|Tampa Bay Rays talk about Barry Bonds; Colon agrees to minor league contract with Boston|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 25 February 2008 16:06|
Bartolo Colon is off the market after the Boston Red Sox snapped up the former AL Cy Young Award winner with a shrewd minor league deal.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he knew ``little'' about what was going on, but acknowledged some thought has been given to adding Bonds to the roster.
``A minor discussion was thrown out there a little bit, and it's really not gone any further than that,'' Maddon said after Monday's workout at the team's spring training facility in St. Petersburg, Fla. ``That's all it is right now.''
The St. Petersburg Times reported in Monday's editions that team officials have conferred among themselves about Bonds and other veteran unsigned free agents, such as Kenny Lofton and Mike Piazza. Andrew Friedman, Rays vice president of baseball operations, called the report a ``non-story.''
Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's career home run record last summer, has pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice charges stemming from testimony to a federal grand jury in 2003 in which he said he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he had interest in signing Bonds the last two offseasons, but each time the team's front office decided against it.
La Russa, who was looking for a power bat to protect No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols each year, said he was told the asking price for the slugger was too high. This winter, La Russa said he dropped the issue after a discussion with new general manager John Mozeliak.
``It became moot as soon as I raised it and they said no,'' La Russa said Sunday in Jupiter, Fla. ``Once it became apparent what the price tag was, I said we just can't, it doesn't make sense for our club.''
Boston came up with a move that made a lot of sense, adding Colon to its spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., with a minor league contract.
``He's going to show up here in camp and we'll do an evaluation of how far he is away from helping us,'' general manager Theo Epstein said. ``It takes more than five starting pitchers to get through a season. Obviously, he's an accomplished guy and if we can get him back to a point where he's throwing well, he can certainly help us.''
The 34-year-old Colon, who last pitched on Feb. 6 in the Caribbean World Series, is expected to arrive in camp Tuesday.
The team's medical staff will evaluate the two-time All-Star, who has gone 7-13 with a 5.72 ERA while slowed by shoulder and elbow injuries the past two seasons. He went 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA in the final year of a four-year, $51 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels last season. If he is added to the Red Sox 40-man roster, he would get a $1.2 million, one-year contract and have the chance to earn performance and roster bonuses.
Epstein said Red Sox scouts came back with ``decent'' reports from Colon's performance in the Caribbean Series, where the burly right-hander's fastball reached the low 90s mph after elbow inflammation kept him off the Angels' playoff roster in the fall.
At Surprise, Ariz., Rangers right-hander Kevin Millwood wasn't feeling very good. He was scratched from his first spring start because of a right hamstring injury.
The 33-year-old injured the hamstring in the final conditioning drill Sunday. He was scheduled to pitch two innings Friday against the Angels.
``It's frustrating,'' Millwood said. ``I felt like I was in really good shape and then something like this happens.''
Millwood had a career-worst 5.16 ERA last season, and endured two stints on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury.
Texas manager Ron Washington sees no reason to rush Millwood back.
``When it's a hamstring you never know,'' he said.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge is expected to miss three to six weeks after having surgery Monday on his right knee.
The 31-year-old right-hander, Philadelphia's biggest offseason acquisition, caught a spike in the mound on his first pitch of batting practice Saturday. Doctors removed torn cartilage from the same knee in October.
Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa traveled to Chicago to see a cardiologist after being hospitalized for a rapid heartbeat during fielding drills over the weekend.
The Cubs said DeRosa's irregular heartbeat was not life-threatening. DeRosa said he hoped he could be back on the field next week.
``I feel fine, actually,'' said DeRosa, who turns 33 on Tuesday.
DeRosa said he has experienced an irregular heartbeat, or atrial dysrhythmia, since he was a teenager.
At Kissimmee, Fla., Roger Clemens' oldest son said his father will work with minor leaguers at Houston Astros spring training, but didn't say when he would arrive.
``He'll be down here eventually,'' said Koby Clemens, a catcher in the Astros' farm system.
The Rocket has a personal services contract with the Astros, similar to those offered to Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, that kicks in when he officially retires. The Astros have said Clemens is still welcome despite the steroid controversy surrounding him.
``He was always coming down here,'' Koby said. ``No matter what happens, he's always going to want to help out with anything he can do. He'll come down here and throw 700 pitches eventually.''
At Tucson, Ariz., Rockies manager Clint Hurdle pulled left-hander Jeff Francis aside before a workout and informed him he'd get the opening-day start March 31 at St. Louis.
``What else do we need to go through this spring before we decide to give Jeff the ball? He doesn't need to compete. Without a doubt, for everybody internally that I talked to, he's our guy,'' Hurdle said. ``Basically, from the second half of the season all the way through the playoffs he was our No. 1 guy.''