The Giants are asking Bengie Molina to help tutor Buster Posey, and Molina is eager to help the young catcher.
02/17/2009 11:40 AM ET
Bengie Molina a willing tutor
Giants catcher to mentor hot prospect Buster Posey
"It sounds weird, but it's true. That's just how I am," Molina told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When I was with Anaheim, when I was in the Minor Leagues, I was helping guys who could have gotten my spot -- the other catchers. I was helping them without any kind of fear of them taking my spot.
"I got to the big leagues and I was doing the same thing. I got a chance to even help my brother [Jose], who could have taken my spot. I've helped a bunch of people, and Posey is not going to be an exception. I trust myself. I have a lot of confidence in what I do and what I can bring to a club. So if I have to help him and he takes my spot, then I have to turn the page and move on."
Marshall gets inside track on final starting spot: Manager Lou Piniella believes Sean Marshall has a good chance to become the Cubs' fifth starter.
Others under consideration for the role include Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin and Aaron Heilman, but Piniella has developed a comfort level with Marshall over the past two seasons.
"Truthfully, I like [Marshall] in the rotation," Piniella told MLB.com. "Marshall, to me, has gotten better. I liked him his first year here, and I liked him a whole lot better last year. One thing about Sean, we used him in different roles, and we even sent him out to Triple-A. He never once complained. He has gotten stronger, he has a good feel for pitching, and I would feel extremely comfortable with him in the fifth spot.
Harden sets goal at 30 starts: After making 25 starts last season between the Oakland A's and Chicago Cubs, Rich Harden says he's feeling great and is prepared to exceed that number of turns in the rotation in 2009.
"I want more," Harden told MLB.com. "Thirty is what I'd like to get. I haven't really gotten that yet, and that's kind of my goal. I definitely want more."
Uehara brings Japanese flavor to Orioles: For Koji Uehara, the Baltimore Orioles' first-ever Japanese player, adjusting to life in the Major League is half the battle.
"I have to perform on the mound, and that's the most important thing, but after I do what I do on the mound, the social aspect comes in," Uehara told MLB.com via translator Jiwon Bang. "The first thing I have to do is remember the names and faces of my teammates. It's about communication, and that's the easiest way to get to know people."
Hamels tabbed as Opening Day starter: Not that there was a lot of mystery surrounding it, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has announced that Cole Hamels will be the team's Opening Day starter.
"Why not make it official? Why pretend not to know?" Manuel told MLB.com.
No changes in Bruce's offseason training: Jay Bruce arrived in Cincinnati for good late last May and proceeded to bat .254 with 21 home runs and 52 RBIs in 108 games. His offseason workout program remained the same.
"It doesn't change too many things. I think it makes me not put so much pressure on myself," Bruce told MLB.com. "Last year, I was trying to do too many things. Now, I'm not going to change a thing."
Oswalt gets in work at college: Before Roy Oswalt leaves camp to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, he plans to pitch in at least two Grapefruit League games. Wanting to be ready to go for the Classic, Oswalt has already been throwing. He tossed four innings of live batting practice last week against Holmes Junior College in Mississippi.
"I threw 60 [pitches]," Oswalt told the Houston Chronicle of the outing against the school where he once played. "I tried to make it through four innings in my junior college, and I ended up throwing 60 pitches through four."
Hall out with torn calf muscle: The Milwaukee Brewers suffered a setback before camp even started as Bill Hall was lost for four to six weeks with a torn left calf muscle. Hall was working out on his own when he suffered the injury. Hall, who had Lasik surgery this offseason, was looking forward to camp after hitting .225 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs last season.
"It has to be disappointing for him," assistant general manager Gord Ash told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "This was his opportunity to start fresh with a new staff and a new season."
Castillo might move to top of the order for Mets: Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he is considering batting Luis Castillo at the top of the lineup.
"For all of our players, he's probably the one you'd want to get off to a good start," Manuel told the New York Daily News about Castillo.
