Here are some press notes from the team beat
writers this morning:
Johnson, Josh - Fla/P: According to the Miami Herald, "Nobody knows for sure how long Josh Johnson won't be able to pitch for the Marlins. But Johnson said Tuesday he's sure about one thing: He knows what ails him. Johnson, who figured to be the No. 2 starter in the Marlins' rotation this season, said he was diagnosed Monday with an irritated nerve and could expect to miss up to the first two months of the regular season. ''It's good to know exactly what it is,'' said Johnson, who has gone through a battery of tests to figure out the problem. Previous tests had ruled out bone or ligament damage. But Johnson, who went 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA as a rookie last season, said tests Monday isolated the problem to the ulnar nerve in his right arm, just above the elbow. Johnson has not appeared in a game since Sept. 12, when he injured the arm after returning from a 83-minute rain delay to continue pitching against the New York Mets. He said Tuesday he ''doubted'' the two injuries are related. Whether Johnson is able to pitch in ''one to two months,'' as he said he has been told, remains to be seen. But the prognosis was better than a worst-case scenario in which he would have required season-ending surgery. ... The Marlins, even before Monday's tests, were planning to start the season without Johnson on their roster."
Petit, Yusmeiro - Fla/P: The Miami Herald reports that "Yusmeiro Petit bolstered his case Tuesday when he threw three scoreless innings in a spring training start against the Boston Red Sox. Petit struck out five and allowed just one hit."
Piazza, Mike - Oak/DH: According to the Contra Costa Times, "Newly signed designated hitter Mike Piazza got drilled in the left arm by Kansas City's Brian Bannister in the bottom of the third at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and had to leave the game. ... With center fielder Mark Kotsay currently out with a back injury, the A's do not want to see their new DH and cleanup hitter miss extended time as well. Speaking with reporters about an hour after he left the game, Piazza was still in pain in the clubhouse, the seams from the ball still tattooed on his arm right around his elbow. "I don't know where it hit (because) I can't even feel it," Piazza said. He said it would be decided today whether X-rays are needed, but was clearly troubled at the prospect of missing much action."
Sanchez, Freddy - Pit/3B: As the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports, "The Pirates got a scare when Freddy Sanchez came up lame after a collision at second base during Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Sanchez sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee when his legs were cut out from under him by Rod Barajas, who was trying to break up a double play. "I'm fine," Sanchez said about 15 minutes later, as he left the clubhouse at McKechnie Field to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam. "It's nothing big. I'm walking right now. It just feels like a bruise." The MRI exam revealed no tear in the knee ligament. Sanchez's status is day-to-day. ... Sanchez was injured in the fourth inning. Barajas slid hard into second base and became entangled with Sanchez's legs. Sanchez got the throw off in time, then stayed on the ground for a moment or two. ... Sanchez got to his feet and took a couple of halting steps then went down again. After another minute or so, Sanchez limped off the field, aided by a trainer. ... When Sanchez departed, Don Kelly moved from third to second base. Neil Walker entered the game to play third."
Cain, Matt - SF/P: As the Contra Costa Times reports, "Matt Cain gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings, his second consecutive lackluster outing, but Bochy said, "He's right on target. He's throwing strikes with all of his pitches."
Kotsay, Mark - Oak/OF: According to the Contra Costa Times, "The A's expected to have more information on Kotsay's back injury by this morning. He underwent further tests Tuesday in Southern California."
Blanton, Joe - Oak/P: As the Contra Costa Times reports, "Joe Blanton made his first Cactus League start. He allowed a long solo homer to Jason LaRue but struck out four in two innings. He shouted a four-letter sign of frustration after allowing a second-inning walk, then finished the inning by whiffing Joey Gathright and Angel Berroa. Blanton was originally scheduled to pitch Monday, but things were pushed back a day, as Blanton reportedly was behind due to shoulder soreness. He said Tuesday that he's fine physically."
Hermanson, Dustin - ChA/RP: As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, "Narron was impressed with right-hander Dustin Hermanson in a simulated game Tuesday morning. "He looked good," Narron said. "I was very pleased with the way he threw." Hermanson could be a day or two from pitching in a game. "We'll talk about it," Narron said. "I imagine he wants to get in a game." Hermanson signed a minor-league contract Saturday. He missed most of last season with back problems, but he has said the back feels great since arriving."
