Ryan Roberts immediately felt more comfortable about his place with the Diamondbacks this spring when he looked inside the waistband of his uniform pants.
"They had my name stitched into them," the second baseman told the Arizona Republic. "You have no idea what that was like to see. I mean, last year, they just gave me anybody's old pants. They could have belonged to Leo Rosales or some other guy. They never really fit. I'd just get somebody's pants, and they'd write my uniform number on the inside with a black Sharpie."
Roberts could break camp with the club and fill the utility role. He can play nearly any position on the field.
"Nothing has ever come easy for him or been given to him," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's earned every opportunity thus far, and he's going to have to continue to earn the opportunity. All last spring, he was battling for the last bench spot and, man, what a difference a year makes."
Damon ready to win another title with Detroit: Johnny Damon is trying to turn the page on his time with the Yankees.
"Of course I would have loved to have helped to win another championship with them," Damon told MLB.com. "New York is a great franchise, and I'm happy to have won a championship while there. I'm going to try to do everything I can now to help these guys win one."
Zambrano always expected big things from Sandoval: When Carlos Zambrano first spotted Pablo Sandoval in a youth league in their hometown of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, he knew Sandoval had a future in the game.
"You should've seen him at 13, 12, 11 years old," Zambrano told the San Francisco Chronicle. "You can see the talent in a young kid when they're growing up. He's going to be good, man. He'll be one of the best hitters in the National League, and he proved it last year."
LaRoche wants to pack more power: Andy LaRoche hit 30 home runs in the Minor Leagues in 2005 and is vowing to ramp up his power in the Majors in 2010.
"I know you need production at third base, so I want to get back to where I was," LaRoche told MLB.com. "I used to be a lot more aggressive. I don't want to just slap balls up the middle. I want to try and get behind it, get a good swing on it and drive it. I know that's what I'm capable of, and I want to strive to be consistent with that swing."
Will anyone break Miller's record?: Trever Miller is the owner of a record that may never be broken -- he's made 240 consecutive appearances without taking a loss. Miller last took a loss on July 30, 2006.
"It's so easy to get a loss out of the bullpen," Miller told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "The more I digest it, especially the older I get, the more proud I'll become of it. I'm not sure that it's an accomplishment as much as a feat. It's not something I was striving for. I wasn't striving to go 240 games without a loss. I'm striving to win every one and do my best every time out there. Obviously, I had some good luck. And I was able to execute quite efficiently out there and do it consistently over that amount of time, that amount of games."
Sinker helps Silva put up goose eggs: Carlos Silva tossed three scoreless innings Thursday.
"I'm very happy with the way I threw," Silva told MLB.com. "My last bullpen -- when I started throwing, it was a little difficult. I told [pitching coach Larry Rothschild] -- and I was telling my wife, too -- that I haven't seen that sinker for a long time, the one I was throwing in the bullpen. I saw the action and location, and I was very excited to pitch today.
"I came with a different mentality," Silva said. "I find myself a little more comfortable doing that. When I started the game, it's different when you have a hitter. You forget sometimes what you have to do."
Vizquel hopes to stay settled at shortstop: Omar Vizquel played some second base last year, and as he looks for ways to stick around the league a little longer, the idea that he might learn more positions has been floating around. But for Vizquel, he'd prefer to stay where he's most comfortable.
"I hope not," Vizquel told the Akron Beacon Journal. "I don't think they'll ask me to play catcher or the outfield. Last year, there were times I felt kind of lost at second. It's different [than short]. You have to know how to position yourself. It's tougher to play second than third. At third, the ball comes to you with the same rotation [as short], and you're on the same side of the field."
Berkman to get knee examined: Lance Berkman will not travel with the Astros on Friday when they face Toronto. Instead, he will have his left knee examined by Dr. David Lintner, the team physician. Berkman has been battling a knee problem this spring. Last week, he suffered a knee contusion and already has had to have fluid removed from the knee twice.
"It was puffy again [Wednesday]," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "So, rather than putting him on a bus and run him over to Dunedin, he'll probably stay back here and see Dr. Lintner and let him lay hands on it and see what he thinks about him.
"Hopefully, it's something that resolves in short order the way that they expected to. I'm not concerned at this point."
After examination, Linter determined that Berkman will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles from his left knee and will miss 2-4 weeks, putting his status for Opening Day in serious jeopardy. The procedure is considered minor.
Bautista continues to show fine form: Jose Bautista appears to have picked up where he left off at the end of last season. The Toronto outfielder hit 10 home runs in the final month of the 2009 season. So far this spring, he has hit three home runs. He was 2-for-3 with a homer against the Phillies on Wednesday to improve to 9-for-14 (.643) with six RBIs.
"I think it's just getting ready on time, and that has allowed me to let my swing take over," Bautista told the Toronto Sun. "I worked a lot on that with [hitting coach Dwayne Murphy] during the second half of the season, and I tried to stick with that in the offseason, and it has just carried over. Also, being in the leadoff position, I'm seeing more pitches to hit and I'm taking advantage of it."
Venable's plate adjustments paying off: Will Venable is showing why the Padres are so excited about his bat. On Tuesday, Venable had a double and a triple. On Wednesday, Venable smacked a three-run home run.
"I've been making some adjustments and swinging well all spring," Venable told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Granderson gets cheers from Tiger fans: Curtis Granderson got a nice ovation from Tigers fans Wednesday, then gave them a nice performance with two hits and a sweet catch.
"I wasn't really sure what to expect," Granderson told the New York Daily News. "It's Spring Training; they kind of cheer for everybody. I was thankful for it. I had a good time here."
Carroll showing new look at the plate: Brett Carroll's offseason training with Marlins teammate Chris Coghlan is yielding strong results so far. Carroll is 4-for-14 (.286) and leads the team with two Spring Training home runs.
"He's changed a couple of things mechanically that people won't notice, because it's not that big of a deal, but as a hitter, it is a big deal," Coghlan told the Miami Herald. "He has more of a fluid swing this year, more of a tuck and load than put your foot down, and I think it's paying off. He's got so much potential hitting, and I think he's starting to realize it."
Anderson to take at look at first base: Garret Anderson, who signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers last week, is going to try first base in an effort to enhance his potential value to the club.
"It wouldn't be instinctive," Anderson told the Los Angeles Times. "As an outfielder, I have an idea of where the infielders are going to be when I throw a ball in. I know where the first baseman is going to be. But to actually have that point of view of it and do it, it's going to be different. I'm going to have to learn some stuff."
Ankiel holds fond memories of Musial: One of the things Rick Ankiel will miss most about St. Louis is his strong relationship with Stan Musial.
"He's awesome. He did a couple of cool things for me," Ankiel told MLB.com. "He sent me a recorded video of him doing 'Happy Birthday' on the harmonica. That was pretty nice. And he signed a baseball and said, 'Happy birthday and good luck.'"
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.