Category archive: Minnesota Twins

PATTERSON OPTS OUT OF MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT (10:53 p.m. ET)

Outfielder Corey Patterson ended his tryout with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, opting out of his contract for free agency.

The 29-year-old Patterson, who has played in parts of 10 big league seasons, agreed in November to a minor league contact with the Mariners and had the right to be released on seven days' notice if not put on the 25-man roster. If he had been put on the big league roster, he would have received a $650,000, one-year deal.

Patterson appeared in 19 games this spring, and batted .216 (8 for 37) with two doubles, two home runs and two RBIs.

In 1007 games, Patterson hit .252 with 104 homers and 363 RBIs with five teams. He made his major league debut with the Cubs when he was a highly regarded 20-year-old prospect.

-- The Associated Press

GUZMAN SOLID IN FIRST START AT 2B (6:47 p.m. ET)

Cristian Guzman made his first start at second base since losing the shortstop job to rookie Ian Desmond and helped turn two double plays in the Washington Nationals' 9-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

Guzman also went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Guzman has played 1,272 games, all at shortstop. Manager Jim Riggleman said Guzman will be "somewhat of a utility player, but more than that."

"We really don't have too much concern that he's a problem over there, but if we did he alleviated that today," Riggleman said.

Nationals infield coach Pat Listach said the most difficult adjustment is turning the double play.

"He's got to get used to not seeing the runner," Listach said. "He's going to be fine over there. It looked like he's been there his whole life."

-- The Associated Press

INDIANS SHIP SOWERS TO COLUMBUS (2:57 p.m. ET)

The Cleveland Indians have sent left-hander Jeremy Sowers outright to Triple-A Columbus.

The team's first-round draft choice in 2004 was one of three players optioned to Triple-A, along with outfielder Trevor Crowe and catcher Wyatt Toregas.

Right-hander Hector Ambriz placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday.

Sowers had a sore shoulder early in spring training, which put him behind in the competition for a roster spot. The 26-year-old is out of options and could not be sent back to the minors without going on waivers.

Sowers, drafted sixth overall out of Vanderbilt, has an 18-30 record and 5.18 ERA in 72 career games.

-- The Associated Press

LARUE DAY TO DAY WITH HAND INJURY (2:57 p.m. ET)

Catcher Jason LaRue is only suffering from a "deep bone bruise" and is "day to day," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.

The Cardinals -- who are already without catcher Yadier Molina, who has a strained right oblique muscle -- had thought they might also lose LaRue for an extended period of time after he suffered an injury to his left hand in a tag play at the plate against the New York Mets on Tuesday. But Mozeliak said LaRue, who had an MRI on Wednesday morning, likely won't need to be placed on the disabled list.

"I had visions of a broken hand -- that was the worst case -- to what we're talking about right now," Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch. "Emotionally, it was up and down."

Molina had his best workout since being injured Wednesday morning and said he felt no pain. Manager Tony La Russa told the Post-Dispatch that he thinks Molina could play on Opening Day; if he isn't ready Monday, he could be placed on the DL retroactive to March 26, which would make him eligible to play on April 11.

-- ESPN.com news services

THOMAS SHIFTED TO TOLEDO (2:11 p.m. ET)

The Detroit Tigers completed their Opening Day roster, sending outfielder Clete Thomas to Triple-A Toledo.

That move puts utility player Don Kelly on the team.

An MRI exam showed Thomas' right shoulder is bruised, but manager Jim Leyland says the injury won't prevent him from being a designated hitter for the Mud Hens.

-- The Associated Press

TWINS SEND RAMOS, PERKINS TO TRIPLE-A (12:21 p.m. ET)

Minnesota Twins catcher Wilson Ramos and left-hander Glen Perkins will start the season in Triple-A.

The Twins optioned both players to Rochester on Wednesday. Ramos is a promising prospect who hit .400 this spring, including a home run on Tuesday over a 35-foot high wall behind the center field fence.

But with Joe Mauer entrenched as the starter, the Twins want Ramos to play every day. Drew Butera will be the backup.

Perkins has been bothered by a sore back. He went 6-7 with a 5.89 ERA last season for the Twins.

Right-handed reliever Pat Neshek, who missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery, has made the roster.

-- The Associated Press

BRADEN ON ANTIBIOTICS AS PRECAUTION (10:13 p.m. ET)

Oakland Athletics left-hander Dallas Braden possibly has a staph infection on his left shin but isn't expected to miss any time.

Braden woke up Friday morning with a lump on his leg and after being checked out by team trainers, was sent to see a doctor, just hours before he was scheduled to pitch against the Cubs. Although no firm diagnosis was made, Braden was given antibiotics as a precaution.

Braden, slated second in Oakland's starting rotation behind ace Ben Sheets, missed the final two months of last season because of nerve damage in his left foot. The condition left him with a tingling sensation in his entire foot -- and no feeling at all in about half of it. Earlier this week, a neurologist told him the numbness never would subside.
-- The Associated Press

STAUFFER WILLING TO HELP PADRES AS NEEDED (10:04 p.m. ET)

After pitching four shutout innings to help a Padres split-squad beat the Reds 3-2, Tim Stauffer thinks he can help San Diego, even if it's out of the bullpen.

Stauffer, a 2003 first-round pick who is out of options, is pushing hard for the final spot in the Padres' rotation but is open to a reliever role. The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out four in his first appearance since last Saturday.

"During the season relievers have to go that long or longer so I guess if that's something that's a possibility I need to get used to it," Stauffer said after a seven-day layoff. "That wouldn't be a hard transition to make."

Stauffer went 4-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 14 starts last season after missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury. He lowered his spring ERA to 2.57.
-- The Associated Press

JOBA THE RELIEVER JOTS DOWN SAVE (7:57 p.m. ET)

Joba Chamberlain's first relief outing since he was sent back to the bullpen was a bit of an adventure -- he allowed two hits and struck out one during a scoreless ninth inning, earning the save in the New York Yankees' 2-1 victory over Detroit. It was his first game since manager Joe Girardi announced on Thursday that Phil Hughes had won the competition for the team's fifth starter spot, beating out Chamberlain and three other candidates.

"A lot of guys came in and worked hard, and we didn't make anybody's decision easy," Chamberlain said. "That was our goal as guys coming in. I'm excited about being able to get the opportunity to help this team. We'll go from there."

Chamberlain is in the mix for the eighth-inning setup role before closer Mariano Rivera. The right-hander made 31 starts and one relief appearance during the regular season last year, but pitched out of the bullpen during the playoffs.
-- The Associated Press

HOMER A SPRING FIRST FOR FIELDER (7:52 p.m. ET)

Prince Fielder hit his first home run of the spring and Randy Wolf outdueled C.J. Wilson, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-1 victory over Texas. Wolf allowed only Julio Borbon's two-out single in the third over six shutout innings. He walked one, struck out seven and faced only three batters over the minimum.

Wilson was nearly as untouchable, scattering two hits over his first five innings before tiring and giving up Fielder's two-run, two-out home run just over the left-field fence in the sixth.
-- The Associated Press

PUJOLS SCHEDULED FOR DAY OFF (7:38 p.m. ET)

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, who rested Friday, struck out twice in a 3-2 win over Florida. Manager Tony La Russa plans to use the NL MVP on Sunday and Monday before giving him a day off Tuesday.

Brad Penny, projected to be the Cardinals' No. 3 starter, allowed one run and five hits while lowering his spring ERA to 6.10.

Penny had a scary moment in the sixth, when Hanley Ramirez's hard groundout struck him on the inside of his left thigh. He was examined on the mound by trainers and left after retiring the next two batters.

"Hit me in the muscle, good spot again," Penny said. "If it had been a knee, it might have been a problem."
-- The Associated Press

MARLINS' JOHNSON TO THROW; HENSLEY STILL SHINING (7:30 p.m. ET)

Florida Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson, who was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday because of the flu, threw on flat ground Saturday morning.

Florida's ace is scheduled to throw off the mound Sunday. If that goes well, he should make his next start on Wednesday, which would allow him to start the season opener April 5 in New York against the Mets.

Johnson, 26, won 15 games in 33 starts last year and struck out 191 in 209 innings.

Meanwhile, Clay Hensley pitched six innings in a 3-2 loss to St. Louis, yielding three runs, one earned, and three hits. He dropped his spring ERA to 0.55 in 16/3 innings, making a strong case for a rotation spot.

"I thought he did outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's getting closer to being on the team."
-- The Associated Press

TWINS TO SEND JONES TO MINORS (5:51 p.m. ET)

Jacque Jones has been told that he will not make the Minnesota Twins' Opening Day roster.

Jones hit .344 this spring with two home runs and three doubles. But manager Ron Gardenhire told him Saturday that there wasn't enough room for the veteran outfielder on a loaded Twins roster.

Jones will finish out spring training with the team and travel to Minnesota to play in an exhibition game against the Cardinals. After that, he will report to Triple-A Rochester.

After playing in the independent Atlantic League in 2009, Jones signed a minor league deal with the Twins in February. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Twins before leaving in 2006 for the Cubs. He also played for Detroit and Florida in
-- The Associated Press

RANGERS ACQUIRE BLANCO FROM CUBS (5:35 p.m. ET)

The Texas Rangers have acquired second baseman Andres Blanco from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named or cash.

Blanco was unlikely to make Chicago's 25-man roster and he was out of options. In 2009, his 10th professional season and first with the Cubs, Blanco batted .252 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 123 at-bats. He sprained his knee early in spring training and was limited to nine at-bats.

Rangers manager Ron Washington says he still needs a utility infielder to spell Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus.

In 131 career major league games, including 78 during three short stints with the Royals, Blanco batted .252 with one homer and 31 RBIs.
-- The Associated Press

CHAPMAN AMONG 3 VYING FOR REDS' LAST SPOT (5:09 p.m. ET)

The only opening in the Cincinnati Reds' rotation has produced the biggest surprise of camp.

There was a glut of veterans trying to win the fifth starting spot when camp opened. With a week left, it's down to three youngsters who have never thrown a pitch in the majors.

Right-hander Mike Leake and left-handers Travis Wood and Aroldis Chapman are the last three standing. The 23-year-old Wood has the most experience -- five years in the minors. Leake was the Reds' top pick last June. Chapman is a 22-year-old Cuban defector whose sore back has hurt his chances.

The final decision likely will come down to one more head-to-head audition next week and front-office rumination about which one fits best at the moment.

Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey have the other spots.
-- The Associated Press

RANGERS CATCHER STRAINS BACK MUSCLE (9:00 p.m. ET)

Texas catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was scratched from the lineup because of a strained muscle in his upper left back.

He was injured warming up the pitcher. X-rays were negative.

Last season, Saltalamacchia had surgery on the right side for thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition where a rib bone pushes on a nerve and causes numbness in the arm and hand.

