Category archive: Joe Beimel


Joe Beimel rejoined the Rockies and set his sights on Opening Day. The club just wants the left-hander to concentrate on getting ready.

Beimel passed his physical Tuesday and signed a minor league contract, adding to Colorado's depth in the bullpen. Whether he can be ready in time for Opening Day is still in question.

"Maybe that turns out to be," general manager Dan O'Dowd said before the Rockies lost 9-6 to the Padres, "but that's not what we're going into this for. We're trying to win a World Series. We're not just trying to get a major league pitcher. We want him to be right to help us -- put him in the best position to help our club and help ourself."

The Rockies are off Wednesday and manager Jim Tracy expects to meet with Beimel on Thursday. Tracy isn't planning on Beimel breaking camp with the Rockies but didn't rule it out.

"I won't sit here and 100 percent tell you that won't happen," Tracy said, "but I don't how feasible that is."

Beimel, who turns 33 on April 19, said he has been throwing daily since December and throwing off a mound every other day, up to 50 to 55 pitches.

-- The Associated Press


Aramis Ramirez, who had not played since March 13 because of a right triceps injury, returned as the Cubs designated hitter and went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Chicago's 5-5 tie with the Royals. Ramirez is hoping to play third base by Friday.

"Soon as I can," he said. "I don't want to waste any more time. We're only a couple weeks away. As soon as I'm ready to try it the first time, I'm going to be playing third base."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Ramirez could have played third if this were a regular-season game.

"Probably," Ramirez said. "Right now, I don't want to take a chance, but I'll be ready. I don't need 30 more at-bats. I need five more and I'll be ready to go."

-- The Associated Press


Jim Edmonds' comeback took another positive step as the 39-year-old drove in five runs to lead the Brewers to a 10-2 win over the Indians.

Edmonds hit a three-run homer off Jeremy Sowers in a four-run first inning and a two-run single off Jensen Lewis in a five-run second.

Edmonds, a 16-year veteran outfielder with 382 career homers and eight Gold Gloves, is on a minor league contract after sitting out last season.

"A guy who hasn't played for a year needs at-bats and I'm trying to get him some," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "He went the other way off that lefty for the double. That was good to see because he's been pulling [the ball] too much."

Macha said Edmonds is still a good outfielder. The Brewers also have veteran outfielders Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Jody Gerut along with Carlos Gomez, acquired in an offseason trade from Minnesota -- further limiting possible at-bats if Edmonds does make the team.

-- The Associated Press


Left-hander Brett Anderson pitched five simulated innings against minor leaguers Tuesday after a stiff neck forced him to miss his scheduled start a day earlier.

Anderson threw 80 pitches during the hour-long workout, mixing his fastball and curve with an increasingly efficient changeup that impressed A's pitching coach Curt Young.

"From the view I had you can't throw the baseball much better for executing," said Young, who watched Anderson while standing near second base. "It was a great day for him. The one thing he needs to work on, and he knows he needs to work on, is his changeup factor."

Anderson was supposed to start Monday's game against Seattle but was pushed back because of a stiff neck that first began bothering the 22-year-old over the weekend.

Oakland had a day off Tuesday, so Anderson got his work in at the team's minor league camp less than a mile away from the A's spring training facilities. He had seven strikeouts and walked one and allowed three hits.

"I felt good, really good today," Anderson said. "I was trying to feature my changeup a little bit. My last couple of outings I want to incorporate more of my breaking balls like I would throw in a game, so my next outing will be key in that aspect."

-- The Associated Press


Matt Cain pitched into the seventh inning in an impressive start, leading the Giants to a 6-1 victory over the White Sox.

Cain yielded three hits and an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings, helping San Francisco improve to a majors-best 16-6 this spring.

Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina each had two doubles and drove in a run for the Giants, who finished with seven doubles.

-- The Associated Press


The Royals are hoping Gil Meche's stiff right shoulder won't cause him to miss any starts. Meche was scheduled to throw 75 pitches and go five innings Monday but left early. He came out after 56 pitches and three innings because of stiffness in his shoulder and neck.

Manager Trey Hillman says it's doubtful that Meche will have his normal bullpen session Wednesday. While the Royals' rotation is thin, Hillman says there are no plans to look outside the organization for another starter.

