After enduring three surgeries on his left knee and an offseason bout with kidney trouble, Landon Powell looks forward to finally making it to the Major Leagues this season with the A's.
03/30/2009 1:19 PM ET
Landon Powell overcomes setbacks
27-year-old poised to serve as A's backup catcher
Powell, a 27-year-old switch-hitting catcher, will likely serve as the backup to Kurt Suzuki.
"It's definitely been frustrating with the injuries I've had," Powell told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's not fun to see other people fortunate to get here quick. I don't have any resentment or jealousy, I wish everyone had that good fortune, but I'm sitting around saying, 'Why am I the one who keeps having setbacks?'
"You have to keep moving forward, though, and not let anything deter you. What I've been through I'd never wish on anyone, but I know I'll keep going no matter what bumps there are. I know that first Major League at-bat will be the most rewarding moment. It will mean as much to me as it's ever meant to anyone."
Villanueva ready if needed as closer: If Trevor Hoffman starts the season on the disabled list for the Brewers, Carlos Villanueva is the leading candidate to handle closing duties until Hoffman returns.
"Hopefully, we'll get Trevor back quick," Villanueva told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "But if I get the opportunity, of course I would consider it an honor to do that job.
"As long as I keep doing what I'm doing now, I'll be fine. I never panicked. I feel more comfortable out there now."
Corpas maintains strong run toward closer's role: The battle for the closer's job in Colorado is as close as ever. Manuel Corpas, who is competing with Huston Street, threw a strong ninth inning this weekend against Seattle.
"I felt better today than the other day," Corpas, who has allowed just one run in Cactus League play after allowing only one run pitching for Panama in the World Baseball Classic, told the Denver Post. "Against the Cubs [in a previous outing], I wasn't aggressive and I threw like 12 balls in a row. Today I was better, and I was more aggressive."
Jeter's bruises knuckle: Derek Jeter bruised the pinkie knuckle on his left hand against Atlanta on Saturday in a first-inning collision with Greg Norton at first base.
Manager Joe Girardi eventually pulled Jeter from the game in the fourth inning but said the move was pre-planned and not precipitated by Jeter's knuckle.
"He's OK," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I didn't take him out because he was hurt, but I didn't want to play him or Johnny [Damon] too much in the day game after a night game."
Masterson makes move to bullpen: Justin Masterson is returning to the Red Sox bullpen, but he was stretched out as a possible starter this spring, and manager Terry Francona liked the results.
"We love the idea of what we did with him," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the Boston Herald. "We thought it was good for him. You can't do it with everybody. Obviously there are reasons we did it. I think we got to a point in the spring where it's in his best interests not to go the other way, so we can make a decision without having him hanging in the balance, not knowing what he's going to do."
Masterson will pitch two innings on Tuesday and refocus on a relief role.
Davis sees batting average rise: Chris Davis went 6-for-11 during a three-game stretch to raise his Spring Training batting average to .292 with the Rangers. The key to the success, Davis said, is hitting to the opposite field and being more selective at the plate.
"He's not trying to have that super at-bat," manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News. "He has slowed his mind down, and he's making them get the ball up now. Sometimes all it takes is just seeing some more pitches."
Francoeur in full swing: Jeff Francoeur reworked his swing in the offseason. The results have been encouraging so far this spring.
"I've got a lot of hits up the middle this spring," Francoeur told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "You do that, you start to open holes [in the defense]. We've played some of these teams two or three times, and I've seen the second or third time that I'm starting to open holes that weren't there for me before."
"I'm swinging at good pitches," Francoeur said. "If I do that, I'm going to hit for average and get power with it."
Youngsters Martis, Zimmermann slotted for Nats: The Nationals announced that Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann made the club as the team's fourth and fifth starters. Both pitchers are just 22 years old.
"That alone makes it exciting," manager Manny Acta told the Washington Post, "but what makes it more exciting is that they are young guys under 25 years old from our system that are not guys that we had to run a tryout camp for like we did the last two years. Whether these guys are going to do it or not, I mean, we're going to see. But I'm excited to have five guys that are 27 or younger, throwing them out there every five days. I think I can live with that, and if these guys come together ... and three of them are the real deal, then you've got yourself a good rotation for a long time here."
