Category archive: Lastings Milledge

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PADRES PICK UP TWO RIGHTIES (8:11 p.m. ET)
The Padres added two right-handers, agreeing to a minor league contract with Shawn Hill and acquiring Luke Gregerson from St. Louis to complete the deal that sent shortstop Khalil Greene to the Cardinals.

Hill was released by Washington on Wednesday. He went 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in 12 starts for the Nationals in 2008.

Gregerson was 7-6 with a 3.35 ERA and 10 saves for Double-A Springfield last season.

Also, the Padres optioned six players to Triple-A Portland on Monday, including right-hander Josh Geer, who had been competing for a spot in the rotation.

ASTROS GET PRESIDENTIAL VISIT (7:02 p.m. ET)
Houston entertained a special guest Monday when former President George H.W. Bush visited its spring facility. Bush signed autographs and chatted with players before their game.

Bush, a close friend of Astros owner Drayton McLane, attends many early season home games and holds an annual lunch for McLane and select players.

"We love it," Bush said. "My only problem is we leave in the spring. We leave in May when we go to Maine for five months. So I miss a lot of the regular season, but I'll be there right behind the plate."

His wife, Barbara, who recently underwent heart surgery, was unable to attend.

"She was going to come when we scheduled this several weeks ago before her surgery," McLane said. "It's a great asset to have him here."

PENNY MAKES BOSOX DEBUT (5:49 p.m. ET)
Brad Penny pitched three hitless innings in his spring training debut and the Red Sox hit four consecutive homers in a 7-6 win over the Tigers on Monday in front of a record crowd of 8,278 at City of Palms Park.

"It was nice. I felt good," said Penny, who is coming back from shoulder trouble that limited him to 19 outings and a 6.27 ERA for the Dodgers last year. "It has been awhile since I've gone out there and felt good. Last year I went out, and I was pitching but I didn't really feel like I had a lot behind it. Today was good. It was another step just allowing me to get my innings and my pitches. I don't know how many pitches I threw but I felt pretty good."

Penny, who was scratched from a scheduled start March 4 against Puerto Rico, walked one and struck out three.

Meanwhile, Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, Chris Carter, and Ivan Ochoa hit consecutive homers to left field off Brandon Lyon in the sixth inning for Boston.

"[It's] still fun to watch," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of the home runs. "I know it won't help us during the season, but we'll take it."

GONZALEZ HURTS HAMMY (5:05 p.m. ET)
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez is hurt again.

Gonzalez strained his right hamstring beating out an infield hit in the second inning of a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday. He left the game to get treatment.

"When I saw the shortstop dive for the ball, I tried to go for some more," Gonzalez said. "That's when it grabbed me."

Gonzalez missed all of last season with a fracture in his left knee. He was cleared to start spring training with the team, but manager Dusty Baker has been careful not to let him do too much. Baker said the hamstring injury didn't appear to be serious.

"He tweaked it," Baker said. "There's no pull. We'll nurse him through it. We'll see Wednesday, but I doubt if he'll play Wednesday."

GLAUS OFF TRACK (5:25 p.m. ET)
It looks like Troy Glaus' return to the Cardinals will be delayed.

Glaus, who had aimed to be back by April following offseason shoulder surgery, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he has temporarily ceased baseball-related activities because his rehab has reached a plateau.

"I look at it like picking a scab," Glaus told the newspaper. "If you keep picking it, it will eventually get better. It's just going to take a lot longer. If you leave it alone, things tend to go quicker."

Glaus, who hasn't swung a bat or thrown in nearly a week, offered no timetable for his return.

"Who knows? In three or four days we may go out and throw and maybe it's fine and maybe not," Glaus told the newspaper. "I can't predict the future."

HERNANDEZ THE METS' FIVE GUY? (4:22 p.m. ET)
Livan Hernandez appears to be close to locking up the fifth spot in the Mets' rotation.

Hernandez pitched five solid innings in a minor league game Monday, allowing a run and five hits with seven strikeouts. His main competition, Freddy Garcia, meanwhile, was hit hard again.

"He has been very good," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Hernandez. "He's healthy. He knows how to pitch. I have no complaints about his stuff or his location."