-- Associated Press

KEARNS MAKES CASE FOR STARTING SPOT (8:09 p.m. ET)

Austin Kearns hit his first two home runs of the spring and drove in five runs as the Cleveland Indians rolled to a 12-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

Kearns, who has a chance at the Indians' starting left field job, went deep against Dodgers starter Eric Stults and again against reliever Aaron Miller. In 25 at-bats before Sunday, he had just two extra-base hits and had not driven in a run.

"He's a right-handed bat with a track record and some power," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He can play the three outfields. His best position is right field but he can play center and occasionally left and he's taking ground balls at first base."

Indians starter Jake Westbrook pitched well, giving up one run on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and had three strikeouts. Westbrook has not pitched in a big-league game since May 2008 because of elbow problems.

-- Associated Press

THOME CONTINUES TO IMPRESS (8:02 p.m. ET)

Jim Thome has impressed the Minnesota Twins so far this spring.

Thome went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs, leading the Twins past the Tampa Bay Rays 12-3 on Sunday.

The Twins sent out their Opening Day lineup, with Thome spelling Jason Kubel as the designated hitter with Kubel playing in an intrasquad game, and tagged Rays starter Wade Davis for five runs in the first inning.

Davis, trying to earn a spot in Tampa Bay's starting rotation, gave up seven runs -- five earned -- in two innings. He walked one and struck out one.

"I had one goal, and that was to try to pitch all my innings," Davis said. "That didn't happen. I think I can do a lot better against them. I know I can do a lot better."

Scott Baker, already named the Twins' Opening Day starter, struck out three, walked one and gave up one hit in five innings.

Joe Mauer went 2 for 4 with a run scored, boosting his spring training batting average to .471 before the team announced his agreement on an $184 million, eight-year contract extension.

-- Associated Press

GREINKE THROWS MORE BALLS THAN STRIKES (6:49 p.m. ET)

AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke gave up two runs in five innings of a minor league game Sunday.

Pitching for Triple-A Omaha, Kansas City's Greinke allowed six hits, including a home run, walked three and struck out two. He threw more balls, 39, than strikes, 38.

"I was trying to throw a strike every pitch, so that was really bad," Greinke said. "Even the strikes weren't where I wanted them. The last pitch of the game was probably the only one where I actually hit my spot the whole time. I don't why I was so bad. I haven't been that bad in a long time."

The Royals opted to have Greinke to get his work in against Triple-A Portland, a San Diego affiliate, on a back field rather than face the Colorado Rockies at Surprise Stadium, but he said pitching on a back field with few watching did not affect him.

"I just pitched bad," he said. "I didn't really feel like I wasn't up for it. It was just bad pitching. I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted, so I couldn't work on anything."

-- Associated Press

YANKS SCRAMBLE TO GET PITCHERS ON MOUND (4:16 p.m. ET)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi faced a pitching problem: too many pitchers and not enough innings.

Girardi and other team officials spent two hours after Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers was canceled by rain organizing plans for eight different pitchers.

The Yankees set up an intrasquad game Monday, which will have fifth starter candidate Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte face each other. Closer Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Chan Ho Park and David Robertson will also pitch.

A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, who is also competing for the final rotation spot, will pitch in a road game against Philadelphia.

-- Associated Press

BRAVES' JURRJENS STILL ON TRACK (4:02 p.m. ET)

Jair Jurrjens hasn't had much luck with the weather this spring, but the Atlanta Braves right-hander is still on track to make his first regular-season start April 8 against the Chicago Cubs.

Jurrjens fell victim to the rain again Sunday, which washed out Atlanta's scheduled game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He'll get his work in during a minor league game Monday as he continues in catch-up mode after reporting to spring training with a sore shoulder.

A 14-game winner in 2009, Jurrjens was held out of the canceled game because of the weather, as was scheduled Cardinals starter Brad Penny. The teams ended up making it into the second inning despite the rain before play was stopped.

"I wanted to pitch today, but it's not a problem," Jurrjens said. "My shoulder feels good now, so I'm OK. I'll get my work in."

-- Associated Press

METS' FIGUEROA NOT PREPARING FOR BUFFALO (3:40 p.m. ET)

Nelson Figueroa appreciates the chance the New York Mets have given him to pitch in the majors, but he admits he is leaving every possibility open to pitch somewhere else -- just maybe not Buffalo.

"I feel like I've continued to have success," the right-hander said after earning the win by throwing three innings and striking out five in the Mets' 8-1 victory over the University of Michigan on Sunday at Tradition Field.

"Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to prepare as if I'm breaking camp [with the Mets]."

If not, he said, he will explore other options, including any that don't include another stint with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

He said that while he tries to keep the thought in the back of his mind, he can't help but think of camp coming to an end and what his reaction would be if he were designated for assignment to Buffalo.

"There's no way it's not on my mind," he said. "It's a situation that isn't ideal. I think I have a good rapport with the club and I like the staff [at Buffalo].

"Still, I don't looking forward to pitching in 30 degree weather for the first month and a half."

-- Associated Press

MCCUTCHEN CLOSING GAP ON RACE TO START (3:07 p.m. ET)

Pittsburgh right-hander Daniel McCutchen's start was pushed back a day after the Pirates' game against the Tampa Bay Rays was rained out on Sunday.

He'll pitch Monday in Clearwater against the Phillies' Triple-A club -- an assignment that indicates he's closed the gap on Kevin Hart in the race to be Pittsburgh's fifth starter.

Closer Octavio Dotel, out all spring due to a strained oblique, will make his first appearance Monday against another Phillies' minor-league team.

Rays right-hander Andy Sonnanstine also was pushed back. He will pitch Monday, either against the Boston Red Sox or in a minor league game.

-- Associated Press

HOLLIDAY SAYS HE'LL BE BACK MONDAY (1:10 p.m. ET)
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday says he expects to return to the team's starting lineup on Monday for a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

Holliday, who is recovering from a muscle strain on his right side, has only five official at-bats this spring, with two doubles and four walks. But he said the remaining two weeks of spring training are enough time for him to get ready for Opening Day, according to the report.

"I'll be able to get another 20 or 30 [at-bats] and I should be fine," he said, according to the report.

-- ESPN.com news services

MARLINS' JIMENEZ RETURNED TO RED SOX (11:55 a.m. ET)
Third baseman Jorge Jimenez, a Rule 5 draft pick, has been offered back to the Red Sox, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Players chosen in the Rule 5 draft must be returned to their club of origin if they are not on the major league roster.

"You have to carry him on the big club. We felt that wasn't going to be the case," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said Sunday before a spring training game against the Nationals, according to the report.

Jimenez was hoping to either beat out Jorge Cantu at third or win a roster spot as a left-handed pinch hitter.

-- ESPN.com news services

REPORT: A'S RELIEVER MELOAN HAS TORN LIGAMENT (11:45 a.m. ET)
Athletics right-handed reliever John Meloan says he has a torn elbow ligament and expects he will have season-ending surgery, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Meloan, who had an MRI exam on Friday, says he plans to go to Dr. James Andrews. He hopes to be ready for next spring, according to the report.

Reliever Joey Devine and closer Andrew Bailey, the reigning AL rookie of the year, have also experienced elbow problems during spring training.

-- ESPN.com news services

INDIANS BEING CAUTIOUS WITH WOOD'S MUSCLE SORENESS (6:21 p.m. ET)
Kerry Wood insists everything is fine and there's no reason to worry. The Cleveland Indians aren't taking any chances.

Wood, bothered by soreness in a muscle under his shoulder, did not throw a scheduled bullpen session on Monday so he could get more rest. Cleveland's closer was scratched from a scheduled exhibition appearance on Saturday against Texas because of soreness in the lat muscle in his upper back.

He had been expected to throw on Monday at the club's complex in Goodyear, Ariz., but the Indians decided against it.

The 32-year-old Wood says the injury isn't serious and if it was the regular season, he'd be pitching. But the Indians aren't willing to take the risk and manager Manny Acta hasn't decided when Wood will pitch again. Wood had been penciled in to appear on Wednesday in an exhibition against Cincinnati.

"We'll put together a plan for him," Acta said before the Indians played the Milwaukee Brewers. "It's nothing to worry about, it's just we want to be cautious. He's our closer. He's fine. We've got plenty of days to go before the season starts. There's no need to rush him back out there."

-- The Associated Press

VOLSTAD HURTS SHOT AT MARLINS ROTATION WITH POOR START (6:16 p.m. ET)
Chris Volstad hurt his chances at solidifying a spot in the Florida Marlins' rotation, allowing four runs in 2 1/3 innings in Florida's 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.

Volstad allowed five hits and four walks. He has given up eight runs on 11 hits and five walks in his last two outings.

"The first few innings were good. After that a couple of pitches were up, the breaking stuff was not quite as good," Volstad said. "I just need to finish it a little more.

"That's what happened last outing. I need to keep remembering to finish everything."

The right-hander was one of six candidates for three spots in the Marlins' rotation behind Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. One of those spots, though, appears filled by Anibal Sanchez after his four scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday.

-- The Associated Press

CUBS LATE AFTER BUS BREAKS DOWN ON WAY TO GAME (6:11 p.m. ET)
The Chicago Cubs showed up for their exhibition game against Colorado about an hour later than expected after their bus broke down on the highway because of engine trouble.

The Cubs chose to skip batting practice when they got to Hi Corbett Field in Tucson on Monday. They decided to just stretch instead.

The Cubs were making a two-hour drive south when the bus broke down. Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano was lucky -- his cousin was following in a car, so they drove with catcher Koyie Hill to the park.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella wasn't with the team on the bus. He was driving separately with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

-- The Associated Press

NATIONALS RELEASE LHP VILLONE (4:38 p.m. ET)
Left-handed reliever Ron Villone has been released by the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals signed Villone to a minor league contract last month and invited him to spring training. But Villone had a 16.20 ERA in three relief appearances covering 1 2/3 innings.

The Nationals also sent five pitchers to their minor league camp Monday, including righty Collin Balester.

-- The Associated Press

ROYALS STILL LOOKING FOR FIFTH STARTER (3:54 p.m. ET)
Manager Trey Hillman is still looking for a fifth starter for the Kansas City Royals rotation.

Some of his leading candidates have had rocky beginnings in spring training. Right-hander Kyle Davies, who has made 99 big league starts and 54 for the Royals the past 2 1/2 seasons, has a 15.26 earned run average after three starts.

Robinson Tejeda, who moved into the rotation at the end of last season because of injuries, has a 9.95 ERA after three appearances.

Kyle Farnsworth, who has not started since 2000 with the Chicago Cubs, is another rotation candidate.

-- The Associated Press

WHITE, TOP PICK IN '09, AND GRILLI AMONG INDIANS' CUTS (3:28 p.m. ET)
Alex White, the Cleveland Indians' first-round draft pick in 2009, is among four pitchers being sent to the minors in the club's initial roster cuts of spring training.