Castillo was on the disabled list from July 3-Aug. 25 with a strained hip flexor. He hit .245 with three home runs and 28 RBIs.
Sabathia, Burnett take to the field: Two of the Yankees' big offseason acquisitions, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, hit the field on Saturday to participate in the team's first workout of the season.
"The focus today has been more on what has happened on the field, and that's a good thing," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I was extremely excited to see them. It was nice to see them playing catch, just listening to the sound of the ball hitting the glove. For the first day of Spring Training, they both looked great."
Andrus ready to make some noise for Rangers: As position players filter into camp for the Texas Rangers, many eyes will be on Elvis Andrus. The 20-year-old shortstop is confident he can make the jump from Double-A to the Majors this season.
"Every young guy waits for this opportunity, and I really, really appreciate it," Andrus told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I have to keep working hard and [ask] a lot of questions, follow guys like Michael Young and Ian Kinsler and Omar Vizquel."
Lowrie's wrist gets rest and rehab: Jed Lowrie will have one thing in his favor as he battles for the starting shortstop job this spring for Boston -- a healthy wrist.
Lowrie played the second half of the 2008 season with a slight tear in his left wrist. The injury is now healed thanks to rest and rehabilitation this offseason.
"I took about a month off and didn't do anything, just letting it heal," Lowrie told the Boston Herald. "We decided not to do surgery because there wasn't enough time. I probably wouldn't have been ready for Spring Training. It was just a matter of giving it some rest and trying to strengthen it back up."
Schafer impresses with approach to season: Jordan Schafer has impressed Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton with his approach to the new season.
"He's growing up," Pendleton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Last year he came in here like [wide-eyed], 'I'm here.' This year I can say this -- he looks like he's on a mission. There's a different look in his eyes."
Miller aims for more strikes with new windup: The Marlins plan for Andrew Miller to have a new windup this year. They did not want to change his original windup in his first stint in the Majors, but the club feels he is ready to handle the change now.
"Towards the end of last season, I came to the conclusion I had to do something to improve my ability to consistently throw strikes," Miller told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I just needed to straighten out and make things simpler, straighter to home plate. I don't expect my arm angle to change or my stuff to change too much. I'm taking my lower half in a more direct route to home plate. That alone should make it easier to throw strikes."
Schmidt shooting for No. 5 spot in rotation: Jason Schmidt had scar tissue removed from his elbow and hopes that will allow him to take a regular turn in the Dodgers rotation.
"Last year, I had to talk myself into it," Schmidt told the Los Angeles Times. He also added that he felt "pretty darn close" to being back to normal.
Asked if he envisioned Schmidt as his fifth starter, manager Joe Torre said, "I'd like to believe that."
Hampton back in an Astros uniform once again: Mike Hampton emerged from the Houston locker room for the first day of Spring Training in an Astros uniform. The left-hander last pitched for the Astros in 1999 and is with the club once again 10 years later.
"It's funny how time flew that fast," Hampton told the Houston Chronicle. "I was checking, and '99 I was here and then 10 years later I'm back again. Not a whole lot has changed other than I have some gray hairs in my beard and I'm a little older. It's fun. Another thing -- I've had, I think, 17 big league camps, and I think 13 of them have been in Orlando. It's pretty cool stuff."
Wood gets plaudits from ex-teammate Dempster: Kerry Wood is no longer a member of the Chicago Cubs, but his former teammates -- including Ryan Dempster -- are still saying plenty of good things about their longtime teammate.
"For me, we came to the big leagues the same year," Dempster told MLB.com. "We were drafted the same year. My whole tenure in Chicago, up until now, he's been here. He's kind of, not Mr. Cub, but the Cub of our generation.
"He's been here so long and striking out 20 and hitting the three-run home run in Game 7 [of the National League Championship Series in 2003] and doing all the great things he did, and not just as a player but as a person. It'll always be hard. As unlucky as we are to not have him anymore, the Cleveland Indians are lucky to have a guy like that. I'm glad he's in another league, and we don't have to face him that much."
-- Red Line Editorial