Meche is in the fourth year of a five-year, $55 million contract. He was limited to 23 starts and 129 innings last season because of shoulder and back problems. He started only four games after the All-Star break with an 8.14 ERA.

Meche is slated to be the Royals' No. 2 starter behind 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, but that is in jeopardy to begin the season.

If Meche were healthy, Brian Bannister, Luke Hochevar and Kyle Davies would probably fill out the final three rotation slots, but they were a combined 22-34 last season.

Kyle Farnsworth, who has not started since 2000 with the Cubs, and Robinson Tejeda, who made six starts in September after spending most of the year in the bullpen, are rotation candidates.

-- The Associated Press


The Mets are losing their tradition. Tradition Field, the team's spring training home, was renamed Digital Domain Park.

The ballpark was known as Thomas J. White Stadium when it opened in 1988, named after a local politician, and was renamed Tradition Field in February 2004 under a 10-year agreement with Core Communities. That company operates Tradition, a 16,000-home community in the area.

The new naming-rights deal is with Digital Domain Holdings Corp., the parent of the Digital Domain visual effects studio in Venice, Calif. It includes provisions for programming at New York's Citi Field and its scoreboard on some dates.

Digital Domain is planning to open a studio in Port St. Lucie.

-- The Associated Press


Ryan Howard is ready to break camp. The big first baseman hit a pair of solo drives off Matt Garza to help the Phillies beat the Rays 4-3.

"I'm pretty anxious to get up north and get things started," Howard said.

Howard and Shane Victorino connected in the fourth inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Howard went deep again in the sixth to put Philadelphia ahead 3-2. The All-Star slugger is batting .356 with three homers and eight RBIs in 16 games this spring.

"I put a couple of good swings on the ball today," Howard said. "That's what you work for all spring training, you just take things in stride and try to peak at the right time going into the season."

Jimmy Rollins and Greg Dobbs each had two hits for the Phillies, and Brian Schneider had a game-ending sacrifice fly. Rollins is hitting .313 (15-for-48) in 16 games this spring.

Joe Blanton pitched 5 1/3 innings for the Phillies, yielding two runs and four hits. The right-hander hasn't thrown his slider in a game yet but expects to incorporate it during his last two exhibition starts.

-- The Associated Press


Oliver Perez was pulled after walking consecutive batters in the fifth inning, part of a shaky outing in the Mets' 7-6 victory over the Braves.

Perez allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. The erratic left-hander struggled with his command at times, walking four batters.

New York is counting on Perez to bounce back this season after struggling last year.

-- The Associated Press


Felipe Paulino made progress toward locking up the fifth spot in the Astros' starting rotation, pitching five strong innings in an 11-1 win over the Pirates. Paulino gave up one run and seven hits. He struck out six and walked just one.

"That's what I'm looking for," he said. "All spring training, my mechanics have been getting better. All the work I've done is coming together. The ball was coming real smooth out of my hand."

The 26-year-old Paulino and veteran Brian Moehler are vying for the last rotation spot. Astros management would seem to prefer that Paulino, who is younger and has a livelier arm, wins the battle, but his control issues this spring have made them think twice. He came into the game with a 6.00 ERA in three outings, with six walks in six innings.

Paulino has been working on staying closed as he delivers the ball, which helps boost his velocity. He's also been trying to maintain a consistent release point.

"Last year, I just used my slider and fastball in spring training," Paulino said. "This year, it's been different. I've tried to use all my pitches -- my two-seamer, my four-seamer, my curveball, my slider, my changeup. That's made me a better pitcher. All my pitches were working today."

"I'm just trying to do the best I can," he said. "It's not my decision. The Astros have waited for me the last two years, so I know I have to do something better this year."

-- The Associated Press


Jon Garland has thrown 30 pitches in a bullpen session and is set to start for the San Diego Padres in an exhibition game Friday.

Garland hasn't pitched in a game since March 16 because of what manager Bud Black calls a cranky shoulder. The Padres gave him four days off before he resumed playing catch over the weekend.

"I threw all the pitches. My last five or six, I cut the fastball, let it loose," Garland said. "Everything feels good. That's just something we'll have to keep an eye on and make sure it doesn't get like that and it'll be good for another 200 innings."

