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Archive for Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Ankiel returns to wild ways in B.P.

March 1, 2005

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Rick Ankiel's comeback hit another rough patch Monday as the St. Louis left-hander threw just three strikes in 26 batting-practice pitches.

"I'm a little frustrated, but I have to think positive," Ankiel said from training camp in Jupiter, Fla.

The former phenom looked steady in previous outings and is trying to earn a spot on the staff. On Friday, Ankiel threw to hitters for the first time in spring training and kept them flailing during a 40-pitch performance.

He couldn't match that Monday.

"He was a little out of whack, but he wasn't missing by much," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That happens to a lot of pitchers. It isn't anything that we are worried about."

In other news, closer Jason Isringhausen, who had hip joint surgery in the offseason, threw batting practice for 15 minutes.

"I felt good," he said. "Just working on keeping my fastball down."

Phillies

At Clearwater, Fla., Phillies right-hander Vicente Padilla and third baseman David Bell were absent from camp Monday because of injuries. Padilla had an MRI taken on his pitching elbow and was diagnosed with triceps tendinitis -- the same ailment that landed him on the disabled list for two months last season. Bell, who hasn't participated in a full day of workouts because of back spasms, flew Monday to Dallas to have his back checked out.

Braves

At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta had more talks on a contract extension for pitcher Tim Hudson. Hudson set a today deadline for reaching a deal because he doesn't want to discuss his contract once exhibition games begin. He could become a free agent after the season. Braves general manager John Schuerholz and assistant GM Frank Wren spoke several times by phone with Hudson's agent, Paul Cohen.

"I'm not going to say whether I'm optimistic or pessimistic, but the fact that we're talking and working hard is a good sign," Cohen said.

Yankees

At Tampa, Fla., Gary Sheffield said he wasn't interested in extending his contract with the New York Yankees. The slugging right fielder is in the second season of a $39 million, three-year contract. The Yankees have a $13 million option for the 2007 season, and Sheffield wants to wait for this contract to run out before considering a new one.

Blue Jays

At Dunedin, Fla., Toronto manager John Gibbons said the Blue Jays would carry 12 pitchers this season, and only one spot still was open in the bullpen. Billy Koch, Scott Schoeneweis, Jason Frasor, Kerry Ligtenberg, Brandon League and closer Justin Speier already have locked up relief positions.

Rangers

At Surprise, Ariz., Pedro Astacio and Ricardo Rodriguez, pitchers the Texas Rangers hope will be in their starting rotation, threw scoreless innings in the first intrasquad game of the spring.

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