White and fellow right-handers Zach Putnam and Jason Grilli were reassigned to the minor league camp. Left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz was optioned to Double-A Akron.

Grilli is out for the season. The veteran, signed to a minor league contract in December, tore his right quadriceps during a running drill on March 5 and is scheduled for surgery this week in Vail, Colo., by Dr. John Steadman.

-- The Associated Press

BREWERS HOFFMAN EXPECTS TO DEBUT FRIDAY (3:24 p.m. ET)
Milwaukee Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman says he'll be ready for his exhibition debut on Friday, although the all-times saves leader isn't sure how many games he'll need to get ready for opening day.

The 42-year-old Hoffman faced hitters on Monday for the first time this spring, throwing 35 pitches to six batters. He's been limited to bullpen work so far in an effort to keep him fresh for the season.

"It felt good," Hoffman said. "It felt good to get a hitter in there and the next progression will have the umpire back there and no screen."

Hoffman has been working through some minor stiffness in his upper back and the Brewers don't want a repeat of last season's spring training when he strained his right oblique and missed the first month of the season on the disabled list.

Hoffman saved 37 games and had a 1.83 ERA in his first years with the Brewers last year, and in the offseason he signed an $8 million, one-year contract with a mutual option for 2011.

-- The Associated Press

TWINS' BLACKBURN COULD MISS NEXT START (3:08 p.m. ET)
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said right-hander Nick Blackburn has a sore right knee and could miss his next scheduled spring training start, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.

Blackburn, who is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against the Rays, had problems with the knee while in the minors, according to the report.

-- ESPN.com news services

FOGG, DICKEY AMONG METS SENT TO MINORS (12:41 p.m. ET)
Pitchers Josh Fogg and R.A. Dickey were among players the Mets sent down to minor league camp on Monday.

Fogg was competing to be the team's No. 5 starter, while Dickey was hoping his versatility and durability as a knuckleball pitcher would win him a roster spot.

Also sent down on Monday was catcher Josh Thole, one of six catchers the team brought to spring training. Thole was widely expected to start the season at Triple-A Buffalo, where he can gain experience, particularly on defense.

The other Mets players sent down, according to a New York Daily News report, were: Shawn Bowman, Eric Niesen, Jack Egbert, Travis Blackley, Bobby Livingston, Arturo Lopez, Eddie Kunz, Andy Green, Mike Hessman, Mike Cervenak, Jesus Feliciano, Luis Hernandez, Clint Everts and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

-- ESPN.com news services

CHAPMAN PITCHES TWO SCORELESS INNINGS (6:20 p.m. ET)

Aroldis Chapman struck out two over two scoreless innings and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Friday.

Chapman allowed just two infield singles. His strikeouts came on the last two batters he faced, overpowering Matt Kemp on a high fastball and getting Casey Blake looking.

Chapman defected from Cuba last year and agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year contract with the Reds in January. The left-hander has allowed three hits over four scoreless innings in two spring outings.

-- Associated Press

GIAMBI GETS DEFENSIVE IN DEBUT (6:03 p.m. ET)

Jason Giambi made his spring training debut Friday, flying out to center and taking a pitch off the forearm in the Colorado Rockies' 9-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

Giambi also made a diving stop at first base, a play he might have missed out on had he followed through with his original plan of being a designated hitter with an American League team this spring.

Instead, he opted to sign a one-year deal with Colorado as a fill-in at first for Todd Helton and a pinch hitter.

Todd Wellemeyer pitched four scoreless innings for the Giants, allowing just two hits. Nate Schierholtz and Buster Posey each drove in two runs.

Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa went four innings, giving up one earned run.

-- Associated Press

HARDY, HUDSON GETTING ACQUAINTED (5:37 p.m. ET)

Shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Orlando Hudson, the Minnesota Twins' new double-play combination, are getting acquainted.

The two are being paired during spring training so they can learn each other's tendencies around the middle of the infield. Even though they have yet to turn a double play in four exhibition games, both Hardy and Hudson said they expect their new working arrangement to go smoothly.

Hardy was acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers, while Hudson signed with the Twins as a free agent. Minnesota is Hudson's fourth major league team.

-- Associated Press

BRAVES' JURRJENS FINALLY MAKES DEBUT (5:26 p.m. ET)

Atlanta Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens managed to make his spring debut, anyway.

Jurrjens threw two scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday before the game was called after three due to showers that washed away the exhibition slate in Florida.

Jurrjens had been struggling with inflammation around his right shoulder and manager Bobby Cox decided to be cautious. Jurrjens, who turned 24 in January, went 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA for the Braves last season.

Jurrjens was supposed to start Wednesday against the New York Yankees, but the game was called due to rain. He made the 90-mile bus ride to Tampa and said it was tough to get back into his rhythm for a second straight day, but he said his arm felt fine.

-- Associated Press

WEEKS PAINED TO PLAY WITHOUT HARDY (4:25 p.m. ET)

Rickie Weeks is eager to resume his career, but he's not exactly looking forward to Opening Day.

The Brewers second baseman hasn't played since tearing the sheath of a tendon in his left wrist in May. When he takes the field next month, his double-play partner at shortstop, J.J. Hardy, won't be there.

Hardy was traded in the offseason to the Twins for center fielder Carlos Gomez in a move that made way for Alcides Escobar. Weeks says he and the rookie Escobar will make a strong combination, too.

Weeks says he'll hurt a little because he and Hardy were close and that they've talked during spring training.

Brewers manager Ken Macha thinks Weeks looks the same despite injuries that have cost him parts of the last four years.

-- Associated Press

PETTITTE TOSSING STRIKES (3:06 p.m. ET)

Andy Pettitte peered over his raised black glove for a sign from the catcher, shook him off, nodded "OK," then froze Jimmy Rollins with a changeup for strike three.

Vintage Pettitte.

Too bad the sequence took place in a batting cage under the stands at Steinbrenner Field -- and Philadelphia's Rollins was nowhere to be found.

Torrential rains forced the New York Yankees' bus to turn around about an hour into the trip to Viera on Friday, and Pettitte's first scheduled start of spring training was turned into another simulated outing.

"I got my normal warm-up in, and then I got all my throws in and I'm tired," Pettitte said. "That's the biggest thing, I wanted to make sure I was good and fatigued. Obviously, I would've loved to face hitters but the way the weather's been I had to get my work in here today."

After a two-inning simulated outing on a back field Sunday, Pettitte went three innings Friday and threw 50 pitches, mixing in several breaking balls.

-- Associated Press

TIGERS' PITCHING WEATHERS RAIN (2:58 p.m. ET)

Tigers manager Jim Leyland might complain about the weather if he thought it would do any good.

"It's not OK, but it's OK," Leyland said after Friday's exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies was rained out. "You can't do anything about it so you just do the best you can.

"Obviously we've got a lot of work to do. I think the next 10 days or so are going to be critical for us in the pitching area. It's actually OK for some guys to get a little blow, but other guys it's not."

Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson, candidates for open spots in Detroit's pitching rotation, had been scheduled to pitch Friday. They will pitch instead in Saturday's split-squad game against the New York Yankees.

"The plan is to have Bonderman, Robertson and [Dontrelle] Willis, not necessarily in that order, pitch three innings apiece here, and [Max] Scherzer will pitch in the road," Leyland said. "So we'll have all four of those guys pitching and that's good." Scherzer and Ryan Perry will be among the pitchers traveling to Port St. Lucie to face the New York Mets.

-- Associated Press

RED SOX, CARDINALS JUGGLE ROTATION (2:55 p.m. ET)

The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox will adjust their pitching plans after rain forced the postponement of Friday's spring training game.

Boston and St. Louis will split their squads on March 22, adding a game in Jupiter and "B" games on Saturday against their minor leaguers.

Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz, scheduled to start Friday, will start Saturday's "A" game against the Pirates in Fort Myers. Michael Bowden follows Buchholz.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after missing about a week to nurse an ailing lower back, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Cardinals right-hander Rich Hill, scheduled to start Friday, will start the "B" game on Saturday and right-hander Chris Carpenter will keep his regular scheduled start at 1:05 p.m. against Houston on the main field.

The Red Sox are playing Tampa Bay in Fort Myers on March 22 and the Cardinals have a game in Kissimmee against the Astros.

-- ESPN.com news services

ORIOLES' JOHNSON HOPES FOR REVIVAL IN EIGHTH (2:43 p.m. ET)

After struggling when given a chance to replace George Sherrill as closer during the second half of last season, Jim Johnson hopes for a revival now that he's back to a set-up role for the Baltimore Orioles.

"When I took over for George last season, I probably tried to overdo it," Johnson said. "That never really leads to success."

Johnson blew three of his 11 save chances in the ninth-inning role after Sherrill was traded to Los Angeles, and Baltimore signed Mike Gonzalez during the offseason to become its closer.

"We all understand what Mike was brought here for," Johnson said, "and that's fine."

A starter in the minor leagues, Johnson was converted to a reliever two years ago. He didn't allow a run in his first 10 appearances and he didn't allow a home run all season.

His finished 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA in 2008 but slumped to 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA last year, when he allowed eight homers and failed to convert six of 16 save chances.

"He will be himself. He will be effective as an eighth-inning guy as opposed to a closer," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He did try to do a little more than he should have when he was the closer. I think he'll be better suited for the eighth inning."

-- The Associated Press

RAYS STILL SPRING'S WINNINGEST TEAM (2:28 p.m. ET)

The Phillies-Rays spring training game has been canceled because of rain.

Friday's cancellation means Tampa Bay's franchise-record streak of nine straight exhibition wins will remain intact at least another day. The Rays are scheduled to host the Florida Marlins in Port Charlotte on Saturday.

-- The Associated Press

K-ROD'S PITCHING SESSION ON HOLD (12:16 p.m. ET)

The cancellation of the Mets-Twins spring training game has forced New York closer Francisco Rodriguez to postpone pitching to live batters.

Rodriguez said Friday he expects to throw to live hitters Saturday in what should be the final step before pitching in a spring training game.

Rodriguez has yet to pitch to hitters this spring after dealing with a case of conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pinkeye. He plans to wear prescription goggles under doctors' orders, though he said he feels fine.

Rodriguez said he needs to get back on the mound so he can determine what he needs to improve before Opening Day.

-- The Associated Press

MARLINS-ORIOLES RAINED OUT (11:24 a.m. ET)

Rain has forced the cancellation of the Florida-Baltimore exhibition game.

The announcement Friday came two hours before the scheduled start. The game will not be made up.

The Marlins traveled from Jupiter for games Friday in Sarasota and Saturday in Port Charlotte against Tampa Bay. The Orioles were scheduled to start Jeremy Guthrie, and Florida was to start Andrew Miller.

To give pitchers extra work, Baltimore added a split-squad game Sunday at Pittsburgh's minor league complex, Pirate City in Bradenton.