Garcia, in camp on a minor league contract, gave up three runs on eight hits in four innings despite showing an increase in his velocity. The former All-Star, who missed most of the past two seasons with a shoulder injury that required surgery, might not have enough time to reach 100 percent because innings are tight at this point in spring training.

"We have to get together as a group and figure some things out," Manuel said. "We're running out of innings. We've got to make a decision here pretty soon, probably before the next turn."

HERNANDEZ SET FOR FIRST START (4:12 p.m. ET)
Right-hander Felix Hernandez will make his Cactus League debut Thursday against Kansas City. Hernandez hasn't pitched in a game since he helped Venezuela beat Puerto Rico 2-0 on March 16 to advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. The 22-year-old threw 86 pitches over 4 2/3 innings in the win, raising a few eyebrows in the Mariners' organization.

But Hernandez erased any concerns about his health Monday, throwing 51 pitches in a bullpen session without any difficulties.

"I felt good, no problems," a smiling Hernandez said following his workout. "I just have to do my thing. I'm ready to pitch."

With pitching coach Rick Adair and bench coach John Wetteland watching, Hernandez threw primarily fastballs during the workout and got some work pitching out of the stretch. He also got a quick refresher course on the Mariners' signals from Adair. Afterward, Hernandez said he still needs to build up his arm strength and work on his changeup.

"We have to pitch the way that we pitched [in the WBC]," Hernandez said. "That's all we have to do, our thing. We have to do the little things and play baseball. We've been working over there like we were here, we did the same things. It was a lot of fun."

RED SOX BELT FOUR STRAIGHT HOMERS (3:38 p.m. ET)
The Red Sox knocked four straight home runs off Detroit's Brandon Lyon in the sixth inning of their Grapefruit League game Monday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, Chris Carter and Ivan Ochoa all went deep to left field, according to MLB play-by-play.

Boston led 7-0 after six innings.

PHILLIES DEMOTE KENDRICK (12:02 p.m. ET)
The Phillies sent right-hander Kyle Kendrick to their minor league camp Monday, likely leaving the fifth starter race to be decided between left-hander J.A. Happ and right-hander Chan Ho Park.

In 50 career starts, the 24-year-old Kendrick has a 21-13 career record with a 4.78 ERA.

Besides Kendrick, the Phillies also sent catching prospect Lou Marson and second-base prospect Brad Harman to their minor league camp.

-- Jayson Stark, ESPN.com

LEE FEELS SLIGHTED OVER WBC DEMANDS (10:23 a.m. ET)
First baseman Derrek Lee said Major League Baseball officials tried to persuade him to play in the World Baseball Classic as a Team USA replacement for the injured Kevin Youkilis despite being slightly hobbled by an injury of his own.

"They started calling me," Lee said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "They needed a first baseman. But I couldn't go, not being 100 percent."

Lee missed five games with an injured right quadriceps before returning to spring training Sunday.

"I thought it was disrespectful, to be truthful," he said, according to the newspaper. "They knew I wasn't playing here [in camp]. How do they expect me to get off the trainer's table and start playing there?

"At the same time, you understand they're trying to win, and I was the guy that was on the [provisional] roster, so I guess they figured they'd give it a shot. If I felt better, it'd be a different story."

SANTANA: FALL WOULD WORK BETTER FOR WBC (10:12 a.m. ET)
Johan Santana, who missed the World Baseball Classic after offseason knee surgery, says the tournament would be better served coming in the fall, after the World Series.

"That will give you at least three weeks after the season is over to regroup and get everybody as a team, as a country, and put them all together," Santana said, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark. "Some guys will be tired, but at the same time, you will have a couple weeks to rest and to get together as a team, and I believe it will be better."

In 2006, Santana played for Venezuela, ousted on Saturday in the semifinals by Korea, which plays Japan in the final Monday night.

"It's tough because you cannot get ready in two weeks," he said. "It takes a little more time. And you can see that the teams that got together and they worked out, those are the teams that had a good chance to win."

MILLEDGE TO BAT LEADOFF (9:20 a.m. ET)
Center fielder Lastings Milledge will start the season batting leadoff after filling the role for the past week in spring training.

