Surprise, Ariz. Shawn Sedlacek made a good first impression last year with the Kansas City Royals, but not a lasting one.
Sedlacek went 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in his first six starts after being called up June 18. He easily could have been 4-0, but the bullpen failed to hold leads in three of his first four starts.
Sedlacek's solid start did not carry over into the final two months, when he ran up a 9.37 ERA over the remainder of the season. His final two appearances were in relief.
When the Royals open spring training today with pitchers and catchers reporting, Sedlacek will be entering his fourth day in camp. He is among a pack of young pitchers trying to win a spot in the Royals' rotation.
"At the end of the season, it was hard for me to keep up," Sedlacek said. "I think I was fatigued. It was nice to be there at the end of the season and in the bullpen, getting experience. It gives me confidence to come into spring training."
Sedlacek threw a career-high 173 innings last year, including nearly 100 before his promotion to the majors.
"That's the most innings I've pitched," Sedlacek said. "I've added about 20 innings every year, from 140 to 160 to 180. Now I'm shooting for 200 innings."
Mets lure back Cone: Out of baseball last year, 40-year-old pitcher David Cone will attempt a comeback with the New York Mets, signing a minor-league contract Thursday.
The right-hander last pitched in 2001, going 9-7 with a 4.31 ERA in 25 starts for Boston. Cone worked as an analyst for the New York Yankees' YES network last season and had been expected to do so again.
He won the 1994 Cy Young Award with Kansas City and threw a perfect game in 1999 for the Yankees.
Nilsson retires: Former All-Star catcher Dave Nilsson ended his career with the Boston Red Sox before it started, telling the team he was retiring because he's lost the will to play. Nilsson, 33, had agreed to a minor league contract that reportedly would have paid him $400,000 if he made the 40-man roster.
Marlins sign Al Martin: Outfielder Al Martin signed a minor-league contract with the Florida Marlins, adding some more left-handed power to their revamped lineup. Martin, 35, will get an invite to the Marlins' spring training, which opens when pitchers and catchers report on Saturday.
Rockies agree with Jimenez: Closer Jose Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies agreed Thursday to a $3.6 million, one-year contract. Jimenez leads the Rockies with 82 career saves, setting a team record with 41 last season, when he was 2-10 with a 3.56 ERA. He is 13-13 with a 3.57 ERA in 199 innings pitched with the Rockies.
Phillies add veteran Pratt: Catcher Todd Pratt has been added to Philadelphia's 40-man roster as the team heads into spring training. Pratt, 36, hit .311 with three home runs and 16 RBIs as a backup catcher for the Phillies last season. He signed a minor-league contract with Philadelphia in the offseason.