Garland went a combined 11-13 in 33 starts for the Dodgers and Arizona last year. The right-hander is 117-102 lifetime.

Also, outfielder Scott Hairston said his sore left calf was improving and he hoped to be back in the Padres' lineup by Wednesday. He fouled a pitch off his calf on March 11 and has been limited to minor league duty since.

-- The Associated Press


Pirates closer Octavio Dotel, who has missed much of spring training with a strained oblique muscle, threw an inning against a Phillies minor league squad on Monday. He's confident he'll get enough work in the next two weeks and be ready for the start of the season.

"I will be ready for Opening Day," Dotel said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't think I'll have any problems with that. I don't think there will be any setbacks. I'm going to be fine."

Dotel threw 18 pitches, 14 for strikes, and recorded three strikeouts and a fly out (a fourth out was added to the inning so he could reach his pitch count). He's expected to throw again Wednesday against the Red Sox.

"Everything feels good," Dotel said, according to the report. "We've just got to get going with the next step."

-- news services


Although Daniel Murphy has struggled at the plate this spring, he still has New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel's confidence.

Murphy is hitting just .133 in 30 at-bats with less than two weeks left before the start of the season. Still, Manuel remains optimistic the 24-year-old can be an effective first baseman for the team. And he still sees Murphy as the frontrunner in a competition that also includes Mike Jacobs, who is in camp on a minor-league contract.

Murphy, who was charged with 10 errors in 101 games at first base last season, focused on improving his defense during the offseason. He came to spring training early to work with former Mets star Keith Hernandez, an 11-time Gold Glove winner at first.

"[Murphy] has looked extremely well at first base -- very active, very aggressive," Manuel said. "For him now, it's just a matter of him getting back to using the whole field as a hitter and becoming the offensive player we think he should be or can become."

Offensively, Jacobs is off to a slow start as well, hitting just .174 in 23 at-bats.

Despite praising both players, Manuel said he isn't any closer to deciding who will start at first Opening Day.

"We're still a ways away," Manuel said. "Once we get down to maybe the last four or five ballgames, everybody, we feel, is very close to being major league ready, and then we'll probably put a little bit more into the evaluation process at that time."

-- news services

Chris Snyder is still with the team that tried so hard to trade him, and he finds himself in an uphill fight for playing time.

The Arizona Diamondbacks catcher says he was fine with the purported deal last fall that would have sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays.

He called it "a new opportunity." But the trade, reportedly for one-time Diamondback Lyle Overbay, fell through. So Snyder remains with Arizona and must compete for playing time with Miguel Montero, the man who replaced him when he was injured last season.

Manager A.J. Hinch says Montero is ahead of Snyder in training camp but he expects both to be big contributors this season.

-- The Associated Press

Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino is nursing a sore shoulder and could miss Thursday's exhibition game against Florida State, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on Monday.

Victorino took batting practice on Sunday but was held out of throwing drills as a precaution.

"He's got a little soreness," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said, according to the newspaper. "He had it when he first came in to camp. Right now, we don't want to throw him in our drills -- cutoffs and relays and infield. We'll take it easy on him for a few days and make sure he's alright. That's kind of typical when you come into spring training and first start out. It can happen from sleeping on your arm, or anything, really."

-- news services

A year ago, Rick Porcello was considered by some too young to make the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff.

After leading American League rookies in wins last season, Porcello was named as the starting pitcher for Detroit's home opener April 9 against the Cleveland Indians.

"It's an honor, seeing how big the home opener was in Detroit last year," said Porcello, who won 14 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2009. "Fans were coming out early and tailgating. It's obviously a pretty big deal. I remember how exciting it was and what the buzz was like with the crowd there for opening day. So I'm excited to be pitching in it."

A week ago, manager Jim Leyland chose 19-game winner Justin Verlander for the season opener at Kansas City on April 5. Max Scherzer, who came from Arizona in a December trade, will pitch the second game at Kansas City on April 7.

"I want Scherzer to get his first start under his belt on the road, and I don't know who the other two starters are," Leyland said. "You could pencil about four or five names in right now for the third game, and for the fifth game."

Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Eddie Bonine are in competition for two spots in the rotation as the Tigers prepare to open their exhibition schedule Tuesday against Florida Southern College. Porcello's first spring start is scheduled against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

-- The Associated Press

Dodgers pitchers will begin their battle for the open fifth spot in the rotation three days before the official spring training game schedule begins.

Left-hander Eric Stults will pitch for the Dodgers on Tuesday in a B game against the Chicago White Sox, kicking off what figures to be one of the more interesting competitions of camp.

Stults also has been the named the starter in Saturday's second spring game.

Stults' confidence already was high, but now he will enter the outing after receiving instruction Monday from Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

Stults was among a handful of pitchers who had a one-on-one session with Koufax. Josh Lindblom, Jon Link, Scot Elbert and Chad Billingsley also worked with the former Dodgers pitcher, who threw four no-hitters over a 12-year career, one of which was a perfect game.

"He does a great job relating to players," Stults said of Koufax. "I don't know if part of it is because he has that aura or awe about him. He's somebody that is special in the game of baseball. But he does have a way of communicating that you understand."

Stults is expected to pitch just one inning Tuesday and then go two innings against the White Sox on Saturday. But make no mistake, after struggling with a sprained left thumb last season and then working on the mental side of the game over the winter, Stults finally feels like it's showtime.

-- The Associated Press

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows a good catcher when he sees one. He spent parts of nine seasons as a catcher in the major leagues.

And he has no doubts about the future of Buster Posey.

"He's a complete guy," Bochy said Monday. "He can handle the bat, and has a strong arm behind the plate. He's an intelligent kid who knows what he's doing back there. He gets better and better. It's a matter of time before he's a front-line catcher in the major leagues."

The time probably will go much slower than the 23-year-old Posey would like.

Gerald Demp Posey III was the fifth overall pick by the Giants in the 2008 draft and won just about every award imaginable in college baseball at Florida State, including the Golden Spikes Award (top overall player) and the Johnny Bench Award (top catcher).

Posey played in 10 minor league games in 2008 and 115 in 2009, hitting a combined .327 with 19 home runs and 86 RBIs.

He got called up to the big club on Sept. 2 when veteran starter Bengie Molina suffered an injury. Posey played in seven games and started four after the team dropped from contention in the NL West. After the season, he got more work with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

That probably wasn't quite enough experience to land him a spot on the 25-man roster when the Giants break camp at the end of March. He knows he likely will begin the season back at Triple-A Fresno, where he can play every day instead of riding the big league bench.

Posey's timetable of reaching the majors might have been accelerated had Molina, 35, gone to another club as a free agent over the winter. But Molina decided to return to the Giants, signing a one-year deal.

"The competitor in me wants to help the big club win, but if I do start at Fresno, I'm going to do everything I can to improve and get back up here," Posey said.

-- The Associated Press

Mets manager Jerry Manuel let loose one of his loud chuckles. Yes, Jose Reyes did look healthy during New York's intrasquad game.

Reyes hit the first pitch he saw Monday for a two-run triple in his first game-like setting since he was sidelined for most of last season by an injured right leg.

"I just feel happy that I made it to third base with no problem, at that time," a grinning Reyes said. "But like I said, there's nothing to worry about. I feel good. No pain, pain-free. I feel good to be playing the game again."

Reyes, who has been a leadoff hitter for most of his career, batted third during the scrimmage. Manuel is toying with the move while All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran is expected to miss the start of the season following right knee surgery.

The Mets also got an encouraging outing from Jonathon Niese, who is coming back after tearing his right hamstring last year. The left-hander struck out the side in the first and worked around a one-out walk during a scoreless second.

"It's a good feeling to face hitters in a game situation. It's been awhile," said Niese, who is trying to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation. "It's good to get off to a good start."

-- The Associated Press

A BRAND-NEW YOU (2:07 p.m. ET)
Twins outfielder Delmon Young has a new attitude and a new body this spring.

He is far more personable and engaging, something that began developing the second half of last year when he become more comfortable with the way the Twins do things -- and because the Twins showed him how much they wanted him.

"He is a great teammate," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "He is a pleasure to be around."

Young says he has gone from 239 pounds at the end of last year to 207 this spring.