"I think Lastings is better suited leading off right now than Cristian Guzman, because Lastings runs more," Nationals manager Manny Acta said, according to MLB.com. "Seeing Lastings run in front of Guzman is better than seeing him run in front of [Ryan] Zimmerman. Guzman [a switch-hitter] hits from the left side. He would be better suited to shoot through the hole behind Milledge."

Last season, Milledge moved around the lineup consistently, first batting second, then sixth, third and fourth. He hit .268 with 14 homers, 61 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in his first year with the Nationals.

"This year, I can be more of myself," Milledge said, according to MLB.com. "I thought being thrown in the cleanup spot, the three-hole or put in the position to carry the team may have been a little bit too much for me. Now I can put all my tools together. I can use my bunting skills and steal bases, which I stole quite a few last year."

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March, 19, 2009
03/19/09
11:35
AM ET
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BONDERMAN MAKES FIRST START (11:09 p.m. ET)
Jeremy Bonderman was more relieved to be back on the mound than pleased with his two scoreless innings. Bonderman made his first start since missing most of last season after having surgery to repair a circulatory condition in his shoulder and gave up two hits in the Tigers' 5-2 loss to the Braves.

Bonderman's return this spring was slowed by more soreness in the shoulder. At one point, he returned to Detroit to be examined by team physicians.

"It's been a long fight to get back," he said. "It was a relief to go out there and throw again with no pain. I'm over the hump."

The Tigers are hoping Bonderman can join a rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Armando Galarraga and Edwin Jackson after going just 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA before being shut down in June. Bonderman won at least 11 games -- and pitched at least 160 innings -- in each of the previous four seasons. On Thursday, he walked two and did not strike out a batter.

"My mechanics are not where I'd like them to be. There is a timing issue, but I'll get stronger," Bonderman said. "I'll be sore tomorrow, but normal sore. I'll be fine to throw again in five days. And the more I pitch, the stronger the arm will get."

LOWRIE, RED SOX ROUGH UP ARROYO (10:44 p.m. ET)
Jed Lowrie had another big game at the plate, hitting a two-run homer off Bronson Arroyo to lead the Red Sox over the Reds 9-1.

Arroyo was hit hard by his former team in the third inning. Lowrie's second home run of the spring came with Rocco Baldelli on base. One out and one walk later, Chris Carter went deep.

Lowrie also doubled in the first, giving him a team-high 17 hits this spring.

MARSHALL TO START FOR CUBS (10:32 p.m. ET)
Manager Lou Piniella made it official and named left-hander Sean Marshall as the Cubs' No. 5 starter to begin the season.

The 26-year-old Marshall had the inside track on the job from the beginning of spring training ahead of his chief competitors, right-handers Aaron Heilman and Jeff Samardzija.

Piniella made his announcement after Heilman started and beat the Mariners 9-2 on Thursday.

Marshall is 2-0 with an 0.63 ERA this spring while Heilman is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA. Piniella said Heilman will go to the bullpen and pitch in the seventh and eighth innings.

TRIBE'S CARMONA HIT BY LINE DRIVE (8:41 p.m. ET)
Cleveland right-hander Fausto Carmona was hit on the right arm by a line drive while pitching in a minor league intrasquad game.

An Indians spokesman said Thursday X-rays were negative and that Carmona is "day to day with a right forearm contusion."

Carmona, a 19-game winner in 2007, missed two months last season with a strained left hip. He went only 8-7 with a 5.44 ERA, walking 70 and striking out 58 in 120 2-3 innings.

This spring, Carmona has a 2.45 ERA in four Cactus League games, including three starts. He has walked five and fanned four.

WELLS SET FOR FRIDAY RETURN (7:41 p.m. ET)
Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells is expected to return from a strained left hamstring and make his first spring training appearance this year on Friday as a designated hitter.

Wells last month re-injured the hamstring that kept him on the disabled list for a month late last season, when he hit .300 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs in 108 games.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston said Wells may play three innings in the field Saturday before getting a day off Sunday.

PELFREY NEARING TOP FORM (7:13 p.m. ET)
Mike Pelfrey looks ready for the regular season. The Houston Astros don't.

Pelfrey pitched six sharp innings and the New York Mets routed the floundering Astros 12-1 on Thursday, dropping Houston to 1-16-3 this spring.