-- The Associated Press

YANKEES-NATIONALS WASHED OUT (10:12 a.m. ET)

Heavy rains washed out Friday's scheduled exhibition game between New York and Washington.

A sellout crowd was expected at Space Coast Stadium for the defending World Series champions' only visit of the spring. The Yankees were already en route from Tampa when informed of the cancellation early Friday. Water had collected in some areas of the outfield before the decision was made to call the game.

It's the second consecutive rainout for the Nationals, who were planning to start right-hander Jason Marquis against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte.

The Nationals reassigned catcher Devin Ivany and first baseman Josh Whitesell to their minor league camp.

-- The Associated Press

CUDDYER, MAUER HELP TWINS POUND MILLWOOD (11:14 p.m. ET)
Michael Cuddyer homered, reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer had two hits and the Twins beat the Orioles 8-3.

The game was called in the top of the ninth inning because of rain.

Kevin Millwood, in line to be Baltimore's Opening Day starter, was hit hard again. He was charged with five runs and nine hits over 2 2/3 innings and has a 29.70 ERA this spring.

Scott Baker, slated to start on Opening Day for Minnesota, worked three effective innings. He limited Baltimore to five hits, including Robert Andino's homer in the third.

-- The Associated Press

CERVELLI TO WEAR SPECIAL HELMET (8:04 p.m. ET)
Francisco Cervelli is choosing safety over style.

The Yankees' backup catcher will begin wearing a bulky protective helmet similar to one briefly worn last season by Mets star David Wright after he sustained a concussion.

Cervelli talked about the change before Thursday night's game against the Braves was canceled due to rain.

Like Wright last summer, Cervelli was hit in the helmet by a 94 mph pitch that gave him a concussion -- Cervelli's second since November. Cervelli was injured Saturday and was cleared by a neurologist Monday. He is scheduled to play his first game Friday, when the Yankees travel to Viera to face the Nationals.

-- The Associated Press

RAYS MAKE FIRST SPRING CUTS (7:48 p.m. ET)
The Rays have optioned left-handed pitcher Jake McGee to the minor leagues and reassigned shortstop Tim Beckham and catcher Nevin Ashley to minor league spring training camp.

The team announced the moves after Thursday's 4-1 split-squad victory over the Blue Jays.

The Rays did not say which affiliate McGee will be assigned to.

-- The Associated Press

COOK HIT HARD IN SECOND SPRING START (7:07 p.m. ET)
Aaron Cook was hit hard in his second spring start, allowing nine hits and nine runs, five earned, in 2 2/3 innings, as the Rockies were pounded by the Rangers 16-3.

Cook hit Ian Kinsler with a 1-2 pitch during a four-run first when he gave up three hits, including a two-run homer to first baseman Chris Davis, who went 4-for-4 with 3 RBIs. Michael Young was 3-for-3 and Taylor Teagarden knocked in three runs for the Rangers, who had 23 hits.

Cook was hoping to throw 40 pitches or less but ended up throwing 73, leaving after a double by Young during a five-run second inning for Texas. Four of those runs were unearned because of a throwing error by third baseman Ian Stewart on an attempted force play.

-- The Associated Press

AFTER ADJUSTMENT, SILVA THROWS THREE SCORELESS INNINGS (7:00 p.m. ET)
Carlos Silva threw three scoreless innings after making an adjustment during a bullpen session, helping the Cubs beat the Padres 8-7.

ilva, acquired from Seattle for Milton Bradley and cash in December, allowed four hits, walked one and struck out none.

Starlin Castro, one of Chicago's top prospects, had two hits and scored three times. The shortstop hit his first homer of the spring in the fifth.

-- The Associated Press

VOTTO HOMERS FOR FIRST SPRING HIT (6:23 p.m. ET)
Joey Votto homered for his first hit of spring training, leading the Reds to a 3-1 victory over a Brewers split-squad.

Votto hit a solo shot off left-hander Chris Capuano, who is trying to resume his career after reconstructive elbow surgery. Votto was 0-for-9 before he homered in the sixth inning.

Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto pitched three scoreless innings, a big improvement over his first spring outing.

-- The Associated Press

ORTIZ CONTINUES BID TO MAKE DODGERS' ROTATION (6:22 p.m. ET)
Russ Ortiz pitched three scoreless innings and Andre Ethier and Casey Blake homered as the Dodgers beat the Royals 6-4.

Ortiz, a veteran right-hander who is a non-roster invitee, gave up two singles, struck out three and walked none. He has worked five scoreless innings and yielded four hits in his bid to make the Dodgers' rotation.

Ethier hit a three-run homer in the third off Gil Meche, while Blake homered in the fifth off rookie left-hander Edgar Osuna.

-- The Associated Press

LINCECUM ROUGHED UP VS. MARINERS (6:17 p.m. ET)
Tim Lincecum, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, doesn't quite look like himself yet at spring training and struggled through 2 2/3 innings in the Giants' sloppy 6-2 loss to the Mariners. He isn't one bit worried.

He is finding his balance, his rhythm -- acknowledging perhaps that he's even thinking about a few too many things at once when it comes to mastering his mechanics. He's not concerned with results this early.

"Stuff-wise I felt like everything was good," Lincecum said. "I think right now everything is just location. I just try to take something positive from each outing. My curveball was breaking really well, the slider was doing well. The changeup when it was down was good, same with the fastball. The only time I really got hurt was Ichiro's hit. ... The key for me is rhythm. My mechanics kind of follow that."

The 25-year-old right-hander had his second subpar outing in as many appearances against the team he once hoped to play for as a kid growing up in Seattle. Lincecum was tagged for six hits, struck out four and walked two in his 59-pitch day. He lowered his spring ERA by nearly half, from 18.00 to 9.82.

-- The Associated Press

NAVARRO INJURES LEFT THUMB (5:58 p.m. ET)
Dioner Navarro and the Rays were hoping for the best after a simple pickoff play in the third inning. Navarro was struck by a pickoff throw during the Rays' 16-15 victory over the Pirates and departed with an injured left thumb.

Navarro was hit when Jack Taschner threw over to first. It was diagnosed as a contusion, and he returned to the Rays' complex in Port Charlotte for further evaluation.

Navarro described the ball as pushing his thumb backward.

"I've been hit so many times that I don't even know when my bone is broken," he said. "This one, maybe because I wasn't catching, hurt more than when I'm behind the plate. Hopefully, it's OK."

-- The Associated Press

JACKSON STEPS UP IN WEBB'S ABSENCE (5:54 p.m. ET)
With the uncertain status of Brandon Webb, newcomer Edwin Jackson's performance thus far this spring must be comforting for the Diamondbacks.

The right-hander, acquired in a trade with the Tigers in the offseason, blanked the Angels on one hit through three innings in Arizona's 4-1 victory. The right-hander has yet to give up a run in five innings this spring.

Jackson, an All-Star with the Tigers last year, will start the season as the Diamondbacks' No. 2 starter behind Dan Haren.

-- The Associated Press

LACKEY'S SHUTOUT STREAK CONTINUES (5:16 p.m. ET)
John Lackey is off to a nice start with the Red Sox. The right-hander threw three shutout innings in Boston's 8-2 victory over Jason Bay and the Mets.

Lackey allowed three hits in his second spring outing and has yet to allow a run since he finalized an $82.5 million, five-year contract with the Red Sox in December.

After Lackey was finished on the field, he got some work done in the bullpen before showers caused a 30-minute delay after the fourth inning.

Bay, playing in his first game against his former team, went 0-for-2 before leaving during the delay.

-- The Associated Press

JOHNSON STARTS STRONG, BUT NUNEZ ENDS BADLY (4:50 p.m. ET)
The Marlins got another strong start from ace Josh Johnson but a bad ending from their closer. Johnson struck out four in three scoreless innings before the Cardinals beat up on closer Leo Nunez during a five-run ninth for a 5-3 win.

Nunez, who saved 26 games last season, allowed four hits before leaving with two outs and runners at second and third. He was charged with five runs, three earned.

Johnson, the Marlins' Opening Day starter, struck out the side in the first inning, mixing in a changeup with a fastball that hit 94 mph.

-- The Associated Press

WHITE SOX LOOK TO KEEP BUEHRLE WELL RESTED (2:54 p.m. ET)
Ace Mark Buehrle won't have his second start of spring training until next Monday as the White Sox seek to keep him rested before the regular season begins.

Buehrle made his first start on March 5 against the Dodgers, allowing an unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts over two innings.

Jake Peavy starts Friday against the Angels in a split-squad game. Gavin Floyd and John Danks, the next two pitchers in the White Sox's projected rotation, get the call Saturday and Sunday against the Brewers and Reds.

Closer Bobby Jenks is also scheduled to pitch on the same day as Buehrle.

-- The Associated Press

GIANTS HALL OF FAMERS VISIT SPRING TRAINING (1:35 p.m. ET)
Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry gathered for a little reunion and some good-natured ribbing.

Mays, often the instigator with his gentle jabs, razzed Perry and then got it right back. It's not every day these guys turn up together at spring training. On Thursday, they spent the morning leading a team meeting for the San Francisco Giants -- something that has become a spring tradition of sorts for these old greats.

Players took turns greeting the guys before the meeting began.

-- The Associated Press

MOUSTAKAS AMONG SEVEN SENT DOWN BY ROYALS (1:30 p.m. ET)
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, was among seven players reassigned to minor league camp Thursday by the Kansas City Royals.

Also sent down were outfielder David Lough, who hit .325 last season and was the Royals' 2009 minor league player of the year, and left-hander Danny Duffy, who pitched in the Futures All-Star Game and was 9-3 with a 2.98 ERA with Single-A Wilmington.

Other players sent to the minor league camp were outfielder David Robinson, first baseman Ernest Mejia, infielder Mario Lisson and catcher Steve Lerud.

All seven players were non-roster invitees. The Royals have 58 players left in camp.

-- The Associated Press

GUARDADO, ESTES CUT BY NATIONALS (10:38 a.m. ET)
Left-handers Eddie Guardado and Shawn Estes have been released by the Washington Nationals in the first round of spring training cuts.

The Nationals also reassigned six players to their minor league camp.

Guardado had pitched in two exhibition games and had an ERA of 18.00 in two innings. Estes had made one appearance, pitching one inning to an ERA of 18.00. Both veterans had been signed to minor league contracts with invitations to major league camp.

Right-handers Logan Kensing, Joel Peralta, Ryan Speier, left-hander Victor Garate, outfielder Jerry Owens and catcher Derek Norris were reassigned to the minor league camp.

-- Associated Press

IF AT FIRST, TRY, TRY AGAIN (10:06 a.m. ET)
The last time Garret Anderson played first base, he was a 21-year-old prospect playing for the Los Angeles Angels' Triple-A team in Vancouver.