Griffey Jr., Ken - Cin/OF: As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, "Ken Griffey Jr. continues to take batting practice and continues to have soreness in the hand (left) he broke in the offseason. "It's day by day," Narron said. "I told him, 'On these travel days, if you feel like you're ready, we'll get you in."
Floyd, Cliff - ChN/OF: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "Outfielder Cliff Floyd, who has been held out of games as the club gives him extra time to make sure his surgically repaired left heel is completely healthy, has been told to expect to make his spring debut either Saturday or Sunday. ''[Friday] would be better,'' Floyd said, ''but I'll take [Saturday].''
Cotts, Neal - ChN/RP: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "Things should start to heat up this week in the battle for the lone opening in the Cubs' starting rotation as the three candidates pitch in succession Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And don't be surprised to see left-hander Neal Cotts give comeback candidates Mark Prior and Wade Miller a serious run for that job over the next couple of weeks. Manager Lou Piniella liked what he saw from Cotts in a sharp two-inning performance Monday, and the former White Sox reliever gets his first start of the spring Friday against Sammy Sosa's Texas Rangers in Surprise, Ariz. Prior has been getting most of the attention this spring as a favorite for the fifth-starter job, but he didn't pitch well Monday and didn't have competitive velocity. Piniella said Tuesday that the battle is wide open. He also said he has no problem having three lefties in his rotation should Cotts beat out Miller and Prior. ... Miller starts Thursday against the San Diego Padres, and Prior is scheduled to follow Ted Lilly on Saturday against the Padres. Piniella said the good news is that Prior had no soreness Tuesday morning, beyond typical next-day stiffness, after the 40-pitch start Monday, and he anticipates Prior's arm strength and maybe his velocity to improve as the spring goes on."
Vazquez, Javier - ChA/P: As the Arlington Daily Herald reports, "Starter Javier Vazquez suffered his second spring-training loss as he gave up 4 runs on 6 hits in 3 innings. He allowed run-scoring doubles to Garrett Atkins and Matt Holiday in the first inning and a 2-run triple to Kazuo Matsui in the second. Boone Logan continued to pitch well, working a scoreless eighth."
Gagne, Eric - Tex/RP: The Dallas Morning News reports that "After a 34-pitch session in the bullpen Tuesday, Rangers closer Eric Gagne said he'd be ready for opening day. ... Gagne, who is returning from elbow and back surgeries that have wrecked his last two seasons, went through his most rigorous throwing session of the spring. He threw breaking balls and change-ups."
Otsuka, Akinori - Tex/RP: The Dallas Morning News reports that "Setup man RHP Akinori Otsuka returned to his more traditional delivery Tuesday and had far better results. After a one-game experiment, Otsuka went back to the pause at the top of his delivery. "I tried the other way because I try every year to make some kind of change to the way I pitch," Otsuka said. "But it felt like it was putting too much pressure on my body when I went to the mound. It felt fine in the bullpen, but not in the game. Going back to my old delivery was much more comfortable." It showed. He retired the side in order, including old nemesis Ichiro Suzuki. The duo faced each other often in Japan, and Ichiro was 2-for-4 against Otsuka last season, including a game-tying hit in the ninth inning in Arlington on Sept. 19. After his one-inning outing Tuesday, Otsuka headed to San Diego to have a dental crown repaired. He is expected back in camp Thursday."
Devil Rays - TB/T: According to the Tampa Tribune, "Spring training is the time for experiments, and Rays manager Joe Maddon began tinkering a bit Tuesday. Maddon flip-flopped Carl Crawford and Delmon Young in the batting order, moving Crawford up behind leadoff man Rocco Baldelli. ... On cue, Young drove in Crawford in the first inning for the Rays' only run of the game."
Iwamura, Akinori - TB/3B: As the St. Petersburg Times reports, "Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura reached base for the first time this spring with a walk."
