March, 29, 2009
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Jason Schmidt knows he won't be ready when the Los Angeles Dodgers open the season.

Schmidt threw 51 pitches, his most in a Cactus League game this spring, but allowed three runs, three doubles and three walks in 3 1/3 innings Sunday. San Diego beat the Dodgers 7-3 for its third straight victory after a 4-17-4 start.

Schmidt, who expects to begin the season making minor league rehab starts, struck out two in a perfect first inning before allowing a two-run double to Everth Cabrera in the second.

The right-hander began spring training hoping to be the Dodgers' No. 5 starter, but he's been unable to pitch full-tilt and has had trouble recovering from even short stints.

Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood each had an excellent day against their former team.

DeRosa homered his first two times up, doubled and hit a sacrifice fly to lead the Cleveland Indians over the Chicago Cubs 7-5 on Sunday.

Wood, the Cubs' closer last season, had a solid outing for Cleveland. He worked a scoreless seventh inning, walking one and striking out one.

The Cubs traded DeRosa to the Indians on Dec. 31 for three minor league pitching prospects. He hit both home runs and the double against Chicago starter Ted Lilly.

It was another rough day for an Oakland Athletics starting pitcher.

Sean Gallagher gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings Sunday, and then was summoned into a meeting with general manager Billy Beane. Gallagher emerged a few minutes later and said that Beane had just wanted to "light a little fire under my butt."

"It wasn't a good day of executing pitches for me," the right-hander added.

Washington right-hander Daniel Cabrera was pulled because of neck spasms sustained Saturday while swinging in batting practice.

Nationals manager Manny Acta said he's not sure if the injury will affect Cabrera's ability to make his first scheduled start of the season April 8 against the Marlins.

Cabrera is day to day and hopes to get one more exhibition start this week.

"The plan is, we've got to wait and see how he is today and then try to plan accordingly," Acta said. "You can't plan on him throwing unless he's able to. He'll have another [exhibition] start. He's not a guy to worry about because he's a guy who pitched winter ball, so he's been stretched out and all that."

Brett Gardner has won the Yankees' starting center field job.

New York manager Joe Girardi announced Sunday that Gardner beat out Melky Cabrera this spring for the starting spot on Opening Day.

The speedy Gardner had a .228 batting average over 42 games in 2008, but was successful on 13 of 14 stolen-base attempts. He is hitting .385 with five stolen bases in 22 spring training games.

The Yankees plan to have Cabrera on the regular-season roster in a backup role.

PADRES' BAEK HURT (6:38 p.m. ET)
San Diego's starting pitching is thin to begin with and things didn't improve Sunday when Cha Seung Baek left his game against the Dodgers with a strained forearm flexor in his right arm.

"We'll re-evaluate it in 24 hours to see how significant an injury it is because right now its really hard to tell,'' Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson said. "Right now I'd say it's very mild but we have to see if there is any swelling and how sore it is when he comes in in the morning. Once we re-evaluate we'll see where we go. It doesn't look bad right now.''

Baek, who figures to be the No. 3 starter if healthy, entered the game with a 1-4 record and 9.95 ERA in six Cactus League starts. He gave up five hits and two runs, walked two and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings before the injury Sunday.

--'s Jim Caple

New Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman will still likely start the season on the disabled list, but he did make some progress on Sunday.

Hoffman played catch for the first time since March 20 when he was shut down with a strained muscle along his right side, according to The all-time saves leader and the Brewers trainer reportedly told manager Ken Macha that they were encouraged by the session.

"We still have a long way to go, but we're making progress," Macha said, according to

Although Hoffman will travel with the team when it breaks camp, he may still face a minor league rehabilitation assignment before making his Brewers debut.

"We're not even at step one," Macha said, according to the Web site. "Until he gets throwing on the mound, it's hard to do projections."

Randy Johnson thinks he's ready for the regular season despite some down time this spring.

Johnson, preparing for his first season with San Francisco, threw 80 pitches in a minor league camp game Sunday, giving up seven hits and two runs in his final Arizona appearance.

The Big Unit was 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA in four spring training starts. He faced minor leaguers twice and missed one start because of biceps tenderness.

"I feel good where I'm at now," said the 45-year-old lefty, five wins short of 300. Every pitcher goes through a tired arm, whether you are my age or 25. I'm not Nostradamus. I don't know if I'll have it again."

Johnson will make his last exhibition start Thursday against Oakland in the Bay Area series before pitching in the Giants' second regular-season game April 8 against Milwaukee.

Brandon Morrow will begin the season in the bullpen. Whether that's with the Seattle Mariners or in the minor leagues will be determined by his health.

Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said Sunday morning that because of Morrow's lack of innings this spring, he'll begin work as a reliever rather than in the starting rotation as originally planned. Morrow has been limited to three spring appearances because of forearm stiffness.

This won't be a temporary move to build arm strength after Morrow missed much of spring training with forearm stiffness. Morrow said the move was determined a week ago, adding that he "feels at home" in the bullpen and doesn't envision returning to a starting role.

"There's no discussion about going back so far," said Morrow, taken with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft and pegged since then as a starter. "I think that I'd be more useful as a bullpen pitcher than a starting pitcher."

He's scheduled to throw in games Tuesday and Wednesday if his arm is well enough.

The Mariners also optioned catcher Jeff Clement to Triple-A Tacoma. Clement was Seattle's top pick and third overall in 2005. Clement has struggled at the plate after batting .295 in 66 big-league games last year with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 203 at-bats.

The Padres traded veteran infielder Chris Burke, who wasn't going to make the team's major league roster, to the Mariners on Sunday for cash considerations.

The trade of Burke all but guarantees that infielder Everth Cabrera, who was selected in the Rule 5 draft during the winter meetings, will make the Padres' Opening Day roster.

Burke hit .281 in 32 spring at-bats. He signed a non-guaranteed minor league contract with San Diego in the offseason.

"The bottom line is they like who they have. I think I've played well, but they like who they have. The reality is when you're a non-roster player, things could break that way," he said, according to "Unfortunately for me, they didn't think I was a good fit for them."

Left-hander reliever Will Ohman pitched a two-inning simulated game against minor leaguers for the Dodgers on Sunday.

Manager Joe Torre and most of the Dodgers' front office were in attendance to watch Ohman, who is the top available reliever still on the market. Los Angeles is in need of a left-handed setup man after Joe Beimel signed with the Nationals earlier this offseason.

Ohman is reportedly seeking a contract worth at least $2 million for the upcoming season.

The Astros are going to be without slugger Lance Berkman for the next few days as the first baseman struggles with a sore left shoulder.

And Berkman paints a grim picture of the pain he's having. The team hopes he'll be available to play a week from Monday in the team's regular-season opener.

"It's not a pending surgery, but let me say this -- it's more painful and worse than I initially thought," Berkman said, according to Berkman however, said he has no doubts he'll be able to play on Opening Day.

Berkman initially tweaked the shoulder early in camp and has since aggravated the shoulder with a diving play in a game against the Phillies on Friday and a recent batting practice session.

In other Astros moves, the team released utilityman David Newhan and assigned Chad Paronto to minor league camp.

New Braves ace Derek Lowe not only will start the team's opener against the Phillies on April 5, he'll also take the mound for the team's home opener on April 10 against the Nationals.

Lowe isn't taking the responsibilities lightly.

"There's nothing wrong with saying you're going to be nervous," Lowe said, according to "There's no doubt. It's not only my Opening Day. But it's my Opening Day for a new team and no matter where I would have pitched in the rotation, there would have been some nervousness and anxiousness because you want to get off to a good start."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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