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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Around the Cactus League news services

Texas Rangers: An incredible bargain for the Texas Rangers at about $3.5 million this season, three-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young said after arriving at camp that he's concentrating on the season and not his contract, though there have been some talks between the team and his agent about a new deal.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels wouldn't go into specifics about any contract discussions regarding Young.

"The only thing I'm going to say at this point is that we certainly recognize how important Michael is to this team and to our community back home," Daniels said. "Certainly, we want to have him for some time."

Two lockers down from Young, switch-hitting slugger and past All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira also made his first appearance in camp, two days before the first full-squad workout.

Teixeira signed a $15.4 million, two-year contract and avoided salary arbitration before last season, but will be eligible for arbitration again after this season.

"I don't even think about that right now," Teixeira said. "We have too many good things going on here to be distracted by contract issues."

Elsewhere in the Cactus League:

Chicago Cubs: Manager Lou Piniella said he was "embarrassed" when reports that he would replace New York Yankees manager Joe Torre circulated in October, and there was never any truth to them.

"There was nothing to it," he said.

With several New York reporters at Cubs camp, the subject came up on Wednesday. Piniella "purposely" did not see owner George Steinbrenner during the offseason until they went to lunch two weeks ago -- even though they both live in Tampa -- because he didn't want people to get the wrong idea. "Now, I can go have lunch with him anytime I want," said Piniella, a former Yankees manager.

Colorado Rockies: Manager Clint Hurdle said new acquisition Willy Taveras will more than likely hit at the top of the order.

"We want Willy in the best position to have the most success," Hurdle said.

Taveras came to Colorado in the December trade with the Houston Astros for Jason Jennings.

Kazuo Matsui is also being considered for the leadoff spot but will more than likely be second in the order, Hurdle said.

Los Angeles Angels: The Los Angeles Angels said Wednesday that prized shortstop prospect Brando Wood will work part-time at third base this spring.

Wood was to take infield practice at third on Thursday and will be switched from shortstop to third base every other day, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The Angels also announced that they have signed five players for the season: second baseman Howie Kendrick; first baseman Casey Kotchman; catcher Jeff Mathis; right-handed pitcher Dustin Moseley and left-handed pitcher Phil Seibel.

San Diego Padres: Todd Greene, a non-roster invitee, dislocated his right shoulder during a drill and likely will miss the remainder of spring training.

"It's just a freakish thing," manager Bud Black said. "It was the most benign of drills."

The injury removes a right-handed bat off the bench. Greene hit .289 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 61 games for the San Francisco Giants last year.

San Francisco Giants: Closer Armando Benitez faced hitters for the first time since Sept. 2, when he took the mound against a group that included Barry Bonds, Roberts, Randy Winn and Rich Aurilia.

"I feel like I am at 80-85 percent," said Benitez, whose season was cut short due to knee inflammation. "More important, I don't feel any pain and I used my legs."

Also, Omar Vizquel would like to set up an informal meeting this spring to discuss getting an extension on his expiring contract, though Giants general manager Brian Sabean isn't ready to commit to such discussions with the 11-time Gold Glove shortstop.

The Giants' top prospect at shortstop is Emmanuel Burris, a switch-hitter selected 33rd overall in last year's draft as compensation for losing lefty reliever Scott Eyre in free agency.