As often happens in a contract year for a productive player, Jermaine Dye's future with the White Sox beyond this season is unclear. The right fielder is happy in Chicago, is well-respected in the clubhouse and has a strong relationship with both manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Ken Williams.
But he doesn't really want talks on a new deal, if there is one, to come up after the season starts.
"If something is going to get done, hopefully it's before the season starts," Dye said in Glendale, Ariz. "I don't want to have to go through talks like that through a season, just worry about playing baseball. Nothing has been talked about, so I take it as I'm going to go play this year and help this team win and do what I can."
Dye, the World Series MVP in 2005 for the White Sox, signed a two-year, $22 million extension late in the 2007 season with a mutual option for next year.
"There may be teams out there that look at me as a player who can help them, but right now I'm with the White Sox and that's all I care about. I want to be here to finish off my career and hopefully I will be," he said.
The Brooklyn native will help as a guest instructor during spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla., working with the 36 pitchers in camp, then serve in the front office this season -- perhaps in marketing, baseball operations or television.
Franco, who spent the 1990-2004 seasons in New York, has been out of baseball since retiring in 2005 after a short stint with Houston.
"I took some time off to be with family, but now I've got the itch again to come back in little baby steps," he said. "I am delighted [the Mets] have invited me down to come back into the organization to try to give back and try to help out as much as I can, whatever they want me to do. Whether it's on or off the field stuff, I am willing to do it, and I look forward to it."
LHP BRAY REJOINS REDS IN FLORIDA (3:27 p.m. ET)
Reds left-hander reliever Bill Bray, held back from early spring drills because of tendinitis, is back with the rest of the staff in Sarasota, Fla.
"It's good," he said Friday after throwing his first bullpen session.
The 25-year-old said he shouldn't have any problem getting ready for the season as long as he has no setbacks. Taking it slow at the start was really just a precaution, he said.
"I think I'm going to work with a physical therapist on a regular basis to keep stretched out," he said. "And I'll probably play catch rather than not throwing at all."
BALDELLI BIDDING FOR RED SOX SLOT (3:22 p.m. ET)
Rocco Baldelli understands people want to know how he's feeling as he tries to earn a spot on the Boston Red Sox -- he just tired of answering the question.
"I feel pretty good doing what I'm doing," Baldelli said Friday at the club's minor league complex in Fort Myers, Fla. "I'm not overworking myself or anything like that. I was going to make a sign, 'Feeling good, thanks for asking,' and tag it above my locker so I don't have to answer it anymore."
The questions will keep coming, though, until the 27-year-old outfielder proves he can fully overcome a mitochondrial disorder, which slows muscle recovery and causes extreme fatigue.
Baldelli signed a one-year, $500,000 contract on Jan. 9 with the Red Sox. He is trying to make the same team he helped beat last October with the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS.
"It didn't really affect me too much, coming over, switching sides," he said. "As a player, you go out there and do whatever you can to win, whatever team you're on. These are my teammates now. I really enjoyed my time in Tampa but I'm not a Ray anymore. Boston's my team, I've got to do whatever I can for Boston."
Team USA begins the first round March 7 with a game against Canada in Toronto. Wells said insurance costs got in the way of him joining the team.
"I guess that was the issue a few weeks ago," Wells said Friday in Dunedin, Fla. "I was looking forward to playing there, seeing a bit of a different reaction from some fans. ... I'm pretty sure I'll be here in camp the whole time."
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was all for Wells playing.
"I was hoping he'd go, too, because I know he really wanted to go," Gaston said. "He expressed that to me last year, especially because he feels like it got him off to a great start."
ANGELS 1B MORALES HARD AT WORK (3:06 p.m. ET)
Former Cuban star Kendry Morales said he has put in extra work in Tempe, Ariz., with Angels manager Mike Scioscia and first base coach Alfredo Griffin.
"It took a while defensively. Once he was challenged about what he had to do to get to the major leagues, he's been driven to play at the level he can," Scioscia said of Morales, who defected to the United States and signed with the Angels in 2004. "The guy's got range, good hands, a plus arm. He's going to be good defensively. He's surprised everyone with the level he's reached."
Even so, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Morales doesn't assume the job is his.
"I don't feel like it's mine. I'm one of the candidates," he said. "There are other people who can play first base. I don't want to think it's my position."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.