Spring Training Blog: Feb. 27

February, 27, 2010
02/27/10
12:47
PM ET
CUBAN INFLUENCE FELT IN PHILLIES BULLPEN (6:16 p.m. ET)

When word first spread that veteran pitcher Jose Contreras was joining the Philadelphia Phillies last month, no one was happier than Danys Baez.

It wasn't just that one new member of the Phillies would be able to break in the pen with another. When Contreras joined the Phils, a team Baez had signed with earlier in January, it finalized a remarkable reunion of two men who escaped Cuba and found success in the major leagues.

Baez says he called Contreras right after he heard he signed.

Contreras told his wife that having Baez on his team made life easier.

Baez and Contreras were both members of the Cuban National team 10 years ago.

-- Associated Press

INGE CONFIDENT HE'LL BE READY (5:56 p.m. ET)
Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge says he's ahead of schedule in his return from offseason knee surgery and expects to be completely healthy by the time the regular season begins.

After earning a spot in last year's All-Star game, Inge was hampered down the stretch by tendinitis in both knees and forced to have them repaired in November. He spent several weeks wearing braces on both legs that stretched from his ankles to his thighs.

The 32-year-old has gone through conditioning and workouts with the team, but won't begin playing until the latter part of spring training.

However, "I could play right now," Inge said.

"He's doing fine," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "He's ahead of schedule, by his own admission. Exactly how far ahead of schedule I don't know."

-- Associated Press

RANGERS' HOLLAND THROWS BULLPEN SESSION (5:46 p.m. ET)

Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland threw a lengthy bullpen session on Saturday, his first work from the mound since spraining a knee last week.

"I had a little bit of adrenaline flowing," said Holland, who sprained his right knee during an agility drill on Feb. 20. "Nobody likes to be on the tables in the training room."

Holland threw from a full windup and the stretch in the bullpen under the supervision of Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.

The 23-year-old said he expects to throw live batting practice Monday.

"I wanted to keep going but they want me to take it day to day," Holland said.

Holland was 8-13 in 33 appearances -- 21 starts -- with a 6.12 ERA last season.

-- Associated Press

METS HAVE ROTATION QUESTIONS BEHIND SANTANA (5:23 p.m. ET)

The top of the New York Mets' rotation is in good hands again, with Johan Santana looking healthy this spring after season-ending elbow surgery last year.

After Santana, well, there's a lot of ifs, maybes and question marks.

Mike Pelfrey regressed last year after a promising 2008 season. John Maine has struggled to stay on the field. Oliver Perez was so disappointing last season he was sent to the bullpen for a stretch. The top candidate for the final spot in the rotation is coming off surgery to repair a torn right hamstring.

And the consensus is this group could be the biggest key to New York's season.

-- Associated Press

HENDERSON TO LEAD BASE-STEALING SEMINAR (12:52 p.m. ET)

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson arrived at the Oakland Athletics' spring training facilities Saturday in Phoenix and many of the A's said they were looking forward to working with him on stealing bases.

A's manager Bob Geren said Henderson's primary focus will be on stealing bases, but he won't be limited.

That's fine with A's outfielder Rajai Davis, who led the team with 41 steals last year. Davis wants to talk about batting leadoff and playing the outfield as well.

The A's were fourth in the majors in stolen bases last year and adding players such as Coco Crisp to the mix could increase those totals.

-- Associated Press

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