Monday, February 19, 2007
Updated: February 20, 3:01 AM ET
Around the Grapefruit League
ESPN.com news services
New York Mets: Carlos Beltran wants to be on the
run a lot more this season for the Mets.
Two years removed from stealing 42 bases, the All-Star
outfielder intends to be more of a base-stealing threat after
swiping just 18 a year ago.
"I know that if I'm healthy and I have no pain in my knees and
all of that, I'll be able to do that," Beltran said Monday after
he reported to Tradition Field to take some light batting practice.
Mets manager Willie Randolph said Beltran could have more stolen
bases than even shortstop Jose Reyes by the end of the season.
Reyes had 64 last year and has led the National League in each of
the last two seasons.
"He could steal 40-to-50 bases easy, and I say easy if he's feeling healthy," Randolph said of Beltran.
Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:
Houston Astros: Outfielders Chris Burke, Jason Lane and Luke Scott arrived at camp Monday, two days before position players are due to report.
Burke will play center field after Willy Taveras was traded to Colorado. Lane and Scott will compete for the starting right field position.
Atlanta Braves: Mike Gonzalez made it through an entire
season without blowing a lead. Not one.
Twenty-four chances. Twenty-four saves.
Now, after being traded to the Atlanta Braves, one of baseball's
most effective closers is facing the possibility of a
less-glamorous role. He might be the one who comes into the game an
inning or two earlier, leaving the glory of those final three outs
to someone else.
"Obviously, the numbers don't lie. They obviously know I can
close. That's not the question," the left-hander said Monday.
"But if they ask me to go out there and be a setup man, then I'm
going to go out there and be the best setup man they've got."
Philadelphia Phillies: Shortstop Jimmy Rollins was the last starting position player
to report to camp, though he didn't work out. The entire team
practices for the first time on Tuesday. ... All-Star second baseman
Chase Utley somewhat bulked up to 204 pounds. Utley finished last season
around 185 pounds and appeared worn down, but that didn't affect
his hitting. He had 10 of his 32 homers in September.
Cincinnati Reds: Cream-colored slacks and a long-sleeve
striped shirt covered the much-talked about tattoos that will
always remind Josh Hamilton of the troubled period that derailed
his promising baseball career.
"There were many times I thought I wouldn't play again," the
25-year-old outfielder said Monday, recounting a bout with drug
addiction that hurt his development with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
and eventually landed him with the Cincinnati Reds.
Plans are already in place to shield Hamilton from some of the
temptations that undermined him in the past. He doesn't carry cash,
he and his wife brought one car to Florida for spring training, and
Hamilton says he'll even have someone hold his meal money on the
road during the season.
"It's not that I need to be baby-sat," Hamilton said. "I
trust myself, but it's just things I need in place."
Baltimore Orioles: Shortstop Miguel Tejada arrived at camp early Monday morning and vowed to be "a
different Miguel" this season.
Tejada drew criticism from within the organization,
though much of it in hushed tones, for sometimes failing to run out
grounders and being the last player to arrive at the ballpark most
"I'm going to be totally different," Tejada said after taking
his physical exam. "I'm going to be more on time. I don't want to
say that I'm not on time, but I'm going to be one of the first
ones. ... every day I'm going to be one of the first ones to get to
"I'm hungry to win," Tejada continued. "And I'm going to try
to do everything I can to make this team win."
Detroit Tigers: Ivan Rodriguez worked out with the Tigers, took a shower and changed his clothes.
The 13-time All-Star catcher was probably going to need another
Rodriguez -- holding a pair of track spikes -- planned to run
200-meter sprints at a track and lift weights for 90 minutes later
in the day. His conditioning regime also includes riding a bicycle
about 40 miles a few days a week.
Minnesota Twins: Ramon Ortiz was the only pitcher among
30 invited to camp who wasn't present for Monday's first official
workout because his visa approval was delayed -- a common problem
for players who live in Latin America.
Manager Ron Gardenhire expected to see the right-hander by
Wednesday or Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.