Now he's a 37-year-old veteran in Dodgers camp on a minor-league deal, facing a roster logjam in the outfield and no guarantees manager Joe Torre will keep a left-handed bat on the bench. So Anderson, a longtime outfielder, is digging out his first baseman's glove and headed back to the infield, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Anderson, who signed last week and has yet to appear in a spring training game, says he's doing his best to learn the position, according to the report.

"It wouldn't be instinctive," Anderson said, according to the Times. "As an outfielder, I have an idea of where the infielders are going to be when I throw a ball in. I know where the first baseman is going to be. But to actually have that point of view of it and do it, it's going to be different. I'm going to have to learn some stuff."

-- ESPN.com news services

DUNCAN TRYING TO MAKE IT BACK WITH NATIONALS (9:52 a.m. ET)
In years past, when Chris Duncan wanted a pregame word with his father, longtime St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan, he simply walked into his dad's office. On Wednesday, they had to chat outside the batting cage when the Nationals went to play the Cardinals.

Chris Duncan, who is in Nationals camp as a non-roster invitee, spent parts of five years with St. Louis, hitting .293 with 22 home runs in 90 games during the Cardinals' World Series title run in 2006. But injuries limited Duncan's effectiveness the past three seasons. He was traded to the Red Sox in July and released after he hit less than .200 in 92 minor-league at-bats.

"It was kind of tough at the end," Duncan said. "I remember the last game I started at home I was getting booed. The bottom line was that I was not playing well and we were competing for a pennant."

Washington manager Jim Riggleman expects Duncan to compete for a reserve spot on the Opening Day roster. Riggleman has liked what he's seen so far from Duncan, who went 0 for 5 with an RBI on Wednesday, including two strikeouts in the late innings with runners in scoring position.

"In your idle time as a manager when you are scribbling out lineups and rosters on napkins, there are some scenarios where he is there and there are some where he is not," Riggleman said prior to the game. "He's competing and he's going to make it a tough decision for us."

-- The Associated Press

FAMILIAR SCENE AS KALINE GETS TWO HITS FOR TIGERS (8:07 p.m. ET)
There was a time when two hits by a player named Kaline wouldn't have been so unusual in a Detroit Tigers game. This time the hits came against the Tigers in Tuesday's 13-1 exhibition victory over Florida Southern.

Colin Kaline, a switch-hitting junior third baseman and the grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, made an impression with two singles and a walk.

"He looked good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Rookies Ryan Strieby and Casper Wells each homered and drove in three runs for the Tigers. Two-run doubles by Carlos Guillen and Eric Roof were among Detroit's 16 hits. Don Kelly went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly.

Johnny Damon played for Detroit for the first time. The Tigers' new left fielder went 0 for 1.

-- The Associated Press

COX TAKES LOSS IN LAST SPRING TRAINING OPENER WITH BRAVES (8:03 p.m. ET)
Longtime Atlanta manager Bobby Cox got two scoreless innings from Tommy Hanson, but the New York Mets spoiled Cox's last spring training opener with a 4-2 victory over the Braves on Tuesday.

Cox announced last September that he plans to retire after his 21st consecutive season in Atlanta's dugout -- the longest tenure of any active manager -- and 25th overall. He has agreed to serve as a consultant for the team after he steps down.

On a damp day in Florida, the 68-year-old Cox seemed happy to be off and running with another round of spring games.

"Just getting ready," he said. "It's business as usual and nothing has changed. I don't look at it that way. It'll hit me the last week or so."

Hanson allowed a leadoff single to Feliciano before retiring six straight batters. The right-hander struck out three.

-- The Associated Press

GIANTS' BUMGARNER PLAYING THROUGH MOURNING (6:09 p.m. ET)
This is supposed to be a joyous occasion for Madison Bumgarner.

Many around the San Francisco Giants' camp say the fifth spot in the starting rotation is his to lose. The 20-year-old left-hander is due to follow starter Tim Lincecum in Wednesday's spring opener against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria.

But he will be pitching with his family on his mind after the death last week of his half-sister, Dena Byrd, in North Carolina. He left the team to attend the funeral on Sunday, returned to camp Monday morning and went right to work, throwing a bullpen session.

"I feel good about the chance to pitch in that first game," he said. "I know I still have to go out and earn the job. I'm not guaranteed anything. All I can do is ask for a shot, and I have it. I just want to do whatever I can to help us win."

Since hearing his name called as the 10th overall pick by the Giants in the 2007 draft, Bumgarner has had a meteoric rise through the minor leagues. He has a 27-5 record, a 1.65 ERA and 256 strikeouts in 273 innings, starting 48 of his 49 games.

-- The Associated Press

UGGLA SURPRISED HE'S BACK WITH MARLINS (3:46 p.m. ET)
Dan Uggla did everything but pack. He accepted the likelihood he would be traded this winter by the Marlins. He embraced the notion of a fresh start with a new team. And he worked out like crazy.

"I was trying to prepare myself as best I could if I was going to be with a new organization, so I could be in shape and not be the guy who comes into spring training out of shape," Uggla said. "So I'm in that much better shape than I was last year."

The team benefiting will be the Marlins. Unable to swing a deal for the slugging second baseman, the Marlins brought him back and gave him a $7.8 million, one-year contract.

"I was a little surprised when we got the deal done," Uggla said. "Pleasantly surprised. Very happy to be back. I thought there was a strong, strong possibility I was going to be traded."

Uggla will be in his familiar No. 5 spot in the batting order when the Marlins open their exhibition season Wednesday against the University of Miami. Manager Fredi Gonzalez says he would take the season Uggla had in 2009 again this year, and he's willing to live with the high strikeout total as a tradeoff for Uggla's run production.

-- The Associated Press

WELCOME CHANGE OF SCENERY FOR RED SOX (2:20 p.m. ET)
After two weeks of daily drills and fundamentals at the team player development camp in Fort Myers, Fla., the Boston Red Sox are ready to start playing their Grapefruit League schedule. Tuesday, the major league team worked a shorter schedule, then packed for the move up Edison Avenue, to City of Palms Park.

"It's that time," said manager Terry Francona. "Everybody is packing up, so we'll get over to the stadium and get into that routine. A week from now you'll be asking if we're ready for the real games."

The Sox will play a doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College on Wednesday. Francona is actually a big fan of playing the college teams. He says it's better than playing intrasquad games.

"I think [intrasquad games are] a waste of a lot of people's time," he said. "The guys who are pitching get a lot out of it, but everyone else is doing a lot of sitting around. Nobody likes facing a guy in the same uniform, so this is a really good way of getting into our games. I love them."

-- Joe McDonald, ESPNBoston.com. For more of ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox blog, click here.

ROMERO NOT WORRIED ABOUT OPENING DAY START (2:06 p.m. ET)
Left-hander Ricky Romero will start the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training opener. Starting the regular-season opener, he says, is the furthest thing from his mind.

"You've still got to go out there and prove yourself and continue to do good," he said Tuesday. "As long as I'm part of the rotation and I'm part of the 25 guys going out there and competing, I'm fine with that."

The Blue Jays play Detroit on Wednesday. For the first trip through the starting rotation, pitchers will be limited to two innings, manager Cito Gaston said.

Gaston still has time to decide on who will be Toronto's closer. Jason Frasor and Scott Downs combined for 20 of Toronto's 25 saves. On Feb. 5 the Blue Jays signed seven-year veteran Kevin Gregg to a one-year, $2.75 million contract to compete for the closer's role.

-- The Associated Press

JOBA'S BULLPEN SESSION PUSHED BACK (1:40 p.m. ET)
New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain has had his bullpen session pushed back by at least one day because of flu-like symptoms.

If Chamberlain can't take the mound Wednesday, he would likely have his first spring training appearance delayed.

Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, who is set to start Friday against Tampa Bay, are the front-runners for the fifth spot in the rotation.

The World Series champions play their exhibition opener Wednesday against Pittsburgh. Chad Gaudin, Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, who are in the mix for the last spot in the rotation, are supposed to face the Pirates.

-- The Associated Press

A CHANGE HE CAN BELIEVE IN? (12:29 p.m. ET)
For years, Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett has been toying with adding a changeup to his repertoire. This time, it might finally stick.

Of the 30 pitches Burnett threw in batting practice on Monday, 12 were changeups.

"All winter, I really harped on it," Burnett told reporters. "Watching CC [Sabathia] throw last year, being a power guy and how much he uses it, it just kind of opened my eyes a little bit. Why not work on something, you know?

"It's going to be a big pitch. I think as [Jorge Posada] and I talk more, we'll figure out when to use it and not use it," Burnett said. "It's going to be key, especially those days when the hook isn't working. It gives me a second pitch."

Manager Joe Girardi, a catcher in his playing days, thinks it's a good idea.

"You can give them three different looks in three different at-bats, in a sense," Girardi said. "I think it's real important, and we've encouraged him to work on it."

-- ESPN.com news services

PAVANO TO START TWINS' HOME OPENER (8:50 a.m. ET)
Carl Pavano will start the Minnesota Twins' first regular-season game at Target Field, pitching coach Rick Anderson said Monday, according to The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

Scott Baker will get the start on Opening Day against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. But Pavano, penciled in as the Twins' No. 3 starter, will take the mound for the team's first outdoor home game since 1981, their last season at Metropolitan Stadium.

The Twins play their first seven on the road against the Angels and White Sox. Weather permitting, they'll host the Red Sox on Monday, April 12.

Pavano, who started the Montreal Expos' final home game at Olympic Stadium and what was expected to be the Twins' final game at the Metrodome (before a one-game playoff for the AL Central title), said getting the ball for the home opener was an honor, according to the report.

"It's obviously something to look forward to but I have a lot to accomplish before then," Pavano said, according to the report. "I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. But any time you get a chance [like this] -- especially with the tradition of sports in Minnesota and baseball specifically -- I'm excited."

-- ESPN.com news services

SNYDER BATTLES FOR JOB (7:32 p.m. ET)
Chris Snyder is still with the team that tried so hard to trade him, and he finds himself in an uphill fight for playing time.

The Arizona Diamondbacks catcher says he was fine with the purported deal last fall that would have sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays.

He called it "a new opportunity." But the trade, reportedly for one-time Diamondback Lyle Overbay, fell through. So Snyder remains with Arizona and must compete for playing time with Miguel Montero, the man who replaced him when he was injured last season.

Manager A.J. Hinch says Montero is ahead of Snyder in training camp but he expects both to be big contributors this season.

-- The Associated Press

VICTORINO HAS SORE SHOULDER (6:42 p.m. ET)
Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino is nursing a sore shoulder and could miss Thursday's exhibition game against Florida State, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on Monday.

Victorino took batting practice on Sunday but was held out of throwing drills as a precaution.

"He's got a little soreness," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said, according to the newspaper. "He had it when he first came in to camp. Right now, we don't want to throw him in our drills -- cutoffs and relays and infield. We'll take it easy on him for a few days and make sure he's alright. That's kind of typical when you come into spring training and first start out. It can happen from sleeping on your arm, or anything, really."

