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February, 27, 2009
02/27/09
4:20
PM ET
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BERNIE FEELING THAT PULL (5:21p.m. ET)
Bernie Williams admits his baseball passion is growing after spending the past week with the New York Yankees.

The 40-year-old former Yankees center fielder worked out for the last time with his old team Friday, and now will join Puerto Rico's squad for next month's World Baseball Classic.

"It's kind of like the logical step. You can't come here and not feel the fire of the competition. It's just bound to happen. If I come here and I don't feel that, then I definitely know I'm in the wrong place," he said.

The former All-Star, who hasn't played since spring 2007, hasn't ruled out playing again in the majors, but it will depend on his WBC performance.

"There's nothing like coming here and just getting this feeling of nice weather, playing baseball and working out with the guys," Williams said. "Spring training has always been one of my most favorite times of the year. There was a part of me that missed it, definitely."

-- Associated Press

HAWPE LEAVES ROCKIES GAME WITH FINGER INJURY (4:24 p.m. ET)
Colorado right fielder Brad Hawpe left Friday's game against the Angels with a lacerated little finger on his left hand. The injury is not serious, and Hawpe is listed as day to day.

Hawpe, 29, is the Rockies' most accomplished outfielder now that the team traded Matt Holliday to Oakland in the offseason. Hawpe's averaged 25 homers over the past three seasons, but has a .739 career OPS against left-handed pitchers compared to .897 vs. righties.

Ryan Spilborghs is the early frontrunner to be the everday center field for Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, but young Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler will get long looks in camp. Seth Smith, the frontrunner for the starting job in left field, will be pushed by Gonzalez and prospect Ian Stewart, a third baseman by trade. Scott Podsednik is also a candidate for an outfield bench job in Colorado.
-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

REDS FINISH DEALS FOR CUETO, RAMIREZ (4:21 p.m. ET)
Pitchers Johnny Cueto and Ramon Ramirez agreed to one-year deals with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

The Reds did not release any other contract details. Both right-handers made their major league debuts last season.

The 23-year-old Cueto went 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA in 31 starts. The 26-year-old Ramirez spent most of 2008 in the minor leagues, and went 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance for the Reds.
-- Associated Press

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