Shields, James - TB/P: According to the St. Petersburg Times, "James Shields made quick work of the Reds on Tuesday in his second spring appearance. The right-hander retired six of the seven batters he faced, striking out two and allowing one hit, mixing a cutter with his fastball and changeup to keep Cincinnati hitters off balance. It was a much easier outing than Shields' 18-pitch, one-inning debut Friday against the Yankees. ... After retiring the side in the first, Shields yielded a leadoff single to Adam Dunn to open the second, but he recovered to strike out Jeff Conine looking and Mark Bellhorn swinging before inducing a flyout to center."
Eckstein, David - StL/SS: As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, "Shortstop David Eckstein, who is dealing with a muscle problem in his side, swung a bat Tuesday but is at least several days away from facing live pitching. Eckstein has not appeared in a game since experiencing discomfort in last Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener."
Kennedy, Adam - StL/2B: According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "La Russa downplayed the possibility of second baseman Adam Kennedy seeing game action in the next several days. Kennedy, recovering from a strained side muscle, took batting practice against guest instructor Larry Walker Tuesday. "I don't want to go into a game without being absolutely confident," Kennedy said."
Molina, Yadier - StL/C: As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, "Yadier Molina started Tuesday's game after turning an ankle on the bases the day before. The Cardinals catcher showed no ill effects and labeled Monday's incident "no big deal."
Pujols, Albert - StL/1B: According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "The Cardinals got a major scare in Tuesday's third inning when first baseman Albert Pujols fell heavily on his left shoulder while diving for Nick Markakis' double. Pujols landed at the feet of umpire Joe West and stayed down for a long minute before waving off a trainer. Pujols' day ended after he crushed a long foul ball before doubling to right-center field in the sixth inning. "I don't need to be scared because I was fine," Pujols said. "We'll see tomorrow how I feel. I'm fine. I was concerned about swinging but I swung the bat without a problem."
Lopez, Jose - Sea/2B: The Seattle Times reports that "The Mariners plan to use second baseman Jose Lopez in Wednesday's game against the San Francisco Giants. Lopez hasn't played since spraining his ankle in a winter ball game in Venezuela back in January."
Ramirez, Horacio - Sea/P: As the Seattle Times reports, "Ramirez showed on Tuesday how a successful outing for him is supposed to look. He notched six ground ball outs over three scoreless innings of work, surviving some early control issues and not allowing any hits. ... After issuing a leadoff walk in the first inning, Ramirez made a sharp play racing off the mound to his right for a Frank Catalanotto roller in the grass. Ramirez picked it up, slipped a bit on the grass, but still fired a strike to first for the out. Ramirez also retired slugger Sammy Sosa, who had been 2-for-4 against Ramirez lifetime including a home run. Ramirez fanned him on a 2-2 pitch."
Sledge, Terrmel - SD/OF: The North County Times reports that "It's a small sample size, but left fielder Terrmel Sledge is off to a strong start ---- especially against left-handed pitching. Sledge, who's 4-for-9, has two home runs off left-handed pitchers and nearly had a third. "I feel comfortable against lefties," Sledge said. "I always have been. It's actually keeps the mind-set up the middle of the field. I'm not in pull mode like I might (against righties)."
Young, Chris - SD/P: The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that "Pitcher Chris Young had an efficient outing last night, throwing 41 pitches over three innings in the club's 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks. "All in all, I'll take it,"Young said. He allowed one run, a home run by reserve outfielder Scott Hairston."
Nady, Xavier - Pit/OF: The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that "Outfielder Xavier Nady could see his first game action of the spring "by the end of the week," Tracy said."
Bay, Jason - Pit/OF: As the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports, "Tracy confirmed that Jason Bay will make his spring debut today as a designated hitter."
Snell, Ian - Pit/P: According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "Starter Ian Snell struck out seven, but he wound up with a line of three runs, three hits and two walks in his three innings.
Gordon, Tom - Phi/RP: According to the Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News, "In Bradenton, Fla., closer Tom Gordon made his spring debut with a scoreless, nine-pitch eighth inning, dealing sharp fastballs and tight curves."
