent to the minor leagues.
The 27-year-old Williams gave up four runs in nine innings in four games. He won 17 games for the Giants before his 23rd birthday, but he had been bouncing between organizations for four years, pitching in an independent league last season.
"Jerome has come a long way from where he was a year ago," manager Bob Geren said. "He put himself in the mix. Right now the innings just aren't there for him."
The A's also sent down right-hander Kevin Cameron, who had a 2.79 ERA in 48 games for the Padres in 2007. A non-roster invitee, Cameron allowed two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings this spring training
Oakland optioned right-hander Ryan Webb and infielders Jeff Baisley and Eric Patterson to Triple-A Sacramento. The A's reassigned right-hander James Simmons and infielders Joe Dillon and Sean Doolittle.
Left-handers Francisley Bueno and Mariano Gomez and catchers Phillip Britton and Matt Kennelly were reassigned to the Braves' minor league camp.
Atlanta has 44 players left in its major league camp.
The moves trimmed the team's spring roster to 47 players.
Right-hander Marco Estrada and outfielder Leonard Davis also were optioned to Syracuse, while right-hander Luis Atilano and infielder Ian Desmond were optioned to Double-A Harrisburg.
BUILT-UP LUDWICK SCUFFLING AT PLATE (9:25 a.m. ET)
All-Star outfielder Ryan Ludwick added extra muscle during the offseason in a quest for even bigger numbers than his 37 homers and 113 RBIs last season.
A 5-for-31 start in spring training wasn't what he had in mind, and he's convinced his upgraded physique isn't the root of his slump.
"I don't think so," Ludwick said Sunday in Jupiter, Fla. "I'm not too worried about it. I've got three weeks and I'm doing the things I need to do to get ready, and just taking it day by day."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa thinks it's just a matter of the 30-year-old Ludwick settling into his swing. He noted Ludwick reported in great condition and weight trained as a baseball player, not as a bodybuilder.
"I think he lifted smart," the manager said. "He's not bound up at all. He's working every at-bat, tweaking it, searching for that good feeling."
HART EMPHASIZES CONDITIONING AFTER SLIDE (9:18 a.m. ET)
Right fielder Corey Hart sizzled last summer before slumping in September.
This season, Hart hopes he can contribute at the plate when it counts.
"My body was just drained and tired," Hart said Sunday in Phoenix. "I wasn't used to being out there that much. It's the most I'd played, 100 more at-bats than I'd ever had. I was worn down. Physically, I didn't prepare for that kind of season."
Hart hit .289 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs to make his first All-Star appearance after winning the fan vote for the final outfielder spot. He began to struggle soon after, culminating with a miserable final month of the season. In September, he hit .173 with no homers and 10 RBIs and struck out 21 times compared to just three walks.
"I was pressing," Hart said. "I was trying to find it and of course, I was a starter and didn't want to come out of the lineup. It's one of those things, you work in the offseason physically and mentally. I just didn't quite get it done last year."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.