Freddy Garcia, a two-time All-Star whose career has been hampered by shoulder woes, is confident he can earn the No. 5 spot in the Mets' starting rotation this spring.
"Yeah, yeah, 100 percent -- of course I expect to be in the rotation," the right-hander said Friday, according to the New York Post.
Despite pitching just 73 innings the past two seasons, Garcia is looking to beat out Tim Redding and Jonathon Niese for the fifth spot. To do that, he has to prove his shoulder is healthy enough to handle the workload.
"Since I had surgery, I feel like I have a new shoulder," Garcia said, according to the Post. "I don't know how [the Mets] want to treat me, but it feels good."
SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME? (11:02 a.m. ET)
Brett Myers lost more weight during the offseason than Ryan Howard did -- 30 pounds to Howard's 20. But Myers, whose three-year, $25.75 million contract expires after the 2009 season, says the slim-down to 222 pounds wasn't about getting fit for free agency, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"Winning the World Series was great, but personally I had a bad taste in my mouth this winter because of how badly I pitched in the first half of the season," Myers said, according to the newspaper. "I wanted to feel like I was in better shape and show my dedication to this team so I can go out and pitch better. I need to start stronger. I lost nine games in the first half. It would have made a big difference if I had pitched better."
Myers went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in his final 13 starts to help the Phillies win the National League East -- and eventually, the World Series. He says he's not worried about a contract extension, according to the report.
"I'd like to stay in Philadelphia, but ultimately it's going to come down to how I pitch," he said, according to the Inquirer. "If I end up staying here, that will be good for me and my family, because the organization has been great to me and we like living there."
ZAMBRANO ON EYE PROCEDURE: WAIT AND Z (10:42 a.m. ET)
Cubs right-handed starter Carlos Zambrano showed up at spring training with a new horseshoe mustache that manager Lou Piniella thinks looks intimidating and a right shoulder that's feeling stronger, thanks to rest and physical therapy.
''I'm ready to go,'' he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
But there is one catch for the Big Z -- the infection that has pushed back the laser surgery he had planned to correct an astigmatism in his right eye. According to the report, Zambrano has been using eye drops to clear the infection and hopes to make a decision on surgery in a few weeks.
''I may do it. I don't know yet,'' Zambrano said, according to the report. ''There's a small chance that I do it right now or do it during the season. Let's see how the drops work.''
JUST LIKE STARTING OVER (10:25 a.m. ET)
Highly touted third baseman Pedro Alvarez has a second chance to make a first impression with the Pirates.
The last time Alvarez, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, arrived at Pirates camp in Bradenton, Fla., it was after a lengthy and contentious contract dispute -- and the delay had taken its toll on his fitness. Friday, he arrived at camp slimmer and trimmer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Alvarez, listed at 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds, didn't say how much weight he gained or lost. But he acknowledged that tendinitis in both knees, diagnosed after his lengthy holdout, didn't help matters last season, according to the report.
"The entire offseason, I was shut down," he said, according to the report. "It's widely known that when you shut down the running game, you do gain a few pounds. That's why I'm doing everything I can."