Around the Grapefruit League

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Thomas made his first appearance for the Blue Jays, going 1-for-3 with an RBI Thursday in a "B" game against the Phillies.

"I prefer to start late like this because you know what you're
doing out there," said Thomas, who signed an $18.12 million,
two-year contract this offseason. "You've had enough BP, enough cage work to know
what you're doing out there."

Thomas is scheduled to be a designated hitter in Friday's "A" game against the Astros.

A.J. Burnett started in the B game and allowed three runs and
four hits in three innings, mixing in his curveball for the first
time. He struck out two and walked one.

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:

New York Yankees: First baseman Andy Phillips rejoined the team Thursday after missing one week to be with his mother, who was critically injured in a car accident last week in Alabama.

Phillips said his mother, Linda, is improving and in stable condition. She has undergone two operations, including one on her hip.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said Phillips will work out for a few days before maybe playing in a game by the end of the weekend. Phillips is trying to win the right-handed half of the Yankees' first base platoon.

Meanwhile, GM Brian Cashman said right fielder Bobby Abreu (strained
right oblique) should resume swinging a bat this weekend. Cashman
added that Abreu's status for Opening Day has not been determined.

Cincinnati Reds: Ken Griffey Jr. took batting practice for the second
consecutive day. Griffey broke his left hand while wrestling with
his children in December.

Griffey hit off a pitcher for the first time
on Wednesday, facing Kyle Lohse.

"Griffey had some soreness," manager Jerry Narron said. "It was his first live batting practice and he looked like he hasn't played any."

Griffey will let Narron
know when he's ready to play

New York Mets:
Back on the mound after a bout with
arthritis in his neck, Orlando Hernandez was hit hard in his first
outing of spring training.

El Duque gave up five runs and six hits in just two innings during the New York Mets' 8-7 loss to the Baltimore
"I was able to throw all my pitches and not feel the pain in my
neck, so it was good," the 41-year-old right-hander said. "The
fastball was up and it was hit, so now I get ready for my next
start, and that's it."

Mets manager Willie Randolph said rehabbing reliever Duaner Sanchez was being
sent home for repeatedly showing up late for his workouts. Randolph
said Sanchez, who injured his right shoulder in a car accident last
summer, had been warned about his tardiness. Randolph will consult
with GM Omar Minaya to determine whether there will be additional
disciplinary action.

Cleveland Indians: Cliff Lee's lingering abdominal injury
put a damper on the Indians' 7-6 win over the
Philadelphia Phillies.

After Shin-Soo Choo's two-run single in the ninth inning won it,
manager Eric Wedge addressed the status of Lee, who has yet to
pitch in a game this spring training.

"We're remaining optimistic," Wedge said, adding that it is
premature to worry about juggling a rotation that appeared set when
camp opened.

Lee has not progressed, according to trainer Lonnie Soloff. He
said if the left-hander, expected to be the Indians' No. 3 starter
after winning 46 games during the past three years, could not throw
a bullpen session on Sunday he won't pitch for 10 to 12 days.

Washington Nationals: Infielder Tony Womack was unconditionally released as the Nationals cut their spring training roster to 56 players with a series of moves.

The team also announced that first baseman Nick Johnson (broken right leg) and left-handers Mike O'Connor (elbow surgery) and Brandon Claussen (shoulder surgery) are expected to start the season on the disabled list.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Outfielder Jody Gerut was released after nearly two years of inactivity with Pittsburgh due to a knee injury.

The 29-year-old Gerut had only 18 at-bats with the Pirates since being
acquired from the Cubs on July 31, 2005, for outfielder
Matt Lawton and $1,290,984. Gerut's right knee slowed him from the
beginning, and he played less than two weeks.

Also Thursday, GM Dave Littlefield said the Pirates will take a look at
first baseman Brad Eldred in the outfield in an attempt to see how
he might fit with their roster. Eldred, a 26-year-old prospect who
had been to projected to start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis,
began the day with four homers in 15 plate appearances, a .462 average.

Philadelphia Phillies: A burst water pipe in the Phillies dugout caused a momentary delay in the second inning of their spring game against Cleveland in Winter Haven, Fla.

Indians minor league first baseman Michael Aubrey lined a foul
ball into the Phillies dugout, hitting a pipe underneath the bench. Phillies players began jumping out of the dugout to avoid the
gushing water -- drawing laughter from the sun-drenched fans.

Players and maintenance workers covered the leak with towels and
the game resumed, only to be interrupted twice more when the spurt
resumed. All the Phillies crowded into the other end of the dugout.

By the middle of the third inning, the grounds crew at Chain of
Lakes Ballpark found the shut-off valve -- though puddles of water
remained on the warning track and in the dugout.