Morrow returns to bullpen after all: After spending the end of last season and all of Spring Training converting Brandon Morrow to a starting pitcher, the Mariners have decided that Morrow's role is in the bullpen. Morrow, who previously wanted to be a starter, is on board.
"Once they traded J.J [Putz], I thought, I kept going back and forth and back and forth," Morrow told the Seattle Times. "Two or three weeks before I came to them with it, it's really kind of been just weighing on me. It just felt like a big relief when I went back to the bullpen because I feel that's like my home now. I've been there two years and I don't know if I could go back."
Ankiel aims to take next step: Rick Ankiel showed the world he could indeed make the transition from pitcher to outfielder last season for the Cardinals, but now he wants more.
"I would like to be the total package as a player," Ankiel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I don't think I would like to label myself as just a power guy. When I come to the park, I think of myself as the guy who can do it all. That's what I would like to be considered as a hitter."
Versatile Barfield solidifies roster spot: After doing all he could to make the team, Josh Barfield learned over the weekend that he would indeed be a part of the 2009 Indians on Opening Day.
"Josh's versatility was part of the decision," manager Eric Wedge told the Akron Beacon Journal. "Also his speed, his ability to steal a base [factored in]. We still feel like his hitting is coming. It has yet to translate into a game, but I feel like it will.
"He's probably a little better in right than in left. Of course, second base is his best position, and he needs some work at third."
Bailey confident in relief abilities: No final decisions have been made in Cincinnati, but there is still a distinct possibility Homer Bailey will be a part of the 2009 Reds pitching staff -- as a reliever.
"With as much experience as we have around here -- the willingness of everyone to help each other -- I think I'd learn to adapt real quick," Bailey told MLB.com. "It will be new, but it is something I think I can do. It's just another phase of pitching."
Gregg lands gig as closer: After a long evaluation process, the Chicago Cubs have decided to go with Kevin Gregg as their closer and to leave Carlos Marmol as their setup man, the role in which he enjoyed success the last two years.
"It's where I'm comfortable, it's what I've done the last couple years," Gregg told MLB.com. "I'm excited about a new year and especially being on a healthy leg. That's a big thing for me this year -- is wanting to be healthy."
Coste has fodder for virtually every player: Chris Coste, who spent 11 years in the Minor Leagues, believes his body of experience prepares him for any situation that may arise.
"I've been a nobody with no chance to make a team. I've been the older guy trying to make a team. I've hit third on teams in the Minors," Coste told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I've been through what every guy has been through.
"It will all be part of my speech if I ever become a manager."
Berkman sidelined with tendinitis: Lance Berkman has been held out of the team's last two spring games and could miss a few more days with biceps tendinitis.
"It's not pending surgery, I don't think, but it's more painful and worse than I initially thought it was going to be," Berkman told the Houston Chronicle.
Millwood ready to get season started: After pitching six innings on Friday night, Kevin Millwood proclaimed himself ready to start the regular season for the Rangers. He threw 91 pitches against Milwaukee and then threw 25 more in the bullpen after leaving the game.
"I'm ready to go," Millwood told the Dallas Morning News. "I walked too many guys, but other than that, my fastball location was better than last time, and I was able to put my breaking ball where I wanted to when I wanted to."
Braun feels fine after Minor League game: Ryan Braun competed in a Minor League game this weekend. Braun tested his intercostals' tightness and went 1-for-3.
"I felt good -- no discomfort, no tightness," Braun, who played four innings, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was definitely a step in the right direction."
Penny effective in second start: Brad Penny pitched well in his outing against Minnesota on Saturday, his second start of the spring. After allowing two runs in the first inning, he blanked the Twins over his final three innings of work and finished throwing 68 pitches.
"I went in with a different mind-frame," Penny told the Boston Herald. "The first time I went out to let it go. This time I went out to mix up my pitches. I made it a little tough on myself, going 2-0 on a lot of hitters, but I got a lot of work on my splitty, especially."
Barden likes the idea of sticking around in infield race: As he competes to gain a roster spot in a crowded Cardinals infield, Brian Barden says not knowing what the future holds is just part of what it is to be on the edge of the Minors and Majors.
"You deal with it," Barden told MLB.com. "I think a lot more stress was in the beginning of camp, when I wasn't getting a lot of playing time, and I was wondering what my situation was.
"It got to a point when it was like, you know what? It is what it is. I'm here for a reason. And they must like me if I'm hanging around."
-- Red Line Editorial