Peralta gets boost from Dominican
Indians shortstop seeing ball better after playing winter ball
Over the span of 19 Spring Training games, Jhonny Peralta has batted .400 with three home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs and now hopes his hot hitting carries into the regular season with the Indians.
"I feel really good," Peralta told MLB.com. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball really good at home plate. Something that helped was playing in the Dominican [this winter], too. They have really good pitchers in that league, so, when I came here, I saw everything really good."
Diaz finds infomercials really do work: In a Q&A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Matt Diaz talked about a number of subjects, including his offseason workouts, which led to a 30-pound weight loss.
"I hate to admit it, but I did an infomercial. My wife ordered P90X. I saw her doing her leg workout, and it was similar to stuff I did in rehab. I thought that'd be a good way to ease my way back into weightlifting. After a week, you realize there's no easing into that workout.
"They send you 12 videos with 12 different workouts and a diet plan. If you want it, it gives you recipes for every meal, six meals a day. We moved our kids upstairs out of the nursery and changed the nursery into a P90X room. We got a pull-up bar and dumbbells. I'd do a P90X workout with my wife in the morning, a baseball workout in the afternoon and go jogging with my wife in the evening while dinner was crock-potting."
Benson, Jones earn spots on Rangers roster: Kris Benson and Andruw Jones have been told they will break camp with the Texas Rangers and start the season with the club.
Benson was told on Wednesday that he will be a part of the starting rotation, while Jones will be a reserve outfielder. Benson has not pitched in the Majors since 2006 due to a torn rotator cuff he suffered two years ago during Spring Training.
"Benson did good enough in the spring to be one of the starters," manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News.
In 17 innings this spring, Benson was 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA.
"I feel good," said Jones, who hit the game-winning home run on Wednesday. "The situation is going to be spread around how we're getting in the games. Having [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo] there, he's going to keep you mentally focused."
Morrow turns to bullpen to aid diabetes: Part of the reason Brandon Morrow decided to return to the bullpen was that it's easier for him to control his diabetes in a relief role.
"I had troubles with low blood sugars a lot last year," Morrow told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Especially warming up. And this year as well -- the only game I started I was a little low to begin with.
"It's just easier to have five or six innings [in the bullpen] to level out before you get in there."
Casto not ready to help load the truck: Kory Casto is in limbo. He hopes after two midseason call-ups in 2008 that he makes the team this year out of Spring Training. The Nationals are getting ready to ship all of their equipment and player belongings back to Washington, D.C., and Casto is unsure if he should put his stuff on the truck.
"Now how am I going to put any of my stuff on a truck?" Cato told the Washington Post. "Because I have no idea what is going to happen. I could make the team. I could get put on waivers. I could go to Class Triple-A. I could be with a different team. So it's like everything that I do is more complicated, because I am not Ryan Zimmerman or Adam Dunn, where I can just throw my boxes on there and know that I will be in D.C. in five days.
So, what's gonna happen is, if I make the team, I will have to rent a trailer, and I will have to pack up all the stuff in a trailer, and my wife will have to drive the car up with the trailer on it, and I don't feel safe with her doing that -- I mean, honestly, but we have no choice. So it's like unforeseen complications that nobody sees. Everybody thinks it's such a glamorous life, but really, I mean, how many guys really love the business part of this game? Because it's brutal, terrible."
Richmond snags fifth starting spot: Scott Richmond will be Toronto's fifth starter to begin the season.
"I can breathe a little easier now," Richmond told the Toronto Globe and Mail.
"I definitely wasn't certain, that's for sure," he continued. "It'll feel good knowing that it's not a decision-making start and all that -- it helps. I'm still going to go out there and try to execute every pitch I can and, obviously, do my thing. I plan on ending spring with a good start and go on up to Toronto with a good one under my belt. That's my objective."
Richmond allowed six runs on nine hits and struck out four in six innings in that final spring start, a loss to the Tigers on Thursday.
Olivo doesn't let mind stray from baseball: Miguel Olivo makes it a daily priority to further his knowledge of his profession.
"Every day, everybody's learning. When I get up in the morning, I'm learning from the time I get out of bed," the Royals catcher told MLB.com. "In the season, I get up in the morning, and the first thing on my mind is the stadium and the field and who's pitching and who we're going to face. That's what you need to do when you have this job."
Cotts learns to bring positive approach to mound: Returning to the Minors was a learning experience for Neal Cotts.
"You learn a lot," Cotts told the Chicago Sun-Times. "You learn something every day you come in here, but with the different roles, the different atmosphere of being sent down and that bit of an emotional roller coaster, you do learn a little more that way.
