Quietly, Adam Wainwright was 11-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 2008 in just 20 starts. The right-hander's season was cut short when he ruptured the pulley in his middle finger on his right hand.
02/23/2009 12:25 PM ET
Adam Wainwright rested and ready
Cardinals right-hander confident he'll be healthy for 2009
The injury required more than two months of recovery time, but Wainwright says the finger is a non-issue as he prepares for 2009.
"I don't think about it all," Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's not even a thought. ... I like the role I'm in. I know what it takes to be ready. I'm very confident that this year is going to be a very good year for me. Whether people are paying attention to me now or not, I know that much -- this is going to be a very good year."
McPherson turns attention to speed, defense: Dallas McPherson hit 42 home runs in Triple-A last year, but he spent his winter preparing to compete for a Marlins club that emphasizes speed and defense.
"Honestly, it played a role in my offseason," McPherson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It's why I trimmed down. They wanted speed and better defense. That's what I geared my workouts for. I worked a lot on agility and range of motion, and being able to get to balls [at third base] that I couldn't last year."
"I'm not going to make any qualms about it," McPherson said. "I'm here to win a starting job. Being in the big leagues and coming off the bench to help a team is better than being in Triple-A. Making this club is the No. 1 goal, but make no doubt about it -- I'm here to win a [starting] job. I want 500 at-bats."
Garret Anderson likely headed to Braves: Garret Anderson and the Braves are reportedly close to agreement on a one-year contract.
"I've always loved this guy," Braves manager Bobby Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's got one of the sweetest swings in baseball. He's a guy you want up with the game on the line, and he uses all fields. I hope we get him."
Kendrick has plan for hamstring issues: Howie Kendrick has a new plan of attack to combat trouble with his hamstrings.
"One of the biggest things for me will be to stay hydrated and to keep the same regimen all year," Kendrick told the Los Angeles Times. "I need to maintain my smaller muscles, like the hip flexor, to help avoid hamstring injuries."
Griffey appreciative of veterans in clubhouse: Ken Griffey Jr. hopes to be like the veteran players who helped him become a Major Leaguer during his first stint with the Mariners.
During his introduction, Griffey spoke about Dave Valle, Harold Reynolds and Alvin Davis, who helped him when he broke in back in 1989.
"I had all these guys that didn't care that I was better than them," Griffey told the Seattle Times. "They always wanted me to get better. They treated me like I was a 19-year-old sometimes. I'd get in a little trouble, but it was all good. And that's what you have to do. There are going to be some things that I may say to a younger player that you [media] guys will never hear about. And you shouldn't. It's between me and him. On what he should do and what he shouldn't do."
Soto not worried about sophomore jinx: Geovany Soto isn't concerned about a letdown after winning the Players Choice Award as the NL's Outstanding Rookie and the writers' Rookie of the Year Award in 2008.
"It's really not important," Soto told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Everybody has ups and downs in their careers. Some have Hall of Fame careers, some don't. I don't think it has anything to do with the Rookie of the Year. If you keep working hard and doing your job, I think you'll be all right."
Victor Martinez has plenty of reason to smile: Victor Martinez seems to always have a smile painted on. When prompted to explain it, he had a very simple answer as to what keeps him smiling all season.
"I just love this game," Martinez told MLB.com. "You look around, and we're blessed to be here, wearing a big league uniform with nice shoes, nice batting gloves, looking good. What else can you ask? You just need to go out and enjoy it."
DeRosa's versatility lands him at third base: Mark DeRosa knows how to adjust from position to position, so he doesn't anticipate difficulty in becoming the Indians third baseman.
"It's a position I've played," DeRosa told MLB.com. "I've bounced around so much the last four or five years that just by getting out there and taking a few ground balls, I can get the hang of it."
Uehara makes debut on the mound: Koji Uehara, who signed with the Orioles this winter after having success in Japan, threw 35 pitches to Minor Leaguers over the weekend and was mostly happy with the results.
