Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MLB Spring Training [Print without images]

Sunday, March 15, 2009


MILLER TO HAVE FINGER EXAMINED (10:12 p.m. ET)
Cleveland Indians prospect Adam Miller will have his right middle finger examined by a doctor on Monday and manager Eric Wedge said the right-hander won't break camp with the team.

It's another setback for Miller, whose development has been delayed by one injury after another. Despite an overpowering fastball when healthy, Cleveland's first-round draft pick in 2003 has never pitched in the majors.

"We're going to get a good look at him Monday and Tuesday just to find out if and how serious it is," Wedge said. "It is kind of a funky thing. We are not sure what it is right now. It is disappointing to everybody, especially Adam."

Miller was supposed to play catch Sunday, but rested instead.

"There's no pain, no swelling, but I can't bend the tip of the finger and it just doesn't feel normal," said Miller, who came to spring training seeking a spot in the bullpen.

Miller had missed 10 days of throwing with soreness in the finger before playing catch from 75 feet on Friday.

"Everything was OK then, until I felt just a little something on my last toss," he said. "So I'm going to see a physician in Scottsdale and then my surgeon from Baltimore will be here Tuesday."

Dr. Tom Graham operated on Miller's finger on May 27 and was scheduled to come out to Indians camp anyway.

"I had no problems during my throwing program in the fall and pitching winter ball," Miller said. "It feels like the same thing I had in 2007, but not to the same extent."

BEDARD READY TO START AGAIN (9:27 p.m. ET)
Seattle left-hander Erik Bedard will start Monday's split-squad game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and is expected to pitch one inning.

Bedard missed his last start and postponed two bullpen sessions because of sore buttocks. But he threw 30 pitches during a bullpen session Saturday and was cleared to resume pitching in games.

"I think Bedard's fine," manager Don Wakamatsu said Sunday. "If everything goes well and there's no other setbacks, I think he'll be fine."

Brandon Morrow, another ailing Seattle pitcher, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday. The right-hander has been out with forearm stiffness.

If all goes well, Seattle will increase Morrow's workload before getting him back into a game. The Mariners are counting on the 24-year-old to be a member of their rotation, but so far he has appeared in only one Cactus League game this spring, on March 1.

"If we can stretch him out a little bit and there's no problems with his forearm, we'll see how fast we can take him along," Wakamatsu said.

CONTRERAS SOLID IN DEBUT (8:13 p.m. ET)
It's been a busy week for Jose Contreras.

The Chicago White Sox right-hander left Arizona for Florida where he was formally sworn in as a United States citizen on Wednesday then returned to the desert to pitch two shutout innings against Seattle in his Cactus League debut.

White Sox beat the Mariners 15-5 on Sunday.

It's the first time Contreras has pitched in a game since rupturing his Achilles tendon last August.

"I feel good and strong," Contreras said, speaking without an interpreter. "It wasn't a surprise for me. I've been working hard for the last seven months, you know? I feel good."

Contreras struck out Seattle leadoff hitter Chris Woodward and got Ken Griffey Jr. looking. After giving up a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre in the second, Contreras fanned Russell Branyan and Mike Morse before getting Prentice Redman to ground out to end the inning.

"He should be fresh," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said of Contreras. "He was throwing 93, 94, caught a couple corners. His arm is in as great shape as it can be."

The White Sox have kept Contreras on a controlled schedule this spring in hopes of avoiding a setback. He threw 50 pitches in batting practice on Thursday then started against Seattle.

Asked if he would be ready by April 10 when his spot in the rotation comes up, Contreras smiled.

"I'm ready," he said. "I'm ready right now."

SANCHEZ GETS SHOT WITH PADRES (4:18 p.m. ET)
Duaner Sanchez, released by the Mets earlier this week, agreed to a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.

The right-hander will get a chance to make the team's bullpen out of spring training and could fill a specialty setup spot in front of closer Heath Bell.

Sanchez separated a shoulder in a taxi accident on July 30, 2006, and had season-ending surgery. He missed the 2007 season following a hairline fracture in the front of his shoulder during spring training and returned to the majors last April 15.

PAGAN REMAINS POSITIVE (4:07 p.m. ET)
New York Mets outfielder Angel Pagan is planning to return to the field quickly after another disappointing injury.

Pagan had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. The Mets estimate Pagan will be out for six to eight weeks but he feels he is on a faster track than that.

"I have pretty good motion in it right now," said Pagan, turning his bandaged arm inward and outward in the clubhouse Sunday morning.

Pagan had an MRI in New York last Monday, met with team doctors Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, then returned to New York for the operation. He hit .467 with two RBIs in five exhibition games.

The injury stalled the progress of the outfielder, who Mets manager Jerry Manuel said needed at-bats to showcase himself this spring.

DECISION TIME FOR MAROTH (4:06 p.m. ET)
Left-hander Mike Maroth has a decision to make after the Blue Jays designated him to their minor league camp Sunday.

