CC Sabathia is no longer with the Milwaukee Brewers, but his presence may still be felt this year.
03/11/2009 11:21 AM ET
Manny Parra took tips from CC Sabathia
Brewers lefty will rely on curveball less, changeup more
Watching Sabathia last season up close, Manny Parra believes he learned a lesson about the importance of changing speeds and has decided to rely less on his curveball and feature his changeup more often.
"[Sabathia] was using that changeup more, he said, than he ever used it before, and that was the reason for his success," Parra told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I just listened to that and tried to incorporate it into my game.
"The relationship I was able to build with him made it possible for me to ask him questions like that and pick his brain and [for] him to tell me those types of things. That's the kind of teammate he is."
Rolen sees adjusted swing paying off: Scott Rolen got the week off to a good start at the plate, going 4-for-7 with two doubles and a home run in two games.
"I'm not going to complain," Rolen told the Toronto Star. "I feel as good as I've felt since before my injuries. I feel stronger; I've made some swing adjustments and I feel healthy, finally."
Rolen was limited to 112 games in St. Louis due to a shoulder injury in 2007. Last season, an operation to repair a broken middle finger on his right hand cost him most of his first April in Toronto.
Davis appears to be rotation-ready: Doug Davis had a tough time getting warmed up on Monday, but once he got loose, the pain in his pitching arm went away. Davis is now confident he will be ready to start the season in the Arizona rotation.
"It's definitely getting better," Davis told the Arizona Republic.
Santana to get first Spring Training start: Johan Santana will finally take the mound for the Mets in a Grapefruit League game when he throws on Thursday against Florida. Santana experienced elbow tightness earlier in camp and has been held out of action since.
"Right now, I feel pretty good, and I felt like I could get in a game," Santana told the New York Daily News.
Pettitte sees first live action: Andy Pettitte got into a Spring Training game on Monday and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Pettitte was the last of the Yankees' expected starters to throw in an exhibition game. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two.
"It was good to get out there and get it cranked up a little," Pettitte told Newsday. "It's been a long spring already."
Jeter, Pedroia on common ground: During the regular season, Derek Jeter and Dustin Pedroia play for rival teams. But the two are currently teammates for the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
"They go at it constantly," Chipper Jones told the New York Daily News of Jeter and Pedroia. "It's fun when Yankees and Red Sox go at each other, because you know they're going to hate each other in a month."
Andrus making all the right moves at short: As the new shortstop for the Texas Rangers, Elvis Andrus has shown he is ready to play in the Majors and listen to advice from the veterans.
"When I was 20, I was at Missouri," second baseman Ian Kinsler told the Dallas Morning News. "No way I was ready for this. But he's just a good kid. He asks all the right questions."
Youkilis off to a hot start in cleanup spot: Kevin Youkilis' swing seems in midseason form in the World Baseball Classic. Youkilis, who finished third in the Most Valuable Player race last year after hitting .312 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs, has two home runs and seven runs scored in the tournament already.
"He's definitely a guy teams are going to fear throughout the season in the East, the American League and Interleague play," Team USA teammate Curtis Granderson told the Boston Herald. "He's primed for a great season. He's going to continue to improve on last year's numbers. That sounds hard to do after the year he had, but I'm telling you, I see them going up."
Greene sees bright future: After a series of setbacks over the years, Tyler Greene finally feels as if he's coming into his own.
"There was a time there when I was struggling and I'm looking around, and my draft class is starting to pull ahead," Greene told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It was like, 'Let's go,' and it took me awhile to really get it going. I feel now like I have a better chance to showcase everything I have, and just hope to stay around long enough to make them have a tough decision at the end."
Harden on track after making Spring Training debut: Rich Harden was solid on Tuesday in his Cactus League debut, working two scoreless innings. He expects to be ready for his first scheduled start on April 10 against the Brewers.
"Six starts is a normal spring," Harden told the Chicago Tribune. "Everybody was thinking I was behind schedule. Really, I'm only starting a few days later than normal, and I'm still getting the same amount of starts.
"I'm feeling great, feeling strong. There's no doubt in my mind I'll be ready. I know everybody is concerned about that, or everybody outside the organization. Here, everybody knows what's going on."
Huff found the magic in 2008: Aubrey Huff would like to bottle up the feeling he had in 2008 when he batted .304 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs.
"I knew I could do it because I've done it before," Huff told the Baltimore Sun. "Something in mid-May just kind of clicked, and I don't think I've ever been in that good of a groove. I felt really good mentally for three months straight. That was as good as I felt on a baseball field in my whole career."
Hamels making progress after second start: Cole Hamels knows that getting in plenty of work in the spring is important, but he would like Opening Day to get here sooner rather than later.
"I wish I could go more," Hamels told the Philadelphia Daily News after working 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday, "but I know that's not the name of the game. Mentally, you want to go, but your body is not ready."
Meanwhile, he continues to work on his command. "I'm not there yet," he said. "[On a scale of] one to 10, I'm definitely at a three or four, but to be at that stage in your second start is pretty good."
Rafael Soriano impressive in debut: Rafael Soriano made his Spring Training debut for the Braves against the Astros on Tuesday. He pitched one inning, gave up no runs and one hit and retired the side with 11 pitches.
"Not bad for the first time," Soriano, who pitched only 14 innings last season because of elbow problems, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "For being gone a long time -- not doing that -- to me, everything did fine."
Ivan Rodriguez putting on showcase at Classic: Ivan Rodriguez is using the World Baseball Classic to showcase himself for Major League teams. He got off to a good start on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, four RBIs and a walk.
"We talked to two or three teams and wanted Pudge to play in the WBC to let everyone get a look at him," agent Scott Boras told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "We're in the process of discussing that with clubs. Obviously, he's doing well and we've gotten some calls."
Frandsen aims to bounce back from injury: It looked like 2008 was going to be Kevin Frandsen's chance to earn a full-time job in the Majors. He was poised to be the Giants second baseman last year, but a ruptured Achilles tendon cost him virtually the entire season. Now he is back in camp trying to earn a spot with the club.
"I'm not expecting anything," Frandsen told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm expecting to play my game and play hard. I'm just worried about myself and how I play, getting great at-bats, no wasted at-bats."
Jered Weaver gets some ear music: A line drive nicked Jered Weaver's right ear on its way to the outfield in a game against the Indians.
"The ball was scared of how I looked, so it jumped out of my way," Weaver told the Los Angeles Times. "That was a good wake-up call my first time out. I crossed my heart and was glad nothing happened."
Motte couples fastball with confidence: As he competes to become the closer for the Cardinals, Jason Motte has been able to hold onto a couple of important things -- an outstanding fastball and plenty of confidence.
"I've had trust in [my offspeed pitches]," Motte told MLB.com. "It hasn't been that I haven't had trust in them. It's just that they've been pretty bad. I trust myself when I throw them. It doesn't matter who's back there catching. If I get a sign and I think it's a good time to throw it, I'll throw it. It may not be a good one, but I trust it. I'm going to go out there and I'm not going to do anything halfway. If I throw it, I'm going to give it everything I've got."
Zambrano could make fifth straight Opening Day start: There is little doubt that Carlos Zambrano wants to start on Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs for the fifth season in a row.
"I care," Zambrano told the Chicago Sun-Times. "When you retire and you go home, and your grandkids ask you what you did, your family [can] feel proud of you because you were the only one in Cubs history to make six, seven Opening Day starts, or you go to the Hall of Fame. For your own records, it's good."
-- Red Line Editorial