Around the Grapefruit League

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates' Freddy Sanchez is the National League's reigning batting champion.

But so far at spring training, his position for the upcoming season is uncertain.

Sanchez excelled at third base last season, but he has performed exclusively at second in the opening days of camp, largely because management wants to determine where two other competing infielders, Jose Castillo and Jose Bautista, fit into the plan.

Sanchez says he's not worried about which position he'll play and says he's ready for either.

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are trying another
new double-play combination, and this one may stay together for
quite a while.

Boston signed shortstop Julio Lugo to a four-year deal and
rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia is getting a chance to show he
can handle his position in the majors.

The more he and Pedroia work together, the better they should
get at turning the double play. Manager Terry Francona thinks the
difficulty of that is overrated anyway.

"There will be some [exhibition] games where we go on the road,
we'll leave both of them back together [in Fort Myers] so they can
work together," he said. "It doesn't take very long. It really

Houston Astros: Like candidates in an election,
Jason Lane, Luke Scott and Richard Hidalgo are campaigning to become the
starting right fielder for the Houston Astros.

Lane had the job last season, but lost it after hitting .205 in
the first three months. Scott was called up from the minors to replace Lane after the
All-Star break and put up MVP-caliber numbers, batting .336 with 10
homers and 37 RBIs in 65 games.

Hidalgo, who played for the Astros from 1997-2004, joined the
race when he signed a minor-league contract in January. Now 31,
Hidalgo sat out the 2006 season, but dazzled the Astros brass in
the Venezuelan Winter League.

"Physically, he looked better than I'd seen him in a long
time," said general manager Tim Purpura. "He was there from the
beginning, played just about every game and really performed

Los Angeles Dodgers: Jason Schmidt said he passed up opportunities
for a longer, more lucrative deal in the offseason because of his children.

"My kids are my interest. I've got two and one on the way,"
Schmidt said. "There were five-year deals to be had. I can see why
guys want to stretch out the contract. It was a family thing."

Schmidt said the divorce of his parents when he was 6 has
motivated him to be available as much as possible for his children
-- a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. That's always going to
be difficult as a baseball player because of the travel involved,
so he's reticent to plan too far ahead.

"I just don't want to get locked into something," he said. "I
don't know what the future holds -- I might want to play three
years, I might want to play 10."

Minnesota Twins: Carlos Silva has looked sharp so far this spring. He threw a live
batting practice session on Sunday and has worked hard to develop a
split-fingered fastball to complement his sinker, which is falling
off the table again.

Most importantly, he spent much of the winter working on his
mental approach to keep from getting too down when things don't go
his way.

"Just to forget what happened last year. Last year is over,"
Silva said. "This is 2007, a new season. Try to do something
different. If something goes wrong, just pick my head up and stay
positive and keep doing my job."

New York Yankees: Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano had an MRI exam
and X-rays taken Sunday on his injured left foot.

The team didn't immediately release the results, but Pavano said
afterward that he wasn't concerned.

"Just for precaution," Pavano said. "It's feeling better than
it did. I'm not really too alarmed. There's no bruising or
anything. It's just stiff."

Pavano didn't participate in on-field drills. He did undergo
treatment, including icing the foot.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Thomas had a special visitor in the
Blue Jays clubhouse Sunday: A former munchkin.

Mickey Carroll, one of the Munchkins in the 1939 movie the
"Wizard of Oz," came to meet the 6-foot-5 Thomas. The 87-year
old, 4-7 Carroll spent about 10 minutes talking and exchanging
autographs with the Big Hurt.

Carroll was asked what his favorite baseball position is. He
responded "shortstop."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.