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Sunday, March 14, 2010
Spring Training Blog: March 14


A'S CHAVEZ CONTINUES TRANSITION TO FIRST (8:23 p.m. ET)

Playing in two consecutive games for the first time since last April, Eric Chavez handled seven chances at first base flawlessly Sunday in Oakland's 10-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Chavez, who was 0-for-3 at the plate, will sit out two days and then play in two consecutive games again. He said that will be his first real test of the spring.

"It was better than I thought and that's a good sign," Chavez said. "Obviously the next time I go back-to-back will be another hurdle. I'll let my body recover and get ready for two more."

The six-time Gold Glove third baseman is changing positions after season-ending back surgery last June. Chavez moved capably around first base Sunday in his fifth appearance there. He had made one regular-season appearance at first in 2001.

-- ESPN.com news services

PADRES' YOUNG SOLID IN SECOND START (8:19 p.m. ET)

Chris Young had his second straight solid start in his comeback from a shoulder injury in the San Diego Padres' 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

Young, whose season ended in June last year, allowed five hits and two runs over 3 2/3 innings.

A healthy Young is penciled in as San Diego's No. 1 starter.

"I liked Chris' increased stamina," said Padres manager Bud Black. "His pitch count was in the mid-60s, his fastball was consistently in the high 80s, which is good for him at this time of year, and he had his best stuff in his last 20 pitches.

"He used all his pitches -- fastball, curve, slider and change, especially working on the slider. He got a lot accomplished."

-- ESPN.com news services

KING FELIX GETS THROUGH SHAKY SPRING DEBUT (7:20 p.m. ET)

Although shaky at times, Felix Hernandez was sharp when he needed to be in his spring debut.

The Seattle ace pitched out of early trouble, allowing four hits over 2 2/3 innings in the Mariners' 5-4 loss to Colorado on Sunday.

This spring, the Mariners have been slowly bringing along Hernandez, who won 19 games last year and finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting.

Before Sunday, Hernandez had thrown just two simulated games. He was on a 50-pitch count against Colorado, but went three over as manager Don Wakamatsu allowed him to throw into the third.

-- ESPN.com news services

JAYS GM: NO AGREEMENT WITH 21-YEAR OLD CUBAN SS (6:00 p.m. ET)

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos wouldn't deny he's interested in Cuban defector Adeinis Hechavarria, but he declined to comment on a published report that the team might be close to signing the shortstop for $10 million.

The New York Post reported Sunday the Jays were closing in on the talented 21-year-old prospect.

"If there's a report that says we have an agreement, then we don't have any agreement," Anthopoulos said. Asked about the accuracy of the report in the New York Post, he replied: "I don't want to lie and I don't want to comment."

Toronto has had six different opening day shortstops in the past eight seasons and last year's, Marco Scutaro, signed as a free agent with Boston.

-- The Associated Press

PORCELLO'S SPRING SCORELESS STREAK HITS 9 INNINGS (5:07 p.m. ET)

Rick Porcello pitched four scoreless innings and rookie Austin Jackson tripled twice as Detroit beat Tampa Bay 9-6 on Sunday.

Porcello, a 21-year-old right-hander who won 14 games in 2009 as a rookie, has yet to allow a run in nine exhibition innings.

"I felt pretty good," Porcello said. "I'm doing a better job of getting ahead. I'm trying to get a good mix of pitches in there and keep them off-balance."

Porcello faced 15 batters, giving up two hits while striking out one and walking two in an efficient, if not overpowering effort.

-- The Associated Press

TWINS' MAUER HELD OUT AGAIN (5:07 p.m. ET)

The Twins held catcher Joe Mauer out for the second game with a sore right shoulder.

Mauer missed the Twins 5-4 loss to the Phillies on Saturday with the same ailment. He said the injury is not a concern and that he would've played if this were the regular season. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also scratched first baseman Justin Morneau from the lineup with general soreness.

