After a couple of years as the Rockies' top prospect, Ian Stewart wants to shed the label and become a Major Leaguer this spring.
Garrett Atkins' continued strong performance at third base, however, has essentially blocked Stewart.
"It can be frustrating at times," Stewart, the Rockies' first-round pick in 2003, told The Denver Post. "But I have confidence in myself and I know I can play at the big-league level. To know that you are stuck behind a guy -- or maybe behind a couple of guys at a couple of positions -- it can be frustrating. But I'm still young. And I realize there are still some things I need to work on to make myself a great Major League player."
Rollins wins Champion for Youth award: Jimmy Rollins was recognized by the Clearwater for Youth organization with its Champion for Youth Award this past weekend.
"It's nice to be honored for giving back to the community," Rollins told MLB.com. "As professional athletes, we have the opportunity to make a difference, which is what I try to do."
Rollins donates time and money to numerous charitable organizations, including raising more than $100,000 the last two years for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, as well as the Arthritis Foundation of Philadelphia's summer camp for children. He also started J-Roll's Reader's Club in 2002, an organization that encourages children from the inner city to read. His list of charitable exploits goes on and on, and on Saturday night he became the 35th recipient of the Champion for Youth Award.
Duncan shows his power: Shelley Duncan wants to show the Yankees he's ready to play first base on days when Jason Giambi is the designated hitter.
He took a step in the right direction on Saturday, hitting a three-run home run and adding a two-run double against the Phillies.
"He's doing OK," manager Joe Girardi told The New York Daily News of Duncan's play at first base. "He's out taking ground balls every morning. He's working really hard at it."
Williams throws pair of scoreless innings: Competing for a spot in the Houston starting rotation, veteran Woody Williams threw two scoreless innings against Atlanta on Saturday. Williams, who struggled in his first season with the Astros last year, allowed only one hit while striking out two.
"I was working on everything," he told The Houston Chronicle. "Just trying to get ahead with the fastball, which I didn't do. I was 1-0 on almost everybody, but for the most part I was able to throw the fastball and command it and didn't make mistakes over the plate. If I missed, I missed off the plate."
Turnbow wants to earn back his former role: Derrick Turnbow wants to put himself into position to close games again someday.
The Brewers signed Eric Gagne to replace Francisco Cordero, and Turnbow knows he has to earn his way back with his performance as a setup reliever.
"I talked to my agent [at] the winter meetings and he said [general manager] Doug Melvin was going to call me and talk to me about being the closer," Turnbow told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "At the time, I thought I was going to be the guy. They ended up signing Gagne shortly afterward. I understand why they did it. I have a lot of respect for Doug and [manager] Ned [Yost]. I have to go out there and be more consistent and throw strikes. Everything else will take care of itself. All I can do is go out and prove them wrong."
Floyd ready for more: Cliff Floyd, bothered by leg injuries last season, was a little apprehensive about taking the field for the first time in an exhibition game. But after playing four innings on Saturday, the veteran outfielder was pleased with his progress.
"With the way I felt today, I want to go out there more," Floyd told The Tampa Tribune.
Dempster brings confidence to starting role: Ryan Dempster is quite aware of what you're thinking. How is he going to do as a starter?
"Whether it's in Wrigleyville or Chicago or the state of Illinois or around the U.S., I know people have questions about what I'm going to do as a starter," Dempster, who became a reliever after elbow surgery in 2003, told The Chicago Tribune. "But I think my résumé from when I was a starter speaks for itself, and I was kind of young and immature then."
Millar intent on staying focused: For Baltimore's Kevin Millar, there is one thing he wants to do as the 2008 season approaches -- he wants to maintain his focus.
"I want to not give at-bats away mentally and try to be focused every time I go into the batter's box, whether that's practice or live batting practice," Millar told The Washington Post. "That's the thing I need to work on."
Hamels not afraid of failure: Cole Hamels aspires to greatness and doesn't mind letting people know about it.
"Everyone in this room has aspirations," Hamels told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everyone strives for certain goals. Some guys might shy away from talking about them out of fear of failure. If you state something publicly and don't achieve it, you might be looked at as a failure. I'm not afraid to fail. If I don't achieve a certain goal, I'll go after it next year. I'm not scared of not achieving one of my goals."
Hampton just fine after long layoff: Mike Hampton faced Major League hitters for the first time in nearly two and a half years on Sunday and pitched two scoreless -- and painless -- innings.
"It was good," Hampton, who missed the last two seasons following elbow surgeries, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm not going to downplay the importance. I felt it was definitely a big step to get out there and face competition again and come out of it feeling pretty good about it."
Weaver building arm strength this spring: After missing all of Spring Training in 2007, Jered Weaver got off to a strong start in Cactus League play in 2008. He pitched two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in the Angels' 6-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday.
"This time last year, I could barely throw a ball 90 feet," Weaver told The Los Angeles Times. "Having not missed a beat all spring, it's really helping me get my arm strength where I need to be. I feel good."
Rookie Paulino impressive in relief: Rookie Felipe Paulino showed why he is a serious candidate for a spot in the Houston starting rotation by throwing two scoreless innings of relief against the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Entering the game in the third inning, Paulino allowed only one walk.
"The important thing was my fastball. Today I had good control in terms of throwing inside, outside," he told The Houston Chronicle. "I think the job I had today was to throw a lot of two-seamers, in comparison to other pitches, because I'm trying to dominate that pitch. I thought today it did a good job. I threw some pitches today that broke the way I wanted them to break."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.