-- ESPN.com news services

PORCELLO GETS NOD (6:40 p.m. ET)
A year ago, Rick Porcello was considered by some too young to make the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff.

After leading American League rookies in wins last season, Porcello was named as the starting pitcher for Detroit's home opener April 9 against the Cleveland Indians.

"It's an honor, seeing how big the home opener was in Detroit last year," said Porcello, who won 14 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2009. "Fans were coming out early and tailgating. It's obviously a pretty big deal. I remember how exciting it was and what the buzz was like with the crowd there for opening day. So I'm excited to be pitching in it."

A week ago, manager Jim Leyland chose 19-game winner Justin Verlander for the season opener at Kansas City on April 5. Max Scherzer, who came from Arizona in a December trade, will pitch the second game at Kansas City on April 7.

"I want Scherzer to get his first start under his belt on the road, and I don't know who the other two starters are," Leyland said. "You could pencil about four or five names in right now for the third game, and for the fifth game."

Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Eddie Bonine are in competition for two spots in the rotation as the Tigers prepare to open their exhibition schedule Tuesday against Florida Southern College. Porcello's first spring start is scheduled against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

-- The Associated Press

STULTS KICKS OFF PITCHING COMPETITION (6:36 p.m. ET)
Dodgers pitchers will begin their battle for the open fifth spot in the rotation three days before the official spring training game schedule begins.

Left-hander Eric Stults will pitch for the Dodgers on Tuesday in a B game against the Chicago White Sox, kicking off what figures to be one of the more interesting competitions of camp.

Stults also has been the named the starter in Saturday's second spring game.

Stults' confidence already was high, but now he will enter the outing after receiving instruction Monday from Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

Stults was among a handful of pitchers who had a one-on-one session with Koufax. Josh Lindblom, Jon Link, Scot Elbert and Chad Billingsley also worked with the former Dodgers pitcher, who threw four no-hitters over a 12-year career, one of which was a perfect game.

"He does a great job relating to players," Stults said of Koufax. "I don't know if part of it is because he has that aura or awe about him. He's somebody that is special in the game of baseball. But he does have a way of communicating that you understand."

Stults is expected to pitch just one inning Tuesday and then go two innings against the White Sox on Saturday. But make no mistake, after struggling with a sprained left thumb last season and then working on the mental side of the game over the winter, Stults finally feels like it's showtime.

-- The Associated Press

POSEY LOOKING TO CATCH ON (5:24 p.m. ET)
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows a good catcher when he sees one. He spent parts of nine seasons as a catcher in the major leagues.

And he has no doubts about the future of Buster Posey.

"He's a complete guy," Bochy said Monday. "He can handle the bat, and has a strong arm behind the plate. He's an intelligent kid who knows what he's doing back there. He gets better and better. It's a matter of time before he's a front-line catcher in the major leagues."

The time probably will go much slower than the 23-year-old Posey would like.

Gerald Demp Posey III was the fifth overall pick by the Giants in the 2008 draft and won just about every award imaginable in college baseball at Florida State, including the Golden Spikes Award (top overall player) and the Johnny Bench Award (top catcher).

Posey played in 10 minor league games in 2008 and 115 in 2009, hitting a combined .327 with 19 home runs and 86 RBIs.

He got called up to the big club on Sept. 2 when veteran starter Bengie Molina suffered an injury. Posey played in seven games and started four after the team dropped from contention in the NL West. After the season, he got more work with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

That probably wasn't quite enough experience to land him a spot on the 25-man roster when the Giants break camp at the end of March. He knows he likely will begin the season back at Triple-A Fresno, where he can play every day instead of riding the big league bench.

Posey's timetable of reaching the majors might have been accelerated had Molina, 35, gone to another club as a free agent over the winter. But Molina decided to return to the Giants, signing a one-year deal.

"The competitor in me wants to help the big club win, but if I do start at Fresno, I'm going to do everything I can to improve and get back up here," Posey said.

-- The Associated Press

REYES LOOKING HEALTHY AT METS CAMP (4:24 p.m. ET)
Mets manager Jerry Manuel let loose one of his loud chuckles. Yes, Jose Reyes did look healthy during New York's intrasquad game.

Reyes hit the first pitch he saw Monday for a two-run triple in his first game-like setting since he was sidelined for most of last season by an injured right leg.

"I just feel happy that I made it to third base with no problem, at that time," a grinning Reyes said. "But like I said, there's nothing to worry about. I feel good. No pain, pain-free. I feel good to be playing the game again."

Reyes, who has been a leadoff hitter for most of his career, batted third during the scrimmage. Manuel is toying with the move while All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran is expected to miss the start of the season following right knee surgery.

The Mets also got an encouraging outing from Jonathon Niese, who is coming back after tearing his right hamstring last year. The left-hander struck out the side in the first and worked around a one-out walk during a scoreless second.

"It's a good feeling to face hitters in a game situation. It's been awhile," said Niese, who is trying to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation. "It's good to get off to a good start."

-- The Associated Press

A BRAND-NEW YOU (2:07 p.m. ET)
Twins outfielder Delmon Young has a new attitude and a new body this spring.

He is far more personable and engaging, something that began developing the second half of last year when he become more comfortable with the way the Twins do things -- and because the Twins showed him how much they wanted him.

"He is a great teammate," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "He is a pleasure to be around."

Young says he has gone from 239 pounds at the end of last year to 207 this spring.

"I want to return the days of 2006," he said, referring to his rookie year, when he could run, and really play defense.

-- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine

CARDINALS' FREESE LOOKS TO PUT ARREST BEHIND HIM (1:55 p.m. ET)
The St. Louis Cardinals are pleased with the way David Freese has handled his personal issues.

Freese was arrested in December outside of St. Louis on a drunken-driving charge. He apologized and is still slotted to be the team's third baseman this season.

"Obviously we were very unhappy with what happened," general manager John Mozeliak said Monday. "The very next day I met with him in my office and we talked about it. I made sure he understood dealing with the alcohol problem and dealing with the legal side was more important than baseball.

"If he could do all that then there wouldn't be any disciplinary actions. And that's what he's done."

Freese, 26, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times Missouri's legal limit of 0.08, when he was arrested on Dec. 12 in Maryland Heights. He immediately entered the team's employee assistance program and said he has not had a drink since.

The case still is pending.

"It was poor judgment on my part," said Freese. "But God puts things in front of you for a reason. I've definitely learned from it. I've got a great opportunity in front of me that a lot of kids would dream of having."

-- The Associated Press

AGENT: METS NOT ONLY TEAM LOOKING AT BEIMEL (11:50 a.m. ET)
With Kelvim Escobar hurting and unlikely to make the opening day roster, the Mets are reportedly interested in free-agent reliever Joe Beimel. But they might not be alone in pursuit of the left-hander.

Beimel's agent, Joe Sroba, told 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that the Mets are not the only team interested in the set-up man, but declined to name the other teams. "It is not a one-horse race," Sroba said. Escobar, who had been penciled in as the Mets' set-up man for Francisco Rodriguez, has not been able to throw off a mound yet this spring. To fill that gap, the team has been auditioning pitchers including Ryota Igarashi, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green and Fernando Nieve.

Last year, Beimel was 1-6 with a 3.58 ERA with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies.

A year ago, Beimel didn't sign until March 18.

-- ESPN.com news services

A GOLDEN MOMENT FOR MORNEAU (10:26 a.m. ET)
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who is Canadian, was all smiles Monday morning after Canada won the gold medal in hockey Sunday night. He watched the 3-2 overtime win over the United States with Twins minor league outfielder Rene Tosoni, who also is Canadian.

Morneau was a good hockey goalie growing up. "I had to make a decision," he said. "I made the right decision playing baseball. But I'll always love hockey. It's a great game. And it's a great team game."

Morneau said he is good friends with a number of players on the Canadian Olympic team, including Brenden Morrow.

"I texted four guys after the game," Morneau said. "They texted me back. They didn't have to do that with all that was going on."

-- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine

MARINERS TAKING IT EASY WITH HERNANDEZ, LEE (9:19 a.m. ET)
The Mariners know they have a potent one-two punch in starting pitchers Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. And they're not going to rush either man during spring training.

Hernandez, for example, skipped an expected bullpen session on Sunday, playing long toss instead, and later told a reporter "I'm fine," cutting off an anticipated question about his health.

Manager Don Wakamatsu explained why the team is holding the reins tightly on both pitchers.

"The first bullpen Felix threw this spring, it looked like he was throwing 100 mph, and that's exactly what we didn't want," Wakamatsu said, according to the Tacoma News and Tribune. "We're trying to limit the innings Felix and Cliff throw this spring, and the intensity with which they throw early on.

"They're both competitive guys. You put Felix on the mound, he's going to go hard. So we're not putting him on the mound as much right now," Wakamatsu said, according to the report.

"I'm fine physically, but I throw when they tell me to throw," Lee said, according to the report. "They've got a plan and I'm good with it. I've played catch, I've played long toss. My arm feels great."

-- ESPN.com news services

MURPHY COMES TO METS CAMP PREPARED (9:06 a.m. ET)
Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy had his struggles in the field and at the plate in 2009. He committed 10 errors in 101 games at first, including a flubbed grounder that handed a win to Atlanta in September. He slumped to .234 in June before hitting .282 the rest of the way.

But now that he's sure of his spot in the lineup, Murphy changed his offseason workout routine to prepare for the job. He also got some fielding lessons from 11-time Gold Glove first baseman Keith Hernandez right before spring training started.

"Keith was great. He added a lot of things to first base I hadn't ever really thought of, some things to work on," Murphy said. "The biggest thing I thought was just getting to know your other infielders."

Murphy impressed the Mets with his progress when he was the only position player to attend a team minicamp in January, and has looked more comfortable in the field since regular camp started.

"The goal in New York is to win, so it's not just the way I play first base or how I can play compared to some of the other guys that come through -- some great players," Murphy said. "At the end of the day I've got to find a way to help this team win."

-- ESPN.com news services

NEW DAY FOR TIGERS (7:24 p.m. ET)
Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird is especially eager to get going this season.

Laird hit .225 last year after the Tigers acquired him from Texas, then was arrested in late December at a Phoenix Suns home game after a brawl.

Laird said he pleaded no contest and has been attending anger management classes. He said he wanted to have the legal matter cleared up before starting spring training.

"The sooner it was over, the better," Laird said Tuesday. "I don't really want to get into it, but it's behind me and now I get to concentrate on baseball."

Laird said he spent most of last season working on learning the Tigers' pitching staff. Manager Jim Leyland said Laird called a good game last year but that he expected him to hit at least .260 in 2010. Reserve catcher Alex Avila batted .279 in 29 games over the last two months of the season.

"We need to get more production out of (Laird)," Leyland said, "He knows our pitching staff now and if he can raise his average by about 30 points, that's all we need. We know he can catch. I love the way he handles our pitching staff."

