Surprise, Ariz. The Kansas City Royals are running out of third basemen.
Alex Gordon and Josh Fields likely will open the season on the disabled list, and switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo has not played since March 25 due to irritation in his right side that bothers him when he swings left-handed.
That means the Royals could be down to their fourth option when they open the season Monday against Detroit. The remaining candidates are Willie Bloomquist, Wilson Betemit and Mike Aviles, who has hit .469 in spring training but is coming off Tommy John surgery last July.
Gordon, the second overall pick in the 2005 draft, will be on the 15-day disabled list due to a broken right thumb he sustained March 6 during a headfirst slide into second base.
Fields, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Chicago White Sox, has not played since March 27 because of a hip injury. He was hitless in 18 at-bats over his final five games, dropping his spring average to .157.
Callaspo has not played since March 25 due to what manger Trey Hillman called an “irritation in his right side,” which occurred during batting practice. He played five innings in a minor-league game Thursday, but the switch-hitting Callaspo swung only right-handed and has yet to take batting practice swing left-handed.
In other news, it appears likely that right-hander Gil Meche will also open the season on the DL because of shoulder tightness.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the spring had nothing to do with injuries. When outfielder Brian Anderson was told he was going to the minors, the 28-year-old told the Royals that he wanted to try pitching.
Ex-Oriole Cuellar dies
Baltimore — Mike Cuellar, a crafty left-hander from Cuba whose darting screwball made him a World Series champion and Cy Young winner with the Baltimore Orioles, died Friday. He was 72. The Orioles confirmed Cuellar’s death, but did not release other details. A four-time All-Star, Cuellar was 185-130 overall with a 3.14 ERA.
A-Rod meets with MLB
Tampa, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez says he met with officials from Major League Baseball to discuss his relationship with a Canadian doctor who is under federal investigation in a drug case. The Yankees slugger was expected to first meet with federal agents about Dr. Anthony Galea, who faces four charges in Canada related to human growth hormone and Actovegin.
Four umpires retire
New York — Ed Montague, Randy Marsh, Rick Reed and Charlie Reliford have retired from the major leagues in a significant departure of veteran umpires.
Bryant signs extension
El Segundo, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Kobe Bryant to a three-year contract extension.
General manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday the team had achieved two of its main goals going into the season — signing Bryant and Pau Gasol to contract extensions. Gasol signed his deal earlier in the season.
Bryant is averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season. He’s helped the Lakers win four NBA titles, including last season.
Celtics’ Garnett fined
New York — Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been fined $25,000 for criticizing game officials and for using inappropriate language during a postgame interview.
Eagles deal Brown, Gocong
Philadelphia — The Philadelphia Eagles have traded cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong to the Cleveland Browns for linebacker Alex Hall and two draft picks. The Eagles will receive picks in the fourth (105th) and fifth (137th) rounds in the upcoming NFL Draft. The deal was announced Friday.
Washington adds RB Parker
Ashburn, Va. — The Washington Redskins have added yet another veteran running back to the roster, agreeing to terms with Willie Parker for a one-year deal.
Turner AP player of year
Indianapolis — Ohio State junior swingman Evan Turner is the runaway choice as The Associated Press’ college basketball player of the year. The 6-foot-7 Turner, who averaged 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists, received 54 votes from the 65-member national media panel. Kentucky freshman John Wall received nine votes, while Da’Sean Butler of West Virginia and Luke Harangody of Notre Dame each got one.
Jim Boeheim is the AP coach of the year. Boeheim received 38 votes from the 65-member national media panel, well ahead of Kansas State’s Frank Martin, who had eight. KU’s Bill Self was fourth with three votes.
Ga. Tech’s Lawal leaving
Atlanta — Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal says he is skipping his senior season to enter the NBA Draft.
Kim leads at Nabisco
Rancho Mirage, Calif. — South Korean Song-Hee Kim shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championships. Her two-day total of 7-under 137 gave her a one-shot lead over Cristie Kerr (67), Karen Stupples (69) and Lorena Ochoa (70). Karrie Webb (70), a two-time winner at Mission Hills and a seven-time major champion overall, was two strokes back along with Stacy Lewis (68).
Molder tops Houston Open
Humble, Texas — Bryce Molder birdied four of the last seven holes for a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead in the Houston Open, the final event before the Masters next week at Augusta National. Molder had a 9-under 135 total.
Busch wins trucks race
Gladeville, Tenn. — Kyle Busch raced to his first NASCAR victory as a team owner, dominating the Nashville 200 on Friday night at Nashville Superspeedway for his 17th career Camping World Trucks Series win. The Sprint Cup standout led 131 of 150 lap on the 1.333-mile concrete oval. Kevin Harvick, the winner of his previous four Trucks starts, was second, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Timothy Peters and Todd Bodine.