After more than three years as a utility player, Martin Prado isn't about to take his role as the Braves' second baseman for granted.
03/08/2010 12:18 PM ET
Hard work lands Prado at second base
Brave will not approach camp as if job is for granted
"I don't care if they tell me a hundred times I'm going to be the second baseman, that's not the way I think," Prado told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm part of this team; I'm not the second baseman. It's like I'm a player just trying to make the team again."
"The guy made a lot of fans last year, none bigger than Bobby [Cox], none bigger than me," teammate Chipper Jones said. "He worked his can off for a long time to bust this lineup, and he finally did it. I don't see him relinquishing that spot anytime soon. It just goes to show you what keeping your nose down and working hard [can do] in the long run."
Trever Miller hits personal best in 10K: Trever Miller had the day off on Saturday. Kind of.
The Cardinals pitcher ran the "Spring Training Classic 10K" instead, finishing in 44:31, his personal-best time.
"I was trying to get under 48 [minutes]," Miller told MLB.com. "I haven't had a chance to run a whole lot of those without pushing my daughter, so I've only got a couple to go on. I believe 45 was my best one. So today was a good day. I was looking to get under 48. The weather was perfect, nice race, beautiful course. They did a good job -- ran very smoothly with their inaugural one. I got after it."
Zimmerman could get official captaincy: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is considering making Ryan Zimmerman the team's captain.
"I think already he's a leader of the club and kind of a pseudo-captain already," Rizzo told the Washington Post. "We've kicked around the premise of making somebody the captain of the team, with a 'C' on their jersey. I haven't come to any conclusion. Zim, obviously, is the leader of the franchise."
"I don't think anything of that, man," Zimmerman said. "I think everyone around here is the same. We're all teammates here. I don't think any of that is -- I don't know what to say -- necessary, I guess. I don't think about that stuff."
Jones fitting in nicely in Pittsburgh: Garrett Jones figures to be a key cog in the Pirates' lineup.
"It's a good feeling to have, just knowing that you found a place where there is a team that wants you and where you belong," Jones told MLB.com. "Coming in trying to prove yourself or just show what you can do, you are worried about your results. Whereas this year, I'm just trying to get into the best shape I can going into the season and just feeling as good as I can at the plate. I'm feeling comfortable and relaxed."
Hunter relieved after getting medical scare: Torii Hunter was relieved on Saturday when Dr. Lewis Yocum told him the "pop" he heard on a slide was just scar tissue from his offseason hernia operation breaking up.
"They were all relaxed, and I was like, 'Are you guys not worried?'" Hunter told the Los Angeles Times of the team's medical staff. "It was pretty funny. They told me there will be a point where it will pop totally, I'll be scared for a minute, and then I'll feel fine. I guess that's the process."
Grudzielanek turned to basketball to stay in shape: Mark Grudzielanek missed all of the 2009 season, but the veteran infielder kept himself in shape and is trying to earn a spot with the Indians as a non-roster Spring Training invitee.
"I played a lot of basketball, which is a great sport for cardio," Grudzielanek told MLB.com. "Then, when it got closer to Spring Training, after I did sign with Cleveland, I hired a track guy and hired a doctor to get my back worked out to find out if there's anything serious going on and what we need to do. I just got myself structurally centered to come here and do what I can."
Marcum's first outing since 2008 is a success: Facing big league hitters for the first time since 2008, Shaun Marcum threw two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday.
Marcum hurt his right elbow two years ago and has been working his way back to the Blue Jays since having surgery. Last year, he was 0-2 with a 2.30 ERA in five Minor League rehab starts.
"Leading up to it, everybody was asking me if I was nervous," Marcum told the Toronto Globe and Mail about his start. "I was like 'No chance.' I've never been nervous in my life. But then I got out there today -- waiting to pitch that first inning -- and was more anxious than excited or nervous. I can't wait to get back out there and compete again."
Guthrie pleased with fastball in second outing: Jeremy Guthrie was pleased after throwing 51 pitches in his second outing of Spring Training on Sunday.
"I felt like I kept the ball down, I felt like it had good movement -- two of the biggest things I'm needing to be more consistent with," Guthrie told MLB.com. "I did walk guys and fell behind guys, but overall, I'm very, very pleased with the way the fastball was coming out of the hand. Those are all big pluses for me."