Leyland and the Tigers held their first full-squad workout under overcast skies and manager, who has been a part of spring training since 1963, was extremely upbeat. Everyone reported on time and except for some minor bursitis in setup man Bobby Seay's shoulder, there were no injuries.

New left fielder-designated hitter Johnny Damon was among the first to arrive, just a day after signing a one-year, $8 million deal to play for the Tigers.

Leyland met early in the morning to meet with his other left fielder-DH, Carlos Guillen, to sort out his role with the team. Leyland promised Guillen the starting left field job after the end of the 2009 season, never imagining the Tigers would sign Damon.

-- The Associated Press

JAYS WEIGH CLOSERS (6:36 p.m. ET)
While Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston ponders this spring who among a dozen candidates will be in his starting rotation, he also has to look at the other end of the game.

Who among three or more pitchers will be Toronto's closer -- or closers?

Right-hander Jason Frasor and lefty Scott Downs pretty much shared the role last season after the oft-injured and ineffective B.J. Ryan was released. Of the Blue Jays' 25 saves, Frasor had 11 and Downs nine. Added to the mix this year is more experienced closer Kevin Gregg, signed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract.

"Whatever role we all end up in, you're making that bullpen pretty deep," Gregg said. "Looking at the starters, and seeing these guys are pretty young, with what they've done and what they've accomplished, it allows us to shorten the game."

"We're not going to have to push those guys and try to get them into the seventh and eighth inning. When you've got three guys that can close the door at the back end, it really helps out the starters and their situation, too. It lets everybody grow."

Gregg was a middle reliever for the Angels from 2003-06. With Florida in 2007-08 and the Chicago Cubs last year, the right-hander compiled a 3.86 ERA and 84 saves, but had 20 blown saves as well.

He had left knee surgery after the 2008 season and in his final 26 appearances for the Cubs last year, Gregg's ERA ballooned to 7.83. Batters hit .258 against him, he saved four games and blew four, and he lost the closer role to Carlos Marmol.

-- The Associated Press

ICHIRO ALL SMILES IN CAMP (5:19 p.m. ET)
Ichiro Suzuki can talk about separating the way last season ended from the start of a new year, but all indications are that the good vibes will linger with the nine-time All-Star.

The Seattle Mariners won their final game of 2009, finishing with 85 wins, and had the fans at Safeco Field wishing the season could go on. Teammates carried Suzuki, the team's biggest star, off the field on their shoulders.

Fast-forward to Monday and Tuesday, with Suzuki returning the love through a lot of hugs and handshakes and joking with his teammates in a jovial clubhouse and on the field.

Suzuki was particularly glad to see Ken Griffey Jr. Junior held Suzuki back from starting his shuttle run during Tuesday's workout on purpose, drawing laughter from onlookers. Later, as Suzuki ran, Griffey jogged alongside, egging him on.

"I think he came back this year to do that to me," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "He said he needed to do more against me than last year, so I guess this is a good start for him.

"I wasn't missing it at all, but I was prepared for it," Suzuki added.

Let the fun begin again in what was last year a good-time environment among the Mariners.

"I feel very comfortable this year because when you talk about the coaches we've been having, new coaches almost every year, that's what it seems like. But this year, we have one new coach but besides that everyone's all here. Besides that, it's hard to hug someone you don't know," he said.

-- The Associated Press

PIRATES NOT SELLING (5:20 p.m. ET)
After two years of roster upheaval and trading away veteran players, the Pittsburgh Pirates plan to reverse course this season.

That was the message delivered Tuesday by principal owner Bob Nutting and president Frank Coonelly, who addressed a team meeting before the first full-squad workout of spring training.

"The last couple of years there's been the concern of who's going to be with the team in September," Nutting said. "That's much less of a discussion now. This team needs to jell, to set its own standards and perform."

"The expectation level has been raised," Coonelly added. "We believe this team can be the one that turns this franchise around. And instead of being concerned about subtractions from the team, this is a core to which we can add."

Since Coonelly was hired in 2007, the Pirates have jettisoned experienced players such as Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche and Matt Capps. The Pirates will begin the 2010 season with a payroll of about $35 million, likely to be the lowest in the majors.

Last season, after Sanchez and Wilson were dealt, the Pirates went 19-41 to close out their 17th straight losing season. Management hopes roster stability will lead to better results this year.

-- The Associated Press

FAMILIAR UNIFORM, NEW POSITION FOR TEJADA (4:24 p.m. ET)
Miguel Tejada manned a new position and moved to the next phase of his career at the Baltimore Orioles' first full-squad workout.

Tejada is moving over from shortstop to third base after rejoining the Orioles, who signed him to a one-year deal last month. He took ground balls Tuesday from infield coach Juan Samuel and launched monstrous home runs during batting practice

"It's the first day with the team, but I'm feeling comfortable," said Tejada, who spent four seasons with the Orioles before being traded to the Houston Astros in December 2007. "Since I signed I've been working out at third base, and today was real exciting. I'm like a little kid with a new toy. I'm enjoying today."

Tejada's name surfaced in the Mitchell report the day after he was traded from Baltimore to Houston in 2007. He later admitted to an age discrepancy and received a year's probation for lying to congressional investigators about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

"Everybody knows that I've been through a lot of stuff off the field, but it's all behind me now and I feel like I'm going to start a new career," he said. "The last five years I came to spring training with a lot of stuff on my mind. Now my mind is clear. Now I'm just thinking every day what I can do to help this team."

-- The Associated Press

BAY: BALLPARK, CITY NOT FACTORS IN SIGNING (4:20 p.m. ET)
Jason Bay arrived at the New York Mets' spring training camp Tuesday and talked about everything from his health to his defense to his reaction to Canada's loss to the U.S. in Olympic hockey.

"That stung a little bit," said Bay, a British Columbia native who became a U.S. citizen last summer but was quick to add, "I'm still a Canadian, through and through."

He's also a Met, having signed a four-year, $66 million contract as a free agent in December.

Bay, a three-time All-Star and the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year, said neither the size of the market nor the ballpark was a factor in his decision to sign with the Mets.

"I honestly never gave a ballpark any second thought," said Bay, 31, who batted .267 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox last season.

"I'm confident with myself," he added. "At the end of the day, I try to get on base and try to knock in runs. If you knock in 100 runs with 10 home runs, so be it. That's by no means my plan."

-- The Associated Press

CHAVEZ TAKES ON NEW POSITION (4:06 p.m. ET)
Eric Chavez is trying to get comfortable at a new position for the Oakland Athletics.

Chavez got his first workout Tuesday at first base during Oakland's practice in Phoenix.

Chavez won several Gold Gloves at third base for the A's. He's been limited by injuries during the past three seasons, but Oakland wants to try to keep his bat in the lineup this year.

-- The Associated Press

MIJARES' LATE ARRIVAL NOT AN ISSUE (3:32 p.m. ET)

Minnesota Twins reliever Jose Mijares has arrived at spring training a day late.

The left-hander joined the team for the workout on Tuesday. He says he missed his scheduled flight to Florida from his native Venezuela and arrived at the airport five hours early on Monday morning to make sure he made it.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says he has put aside his disappointment with Mijares. Conditioning has been a problem for the burly Mijares in the past, but the manager praised the 25-year-old's work ethic on Tuesday.

Gardenhire says he expects Mijares to again assume an important role in the bullpen this season. Mijares posted a 2.34 ERA in 71 appearances last year for the Twins.

-- The Associated Press

DiNARDO SIDELINED BY LEG INJURY (3:11 p.m. ET)
Athletics left-hander Lenny DiNardo will miss a couple of days after straining his left Achilles tendon.

A's manager Bob Geren said Tuesday that the 30-year-old felt something while throwing a day earlier and will be held out of drills for the next two days.

DiNardo, who last won a major league game in April 2008 while with the A's, signed a minor league contract in January and was invited to spring training as a non-roster player.

He's spent parts of the past five seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Oakland and the Kansas City Royals.

-- The Associated Press

REDS LOOKING FOR CUETO TO STEP FORWARD (2:56 p.m. ET)
Cincinnati's chances of making an impact in the NL Central would be helped considerably by a breakout season from pitcher Johnny Cueto, whose performance in 2009 was eerily similar to what he did in 2008.

Cueto, 24, posted an 11-11 record with a 4.41 ERA after going 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA as a rookie. But his strikeout total declined markedly and he continued to have problems with the long ball; Cueto has given up 53 home runs in 61 big league starts.

"The more experience he gets, the better he's going to be,'' general manager Walt Jocketty said of Cueto. "He needs to use his changeup more, but he's still learning, He's still a baby.''

-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

TEIXEIRA SAYS YANKEES WON'T SIT BACK (11:53 a.m. ET)
Mark Teixeira believes the defending World Series champion New York Yankees will not be complacent and are the favorites this season.

The first baseman says that complacency won't be an issue "because we're the Yankees," and that winning a championship "just makes you want it even more."

"Once you taste that victory, you realize it's everything you've ever hoped for," said Teixeira, who reported to camp Tuesday.

As for considering New York to be the 2010 favorite, Teixeira says the Yankees "have to feel that way every single season."

Teixeira is in the second season of a $180 million, eight-year contract. He hit .292 with 39 homers and 122 RBIs last season.

-- The Associated Press

PHILLIES WILL NEED TO FIGURE OUT WERTH (11:42 a.m. ET)
Sporting a thick, scraggly beard and long hair flowing beneath his baseball cap, Jayson Werth caused a stir with his appearance Monday at camp.

His look -- described by teammate Brad Lidge as "a cross between Jesus Christ and the Geico Caveman" -- might be drawing double takes, but it's his future with the Phillies that will need another look.

Werth is entering the final year of a $10 million, two-year deal, and it's uncertain whether the Phillies will be able to afford him when he becomes a free agent this offseason. Werth, who will be 31 in May, might be considered a late bloomer, after missing all of 2006 as he recovered from a serious wrist injury. But last season, he batted .268 with 36 homers, 99 RBIs and 20 steals, earning a trip to the All-Star Game in his first full season as a regular.

Does that mean Werth would be willing to give the Phillies a hometown discount to stay? His price tag on the open market could be comparable to the $66 million, four-year deal Jason Bay signed with the New York Mets.

"It's tough to say right now," Werth said. "I'm very grateful for what they've done for me ... I don't want to be sitting here blowing smoke. I love the Phillies, I love Philadelphia, I love playing there, I love my teammates. I'm just focused on the task at hand."

-- The Associated Press

Spring Training Blog: Feb. 22

February, 22, 2010
02/22/10
10:07
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REDS' CHAPMAN ADJUSTING TO FOOD, LANGUAGE (6:54 p.m. ET)
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman says his toughest adjustment since defecting from Cuba has been getting used to the food and the language.

