Hellickson could see rotation spot
Rays righty showed potential toward end of 2010 season
With the trade of Matt Garza to the Cubs, Jeremy Hellickson is a step closer to being part of the starting rotation for the Tampa Bay Rays. Hellickson showed what he could do last season when given a few starts.
"I think we'll be all right," David Price told the St. Petersburg Times. "Helly will fit in just fine. He's my pick to win rookie of the year."
Hellickson, only 23, won his first three Major League starts while the Rays were in the midst of a pennant race. During those three starts he became the first pitcher in the modern era to pitch at least six innings and allow three hits or fewer in his first three starts in the Majors.
"He's extremely talented, and he has a lot of poise for a young pitcher," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We feel he's going, whether it's Opening Day or later, to really [step] in nicely and help us maintain the premium starting pitching we've been accustomed to."
Uggla officially joins Atlanta with five-year deal: After passing his physical exam, Dan Uggla's five-year contract extension with the Braves was official.
"We're thrilled to get this done," general manager Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Like I've said, this gives us that big right-handed bat that we've been looking for for a long time to anchor the middle of our lineup."
"Fredi Gonzalez knows Dan probably better than anybody in baseball," Wren said, "and Fredi made it clear that this is a guy we're all going to love -- we're going to love the way he plays, we're going to love the fact that he plays every day, and his performance speaks for itself."
Romero glad to be returning to Phillies: Now that he knows he will be in Philadelphia for the 2011 season, J.C. Romero says he's content with the way things worked out.
"It's been a little tough this offseason, wondering where we were going to end up," Romero told the Philadelphia Daily News. "But things happen for a reason, and we feel very comfortable with the situation here."
Berkman sees familiarity with Cardinals: Despite being the other side of the rivalry between Houston and St. Louis, Lance Berkman says he already feels at home with the Cardinals.
"It's going to be a little different, for sure," Berkman told the Belleville News-Democrat. "But I have such a familiarity with the organization, the players and the coaching staff. It just seems like a good fit for me. It's going to be strange to see that uniform, but because I know it so well, it almost feels like home already."
Figgins moving back to third base: Chone Figgins will apparently return to third base this season with the Mariners.
"We have talked to Chone about going back to third base, and he's well aware of it," general manager Jack Zduriencik told the Everett Herald. "His response was, 'Fine, I'll do what is best for the club.'"
Derrek Lee brings leadership to Orioles: Derrek Lee isn't loud, but he does consider himself a "clubhouse guy" and hopes to bring some veteran wisdom to Baltimore.
"You're not going to hear me yell and scream, but I will pull guys aside and let them know how the game should be played," Lee told MLB.com. "Kevin Gregg will do that as well. You have to get guys pulling on the same rope and moving in the same direction. With all the talent, I don't see why we can't do special things this year.
"I'm a guy who shows up every day to work. Injuries are a part of it, but if you're able to get out there, you get out there. I play hard and really try to lead by example and play the game the right way. That's the way I was brought up."
Fernando Perez ready to make an impact: Fernando Perez, acquired last week by the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade, is happy for the opportunity.
"I'm looking totally ahead," Perez told the St. Petersburg Times. "Who wouldn't want to play for the Cubs?"
Capuano planning to build off 2010 with Mets: After getting back to the Majors with the Brewers in 2010, Chris Capuano wants to make another big step in his comeback from elbow surgery this year with the Mets.
"To feel the way I do right now is validation of the last few years of hard work," Capuano told the New York Daily News. "Now it's not really a thought for me or a concern."
Heath Bell hopes to remain in San Diego: Heath Bell wouldn't mind signing a multiyear contract with the Padres.
"That would be my dream," Bell told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Bell made 67 appearances for the Padres last season, going 6-1 with 47 saves and a 1.93 ERA. In 70 innings, he struck out 86 hitters and held them to a .221 batting average. In the last two seasons, he has recorded 89 saves, leading the National League in 2009 and finishing second last year.
Chipper Jones targets Opening Day for return: Chipper Jones got into the batting cage on Friday for the first time since having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee five months ago. Early reports were positive.
"Swing never changes," Mark DeRosa, who joined Jones and Brian McCann for a turn in the cages at Turner Field, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's the same as when I first watched him take BP in the Minor League cages in the spring of '96."
"I thoroughly expect to be the Opening Day third baseman," Jones said. "But I have days where I go down in the weight room and I think there's no way. But today I feel like that there's no doubt that I'll be the Opening Day third baseman."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.