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February, 17, 2010
02/17/10
9:25
AM ET
REPORTS: ESCOBAR HAS SHOULDER DISCOMFORT (11:52 p.m. ET)
The Mets plan to proceed with caution as reliever Kelvim Escobar experiences discomfort in his right shoulder, according to multiple media reports.

Mets spokesman told The Star-Ledger Wednesday that the team had planned to move slowly all along with Escobar.

Escobar, an 18-game winner in 2007, missed nearly all of the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels because of shoulder trouble. Escobar signed a one-year deal with the Mets in late December. If healthy, he would likely work out of the bullpen for the Mets, who are looking for setup help for All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez.

The 33-year-old Escobar has extensive relief experience from his days in Toronto. He came up with the Blue Jays in 1997 and saved 38 games in 2002.

-- Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

RAYS ABANDON NAMING RIGHTS DEAL (9:13 p.m. ET)
The Tampa Bay Rays are reconsidering plans to change the name of their spring training stadium.

The team announced Wednesday that it has decided to "defer pursuit" of a deal for naming rights to Charlotte Sports Park.

Under a proposed 15-year partnership with The Mosaic Company, the ballpark would have been called Mosaic Field at Charlotte Sports Park.

The proposed arrangement drew opposition from some local residents.

-- The Associated Press

GREINKE MISSES WORKOUT FOR DENTIST TRIP (6:52 p.m. ET)
Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke has missed his first scheduled bullpen session for the Kansas City Royals because he had to get two teeth pulled.

Greinke left camp Wednesday with puffiness in his right jaw after he said he had a wisdom tooth and a broken tooth extracted.

Greinke said he would play catch Thursday and, if all goes well, resume throwing off the mound Friday. Greinke went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA last season and has been named the Opening Day starter.

Jose Guillen was among the few players who did not check into camp. General manager Drayton Moore says he expects the veteran outfielder to arrive by Monday, when all position players are scheduled to report.

-- The Associated Press

VILLONE AGREES TO MINOR LEAGUE DEAL (5:02 p.m. ET)
Left-hander Ron Villone is staying with the Washington Nationals, agreeing to a minor league contract.

The 40-year-old would get a $900,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and would have the chance to earn an additional $700,000 in performance bonuses.

Villone agreed to a minor league deal before the 2009 season and went 5-6 with one save and a 4.25 ERA in a team-leading 63 games. He has a 61-65 record with a 4.73 ERA in 15 big league seasons.

-- The Associated Press

COX ON HIS LAST SEASON: NO LOOKING BACK (2:38 p.m. ET)
Getting ready for Friday's start to his final spring training as a major league manager, Atlanta's Bobby Cox insists he will not attempt to savor this visit to Florida more than any other.

"I think I did it the right way. Now I've got to do it and there's no looking back," he said while relaxing in his office at Turner Field this month.

Cox is entering his 21st consecutive season as Braves manager -- the longest tenure of any active manager -- and 25th overall. During two stints with the Braves and four seasons with Toronto, Cox has won 15 division titles -- including 14 straight with Atlanta -- five pennants and one World Series.

Now, Cox says a return to the playoffs would be the best reason to celebrate in 2010.

"It's no different," he said. "We still have a job to do. Just because I'm retiring, you're expected to win and give everything you've got."

-- Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

NEW SPRING NEST, NEW ATTITUDE FOR ORIOLES (2:30 p.m. ET)
The Orioles begin 2010 with a new spring training home in Sarasota, Fla., and a commitment to ending 12 consecutive years of losing. Manager Dave Trembley and team president Andy MacPhail say they're done blaming youth and inexperience for results like last season's 64-98 finish.

"There needs to be improvement on a more consistent basis from everybody, and I think we have enough guys that we'll do that," Trembley said.

The additions include third baseman Miguel Tejada, first baseman Garrett Atkins, closer Mike Gonzalez and starting pitcher Kevin Millwood.

But the new additions come with questions. Can Tejada make the switch from shortstop to third? Can Atkins bounce back from an awful season that cost him a starting job in Colorado? And can young pitchers including Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Jason Berken, Chris Tillman and Dave Hernandez make progress?

"You're not going to win in any division without pitching. If you can build it through your own system, then you're a step ahead," Millwood said. "It's going to be a lot cheaper and you have control of your guys for a lot longer. Getting it done the way they're getting it done is definitely the way to go."

-- Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

PAPELBON USED BLOWN SAVE TO SPUR WORKOUTS (9:41 a.m. ET)
All the motivation Jonathan Papelbon needed in the weight room this offseason was on tape -- the footage of his blown save against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. The loss ended the Boston Red Sox's 2009 season and his streak of 26 scoreless postseason innings pitched.

"I've got it on tape and I watched it 100 times in my weight room,'' Papelbon told reporters on Tuesday. "I used it as motivation when I was feeling tired and weak. I'd pop it on, and kind of go over and say, 'There's still work to be done.' ''

The footage has also reminded Papelbon to be more mindful of pitch selection. Last season, he came to rely heavily on his fastball, using his split-fingered fastball less. Sometimes that worked; sometimes, opposing hitters adjusted to the heat.

"I think when you're successful at one certain aspect of your game, and mine was being able to locate my fastball, towards the end of the season, I tended to really rely on that a lot," Papelbon told reporters. "And until I got hurt with it ... I went with it. Hindsight's 20/20 now, but obviously I'm going to take that in consideration and try to be a little bit more selective with my [pitches]."

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