Matt Kemp believes he has the skills to produce a 40-home-run, 40-stolen-base season.
03/09/2009 12:05 PM ET
Matt Kemp has 40-40 talent
Player, manager think impressive feat is within reach
"Sure," Kemp told the Los Angeles Times. "I think I'm capable of doing something like that."
Manager Joe Torre did not dismiss Kemp reaching the milestone, either.
"He's not taking anything for granted," Torre said. "He's working hard. There's no reason, with his ability, that wouldn't happen."
Junior makes memorable departure after single: Ken Griffey Jr. singled in his third and final at-bat on Sunday, then waved to the crowd as he kept going past first base and headed down the line to the clubhouse.
"I talked to [manager] Don [Wakamatsu] and told him I was going to get a hit," Griffey told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "And I told him after that I was going to keep on going to the clubhouse.
"So I got to first base, made the turn, waved and kept going."
Ross glad to learn Braves staff: With Brian McCann away at the World Baseball Classic, David Ross is getting a chance to work with all of the Braves pitchers.
"It's been excellent for me as far as learning the pitching staff," Ross told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Knowing what the guys like to throw, knowing how they work with runners on -- it's been a lot of fun."
Ervin Santana lands on DL with ligament strain: Ervin Santana was diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his elbow. Santana will not need surgery but will open the season on the disabled list.
"We don't anticipate it being something that's going to set him back for any appreciable part of the season, but we're certainly going to take it slow and work him back to where he needs to be," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times.
A-Rod due back from hip surgery in May: Alex Rodriguez will be out of action for six to nine weeks after deciding to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right hip. If his recovery goes as planned, he should be back in the lineup in mid-May. Even when he comes back, he will still not be 100-percent healthy and will require more surgery after the season.
"To be reasonable, it could vary from six weeks to eight or nine weeks. It will depend on his muscular re-balancing, his muscular strength return and stability," Dr. Marc Philippon told the New York Post. "There is always risk with surgery but the approach we are using is definitely much safer than letting Alex play the way he is now."
Padilla quickens pace, gets results: Vicente Padilla, using a quicker tempo than his last outing, allowed only one hit and two baserunners over four innings on Saturday.
"I felt a lot more confident this time around and felt more comfortable today," Padilla told the Dallas Morning News.
Penny benefits from throwing on flat ground: Boston pitching coach John Farrell was pleased with Brad Penney's weekend bullpen session. The hard-throwing right-hander had had a scheduled start postponed because he was experiencing some shoulder weakness, leading to some concern.
"The intensity was greater today than at any time in Spring Training, so all positive signs," Farrell told the Boston Globe. "The benefit of the aggressive throwing on flat ground was to get his lower half more engaged in his delivery, to transfer the energy from his legs through his upper body out to his arm, rather than trying to generate all the velocity with his arm. He's been able to do that, and there's been no discomfort or restriction in his delivery or his arm action."
Joyce to make Spring Training debut: Matt Joyce is expected to return to the field this week for Tampa Bay, executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the Tampa Tribune.
Joyce has been out all of Spring Training with an injury to his right leg -- focused in the ankle and calf region -- that the club now believes is tendinitis.
"Through our research and studies, we determined it's something that's been there for a long time and is just really presenting itself with symptoms," Friedman said. "Right now the plan of attack is to support the ankle and to work him into playing shape. We're cautiously optimistic that this is behind us, but in the event that it flares back up and prevents him from playing, we're going to have to explore other courses of action."
Ludwick aims to top outstanding season: After batting .299 with 37 home runs and 113 RBIs last season, Ryan Ludwick knows that to improve on those numbers would be quite an accomplishment. But he also doesn't plan to sit back and just hope for the best.
"I don't think you can envision a better year than that for myself. But that brings a lot of expectations from other people," Ludwick told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This winter I tried to get a little stronger. I don't feel super loose yet, but it loosens up during the spring. I think my main thing is to come to the park every day excited and ready to play. I can promise I'll go out there and try my hardest."
Zambrano has a hitter's mentality: Carlos Zambrano enjoys hitting so much that he jokes with teammates about giving up pitching to become an everyday player.
"I'll go to the Minor Leagues, get some at-bats and come back as a right fielder or left fielder," Zambrano told the Chicago Tribune. "Move [Alfonso] Soriano to second base. Why not? If [Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel] can do it, why not?"
Butler drops pounds, gains confidence: After dropping more than 10 pounds during the winter, Billy Butler says he feels good both physically and on the field.
"I'm as comfortable as I've ever felt," Butler told the Kansas City Star. "There's a certain amount of break-in time, but that time's over. I'm ready to help out. I feel comfortable in there. I can do my own thing. I don't feel like I'm restricted or someone's watching me. I've pretty much gotten to the point where I can do my own thing and do it the right way."
Alexei Ramirez makes appropriate move to shortstop: After spending a year manning second base for the White Sox, Alexei Ramirez will be moving to shortstop this year.
"It's crazy because it almost seems he was way out of position at second base," Sox outfielder Brian Anderson told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He was almost overqualified. You can just tell that he can cover more ground than what's really required at second base. He was probably feeling a little sheltered over there.
"He's going to be exciting to watch," Anderson continued. "I mean, people are going to see balls hit in the hole to his right that they thought were automatic hits, and he has the range and arm to make them outs."
Bruce waiting for pitches he can drive: Jay Bruce, who won't be 22 until early April, is working to improve his strike-zone recognition.
"That's my No. 1 goal at Spring Training -- swing at strikes and take balls. Not just strikes, but pitches I think I can drive," Bruce told MLB.com. "Something I ran into in the past, if I felt I could make contact with the ball, I'd just swing. This Spring Training, I'm really trying to swing at pitches I can drive and not be afraid to get deep into the counts."
Blalock to get plenty of time in the field: When the season begins for the Texas Rangers, Hank Blalock will primarily be the club's designated hitter.
But he started at first base for the second time this Spring Training over the weekend and will also get some playing time at third base, the position he has played the most during his career.
"Hank is used to being a two-sides-of-baseball-type guy," manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News. "He just wants to fit into what we're trying to do to be successful. I'm going to get him some games at first base, and once we get past the middle part of spring, I'm going to try and get him some at third also."
Brad Thompson not afraid to battle for spot: Once again, Brad Thompson is using Spring Training to show that he be an asset as a spot starter or long reliever for the Cardinals.
"I'm sure it would be nice to come into Spring Training and use it as a way to get ready for the season," Thompson told MLB.com, "but it's one of those things. I know I'm not a guy that's your superstar guy. I'm going to have to grind it out for a job every year. That's fine. I like the competition, and I feel like I deserve to be out there."
Lincecum to face player he used to watch: Tim Lincecum, who grew up in Washington, would like to face Ichiro when the Giants play Japan in an exhibition game on Wednesday.
"When I was in Washington watching Ichiro, I wasn't thinking about spotting balls or hitting inside corners or how to pitch guys," Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Now, you take it more seriously. I've learned to take a lot of steps to get ready."
-- Red Line Editorial