Boston Red Sox outfielders Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo each stand shorter than 5-feet-10 and between them have played in only 62 big league games. ''I don't look at it as a competition,'' Betts said Sunday. I just look at it as getting ready for the season.'' Opening day is more than a month away and the Red Sox have their final workout of the spring Monday before they start playing big league exhibition games. Red Sox manager John Farrell said he's not close to deciding who will be in center field on April 6 when the Red Sox open the season in Philadelphia.
Max Scherzer was warming up in the bullpen, getting ready to head onto the field to throw his first batting practice session for the Washington Nationals. ''You've got to simulate it like it's a real game,'' Scherzer said Sunday. ''It's always about the little things.'' So before Scherzer could leave the bullpen, he turned to manager Matt Williams, who was standing near him. ''It's Max's thing,'' Williams said.
Growing up in Cuba, Jorge Soler had limited access to major league games on television. Only the best teams and the most famous players made the news on the communist island. Manny Ramirez was one of them. ''In Cuba, you always hear about the best players, no one else, and you always heard about him.'' Soler and other Cubs youngsters who watched Ramirez on TV during his heyday with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox can now learn firsthand from the Dominican slugger.
Yu Darvish saved his best stuff for after his inning on the mound. The Texas Rangers ace, who was shut down last August with elbow inflammation, threw 14 pitches without any discomfort on Sunday during an intrasquad game - his most extensive work since the injury ended his 2014 season. Darvish struck out two of three batters he faced as curious Rangers fans, the usual large Japanese media contingent that follows his every move and a touring college team from Japan watched through the fence on a back practice field behind Surprise Stadium. After making his last start on Aug. 9 Darvish was accused in some circles of quitting on the Rangers, an allegation he shut down with a choice English curse word.
CHICAGO (AP) -- When Minnie Minoso broke into major league baseball, the ''Cuban Comet'' was part of a wave of black players who changed the game forever. By the time he played in his final game 35 years ago, he was a beloved figure with the Chicago White Sox.
Alex Rodriguez feels fine after his first week of workouts, and will leave the decision of when he makes his spring training debut to New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi. The Yankees begin exhibition play Tuesday against Philadelphia at the Phillies' camp. ''I'll talk to Joe first,'' Rodriguez said Sunday. No setbacks.'' Girardi said he'll announce Monday whether Rodriguez will be in the lineup for the spring opener.
Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards is expected to begin pitcher fielding drills in about a week as he makes progress from August knee surgery, and the club remains hopeful he could be pitching in games two to three weeks into the regular season for the reigning AL West champions. ''It's not going to be opening day, let's put it that way,'' manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday. He's working very hard to be ready opening day, but he's not going to be ready opening day.'' Scioscia said that Richards would throw a bullpen session of 40-50 pitches and do some simulated work Sunday to prepare for fully fielding his position, weather permitting with rain forecast all weekend in the Arizona desert. So if that progression is prorated, you get kind of a window where you can expect him during the season.
When Johan Santana walked into the Blue Jays' clubhouse for the first time early Saturday morning, a surprise was waiting inside his locker. Taped in the upper left hand corner, directly above his blue No. 57 jersey and cap, was a photograph of the celebration from Santana's no-hitter with the New York Mets in June 2012, arguably the finest moment in his baseball career. ''I know exactly who did that,'' Santana said with a smile. For Santana, after two major surgeries on his throwing shoulder and a ruptured Achilles tendon he sustained with Baltimore during extended spring training last June, the picture served as an emotional reminder of his distinguished past.