Chris Snyder taking charge in Arizona
D-backs catcher is de facto captain, according to coach
Chris Snyder appears to be taking charge of the Diamondbacks.
"If you're going to put a 'C' on somebody's uniform, he'd be the guy," Diamondbacks hitting coach Rick Schu told the Arizona Republic. "It's the way he goes about his business, his presence, his professionalism. And he's got such a great passion for the game.
"He's definitely the kind of guy you want behind the plate. He's a general."
Snyder is an old-school catcher, a field leader who inspires confidence in the pitching staff.
"But he can keep it loose and not always be serious, either," first baseman Chad Tracy said. "He's a great teammate, he's one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and he's getting better offensively every year. That's why they gave him that new contract."
Mills focused on earning a starting spot: Brad Mills is keeping it simple in his competition for a spot in the Blue Jays' rotation.
The 24-year-old left-hander had an outing last week in which he went three innings, allowing only one hit and one run.
"You just try to tune all that stuff out. You just focus on the glove," he told the Toronto Star when asked about whether he worried about the lineup he was facing. "I try to simplify it as much as I can. I'm a left-handed strike-thrower. That's all there is to it, and that's all I think about when I'm out there, no matter who [I'm] facing."
Gallardo efficient with five strikeouts: Yovani Gallardo needed only 43 pitches to get through three innings as he struck out five hitters on Tuesday.
"Today my main thing was fastball command and staying back a little bit longer," Gallardo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I felt like I want to work on everything. Other guys work on it different ways. I just go out there with all my pitches and work on all my pitches all at once."
Johan Santana shows he's ready for opener: Johan Santana is confident he will be ready for Opening Day. On Wednesday he urged the media to watch his 46-pitch bullpen session and suggested that the club and pitching coach Dan Warthen were just being cautious with him.
"You know what, we're in this thing together and have to take care of everything," Santana told Newsday. "I appreciate everything [Warthen] is doing. He's trying to protect me and the team. But as of right now, my mind-set is Opening Day."
Lowell inches closer to game action: Mike Lowell is recovering well from offseason hip surgery and could play a Spring Training game in about a week, according to Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
"I don't know that it's unrealistic. I wouldn't be surprised if it's in another week," Francona told the Boston Globe. "We're getting into that area now where maybe DH a couple at-bats, then play third. I'll bet you we're getting close to where it'll be within a week.
"He's doing good. He's doing fine. He's running the bases. Every step he's supposed to do, he's done. I think his worry is getting in a game, playing third, maybe a night game. We'll do our best to ease him in where he gets comfortable baseball-wise."
Percival impressive in throwing live BP: Troy Percival threw live batting practice for the first time this Spring Training, and Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey liked what he saw from the veteran, who is recovering from offseason back surgery.
Percival threw 30 pitches over a 10-minute span. Should there be no setbacks, Percival will likely throw in an exhibition game on March 12.
"I was a little bit surprised how well he threw," Hickey told the St. Petersburg Times. "For his first batting practice, he was more advanced than he even needs to be."
Kinney's experience gives him an edge: There is no clear-cut leader in St. Louis right now when it comes to who will work the ninth inning, but Josh Kinney is among those being considered for the role.
Kinney, who has missed most of the past two seasons, says he gained a lot of experience back in 2006 when the Cardinals made their World Series run.
"It was everything you could imagine," Kinney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "As an athlete, it's what you play for. As a ballplayer, that is what you dream about, being able to pitch in the big games. Being on center stage, that's what it is all about.
"To play those games at that time, it was everything. To win those games and move on to the World Series is just a dream come true. To have that experience is the best thing that could ever happen in my career.
"Now I know I can pitch in those situations. If you can handle those situations, you can handle any situation. I believe that."
Bradley determined to win a title: Milton Bradley has made it clear with the Cubs that he's all about winning and being part of a winning team.
"I'm as serious as a heart attack about baseball and winning," Bradley told the Chicago Tribune. "That's the only thing I haven't achieved. My last goal in life, my bucket list, is to win a World Series. That's it."
Uehara taking big steps: Koji Uehara, the first Japanese player to play for the Baltimore Orioles, continued his impressive Spring Training on Wednesday with three scoreless innings in the Orioles' 6-1 victory over the Dominican Republic.
Now with five scoreless innings this spring, Uehara says he is pleased with his results thus far.
"I understand there are a lot of big-name players," Uehara told the Baltimore Sun through his interpreter, Jiwon Bang. "To get that kind of results, I'm happy with that. I have experience pitching in international competition, and I love the opportunity against the big, huge hitters."
Anderson makes Spring Training debut: Garret Anderson made his Spring Training debut for the Braves in an exhibition game against Venezuela. Anderson kept to his routine, putting in 20 minutes in the weight room after the game.
"At this point in the preseason, your swing is not going to be there, but you try to have quality at-bats," Anderson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "You try not to venture too far out of the strike zone, and you try not to get wrapped up in the production of what happens when you hit the ball."
Miller finds his landing spot: Like most tall pitchers, 6-foot-6 Andrew Miller constantly has to work on his mechanics. With the help of Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley, he's finding more consistency.
"The biggest adjustment was straightening out that line [to home plate]," Miller told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "That felt pretty weird for awhile."
"I think I'm past that stage. I'm landing on the same spot every time. I think that's kind of the sign things are starting to fall into place."
Velez more relaxed, will see more action: The Giants are turning Eugenio Velez into a super-sub, a player capable of playing anywhere in the infield or outfield. Playing more relaxed, he credits his new approach to a realization he had while playing winter ball.
"It's the same game," Velez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I said to myself, 'Why didn't I do that in the big leagues?' I saw the same guys. It was the same plays.
"In the season, I tried to do too much. I learned from last year. You have to take it easy, like in Spring Training, like in the Dominican."
Lee lands in the other dugout: Carlos Lee took the field at Osceola County Stadium on Thursday as he normally does during Spring Training. However, instead of wearing an Astros uniform, he was wearing the uniform of Panama as the team faced Houston in an exhibition game in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
Lee, who is the all-time home run leader among Panamanian-born players with 281, left Astros camp on Monday to join Team Panama.
Cecil Cooper, the Houston manager, only has one concern about Lee -- his health. Lee missed the final two months of last season due to a broken finger.
"That's our big kahuna," Cooper told the Houston Chronicle. "We want to be careful."
Eaton eyes spot on Orioles' roster: Adam Eaton is optimistic that he has what it takes to make the Orioles' Opening Day roster.
"I think I have a good shot," Eaton told MLB.com. "...I look forward to getting back to the way I was before, record-wise and numbers-wise. I know it's still in me, and I know I'm fully capable of doing it."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.