"There's positives you can take out of wherever you end up. I've had to learn that over the last couple of years."
Andino adds depth to infield: With the acquisition of Robert Andino, the Orioles believe they have added much-needed versatility to their middle infield.
"What he gives us is another guy that is versatile and can play in the middle of the diamond," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley told MLB.com. "He has tools, he has experience at the Major League level, and he has flexibility, and that's what we're looking for. He's a guy that has an upside -- a guy that we feel with more playing time, he'll get better. We're glad to have him. We think it's a win-win situation for us."
Harang ready to roll: Aaron Harang, who is scheduled to pitch in his fourth season-opener for the Reds -- against the Mets on Monday -- is ready to head north.
"I was thinking about that the other day," Harang told MLB.com. "I've been down here for almost two months. We were talking about it two weeks ago, saying, 'OK, normally this should be the last week, they should be shipping cars out and [sending] the truck out to head north.' It definitely does help to be able to stretch the pitch count out, but we already throw enough during the season."
Keppinger likes his prospects with Astros: The Houston Astros traded a player to be named later and cash to Cincinnati for Jeff Keppinger. The right-handed hitter will platoon with switch-hitter Geoff Blum at third base and can play shortstop and second base as well.
"It's been exciting, actually," Keppinger told the Houston Chronicle. "It's a better opportunity for me over here, and I like this ballclub. This ballclub looks good."
Braun dodges another bullet: Ryan Braun is more than ready for Spring Training to end.
Braun, who has been dealing with tightness in his right intercostals, thought he might have broken his right thumb on Tuesday when he was hit by a line drive after losing the ball in the lights. Luckily for Braun and the Brewers, it is just a bruise.
"I thought it was broken when it hit it," Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I couldn't move my thumb. It was no deflection off the glove or anything. It hit right on the side of my thumb, but I went to get X-rays, and it was fine. I've iced it a lot.
"I can add it to my list of things I'm getting treatment on. Hopefully, it gets better. The swelling went down a lot, compared to what it was yesterday."
Sabathia avoids injury from line drive: The Yankees got a bit of a scare on Wednesday when CC Sabathia took a line drive off his glove during the second inning of his start against the Phillies. Sabathia, who is slated to start the season opener for New York, wasn't hurt and was able to stay in the game.
"Not what you want to see," manager Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News. "It hit mostly in the glove and got a little of the fleshy part of his right hand. He's OK."
Fowler nearly brought to tears after getting nod: Colorado decided to keep rookie Dexter Fowler as a reserve outfielder. Fowler, 23, is making the jump from Double-A.
"When they called me into the office, I didn't know what was going on," Fowler told the Denver Post. "And when they told me, I almost started crying."
Fowler started the spring slowly, collecting only three hits and striking out 10 times in his first 20 at-bats. But he has swung the bat well the last two weeks and now finds himself on the Opening Day roster.
"Dexter made this ballclub for all the right reasons," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The growth he's made this spring has been impressive."
Beckett ready to start season healthy: Unlike last season, when he started the season on the disabled list, Josh Beckett is healthy, and that is all that matters to him. He threw 88 pitches in 3 2/3 innings in his last start of the spring.
"I said, 'You're ready to pitch, you're strong as a horse, you're healthy.' For a guy like that, I could care less what his [spring] ERA is," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Globe.
Joyce to break camp with Rays: Matt Joyce, acquired by Tampa Bay from Detroit in the offseason, will be on the Opening Day roster. Joyce, a native of Tampa, didn't think he would be on the roster for the season opener after missing the first half of Spring Training with tendinitis in his right leg.
"It's definitely satisfying," Joyce told the St. Petersburg Times. "It's a great feeling to break camp with these guys and come back from what happened. I kind of knew I had to show them that I could play and I deserved to play with them."
Gload happy to return to Marlins, NL: Ross Gload is back for his second stint with the Marlins. Primarily a pinch-hitter, Gload is happy to be back in the National League, where he figures to get more chances to swing the bat.
"I am more suited to the National League. There is definitely more of an element of 'be ready' in the National League from the fifth inning on," Gload told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Pierre letting his play do the talking: Juan Pierre is coming off a spring in which he led the Cactus League in steals with 10.
"I realize I can't control anything but the way I go out and perform, so that's what I concentrated on," Pierre told the Los Angeles Times.
Zambrano glad to put a wrap on spring: One thing is for certain -- Carlos Zambrano is done with Spring Training and ready for the regular season to start.
"I'm happy [it's over]," Zambrano told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I don't like Spring Training at all, especially this one. It was long, and I'm kind of tired. I'm happy for the season to start this Monday. Let's get it on."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.