Yankees honored to meet soldiers
World champions moved by visit to Walter Reed Army Hospital
The Yankees spent their off-day in Washington, D.C., on Monday visiting President Barack Obama and Walter Reed Army Hospital, where they spent time with wounded soldiers.
"For them coming up to us and saying thank you for winning a championship -- that's mind-boggling to us because we were there to thank them," Derek Jeter told the New York Post. "I think it really puts things in perspective. People always look at us and say that we're heroes, but when you take a look at it, these are the real heroes."
The players met with several veterans as a team before they broke up and met individually with soldiers.
"They're like thanks for coming whether I'm a Red Sox fan or Yankees fan, thanks for coming," Andy Pettitte said.
The players enjoyed their visit with Obama, but the visit to Walter Reed really moved the players.
"The biggest reward of the day was going down this morning and spending time with those guys," said Alex Rodriguez, who was making his first visit to the hospital. "I know they enjoyed it, but we enjoyed it probably just as much, if not more."
Matsui reaches hitting milestone: Hideki Matsui collected his 1,000th hit in the Majors on Monday night against the Indians. Matsui leads all Japanese-born players with 144 home runs and is second in hits to Ichiro. But Matsui has no illusions of catching Ichiro, who has more than 2,000 hits in the Majors.
"If I played Little League and had a doubleheader every single day," Matsui told the Los Angeles Times, "then I might have a chance."
"I guess I never really pursued numbers," Matsui said. "I've always been focused on what I need to do to help the team win. The milestone is an accumulation of going out there every day and battling and helping my team win."
Reyes finding success at No. 3 spot in lineup: Mets manager Jerry Manuel likes Jose Reyes in the No. 3 hole while Carlos Beltran is recovering from knee surgery.
"I have always thought that it stretches out our lineup a little bit, especially with speed," Manuel told the New York Daily News. "When Luis [Castillo] starts to run, he starts to put pressure. And Angel [Pagan] starts to run and he starts to put pressure, Jose is automatically -- hot or not -- taking walks and those types of things, he puts pressure. I think it could work out well for us because it kind of fits our ballpark."
Since Friday, when Reyes was first inserted as the No. 3 hitter, he is 6-for-19 with six runs scored.
Kinsler begins Double-A rehab assignment: Ian Kinsler started his Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, playing for Double-A Frisco and starting at second base. It was the first game for Kinsler since suffering a high-ankle sprain on March 12.
In the field, Kinsler had to charge a slow grounder in the first inning, putting his ankle through an early test.
"My timing offensively is fine," he told the Dallas Morning News. "I got 14 at-bats in Arizona and will get a few more here."
Kinsler, who got 14 those at-bats at extended Spring Training in Arizona before heading to Frisco, is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list before the Rangers play Seattle on Friday.
Zobrist gets five-year extension with Rays: Ben Zobrist signed a five-year contract extension with the Rays.
"I'm just extremely grateful," Zobrist told the St. Petersburg Times. "I got my first shot in the big leagues with the Rays, and the Rays gave that to me. I think back to that time, how far we've come in the last couple years, and just the excitement for me and my family."
Zobrist was the team's MVP last season after hitting .297 with 27 home runs, 91 RBIs and 17 steals.
Lidge leaves little doubt as to his status: Brad Lidge is about ready to return to the Phillies after tossing two more scoreless innings at Double-A Reading on Tuesday. It was his eighth rehab appearance following offseason elbow and knee surgeries and the sixth straight in which he didn't allow a run.
"After tonight, I feel ready, to be honest," Lidge told MLB.com. "Velocity-wise and command-wise, I feel like I'm ready to go."
Liriano continues to impress: Francisco Liriano is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA following eight shutout innings on Tuesday against the Tigers. He struck out 10 and walked four.
"I'm really excited, to be honest with you," Liriano told MLB.com. "It didn't feel like that last year at all."
Glaus feels at home hitting in St. Louis: Troy Glaus got two hits against his previous team, the Cardinals, on Monday. He has a .567 lifetime average against St. Louis.
"I enjoyed my time here, no doubt it," Glaus told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Linebrink only concerned with 'getting outs': Veteran reliever Scott Linebrink has already had a few appearances in which he's pitched more than an inning.
"It's not something I've done in a long time, so I don't know," Linebrink told MLB.com. "I'm here to do whatever they want me to do. It's not something I've done in a while, and I am getting older.
"I don't know how long it's going to last or exactly what my role is or how I fit in. All I know is if you keep getting outs, everything else takes care of itself."
Josh Johnson chalks up career-high 12 strikeouts: Josh Johnson established a career-high with 12 strikeouts in a complete-game effort in Florida's 10-1 win over the Padres on Monday. Johnson also had three hits and three RBIs.
"I was coming out of games thinking, 'How could I just pitch five innings," Johnson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Baseball's crazy. It's a game of inches, and all of a sudden my tempo and rhythm are starting to feel good again."
"This was as good [as he's ever pitched]," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He attacked the strike zone. ... It's not brain surgery. The hits were a bonus."
Theriot doing his job as leadoff batter: Cubs leadoff man Ryan Theriot is batting .330 to start the season.
"The main thing for me -- I can't speak for anybody else -- is just staying consistent with my approach," Theriot told MLB.com. "[Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo] has done a great job."
Livan Hernandez maintains consistent pace: Livan Hernandez won for the third time in four decisions, allowing just one run in seven innings in Washington's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"This is what we're looking for, consistency," Hernandez told the The Washington Post when asked if he could sustain his 0.87 ERA. "I throw three or four good games. It's early. I feel good, like I said in Spring Training. Let's see."
Roenicke, Lewis get the call to join Blue Jays: The Toronto Blue Jays recalled Josh Roenicke and Rommie Lewis from Triple-A Las Vegas. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is particularly looking forward to seeing Lewis, who is in the Majors for the first time, pitch.
"He opened up a lot of eyes in Spring Training," Gaston told MLB.com. "I liked the kid all spring, but it was just one of those things where you can't bring everybody. He happened to be a guy that we could send out."
Haren continues magic in Denver: Dan Haren is now 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts in his career at Coors Field -- a ballpark many pitchers don't like very much.
"It's not the easiest place to pitch in the world, obviously," he told the The Arizona Republic. "You just try to keep the ball down, and if you make a mistake, miss down. Maybe it just really makes me focus in on keeping that ball down."
Reynolds open to ribbing after award: After driving in 11 runs last week, hitting .421 and socking three home runs, Mark Reynolds was named the NL Player of the Week. One of his main competitors for the honor was teammate Kelly Johnson. The second baseman hit .375 with four home runs and seven RBIs, earning Reynolds some good-natured ribbing from manager A.J. Hinch.
"He told me he wasn't sure I was even the best player on the team last week," Reynolds told MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.