Pelfrey, meanwhile, is getting stronger as the spring goes on. Making his second start since skipping a turn with a strained muscle in his lower left leg, the right-hander was perfect through the first four innings Thursday. He allowed one run and three hits in all, with one walk and three strikeouts.

KAZMIR SATISFIED TO PLAY (6:07 p.m. ET)
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A shaky spring training outing didn't faze Scott Kazmir.

Although Tampa Bay's All-Star left-hander gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Ludwick and a solo shot to Rick Ankiel during Thursday's 9-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, he didn't view his latest start as a setback.

The 25-year-old said he was affected by a stomach virus and was satisfied to get in four innings, even though the Cardinals got to him for five runs and eight hits.

BLANTON HAS BEST SPRING START (5:49 p.m. ET)
Joe Blanton had his best start of spring training, allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings for the Phillies in a 5-1 win over the Marlins.

"He threw strikes," manager Charlie Manuel said. "[Pitching coach Rich] Dubee said he threw 19 first-pitch strikes out of 20. That's unreal. That's super."

Blanton, the Phillies' No. 4 starter, struck out three and didn't walk a batter, lowering his ERA to 2.30. But he still wasn't completely satisfied.

"My location for the most part I was a little better today than I have been with it earlier in the spring," the right-hander said. "I don't know if the slider is as good as it was the last game I felt like my changeup stepped up a little bit."

KAWAKAMI SCRATCHED FROM START (3:33 p.m. ET)
Atlanta Braves right-hander Kenshin Kawakami was scratched from his scheduled spring training start Thursday night because of shoulder fatigue.

Kawakami, the first Japanese player ever signed by the Braves, is projected as one of the starters in a revamped rotation that also includes newcomers Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez.

Vazquez will start in Kawakami's place against the Detroit Tigers.

Kawakami has started three games for the Braves, going 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings. He has allowed eight hits, walked four and struck out four.

ONE WORD: OUCH (1:09 p.m. ET)
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval left Wednesday's game against the Cubs after he was struck in the mouth by Joey Gathright's bad-hop grounder in the fifth inning.

Sandoval wears braces, and both his top and bottom lip were pushed into the braces. "It implanted his lips to his braces. [Trainer] Dave Groeschner had to pull his lips off," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Sandoval, the Giants' top candidate to start at third base while getting a crash course there this season, also chipped a tooth and was sent to see a dentist. "That's a hard infield, like a lot of these are in the desert, and it just came up on him," Bochy said.

Sandoval, hitting .450, is likely to miss the next two games, Bochy said.

MILLEDGE, BELLIARD NOT SERIOUSLY HURT (11:29 a.m. ET)
The Washington Nationals got some good news on the injury front Wednesday, when they learned that injuries to Lastings Milledge and Ronnie Belliard aren't believed to be serious.

Milledge is day-to-day with a left knee contusion; Belliard has a left ankle sprain and was expected to be re-evaluated on Thursday. Manager Manny Acta said the team expects Belliard to miss two or three days.

Milledge got hurt when he made knee-to-knee contact with Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez as he tried to leg out an infield single. Belliard was injured while trying to beat out a double play.

GET RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM (11:18 a.m. ET)
Jose Reyes is back in the New York Mets' leadoff spot, and for now the shortstop is there to stay.

Second baseman Luis Castillo, who had been batting leadoff, hit second again behind Reyes in the Mets' 7-4 loss Thursday to the Atlanta Braves. Manager Jerry Manuel had been batting Castillo first and Reyes third.

"[The experiment] is not over, but I think with Jose not being as active as I would have liked him to be [in the WBC], I've got to slowly get him back going," Manuel said. "To get him back going, I have to put him where he's comfortable. And I think that [leadoff spot] is where he's comfortable."

KURODA TO START DODGERS OPENER (11:06 a.m. ET)
Hiroki Kuroda has been named the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers' first regular-season game, April 6 at San Diego, manager Joe Torre announced.

Torre also announced that Randy Wolf, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw will follow Kuroda in the rotation. He did not name a fifth starter.

Kuroda went 9-10 with a 3.73 ERA in 31 starts last season. He had 116 strikeouts, walked 42 and allowed 181 hits in 183 1/3 innings.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.