The Reds signed the hard-throwing lefty to a six-year, $30.25 million deal last month. He's getting a chance to make the starting rotation in spring training, though the Reds say they're going to be patient and not rush the 21-year-old.

The Reds will give Chapman a chance to win a spot in the rotation during spring training, but aren't pushing him. They're giving him as much time as he needs to get acclimated to the new culture and the major leagues.

"We really don't have a timetable, and I don't think it's good to have a timetable," Jocketty said. "I think we'll find out as we go along."

"We're just going to let him develop. You don't really know what he's capable of yet. You watch him on the mound and you can see the ability, but we don't know until he gets into a game and faces hitters if he's ready now or it's going to take some time."

Chapman said it was very difficult to leave his wife, daughter and the rest of his family behind when he defected.

"It was a very hard decision," Chapman said through translator and pitching coach Tony Fossas. "But in Cuba, they told me I had to be brave and make the move."

-- The Associated Press

ROMERO, MARCUM COMPETING FOR JAYS' ACE (6:13 p.m. ET)
The Toronto Blue Jays brought 37 pitchers to spring training, including 10 non-roster players invited to camp and two on the disabled list.

"We've got so many pitchers here we need names on their back," Jays manager Cito Gaston said Monday as the team began its first official spring training workout.

But the impact player may be the one who isn't here: Roy Halladay.

Toronto's former ace was traded to Philadelphia after last season for three minor leaguers -- catcher Travis d'Arnaud, first baseman Brett Wallace and pitcher Kyle Drabek, son of 13-year veteran pitcher and 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. None is expected to make the Blue Jays' roster this season.

The principal candidates for the No. 1 spot in the rotation are left-hander Ricky Romero, 13-9 as a rookie last year, and right-hander Shaun Marcum, 24-17 in four seasons before sitting out 2009 following shoulder surgery.

"Who's my No. 1? Who's my No. 2?" Gaston said. "You talk about two guys. We hope their arms are OK but you don't know until they start pitching in competition."

-- The Associated Press

CRAWFORD'S FUTURE UP IN AIR (5:10 p.m. ET)

Carl Crawford wants to win -- and be paid.

Tampa Bay's three-time All-Star left fielder reported to spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., and says he's focused on helping the Rays get back to the playoffs, not the prospect of becoming a free agent after the season.

Crawford is set to earn $10 million in the final season of a $33.5 million, six-year contract.

"I'm hoping for the best, like always. But right now, I really don't know," Crawford said, adding the "best" would reaching a deal that'll keep him in Tampa Bay. "I wish something good will come out of it, but at this point we really haven't done too much [negotiating] and I don't know when we will."

If the 28-year-old winds up on the open market, he's likely to command a much larger salary than the budget-conscious Rays can afford to pay.

The team's career leader in hits, runs, stolen bases, RBIs and games played says the situation could go either way.

-- The Associated Press

ROBERTS HAS BACK PROBLEM (4:43 p.m. ET)
Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has a back problem, but expects to be OK for Opening Day.

Roberts has been diagnosed with a small herniated disk. He says he's on the right track in his preparation for the start of the season.

Roberts intends to do some light hitting Tuesday when the Orioles hold their first full-squad workout. He worked out in the weight room Monday after taking his physical.

He says he won't need surgery to repair the disk.

-- The Associated Press

PETTITTE SAYS HE CONSIDERED RETIREMENT (3:22 p.m. ET)
Andy Pettitte gave some serious thought to going out as a champion last year.

It turns out the 37-year-old left-hander wasn't quite ready to retire, even after the New York Yankees won the World Series.

Pettitte opted to return this season after talking with his family, and he signed an $11.75 million, one-year contract in December.

Pettitte went 14-8 with a 4.16 ERA last season, throwing 194 2/3 innings, to help the Yankees win their first championship since 2000.

This year, he's part of a strong rotation that includes CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez.

Pettitte has 192 wins with the Yankees, third on the franchise list. He is scheduled for his first spring training bullpen session on Tuesday.

-- The Associated Press

PUDGE MAKES INTRODUCTION TO NEW NATS TEAMMATES (2:53 p.m. ET)
Ivan Rodriguez worked the Washington Nationals clubhouse like a savvy D.C. politician glad-handing at a fundraiser. He paused at every locker, shaking hands with new teammates, paying particular attention to the pitchers who will soon be throwing to him.

He warmly greeted veterans and rookies alike, some youngsters awed that a future Hall of Famer was introducing himself to them.

"Years ago, I was watching that guy on TV and now I'm playing on the same team," beamed fellow catcher Jesus Flores.

Rodriguez has been through this getting-to-know-you process before, and quickly bonding is an important part of assimilating into a new team culture. The 38-year-old might not be the offensive threat he once was, but the player known as "Pudge" wasn't really brought to Washington for his offense.

"My main job is defense behind the plate, to make the pitcher feel comfortable with me. ... That's my game," said Rodriguez, who signed a two-year, $6 million free-agent deal with the Nationals in December.

-- The Associated Press

MARLINS THANKFUL TO HAVE ACE JOHNSON LOCKED UP (2:27 p.m. ET)
There was a palpable feeling of relief in Marlins camp with ace Josh Johnson signed to a four-year deal, meaning there will be no negotiating during the season, and absolutely no chance that he will be traded should the team somehow be out of the race at the end of July.

"Huge," said Marlins catcher John Baker. "I would put him up against anyone."

Baker said that last year, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano told him during a game, "I'm so glad he's not in our league."

Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who has terrific stuff, shook his head in amazement at a guy "who can throw 98 mph with that kind of control. Pitchers just can't do that."

Marlins coach Carlos Tosca, a former Blue Jays manager, said "even though their stuff is different, he reminds me in every way of Roy Halladay."

Johnson, despite his new contract, came to camp as the same guy he has always been: playful but serious, a leader in every way. The only difference is a new, really short haircut.

"[Pitcher] Rick VandenHurk cut it," Johnson said. "He wanted to do it. I don't care. A teammate cut my hair last year, also."

As for haircuts, Marlins left fielder Chris Coghlan, who made a trip to Iraq with a Marlins contingent in the offseason, allowed American soldiers there to cut his hair. They gave him a mohawk.

-- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine

MIJARES LATE FOR CAMP; GARDENHIRE WANTS ACCOUNTABILITY (2:21 p.m. ET)
Minnesota Twins reliever Jose Mijares will be late to spring training.

Mijares was absent from Monday's first official workout for pitchers and catchers because of an unspecified issue at home in Venezuela. Disappointed manager Ron Gardenhire said Mijares is expected to arrive in Fort Myers on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Twins didn't learn of the delay until Monday morning. Gardenhire says Mijares needs to be more accountable.

Mijares also missed the team's annual fan festival last month because of a visa problem. The 25-year-old left-hander had a 2.34 ERA in 71 appearances last season. The Twins have been concerned about his conditioning in the past.

"He knows the days you're supposed to be here. Everybody's here, except one guy. That should tell him a little bit about himself," Gardenhire said. "He's got to figure it out and do a better job. We've got plenty of people who want to pitch."

-- The Associated Press

BRADLEY JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN, BE LEFT ALONE IN SEATTLE (2:16 p.m. ET)
Milton Bradley arrived at the Seattle Mariners' spring training complex Monday morning for his physical, proclaiming that he primarily wants to have fun playing.

Bradley, slated to play left field and share designated hitter duties with Ken Griffey, Jr., was thrilled to meet his new teammate. Griffey was the first Mariner to greet Bradley -- the pair's locker stalls are near each other -- and they briefly embraced.

The Mariners picked up Bradley in a December trade with the Chicago Cubs in search of a bat to insert into the middle of the lineup. They also assumed the character risks with Bradley, who is with his eighth team and has been at the center of several controversial incidents involving fans, the media and his own fits of frustration.

"It's all the same things," Bradley said of his conversations with every new team he joins before he arrives. "'Are you looking forward to this,' or 'it's a fresh start,' all that cliche stuff. But I don't believe in all that. I'm just, 'You go about your business.' I believe if people allow you to be you and don't steer you in any certain direction or don't steer people's thoughts in a certain direction, then things will work out the way they're supposed to."

-- The Associated Press

LIDGE THROWS FIRST BULLPEN SESSION SINCE SURGERIES (2:11 p.m. ET)
Brad Lidge has thrown 20 pitches off a mound, his first bullpen session since offseason surgeries on his elbow and knee.

Lidge says he felt no pain Monday and is concentrating on building up arm strength. It's far too early to know whether the closer will be ready when the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies open the season at Washington on April 5.

Lidge said last week he was two weeks behind schedule, but he's making progress.

"I'd say I'm right about the same," he said. "I feel I'm right ahead of that two weeks. With the bullpen today, I kind of stayed right there. I didn't come out and feel 100 percent. That being said, nothing hurts and I was able to use my body in the way I was hoping to this year without having any pain or side effects. It's all about building arm strength now and I'm going to have to do a lot of work to get that."

Pitching coach Rich Dubee says Lidge threw only fastballs and was encouraged by his first step.

-- The Associated Press

MILLWOOD EMBRACES LEADERSHIP ROLE WITH ORIOLES (11:51 a.m. ET)
The Orioles traded for 35-year-old Kevin Millwood during the winter meetings because they wanted an experienced arm at the top of their rotation and a clubhouse leader who could lead the team's young pitching staff by example.

The role of mentor is a comfortable fit for Millwood, who went 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA in 2009, the last of his four seasons with the Texas Rangers, and has won 155 games in a 13-year major league career.

"I'm having a good time," he said. "These guys seem like they're willing to learn and want to get better. The most fun for me would be seeing these guys succeed."

Millwood can be vocal, but he's more likely to lead by example. Perhaps it comes from his exposure to star pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz after breaking into the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1997.

"It's just kind of the way that I am," he said. "I had a lot of guys who kind of showed me the way when I was young. I've just done that my whole career. I think that's the right way to do it."

-- The Associated Press

'OPERATION PANDA' NOT YET A GIANT SUCCESS (10:39 a.m. ET)
The San Francisco Giants had hoped infielder Pablo Sandoval -- also known as "Kung Fu Panda" for his generous physique -- would make strides along with his teammates in slimming down this offseason.

"Operation Panda," the diet and exercise regimen put in place by head trainer Dave Groeschner, has resulted in several slightly smaller Giants. But Sandoval, the project's namesake, has not yet reached his desired weight, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"He's still a work in progress," Groeschner said of Sandoval on Sunday, according to the report. "He's working hard, and he's still working to slim down. We're trying to stay on top of this because he's not where we wanted him yet."

Sandoval, who's reportedly aiming at 250 pounds as his target weight, dropped 12 pounds during offseason workouts at the team's spring training facility in Arizona. But that progress stalled while he was playing winter ball in Venezuela.

"He didn't have a huge setback [in Venezuela], but he didn't have an advancement," Groeschner said, according to the report.

-- ESPN.com news services