Glavine, Tom - NYN/P: As the Newark Star-Ledger reports, "Tom Glavine pitched effectively in his second Grapefruit League start, but it was not nearly as crisp as his first. The Mets ace -- who received permission from the team to take Friday and Saturday off last week -- pitched three innings and threw 56 pitches, but also allowed four hits and had to work out of several jams."
Mets - NYN/T: Offensively, minor league first baseman Mike Carp drilled a three-run double and a two-run double. After the game, Willie Randolph praised the 20-year-old Carp, saying, "He kind of reminds me a little bit of [former Yankee] Nick Johnson in his approach." Carp, who hails from Long Beach, Calif., was the Mets' minor league player of the year last season, hitting .287 with 17 homers in high-A St. Lucie. He believes he'll start this year at Double-A Binghamton. Top outfield prospect Carlos Gomez also hit his first homer of the spring, a solo shot."
Pavano, Carl - NYA/P: According to the New York Post, "Carl Pavano took his regular bullpen session yesterday and the word from Ron Guidry to Joe Torre was encouraging. "Gator said he was really good," Torre said of Pavano, who started Sunday and will go again Friday against the Devil Rays in Tampa. "I have a sense with the first [start] out of the way that will start him settling in."
Matsui, Hideki - NYA/OF: As the New York Post reports, "The Yankees (5-1) suffered their first loss yesterday when the Indians took a 6-5 decision. Kevin Reese went 3-for-4 with a homer. Hideki Matsui walked gingerly on his left knee after sliding into a base. Matsui, who ices the hinge daily, said he was OK."
Ford, Lew - Min/OF: As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, "Outfielder Lew Ford tested his injured right knee by doing some running and cutting drills. Ford, who has a slight meniscus tear, still is experiencing pain but it has not been determined whether he will have surgery."
Castillo, Luis - Min/2B: According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Second baseman Luis Castillo, who has missed four consecutive games with a sore back, told Gardenhire that he should be ready to play Thursday."
Garza, Matt - Min/P: The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that "The medical staff is in the process of scheduling pitcher Matt Garza to be evaluated by a neurologist, Gardenhire said. Garza has had neck pain and headaches for more than a week. The Twins' top pitching prospect also is to have a magnetic resonance imaging on his neck. He had a CT scan last week, and the test did not show anything abnormal. Garza, who is competing for a vacancy in the starting rotation, will remain out indefinitely."
Ortiz, Ramon - Min/P: The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that "The field staff has been impressed with Ortiz's physical shape and energy level. He was telling reporters about his daily morning one-hour running workouts with Silva around the Lee County Sports Complex and surrounding neighborhood. Ortiz's motor doesn't seem to stop running. Despite being Tuesday's starter, he went out for the morning workout and shagged balls on a practice field, manager Ron Gardenhire said."
Cordero, Francisco - Mil/RP: As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, "Closer Francisco Cordero, being brought along slowly in camp to avoid arm problems that plagued him last spring, pitched a couple of simulated innings before the morning workout. Infielders Ozzie Chavez and Yohannis Perez served as the hitters but neither made much contact against Cordero's offerings. "He looked pretty sharp," said pitching coach Mike Maddux. "He was making his pitches, hitting his spots. If he feels good (today) he'll go into the regular rotation (of relievers)." Cordero will pitch in his first exhibition game Friday against Kansas City."
Tankersley, Taylor - Fla/RP: As the Miami Herald reports, "Reliever Taylor Tankersley said he will have his left shoulder examined Friday and could resume throwing during the weekend. Tankersley has an inflammation in his pitching shoulder."
Maroth, Mike - Det/P: The Detroit News reports that "Mike Maroth has fully recovered from last year's surgery on his left elbow-- in his opinion. But he's fully recovered in his manager's opinion, as well. Maroth was sharp in a three-inning effort Tuesday, shutting out the Blue Jays on one hit and a walk."
Timlin, Mike - Bos/RP: As the Providence Journal reports, "Mike Timlin (oblique muscle) is expected to face hitters on the back field today before the Sox' game against the Mets. He hasn't thrown to hitters for more than a week because of the discomfort."
