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« Scatter Charts: Did Moneyball Die in 2012? | Main | Mark Teixeira out of WBC with wrist injury and other top stories »

Johan Santana close to returning and more


The New York Mets are aiming for Johan Santana to make his Grapefruit League debut in a week, likely against the Detroit Tigers at Tradition Field on March 14.

That would provide Santana three starts to prepare for the regular season, although Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated Wednesday that he doesn't believe it is a priority for the left-hander to pitch on Opening Day against the San Diego Padres.

Santana had been backed off mound work for much of spring training because he lacked shoulder strength.

"We're not worried about April 1," Collins said. "We're worried about 30 starts."


Hosmer replaces Teixeira on USA WBC team

First baseman Eric Hosmer came into the Royals' clubhouse on Wednesday morning and started packing up his equipment. But he's not going far.

Hosmer was selected to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, replacing injured Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.

"It's a great opportunity. Any chance you get to represent your country, you're obviously going to jump at the opportunity, so I'm very excited," Hosmer said.

Hosmer's chance came after Teixeira strained his right forearm on Tuesday at a Team USA workout at Glendale, while taking light swings off a tee. X-rays were negative, but he went to New York for a further examination."


One time Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland retires

"Outfielder Ryan Westmoreland, a Rhode Island native once considered the top prospect in the Red Sox organization, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Westmoreland, who will turn 23 on April 27, underwent brain surgery in March 2010 to correct a cavernous malformation. He had similar surgery last July.

"With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists, and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player," Westmoreland wrote in an e-mail sent to some media outlets. A copy was provided to the Globe by the Red Sox.

"Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level."


Yankees Robertson misses outing with tight shoulder

"Add David Robertson to the list of Yankees players with a physical problem.

Mariano Rivera’s setup man was scheduled to pitch in Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Braves at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Yet, the right-hander never left the bullpen because he couldn’t get loose.

“Warming up in the bullpen, his shoulder, as I understand it, had trouble loosening up,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “So Hark [bullpen coach Mike Harkey] just said, ‘Shut it down.’ My understanding is he’s not worried about it. No tests scheduled, stuff like that. So that one now is a low-level concern. Precautionary, take it to the showers, we’ll see you tomorrow.”


Rafael Soriano debuts

"If the Nationals have learned one thing about Rafael Soriano in three weeks with their new closer, it is this: “He’s a character, to say the least,” Manager Davey Johnson said.

Soriano, in a way the Nationals don’t seem to mind, is on his own program. He is typically one of the last players to arrive in the clubhouse each morning, and when he does the bachata music blares so loudly from his headphones it can be heard throughout the room. He leaves early most games if he makes first pitch at all. He requested he not pitch against divisional opponents during the spring, and Johnson obliged.

“He’s a quiet guy,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “I know Desi rags him, gets him laughing and stuff. He’s been great.”


Carl Crawford cleared to throw

"Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford has been cleared to begin throwing and hitting on Thursday after missing six days with nerve irritation in his surgically repaired left elbow.

Crawford still will have difficulty being ready by Opening Day -- he might not play in a Cactus League game for a week or more -- but it gives him a sliver of hope.

"He's doing good. He's not feeling anything at all," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He'll be monitored, though."


Rays Moore can't find command

"Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon wants to see LHP Matt Moore develop his fastball to the point where he can throw it for a strike any time during the count. That didn't happen Tuesday, when Moore lacked command during this second start of the spring.

Moore threw 49 pitches — 25 of them balls — during his 2 2/3 innings in the Rays' 8-5 win against the Twins at Hammond Stadium.

"It's frustrating, obviously. You want to do well every time you go out there, regardless if it's spring training or a regular game," Maddon said. "But, obviously, I understand that this is the time for us to iron out the kinks and figure things out on this stage."


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