<
>

Still in recovery mode, Junior sits out game

Cincinnati Reds: Ken Griffey Jr. sat out the Reds' intrasquad game Tuesday because he's still not up to full speed in his recovery from a torn hamstring.

Griffey worked out with trainers before the game. He had surgery
last Aug. 16 to reattach a torn right hamstring, and needs a little
more time to recover.

The Reds expect him to be ready before Opening Day, but don't
have a timetable for Griffey playing in a spring training game.

"We are mostly concerned with his ability to change directions
and decelerate," trainer Mark Mann said. "He is running 90 to 95
percent right now. When he can go at 100 percent two or three days
in a row without residual pain, he will be cleared to play in games."

Griffey, 35, has been sidelined by serious injuries each of the
last four seasons, so the Reds will be cautious with him during
spring training.

Utility player Ryan Freel also sat out the intrasquad game. Freel had surgery to repair torn knee cartilage last November and is close to full speed in his recovery. Outfielder Austin Kearns, who had surgery last July to remove scar tissue and a bone spur from his right thumb, hit a homer and a double in the intrasquad game.

New York Yankees: Randy Johnson will miss his first scheduled spring training start because of tightness in his left calf.

The problem is not considered serious, and the left-hander is expected to be ready for what would have been his second start next Tuesday.

Johnson first experienced tightness in the calf last week, and
the injury reoccurred during fielding drills Monday.

"This is not that big of a deal," Johnson said. "If they needed me to pitch, I could have."

Torre said Tanyon Sturtze will replace Johhnson in Thursday's spring training opener against Pittsburgh.

Chicago Cubs: After four years of negotiations, the team and the city agreed on a plan to add 1,790 seats to Wrigley Field, the National League's oldest ballpark.

Officials said construction of the additions is expected to
begin after the 2005 season and be completed in time for Opening
Day 2006.

The plan to expand the bleachers calls for the Cubs to pay the
city $3.1 million up front while also contributing about $250,000
toward a park at a local school. The team also will fund a $400,000
traffic signal system at an intersection that borders the northern
boundary of Wrigley Field.

The plan goes to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks for its
approval. The proposal, which calls for the construction of a
five-story building that includes a 400-space parking garage,
restaurant and team offices, also must go through the city's Plan
Commission and get the approval of the Chicago City Council.

Philadelphia Phillies: Right-hander Vicente Padilla
will be sidelined for two weeks after an MRI confirmed he has triceps tendinitis.

He missed two months of the 2004 season with the same injury.

The 27-year-old was scheduled to be Philadelphia's No. 2
starter, but will need a speedy recovery if he is to pitch in the
opening series against the Nationals.

"If he needs more time, then we're going to make an
adjustment," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We want to make sure
he's pain-free when he throws."

If Padilla isn't ready, Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia's top pitching
prospect, has the inside track to replace him in the rotation.
Floyd went 2-0 with a 3.49 ERA in six September appearances with
the Phillies last season.

Seattle Mariners: In the second season of a $9.15 million,
three-year contract, Scott Spiezio is now without a position and doesn't know if he has a future with the Mariners.

After struggling to his worst offensive year in the Mariners'
99-loss season in 2004, Spiezio watched Seattle spend $114 million
on third baseman Adrian Beltre and first baseman Richie Sexson, the
positions he played a year ago.

He said it's possible the Mariners could trade him this spring,
especially if he has a big spring.

"I could be valuable to them if I do what I've done in the
past," Spiezio said. "It comes down to a game of roster spots and
what kind of money they have to spend and who else may be
interested in me.

"So there's a lot of things they maybe don't know yet," he
said. "You could have injuries happen. You could have somebody on
another team be interested in me all of a sudden; if the price is
right, there could be a trade. You just never know."

Spiezio, 32, hit .215 in 112 games for the Mariners last season,
starting 65 games at third and 30 at first.

Spiezio won't ask the Mariners what their plans are for him and
he doesn't plan to ask them to trade him. The thought has even
occurred to him that the Mariners just might release him if he has
a poor spring.

"I just want to go out and play the best I can," he said. "If
I sit there and try to figure out what the Mariners are going to
do, I'll burn myself out."

San Diego Padres: Grady Fuson, a highly respected scout who
helped build the low-budget Oakland Athletics into a consistent power, was hired as a special assistant to Padres general manager Kevin Towers.

Fuson spent most of the previous four seasons as assistant GM
for the Texas Rangers, with an emphasis on scouting and player
development. Rangers owner Tom Hicks hired Fuson away from Oakland
in 2001 with the understanding that he would take over for general
manager John Hart before this season.

But when the Rangers unexpectedly contended in 2004, Hicks
backtracked and decided to stick with Hart. Fuson left the
organization after the All-Star break and has been out of work
since, although Texas still owes him money through this year.

Fuson, 48, a Southern California native who played baseball at
Kearny High in San Diego, made his name with the As. In 19 years as
a scout, the last seven as scouting director, he was responsible
for drafting a host of impact players, including star pitchers Tim
Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.

"Grady is a very talented executive who brings a wealth of
knowledge to out organization," Towers said in a statement. "His
exceptional track record of developing young talent is a perfect
fit for the organizational philosophy."