Pineiro, Joel - Bos/RP: The Providence Journal reports that "Pineiro, who had been shaky in his first two spring outings, looked much better yesterday in pitching a scoreless inning in Boston's 14-6, 10-inning victory over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Pineiro walked one and fanned one, taking over for Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fourth inning with the Sox on top, 1-0. ... Pineiro said he felt better about his mechanics, hoping he can start concentrating on his location and not his arm angle."
Matsuzaka, Daisuke - Bos/P: As the Baltimore Sun reports, "Daisuke Matsuzaka had an easy time in his first spring training outing against major leaguers. Matsuzaka, acquired in the offseason after starring in Japan, allowed two hits in three scoreless innings and struck out three yesterday for the Boston Red Sox in a 14-6 rout of the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, Fla."
Hampton, Mike - Atl/P: The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that "The best pitching news for the Braves came from back at their camp, where Mike Hampton had his second consecutive pain-free bullpen session. Cox announced the left-hander is tentatively scheduled to make his spring debut Saturday vs. Toronto at Disney's Wide World of Sports. He's coming back from elbow surgery and it's been 17 months since he last pitched in a game."
Lopez, Rodrigo - Col/P: According to the Arizona Daily Star, "Rodrigo Lopez, a lock for the Rockies starting rotation, worked two shutout innings before giving up three runs in the third - including a two-run home run to A.J. Pierzynski."
Webb, Brandon - Ari/P: The Arizona Daily Star reports that "Brandon Webb, who beat San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman in last year's Cy Young voting, walked three and allowed two runs and three hits in his team's 5-3 loss to the Padres on Tuesday. "Walking the three was kind of upsetting, but other than that, it was all right," said Webb, who added that his sinker wasn't quite sinking. "But it's spring training. We're just trying to get our mechanics and legs and just trying to go out there and throw strikes. I got my work in."
Furcal, Rafael - LAN/SS: According to the Los Angeles Times, "Shortstop Rafael Furcal, sidelined by a sore right shoulder since last week's Grapefruit League opener, has started swinging a bat and could return to the lineup by the weekend, probably as a designated hitter."
Hendrickson, Mark - LAN/P: The Los Angeles Times reports that "Left-hander Mark Hendrickson thrust himself into the middle of the competition for the final spot in the rotation with a solid effort against the Twins, striking out three in two innings. That followed a shaky performance in his first spring game last week when he gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. ... The Dodgers have at least six pitchers vying for the fifth spot in the rotation, including veterans Brett Tomko and Joe Mays, right-hander Chad Billingsley, left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo and rookie Eric Stults, who pitches tonight against the Florida Marlins. ... Jason Schmidt also looked good in his second spring start, giving up a run and two hits but striking out three in two innings. Both Schmidt and Hendrickson will be extended to three innings in their next outings."
Weaver, Jered - LAA/P: The Los Angeles Times reports that "Jered Weaver (biceps tendinitis) long-tossed at 160 feet Monday and was on track to throw off a mound Friday for the first time this spring, but the right-hander suffered a minor setback when he missed Tuesday's workout because of flu-like symptoms. It appears Weaver will miss at least one start to begin the season."
Colon, Bartolo - LAA/P: According to the Los Angeles Times, "Bartolo Colon threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since July 26, when his 2006 season ended because of a rotator-cuff tear, and while the right-hander wasn't near peak form, he looked comfortable and strong, his delivery effortless. ... While Colon took a big step in Tempe Diablo Stadium on Tuesday morning, the left-hander who will replace him in the rotation to start the season, Joe Saunders, gave up two runs and five hits in three innings of the Angels' 8-4 exhibition loss to San Francisco in Scottsdale Stadium. Reggie Willits, continuing his strong bid for a reserve outfield spot, had a double and a single, giving him four hits in seven at-bats, and made an outstanding running catch of Rich Aurilia's drive to deep center in the fifth. The Angels thought Colon would return in late May, but he reached the mound about two weeks ahead of schedule. Barring setbacks, the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner could return by late April. Colon will increase his pitch count and intensity level in three or four more bullpen sessions before moving on to batting practice and simulated games. The hope is for him to pitch in a Cactus League game by the end of March."