"I want to return the days of 2006," he said, referring to his rookie year, when he could run, and really play defense.

-- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine

The St. Louis Cardinals are pleased with the way David Freese has handled his personal issues.

Freese was arrested in December outside of St. Louis on a drunken-driving charge. He apologized and is still slotted to be the team's third baseman this season.

"Obviously we were very unhappy with what happened," general manager John Mozeliak said Monday. "The very next day I met with him in my office and we talked about it. I made sure he understood dealing with the alcohol problem and dealing with the legal side was more important than baseball.

"If he could do all that then there wouldn't be any disciplinary actions. And that's what he's done."

Freese, 26, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times Missouri's legal limit of 0.08, when he was arrested on Dec. 12 in Maryland Heights. He immediately entered the team's employee assistance program and said he has not had a drink since.

The case still is pending.

"It was poor judgment on my part," said Freese. "But God puts things in front of you for a reason. I've definitely learned from it. I've got a great opportunity in front of me that a lot of kids would dream of having."

-- The Associated Press

With Kelvim Escobar hurting and unlikely to make the opening day roster, the Mets are reportedly interested in free-agent reliever Joe Beimel. But they might not be alone in pursuit of the left-hander.

Beimel's agent, Joe Sroba, told 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that the Mets are not the only team interested in the set-up man, but declined to name the other teams. "It is not a one-horse race," Sroba said. Escobar, who had been penciled in as the Mets' set-up man for Francisco Rodriguez, has not been able to throw off a mound yet this spring. To fill that gap, the team has been auditioning pitchers including Ryota Igarashi, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green and Fernando Nieve.

Last year, Beimel was 1-6 with a 3.58 ERA with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies.

A year ago, Beimel didn't sign until March 18.

-- news services

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who is Canadian, was all smiles Monday morning after Canada won the gold medal in hockey Sunday night. He watched the 3-2 overtime win over the United States with Twins minor league outfielder Rene Tosoni, who also is Canadian.

Morneau was a good hockey goalie growing up. "I had to make a decision," he said. "I made the right decision playing baseball. But I'll always love hockey. It's a great game. And it's a great team game."

Morneau said he is good friends with a number of players on the Canadian Olympic team, including Brenden Morrow.

"I texted four guys after the game," Morneau said. "They texted me back. They didn't have to do that with all that was going on."

-- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine

The Mariners know they have a potent one-two punch in starting pitchers Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. And they're not going to rush either man during spring training.

Hernandez, for example, skipped an expected bullpen session on Sunday, playing long toss instead, and later told a reporter "I'm fine," cutting off an anticipated question about his health.

Manager Don Wakamatsu explained why the team is holding the reins tightly on both pitchers.

"The first bullpen Felix threw this spring, it looked like he was throwing 100 mph, and that's exactly what we didn't want," Wakamatsu said, according to the Tacoma News and Tribune. "We're trying to limit the innings Felix and Cliff throw this spring, and the intensity with which they throw early on.

"They're both competitive guys. You put Felix on the mound, he's going to go hard. So we're not putting him on the mound as much right now," Wakamatsu said, according to the report.

"I'm fine physically, but I throw when they tell me to throw," Lee said, according to the report. "They've got a plan and I'm good with it. I've played catch, I've played long toss. My arm feels great."

-- news services

Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy had his struggles in the field and at the plate in 2009. He committed 10 errors in 101 games at first, including a flubbed grounder that handed a win to Atlanta in September. He slumped to .234 in June before hitting .282 the rest of the way.

But now that he's sure of his spot in the lineup, Murphy changed his offseason workout routine to prepare for the job. He also got some fielding lessons from 11-time Gold Glove first baseman Keith Hernandez right before spring training started.

"Keith was great. He added a lot of things to first base I hadn't ever really thought of, some things to work on," Murphy said. "The biggest thing I thought was just getting to know your other infielders."

Murphy impressed the Mets with his progress when he was the only position player to attend a team minicamp in January, and has looked more comfortable in the field since regular camp started.

"The goal in New York is to win, so it's not just the way I play first base or how I can play compared to some of the other guys that come through -- some great players," Murphy said. "At the end of the day I've got to find a way to help this team win."

-- news services