Archive for Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hampton’s recovery tedious

Cabrera looks ready; Marlins upset ex-manager counseled foe

February 28, 2007

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Mike Hampton was back on the mound for the Atlanta Braves, throwing breaking balls for the first time this spring.

Taking another small step in his comeback from major elbow surgery, Hampton threw a handful of curves during five minutes of batting practice Tuesday. He said he definitely could feel the resistance in his elbow.

"I'm not where I need to be," Hampton said in Kissimmee, Fla. "It felt good early, then I threw some breaking balls. I didn't feel as good later in the session as it did earlier."

Miguel Cabrera, on the other hand, looks ready to go. He homered in the third inning to help the Florida Marlins beat the University of Miami, 12-7, in Jupiter, Fla.

"I want to be ready for the season," said Cabrera, awarded a $7.4 million contract in arbitration this month. "I don't want to start slow."

Jeremy Hermida and Joe Borchard also connected for the Marlins, and top prospect Chris Volstad pitched 12â3 scoreless innings. Florida faces its first big league opponent today when it plays St. Louis.

There are three other games today between major-league teams: Detroit vs. the New York Mets; Colorado vs. the Chicago White Sox; and Minnesota vs. Boston.

In other Marlins news, club officials were annoyed to hear that their manager last year, Joe Girardi, gave rival pitcher Jon Lieber helpful tips during the season.

Lieber said his season with the Philadelphia Phillies turned around shortly after he was roughed up by the Marlins last July 31, and he credits a phone call from Girardi, a former major league catcher. They played together with the Chicago Cubs from 2000-02.

"He just mentioned that the hitters said everything that was coming in was just very flat," Lieber told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I wasn't on top of the ball like I should have been."

Both teams contended for the NL wild-card berth, and Lieber beat the Marlins twice in September.

Cubs

At Mesa, Ariz., Kerry Wood threw 27 pitches in live batting practice for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Wood would throw another session of live BP on Friday and then the team would determine when he'd get into a Cactus League game.

Yankees

At Tampa, Fla., new Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa needed just 19 pitches to cruise through two scoreless innings in an intrasquad game.

"He was good," manager Joe Torre said. "There's really no wasted motions. He's very compact, and he goes after it. I think that's a sign of knowing what you want to do."

Tigers

At Lakeland, Fla., the AL champion Detroit Tigers got a leadoff homer from Curtis Granderson and routed Florida Southern, 14-0.

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