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Monday, March 19, 2007
Around the Cactus League news services

Texas Rangers: Right-hander Thomas Diamond, taken by Texas with the 10th pick of the 2004 amateur draft, will have elbow-ligament replacement surgery Tuesday and miss the rest of the season.

Diamond was the Rangers' minor league pitcher of the year in 2005, his first professional season, when he led the team's farm system in wins (13), ERA (3.53) and strikeouts (169 in 150 1-3 innings).

Last year, Diamond led the Double-A Texas League with 145 strikeouts and tied for the league lead with 12 wins, going 12-5 with a 4.24 ERA.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Elsewhere in the Cactus League:

Chicago Cubs: Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster, their closer, is scheduled to pitch one inning Tuesday in Tucson against the Colorado Rockies. Dempster has not pitched since March 13 because of spasms near his right shoulder blade. Dempster described the injury as a "knot" in the muscle.

Kansas City Royals: Royals INF Angel Sanchez, who has been bothered by a sore elbow, will have an MRI on Tuesday.

RHP Luke Hudson did not throw Monday because of tightness in his shoulder, but manager Buddy Bell said he is not expected to miss a start.

Oakland Athletics: Esteban Loaiza made his first start for the Athletics on Monday since leaving a relief appearance March 9 against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale with shoulder tightness. The right-hander was able to throw 86 pitches in 5 1/3 innings in an 11-4 Cactus League loss to the San Diego Padres.

Seattle Mariners: Kenji Johjima has been bothered by a tender throwing elbow and Milwaukee took advantage on Sunday, twice successfully stealing on the Mariners' second-year catcher. Johjima also committed a throwing error during a rundown.

This season's defensive coach is John McLaren, who has returned to Seattle as manager Mike Hargrove's bench coach, after serving the same role under Lou Piniella with the Mariners from 1998-2002. One of McLaren's first tasks has been working with Johjima.

"We're working to make a few adjustments with Kenji," McLaren said Monday morning after batting practice. "Overall, he made an amazing adjustment coming over here last year, and he is very intelligent. He'll be fine, and I see him as an all-star in the future."

With Johjima's throwing, McLaren noticed a problem. In Japan, McLaren said Johjima threw from several different arm angles. Now, McLaren wants Johjima to throw strictly over-the-top, but the tender elbow, has prevented Johjima from cutting loose.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.