Young plans to implement speed more: Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young is working on his bunting to complement his power and speed game. In addition to a home run and a double on Saturday, Young also pushed a bunt up the first base line for a hit.
"I've got to use my speed more this year," Young told the Arizona Republic. "That's one of the traits that I have as a player, and if I want to do my part, I'm going to have to try to use everything -- power, speed, good defense -- everything I can do to help the team win, basically."
Gload wants to contribute wherever necessary: Ross Gload can play both first and third base, but he's not likely to see a lot of time at first base for the Phillies in 2010.
"I don't expect to play much at first," MLB.com. "Before I signed, I made sure to check to see [Ryan Howard] played 160 games last year. That's fine -- I know the role. I know why I was brought over here. I'm never going to be standing outside Charlie's door when Howard has 46 homers and ask why I don't get to play more. I don't really care. I just want to be part of the team and do my job. That's what I did last year."
Lopez's debut at third base delayed by rain: A rainout on Sunday kept Jose Lopez from making his Spring Training debut at third base for the Mariners. But the former second baseman doesn't anticipate any difficulty.
"I feel better," Lopez told the Seattle Times. "I feel really comfortable right now. I don't feel 100 percent. But I think I've got a chance to get to 100 percent before the season starts."
"You're asking a guy to change a position, you want his enthusiasm for it, and he's shown that," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I think initially he has liked it.
Capuano makes first start since second surgery: Chris Capuano, who has missed most of the last two seasons with Milwaukee while rehabbing from a second Tommy John surgery, pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday against San Francisco.
The left-hander allowed two hits and no walks while striking out three, then left to a nice ovation from Brewers fans who appreciated his struggle to return.
"I was overthrowing a little bit," Capuano, who blew out his elbow in an exhibition game in 2008, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I think I was a little excited to be out there. The fans were real nice to me. I know I'm going to be a little sore tomorrow. You can't simulate game speed in the bullpen, no matter how hard you try. It just ratchets up another notch when hitters are in there from the opposing team."
Martinez turning heads in New York: Top prospect Fernando Martinez is doing his best to make it hard for the Mets to send him back to Triple-A.
The outfielder went 4-for-4 with two solo home runs on Saturday to increase hit Spring Training batting average to .667. Martinez is one of the top prospects in the Mets system and was the MVP of the Caribbean Series this winter.
"I never have not liked Fernando Martinez," manager Jerry Manuel told the New York Daily News. "I think to see the display of power, especially with offspeed pitches, was impressive today. When we had him in New York, I didn't see him handle that pitch very well. To see him take good swings at it and put it in play with that type of authority shows that he's growing. He's maturing. And that's a good thing."
Latos uses longer stride for effective curve: Mat Latos made his Major League debut with the Padres last season and had a 4.62 ERA in 50 2/3 innings. This spring, Latos has lengthened his stride.
"I liked the way Mat threw the ball," Padres manager Bud Black told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It incorporates the lower half of his body more. He releases the ball closer to home plate. And he's straighter to the plate."
Hamilton 'feels good' after making throws: Josh Hamilton is feeling better after hurting his left shoulder when he fell while trying to catch a fly ball during workouts on Feb. 24. The Texas outfielder threw to bases on Friday and took some batting practice on Saturday.
"I feel good," Hamilton, who hadn't planned on throwing Friday, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The only thing I have is tightness, and that's about it. I feel good considering I did everything but hitting on the field."
Lackey effective in first Sox start: John Lackey threw two no-hit innings against the Twins.
"I felt pretty good," Lackey told the Boston Herald. "It's a good place to start from. It's always different when you have to sit down, get back up for that second inning. It was a little bit harder to get loose that second inning as opposed to the first, but overall, I felt pretty good. We'll keep moving forward."
Burnett adding offspeed pitch: A.J. Burnett is working on a changeup this spring.
"I don't feel like I've had the success I should have. I'm a .500 pitcher, and there's a reason for that," Burnett told the New York Daily News. "Over two-thirds of my career, I've been a two-pitch pitcher."
Burnett is 100-85 during his career. Last year, he was 13-9 in his first season with the Yankees.
-- Red Line Editorial