Indians players like new Arizona facility
Garko, Shoppach taking advantage of Goodyear home
Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach are among several players who have already started using the Indians' new Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.
"Usually, guys just scatter and everybody works out at a different place," Garko told MLB.com. "You do one thing in the offseason, and then, once the season starts, you go through a different routine. But here, [they send out] what we should be doing every day. I'm happy with it. That's going to be nice, going into the season."
Shoppach appreciates having a place to go where both he and his teammates can all work at the same time on the same equipment.
"I don't know what all the other guys do, but I know that it's nice to have the Indians' program there for you and everything you need for that," Shoppach told MLB.com. "A lot of times, you go to a gym in your hometown and don't have certain medicine balls you'd like to do and that sort of thing. Hopefully this will turn into a year-round facility. It's very capable of doing that, and it's got everything an Indians player would need."
Nixon hopes to follow Kapler's lead: After watching former teammate Gabe Kapler resurrect his career last year with the Brewers, Trot Nixon signed a Minor League contract with the club.
"I talked with Trot, and I said I hope he's next year's Gabe Kapler," general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
From 2001-03, Nixon averaged 26 home runs and 90 RBIs per season for Boston. Last season, Nixon started the year at Triple-A Tucson and hit .309 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs before being traded to the Mets, where he played in 11 games before a season-ending injury.
Youkilis, Sox exploring long-term deal: Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox are exploring a possible long-term contract, according to Joe Bick, Youkilis' agent.
"We've had some, what I would term, early-stage conversations," Bick told the Boston Globe. "That's really where it is. To predict which way it's going to go at this point in time would be pretty tough to do."
Bick said Youkilis would like to avoid arbitration and would be willing to sign a one-year contract if a long-term deal can't be reached.
Sabathia was looking for winning combination: CC Sabathia was introduced to the New York press last week.
"When it came down to it, what I wanted was having a chance to win every year," Sabathia, who played with Cleveland and Milwaukee last season, told the New York Daily News. "There really was no other place to go."
"The winning, that's what this organization is about," Sabathia said after putting on his pinstriped No. 52 jersey. "I didn't want to go to a place where I'm 'the guy,' but we don't have the [resources] to get the players we need. Here, we're going to get what we need."
Burnett's dream realized in joining Yankees: A.J. Burnett joined his new teammate, CC Sabathia, in an introductory news conference in New York.
"This is a dream come true," Burnett told Yankees.com. "I'm looking forward to it; it's going to be a fun ride. I want to pitch in the postseason, and I'm here to win."
Burnett was 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA last season in 35 starts. Against the Yankees, he was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts.
"A.J. Burnett has great stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he's matured a lot as a pitcher, as well. He's learned to control the running game a lot better. He attacks hitters and gets hitters out quickly, throws a lot of strikes, fields his position. I think he's much more complete as a pitcher than he was a couple of years ago."
Putz expected Tigers, not Mets, to be next home: J.J. Putz had an inkling he would be traded, but the Mets weren't on his radar.
"Once everything settled down, and I got a chance to look at the team and realize that this team is built to win right now," Putz told Mets.com, "it became very exciting."
"It happened so fast. I thought for sure I was going to be a Detroit Tiger," Putz said, "and then I got the phone call that I was going to the Mets."
Wood's first outing provided instant lesson: It didn't take long for Kerry Wood to learn why closers try to put bad outings behind them.
Wood's first appearance in 2008 came in the ninth inning of a scoreless game against the Brewers and gave up three runs. The Cubs eventually lost in 10 innings.
"You can't go anywhere but up after that," Wood told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I blew the first one of the year and got booed off the field. You have to come back to work the next day. It's still your job, no matter how good or how bad you did the day before."
Howard to skip World Baseball Classic: Ryan Howard has decided to skip the World Baseball Classic, instead deciding to concentrate on readying himself for the 2009 season.
"He feels like he needs to spend his time in the spring getting ready for the season so he gets off to a better start," Team USA manager Davey Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News.
"We'll miss him," Johnson added. "We would have liked to have had his bat in the middle of our order."
Danks not worried about added pressure: Twenty-three-year-old John Danks, one of just three established starters on the White Sox current roster, doesn't feel any additional weight on his shoulders going into 2009.
"I guess you can say yes and no in answering that question," Danks told MLB.com. "Yes, because obviously, if things stay the way they are, Kenny [general manager Williams] or Ozzie [manager Guillen] are showing they have a little more faith in us three.
"No, in that it really shouldn't matter because everyone has a job to do. If you put together a rotation of five Cy Young winners, you all still have to do the job. Really, there isn't any more pressure than last year or the year before."
Clement could see time at catcher, DH: The Mariners are considering ways to get left-handed hitting catcher Jeff Clement in the lineup more often in the 2009 season. He may give right-handed hitting Kenji Johjima an occasional rest and even DH a bit.
"A lot of it is going to be determined by how well Jeff swings the bat, if he's going to be the DH," manager Don Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times. "We're trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. As the roster sits right now, we don't know what we're going to do."
Songs bring Jenks back to Chicago state of mind: Despite some trade rumors, Bobby Jenks keeps going about his business in preparation for the 2009 season.
"I take every day and get ready for Opening Day, regardless of the team where I'll be," Jenks, told MLB.com. "But we have a home here in Chicago. I'm a Chicago White Sox [player], in and out. I hear songs on the radio, and I can picture myself running out of the bullpen to the mound."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.