"We decided to shut them down for a couple of days," Gardenhire said. "We're not going to push it. It's not going to happen."

-- ESPN.com news services

SICK BECKETT SITS OUT START (5:01 p.m. ET)

Boston Red Sox righty Josh Beckett did not make his scheduled start Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. A Boston spokesperson said he had been scratched due to illness.

Right-hander Ryne Miller, who finished last season with in Double-A Portland, was summoned from minor league camp to make the start in Beckett's place.

"He'll pitch again on his normal day," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Beckett. "It might cost him getting stretched out by one inning. He wasn't feeling well. He'll just stay right on his schedule. The biggest thing is for him to get himself better."

The Red Sox beat the Twins 6-4.

-- ESPN.com news services

ROYALS' ANKIEL (ANKLE) OUT AT LEAST A WEEK (3:52 p.m. ET)

Kansas City Royals outfielder Rick Ankiel will miss at least a week of spring training with a right ankle injury.

Manager Trey Hillman said Sunday he would hold Ankiel out of spring training games for another six to seven days with the sore right ankle. Ankiel was scratched from the lineup Friday with the injury and Hillman was optimistic Ankiel could return after a couple of days rest, but the Royals opted to give him additional time off.

"He doesn't know how it happened," Hillman said. "It was a little bit sore the day before [Friday]. That's a mystery to me. I don't think there is anything specific that triggered it."

The Royals signed Ankiel as a free agent on Jan. 25 to be the starting center fielder. He has hit .214 in six exhibition games with a home run, triple and four RBIs.

-- The Associated Press

BLUE JAYS' MCGOWAN THROWS SIMULATED GAME (3:34 p.m. ET)

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan has pitched his second simulated game, throwing 44 pitches over two innings.

Barring any right shoulder soreness in the next two days, he expects to throw 50-60 pitches Friday in a game against Blue Jays minor leaguers.

McGowan last pitched in a regular-season game July 8, 2008, before undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. He sat out the 2009 season because of setbacks in rehabilitation, one requiring left knee surgery. He is likely to start the season on the disabled list.

-- The Associated Press

MCPHERSON AMONG A'S REASSIGNED TO MINORS (2:50 p.m. ET)

Former major league infielder Dallas McPherson was among the 10 players the Oakland Athletics reassigned to their minor league camp on Sunday.

The team also reassigned right-handed pitchers Sam Demel and Matt Wright, left-handed pitcher Cedrick Bowers, catchers Joel Galarraga and Max Stassi, and infielders Grant Green, Jemile Weeks, Matt Whitney and Corey Wimberly.

The Athletics have 53 players remaining in camp with the 40-man roster and 13 non-roster invitees. The breakdown includes 27 pitchers, four catchers, 12 infielders and 10 outfielders.

"Right now [Kevin] Kouzmanoff is going to start to play a lot more and we're going to use Daric Barton and Eric Chavez at first more often, so we wanted Dallas to keep his at-bats up," A's manager Bob Geren said.

Chavez was scheduled to play in back-to-back games for the first time Monday when the A's host the Kansas City Royals. Geren said it was a planned progression but that it did signal a significant point in Chavez's recovery from shoulder and back issues.

Also, right-hander Justin Duchscherer was bumped back a day to give him a chance to throw a full bullpen session. He will throw in a minor league game on Wednesday.

-- The Associated Press

INDIANS CLOSER WOOD NOT WORRIED (1:27 p.m. ET)

Kerry Wood says he's not worried about missing any more time with the Cleveland Indians because of a sore back.

The veteran closer says missing an outing Saturday was just precautionary. He said the soreness would not have kept him from pitching in a regular season game.

Wood is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday and return to the mound Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

The 32-year-old right-hander missed a few days of spring training a year ago with some back soreness, but went through the 2009 season without a trip to the disabled list. Wood made 12 trips to the DL with various arm ailments and surgeries in 11 years with the Chicago Cubs. He signed a two-year, $20.5 million deal with Cleveland in 2008.

-- The Associated Press