Maroth, 31, is trying to return from a left shoulder injury and was hoping to snag one of the vacancies in Toronto's starting rotation.

He either can accept the minor league assignment or request his release so he can attempt to hook up with another team. He said he will talk to his agent before making a decision on his future.

"You're always in the mix until you get sent down or shipped out," Maroth said, according to MLB.com. "You don't think otherwise, but obviously you have to perform. This game is about performance. It's not about what you've done in your past or anything like that.

"You have to get outs, and obviously, I'm a much better pitcher than what I've shown in spring so far. I think that just comes with getting that repetition and getting back on the mound and getting some innings at this point."

ZUMAYA DOUBTFUL FOR OPENER (4:00 p.m. ET)
As Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya undergoes treatment for a muscle cramp, the likelihood of him being available for Opening Day is diminishing.

"I doubt very much whether he's going to be ready for Opening Day unless something happens in a hurry," manager Jim Leyland said, according to MLB.com. "That's just the way it is."

Zumaya hasn't pitched in a game since March 2. The Tigers' medical staff has him on a medication pack that it hopes will resolve the cramp that Zumaya is experiencing between his neck and right shoulder.

Leyland said Zumaya's history of injuries make it unlikely the hard-throwing Zumaya will be ready in time to start the season.

"I only say that because he really hasn't pitched for two years," Leyland said, according to MLB.com. "If he had been pitching the last two years and then had a little setback like this, he might be able to get himself ready. But when a guy hasn't pitched for that long, let me put it this way: It's in the gray area now, unless something happens."

BRAVES RELEASE STOCKMAN (2:25 p.m. ET)
The Atlanta Braves have released right-handed reliever Phil Stockman.

The 6-foot-8 Aussie put up some impressive numbers during his tenure with the Braves, but wildness and persistent injuries plagued his development. Atlanta placed the 29-year-old Stockman on unconditional release waivers Sunday after he pitched only one inning in spring training.

Stockman got in 10 games for the Braves over the last three years. He had an ERA of 0.79 in 11 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and eight walks while striking out 13.

Last year at Triple-A Richmond, Stockman pitched in 19 games. He went 1-1 with two saves and a 2.10 ERA in 30 innings.

INDIANS CUT THREE PITCHERS (11:33 a.m. ET)
The Cleveland Indians have cut veteran right-hander Tomo Ohka and two other pitchers.

Ohka was in camp as a non-roster invitee. He and left-hander Ryan Edell were sent to Cleveland's minor league training camp on Sunday. Left-hander Rich Rundles was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

The Indians now have 59 players in camp.

Ohka, who will turn 33 on Wednesday, made three spring training appearances. He allowed 14 hits and 10 runs, six of them earned, in 3 2/3 innings.

He was signed to a minor league deal in December after spending 2008 at Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox' system, going 5-11 with a 4.18 ERA.

UTLEY PLAYS FOUR INNINGS (11:23 a.m. ET)
Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, played in a minor league intrasquad game at Philadelphia's training complex Saturday.

He went 2-for-4 and struck out twice.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he couldn't predict when Utley would play in a major league game until he sees how he feels after playing on Saturday.

"It's great to have him back on the field," Amaro said. He knows Utley wants to get back quickly, but also doesn't want to rush back and cause more problems.

"Chase is smart enough to understand that this is something he has to be careful with," Amaro said.

TEJADA WILLING TO SWITCH POSITIONS (11:17 a.m. ET)
In the past, Miguel Tejada has been hesistant to play any position but shortstop. But after playing third base for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, his stance has changed.

"Wherever they want me, I'll be there 100 percent," Tejada said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "If they want me to move to third, I'll do it. I just want to be here. I'm a free agent after this year, and the No. 1 thing for me is that I want to be here."

However, manager Cecil Cooper says he hasn't thought about switching Tejada to third base. The team's plan currently is to platoon Aaron Boone and Geoff Blum at the position.

"[Tejada is] my shortstop," Cooper said, according to the Chronicle. "Who am I going put at shortstop if I don't put him there? Who's my shortstop if he doesn't play? You can't even find one any better. He's one of the tops in the game. "

ORIOLES SHUT DOWN RIGHTY JOHNSON (10:54 a.m. ET)
The Orioles have shut down right-hander Jim Johnson for at least a week while they try to determine the cause of discomfort in his right shoulder.

Johnson noticed it during the last couple of pitches of his last outing on Wednesday, and again when he was lifting weights after that game. He says the pain is identical to the impingement syndrome in his right shoulder that put him on the disabled list for the final five weeks of last season.

He will be limited to conditioning work for the next week or so, but believes he can be ready for opening day April 6.

Johnson was one of Baltimore's most reliable bullpen arms last season, going 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA in 54 games without allowing a home run as the team's primary setup man.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.