"My fastball was a little bit high -- that's something I need to work on," Uehara told MLB.com via interpreter Jiwon Bang. "For the first time facing batters, it was all right. ... I expected hitters to take a lot of pitches, but no surprises."
Hall shelved with shoulder surgery: Toby Hall had hoped to be able to rehab the torn labrum in his right shoulder and miss the next month. However, after meeting with Houston general manager Ed Wade, Hall will now undergo surgery and be out at least four months.
"It gives me a little peace of mind to go get [the surgery]," Hall told the Houston Chronicle. "Seeing the MRI and seeing what I've been dealing with the last couple of years, it kind of puts me at ease to go get it fixed. That way I can get back out there [as] the player that I used to be and be healthy [and] go out there with two [labra]."
Oswalt impressive in initial outing: Gearing up for the World Baseball Classic, Roy Oswalt threw live batting practice this weekend against Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman and four other Houston Astros hitters.
"Roy actually threw the ball really, really well," manager Cecil Cooper told the Houston Chronicle. "He seemed to have a lot of life on his ball. His ball was moving. He worked on his changeup a little bit. Roy looked pretty good. He actually threw some breaking balls, too."
Gallardo declines Classic invitation: Yovani Gallardo wanted to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, but in the end he felt it was better to stay in camp with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Coming off two knee surgeries last season, Gallardo felt leaving camp would not have been the right thing to do.
"No Classic for me," Gallardo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after calling Mexico manager Vinny Castilla to deliver the news. "It's a good decision for me, being hurt last year. I'd love to go. Hopefully, the opportunity will be there for me to go next time around."
Bill Hall gets cleared to take BP: Bill Hall has started to take batting practice during camp. Hall suffered a slight tear in his left calf before the start of the Spring Training.
"The doc cleared me to do it today," Hall told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It went well. I hit a lot. I didn't have to hold back. Everything's good."
Daniel Murphy slotted for left field: Mets manager Jerry Manuel has stated Daniel Murphy will receive most of the playing time in left field this season. Murphy has 49 games of Major League experience and batted .313 with two home runs and 17 RBIs after joining the Mets on Aug. 2. The early announcement by Manuel shows the confidence he has in his young 23-year-old outfielder. That includes Murphy's ability to hit left-handers, against whom he was 4-for-10 against last season.
"I don't need to see it," Manuel told Newsday said. "I've seen it. I'm confident. The way he swings the bat I'm confident that he can handle that. I don't have a problem with that."
Beckett hits his spots during live BP: Brad Wilkerson of the Red Sox is glad he doesn't have to face Josh Beckett any more, at least judging by what he saw during Beckett's live batting practice session.
"He looked sharp," Wilkerson told the Boston Globe. "A guy coming out, first live BP, he's pumping the strike zone, hitting his spots. That's what you want to see. When he gets on the mound, he's just a different bird, I'd probably say. He's hitting his spots, fastball; he's getting the inside corners on the left-handers. Just really pumping the strike zone -- that's what you want to see this early."
Benson feeling better than ever on mound: Kris Benson signed a Minor League contract with the Texas Rangers. Benson has been slowed by rotator-cuff problems the last couple of years but has looked good so far in camp.
"I feel like I'm 24 again," Benson, who threw batting practice Saturday, told the Dallas Morning News. "It's been so long since my shoulder's been feeling this good. I put in a lot of hard work the past couple of years just to get back to this point."
Isringhausen gets fresh start in Tampa: The Tampa Bay Rays have added more depth to their bullpen after agreeing to a Minor League contract with Jason Isringhausen.
A two-time All-Star, Isringhausen arrived in camp on Saturday. Formerly of St. Louis, where he saved a franchise-record 217 games, Isringhausen said it was the right time to leave the Cardinals.
"Things got stale in St. Louis, and it was time to go," Isringhausen told the Tampa Tribune. "My main thing is staying healthy after a long year. Now I get a fresh start, and we'll see what happens. I had flexor tendon surgery in September and I'm good to go. There's an opportunity here, but I know I have to go out and pitch well."
-- Red Line Editorial