A strong Spring Training in which he led the Giants with six home runs and 23 RBIs allowed John Bowker to claim the starting job in right field.

"You can talk about his home runs, but I just think he's really shown a lot of discipline at the plate," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "His at-bats, even against lefties, have been good ones."

Austin Jackson's dream inching closer: Austin Jackson is set to make his big league debut, and admits that his dream has finally become a reality.

"It's definitely starting to sink in a little," the Detroit outfielder told MLB.com. "It's that goal that you've been waiting for, and you can see it right there. You're just kind of waiting for it to come true."

Hanley Ramirez, Uggla make formidable DP combo: Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla start their fifth season as the team's double-play combo. They have played 560 games together and stand second on the club's all-time middle infield tandem list, trailing only Alex Gonzalez and Luis Castillo.

"The game becomes easier because you know each other," Ramirez told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Alex Gonzalez and Luis Castillo lasted a lot of years together, and they were the best up the middle. I know [Uggla], where he likes the ball. You know how he throws the ball, and the communication."

"I knew that first year was going to be a little rough on them, but I knew as time went on not only would they stay in Florida for quite some time, they would be a good combination," former Marlins infield coach Perry Hill said. "That's turned out to be true."

Cameron soaks in Opening Day with Red Sox: Mike Cameron was thinking Opening Day in Boston -- against the Yankees -- would be like any other Opening Day. He held that belief only until he saw the throng of reporters on hand before the start of the game.

"It was actually kind of a normal day until I saw this," Cameron, speaking of the mob of reporters that surrounded his locker, told MLB.com. "That makes my heart rate go up a little bit. It's cool. To be on this side and see what it's all about and experience it, it's going to be another great experience and another great chapter in my career."

Cameron may have tried to keep the day normal, but he knew it was going to be hard when he kept receiving text messages throughout the day.

"I think I got about 25 texts this morning, with people saying they're going to be watching me play," Cameron said. "I said, 'What about the whole team?' I appreciate the fact that it's going to be special."

Damon always glad to return to Kansas City: Johnny Damon always feels at home when he returns to Kansas City.

"I always love coming back to Kansas City," Damon told MLB.com. "It's the team I grew up rooting for, the team that I spent a lot of years with. This town's very special to me. I spent some good years here."

Herndon makes monumental leap: After joining the Phillies as a Rule 5 pick in December, David Herndon, who has never pitched above the Double-A level, found his way on to Philadelphia's Opening Day roster.

"I'm pumped up," Herndon told MLB.com. "This is an absolute dream come true. You can't ask for anything more, really. Breaking into the big leagues, I'm super excited. I'm nervous excited. I'm anxious excited. I'm ready to get going tomorrow and see what Opening Day is like."

Bloomquist didn't consider third-base gig: Willie Bloomquist didn't envision being the starting third baseman for the Royals.

"Coming into spring that was probably the last place I anticipated being in the starting lineup," Bloomquist told MLB.com. "Looking over there in the spring, we had three or four third basemen and that was, quite honestly, a position where I didn't concern myself with taking a ton of ground balls."

Berkman's knee slow to heal after surgery: Lance Berkman is eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend against Philadelphia, but his left knee has been slow to heal from arthroscopic surgery on March 13.

"It's pretty much the same," Berkman told MLB.com. "I hope to make an improvement, but it hasn't yet. It's hard to say [a return date]. I can bend it, but it's just a matter of bearing weight on it. And once you get to that point, you're still three to four days away from where you can do much."

Saltalamacchia, Teagarden to split time early: Texas manager Ron Washington has announced that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be the team's Opening Day starter behind the plate. However, Taylor Teagarden will get the start on Wednesday as the two catchers will split playing time at the beginning of the season.

"Salty and Teagarden both did a good job in spring," Washington told MLB.com. "Salty opened up for us last year, but that doesn't mean anything. He'll catch Opening Day, Teagarden will get the next one, and we'll engage both of them. We're a better team if we use both of them. If one steps forward, he steps forward."

Granderson gets rivalry off to momentous start: Curtis Granderson hit a home run against the Red Sox in his first at-bat with the Yankees.

"I've played here before -- the game has been sold out before," Granderson, who played for Detroit before being traded to the Yankees during the offseason, told MLB.com. "The intensity has been there, and both teams want to win. All of that stuff is the same. The one difference coming over as a Yankee is you have that respect from the fans that, 'Hey, we know your team is going to be good.'"

Brignac, Sean Rodriguez boosted by Spring Training play: Both Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez earned spots on the Rays' Opening Day roster.

Brignac, a shortstop in the Minors, hit .362 with a team-high 18 RBIs this spring. The Rays plan to use him mostly at second base when Ben Zobrist plays right field. Rodriguez batted .459 with six home runs and 17 RBIs.

"I'm impressed with the pair's Spring Training," manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com. "It's been very exciting to watch. We feel good about both of these young guys."

Lind to get extended stay in Toronto: The Blue Jays signed Adam Lind to a four-year contract extension which also includes three club options that could keep him with the Jays through the 2016 season.

"It's vital and critical in so many ways," general manager Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com. "Adam Lind is a great player. Especially when you draft and develop your own players, and you can keep them for the long term and they make the commitment to this organization and this franchise, I think it's an indication of their belief in the ownership of the team and the baseball operations of the team.

"Hopefully it will entice other players, other free agents or some of the players we have on the roster, to sign long term here and continue to build a winner."

Pitchers comfortable with Lucy behind the plate: With Ramon Castro on the disabled list to start the season, the White Sox will have non-roster Spring Training invitee Donny Lucy on their Opening Day roster at catcher.

"Oh, yeah. I've thrown to Donny during the last three springs," White Sox setup man Matt Thornton told MLB.com. "It's always nice when you've had all spring to work with the guy, throwing bullpens to him.

"Especially for relievers because by the time we get into games early in camp, A.J. [Pierzynski] was out and Donny or Cole [Armstrong] was in. He knows how we like to pitch, how we like to go after hitters and he does a great job behind the plate blocking the balls."

Sullivan plays his way onto Opening Day roster: The Astros purchased the contract of Cory Sullivan, who becomes the team's fifth outfielder.

The left-handed hitting Sullivan came to camp as a non-roster player. Last year for the Mets, he hit .250 with a .338 on-base percentage. In 2007, he played in 72 games for the Rockies and hit .286 to help Colorado reach the World Series.

"He's a professional player," manager Brad Mills told MLB.com. "He's been to a World Series and been on teams that have been successful.

"As a player, he's a pretty good left-handed bat that makes pretty good contact. Defensively, he plays outstanding at all three [outfield] positions. If you can add a guy like that to the mix, it's good."

-- Red Line Editorial