Spring Training Notebook

Twins' Scott Baker Will Miss Opening Day Start

Associated Press
Friday, April 3, 2009

Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with shoulder stiffness and will miss his scheduled start on Opening Day.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano will instead take the mound for Minnesota on Monday against the Seattle Mariners, but pitching coach Rick Anderson said the move -- made retroactively to last Saturday, making Baker eligible to return April 12 -- was precautionary and would only cause him to miss the first turn in the rotation.

Baker developed soreness Wednesday after throwing in a minor league game, but he said he wasn't concerned.

"The decision technically wasn't up to me. I could definitely have pitched," said Baker, who signed a four-year, $15.25 million contract last month. "I'm an investment. They want to protect their investment."

The Twins also put right-hander Boof Bonser and catcher Joe Mauer on the DL, as expected. Bonser had shoulder surgery and is expected to miss the season. Mauer is recovering from inflammation in his lower back, which will keep him out for at least the next few weeks.

-- REDS: Cincinnati wrapped up training camp with an overture to Gary Sheffield and a lingering question about the last opening in its starting rotation.

Manager Dusty Baker said that he's interested in adding Sheffield -- a friend for many years -- to the roster. The trouble is that he can't offer regular playing time to the 40-year-old free agent, who is hoping for a full-time job and a multiyear deal.

Baker got permission from General Manager Walt Jocketty to call Sheffield and see if he would consider the Reds, who don't have a starting job open. Sheffield, who was released by the Tigers on Tuesday, could start in left field when the Reds are facing a left-handed pitcher, fill in at first base on occasion and pinch-hit.

"I don't even know if we're in the running or not," Baker said. "He wants playing time."

Sheffield also has been contacted by the Phillies. Though Philadelphia's outfield is set, Sheffield could sign on for a reserve role.

-- MARINERS: Ichiro Suzuki was sidelined for the third straight day with fatigue and was examined by a doctor while his Seattle teammates routed the Padres, 18-3, in Peoria, Ariz.

Suzuki, who returned from the World Baseball Classic on March 26, was lightheaded earlier in the week. He played four games with Seattle after helping Japan win its second WBC.

-- YANKEES: Sitting in new Yankee Stadium on the first day fans came to the $1.5 billion ballpark, general partner Hal Steinbrenner admitted some tickets might be overpriced given the recession.

The Yankees set prices for their premium Legends Suites seats 13 months ago and sold them for $500-$2,500 as part of season tickets. According to the team's Web site, some of those seats remain available for individual games, when the prices go up to $2,625.

"I think if anybody in any business had known where this economy was going to go, they would have done things differently," Steinbrenner said. "Look, there's no doubt small amounts of our tickets might be overpriced."

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