Freddy Sanchez can go to Spring Training with his mind at ease now that his new baby has arrived and his new contract is settled.
His wife, Alissa, gave birth to their second child, Ryan Anthony Sanchez, on Jan. 26 -- the day after Freddy got an offer from the Pirates. The contract finally got done earlier this week.
"I'm thrilled," Sanchez told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Pittsburgh is where I want to be. Everybody knows that. For me and my family, it was kind of a no-brainer. We love this community, and we appreciate the support that our fans give us. There's nothing better than going on the field knowing the fans are on your side, like they are here."
The two-year deal with a vesting option allows the Pirates to avoid an arbitration hearing with the 2006 NL batting champion.
Yankees, Cano agree on four-year deal: The Yankees signed second baseman Robinson Cano to a four-year contract with club options for 2012 and 2013. Cano's contract will take him through his arbitration-eligible seasons and, with the two club options, his first two free-agent years.
"We're very happy," Bobby Barad, Cano's agent, told Newsday. "That was the goal when we started these conversations. We both knew each other quite well and had some conversations going back to as far as Spring Training. Just through those conversations, both of us had interest."
"He's already proven he can play in New York," general manager Brian Cashman said. "When you have players that prove they can handle the stress and pressure of playing here, like Robby has, you've got to put your arms around them."
Escobar to start throwing in March: Shoulder inflammation will likely keep Kelvim Escobar from being ready on Opening Day, but an MRI showed no substantial changes in the shoulder from the end of last season, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"It's doubtful he'll be ready for the start of the season, but if the strength comes back in the shoulder, he has a good chance to be very strong early in the year and come back and do what he did last year," Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times.
"You can't rush it. There is some weakness in some areas that need to be strengthened, and once they are, [the Angels' medical staff] will feel more comfortable with him throwing."
Escobar is not scheduled to begin his throwing program until March.
Lidge ready for increase in appearances: After appearing in a career-low 66 games last season in Houston, Brad Lidge knows that he is almost certainly going to see a significant spike in that number this season with the Phillies.
"That's fine," Lidge told MLB.com. "It's a very fortunate situation for me to have been traded here. I feel lucky that the team I was traded to was on the upswing, a team that not only can get to a World Series, but win a World Series."
For part of last season Lidge lost his job as closer in Houston, but earning it back was very important for him.
"Earning my job back felt better than if it was handed to me when I wasn't throwing well," he said. "I needed to earn it back."
Carpenter aiming for return to starting rotation: Chris Carpenter, who had ligament replacement surgery in July, says he plans to be a part of the Cardinals' rotation for a big chunk of the 2008 season.
"The question is whether it's going to be before the All-Star break, after the All-Star break or somewhere in between," Carpenter told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It just depends on how things go. I'm hoping it's going to be before. But everyone I've talked to has told me not to rush. I'm doing everything they told me to do. I'm not going to go overboard on stuff. I'm not going to push it and end up screwing everything up."
On Wednesday, Carpenter made three sets of 25 tosses from 90 feet and plans on getting to 120 feet next week, 150 feet in March and hopes to be throwing off a mound by Spring Training.
"They say 10-12 months (recovery) depending on how many times you slow down," said Carpenter. "There might be some soreness here and there that causes you to miss a few days. That's to be expected. What you want to avoid is missing a week or more."
Bush to make a run at spot in Brewers' rotation: Dave Bush can focus on earning a spot in the Brewers' rotation now that he's agreed to a one-year contract.
"We like David; we think he's a good pitcher," general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If you look at the guy, he has won 12 games each of the last two seasons and pitched around 200 innings. He's got a pretty good chance of being in the rotation."
Bush will compete with Chris Capuano, Carlos Villanueva, Claudio Vargas and Manny Parra for the final two spots in the rotation. Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan and Yovani Gallardo have the top three spots secured.
Bush was 12-10 last season with a 5.12 ERA, making 31 starts and appearing in two other games as a reliever. He finished the year throwing 186 1/3 innings, allowing 217 hits and 44 walks while striking out 134 batters.
Miller keeps it local, signs with Rays: Tampa Bay added some veteran depth to its bullpen by signing left-hander Trever Miller to a one-year contract with an option for 2009. Miller, who pitched for the Rays in 2004 and 2005, has pitched for the Houston Astros the past two seasons, going a combined 3-3 with one save in 121 appearances.
Miller lives in Land O'Lakes, so signing with the Rays gives him a chance to be near home throughout the season.
"It's been a blessing to be able to play big-league baseball at home," Miller told the St. Petersburg Times. "I didn't think it would happen again. Andrew (Friedman) gave us a call at the end of the season and we met with him, the process took longer than we wanted it to, they had to sign a few other guys so we had to wait for that to transpire, and we were rewarded for our patience."
Miller set a Major League record last season by appearing in 78 games and not earning a decision. He was 0-0 with one save and a 4.86 ERA. He held left-handed hitters to a .209 batting average, but he insists he is not a situational pitcher who can only get one or two lefties out.
"I'm not one-dimensional, and I have never have been, but you get labeled when you do something well," Miller said. "I'd like to be used in that role and more. I think I can get right-handers out too. Hopefully they'll give me an opportunity and I'll run with it."
Parade would be fine with Santana: Johan Santana has seen how New Yorkers embrace a champion. The newest Met was introduced only 24 hours after the city held a parade for the New York Giants after their Super Bowl XLII win over New England.
Santana wants Mets fans to enjoy the same type of celebration.
"I'm looking forward to us celebrating that way, too," Santana, who watched the confetti storm on TV at his hotel, told Newsday. "Hopefully, that time will be soon and we'll be able to bring that to the city and have fun with them."
Willie Randolph will have Santana and a healthy Pedro Martinez at the top of his starting rotation. The Mets' manager, however, isn't sure who will get the start on Opening Day.
"I've got a little while to think about that," Randolph said. "I've got two stoppers, man. Two legitimate stoppers. So I'm sure it will be a pleasant choice."
Santana hasn't pitched for New York yet, but he has proven he is deserving of being the Opening Day starter based on his history with his former team, the Minnesota Twins. Since 2004, Santana has won a Major-League best 70 games and has a 2.89 ERA to go along with 983 strikeouts. For now, Santana is just ready to help the team win.
"Well, I like our chances," the smiling Santana said. "Whatever it takes. We'll see how Spring Training goes. I'm willing to do whatever. A No. 1, a No. 5, whatever it takes."
Kinney playing it safe after Tommy John surgery: Josh Kinney is going to resist trying to return to the Cardinals' bullpen too quickly from ligament-replacement surgery.
"It's important for me, if I'm going to help the club out, I know I need to be 100 percent," Kinney told MLB.com. "Whether I'll be game-ready in the middle of March or not, I really don't know yet. We're just going to have to wait. Get off a mound and then slowly work back into throwing my pitches -- curveballs and sliders. It's a lengthy process."
In 2006, Kinney appeared in 21 games for the Cardinals, posting a 3.24 ERA while striking out 22 batters in 25 innings. He missed all of the 2007 campaign.
Hinske signs with Rays: Eric Hinske signed a Minor League contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
Hinske, a left-handed hitter who can play both first and third base as well as the corner spots in the outfield, hit .204 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in a reserve role with Boston last season. Before that, he played for the Blue Jays for five years. In 2002, Hinske was named the AL Rookie of the Year.
For his career, Hinske is a .255 hitter with 85 home runs and 339 RBIs in 770 games.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.