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February, 26, 2009
02/26/09
9:59
AM ET
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SLIMMED-DOWN SCIOSCIA (4:15 p.m. ET)
It was a productive offseason for Angels manager Mike Scioscia. He received a 10-year contract from the team, and also lost a considerable amount of weight.

How much weight?

"I can't tell you because of the HIPAA laws,'' Scioscia joked to several reporters in his office Thursday.

Scioscia was on his way to a back field for a workout when an Angels fan stopped him and told him he looked good.

"I don't want my wife to see you,'' the fan said, "because she's going to ask me what's wrong with me.''

-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

YOUTH ABOUNDS IN A'S ROTATION (4:10 p.m. ET)
Oakland pitching coach Curt Young is going to need a lot of patience this summer. The 16 pitchers on the A's 40-man roster have a combined total of 145 major league starts. That includes 27 by reliever Russ Springer, who hasn't started a game since the 1996 season in Philadelphia.

Dana Eveland leads the Oakland staff with 35 career starts. He's followed by Justin Duchscherer (27), Dallas Braden (24) and Sean Gallagher (21). They're the front-runners for the first four spots in manager Bob Geren's rotation coming out of spring training.

-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

MIXED REACTION FOR A-ROD (3:05 p.m. ET)
For Alex Rodriguez, more cheers mixed with boos.

The New York Yankees star got another split reception Thursday in his first spring training game at home since admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez went 0-for-2 and left after five innings with the Yankees leading Tampa Bay 2-0. The crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field included the Yankees owner.

Rodriguez homered Wednesday in the Yankees' exhibition opener against Toronto. He heard some catcalls at the Blue Jays' ballpark, but also drew a standing ovation after his home run.

NO LUCKY STAR FOR U.S. WBC TEAM (1:07 p.m. ET)
Manager Davey Johnson had a material reason for hoping Alex Rodriguez would be on his U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic: Madonna.

The New York Yankees star played for the United States at the inaugural tournament three years ago, but chose to be with the Dominican Republic for this year's event.

"The only thing is I was upset about, Alex not, you know, being on my club," Johnson said Thursday, "I'm Madonna's fan. I was hoping she'd show up."

Rodriguez and Madonna were linked in tabloid reports last year as being very friendly.

The U.S. team opens March 7 against Canada. The Dominicans begin the same day against the Netherlands.

ISHIKAWA HOPES GLOVE HELPS HIS CHANCES
Travis Ishikawa appears to be the front-runner to become the San Francisco Giants' starting first baseman as spring training games begin -- and his glove is one of the major reasons.

"You can't rely on getting a game-winning hit every night or driving in four runs every night. What you can do, the things you can control, is how much effort you put into your defense," Ishikawa said. "Maybe you don't drive in that couple of runs, but you maybe save a couple with your defense. I've always taken pride in giving the pitchers as well as the team the best chance to win the game."

Ishikawa has potential competition at first: converted outfielder John Bowker, who started 67 games there last season; Pablo Sandoval, who could prove a better fit at first than at third; and Rich Aurilia, in camp on a minor-league deal. But Ishikawa, who had three hits, two home runs and four RBIs in a 10-7 Cactus League victory over Cleveland on Wednesday, is not concerned with that.

"I'm going to continue to think the same way until they tell me otherwise. I hope I never hear that," he said. "Regardless of what happens, if they find something else for me, I'll stay humble, whether it is being a bench player, a role player. I want to be the best possible player when I get that opportunity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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