Coming off breakout seasons, C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are firmly entrenched as starters for the Rangers.
02/14/2011 11:57 AM ET
Wilson, Lewis ready for more success
Rangers starters primed for camp, 2011 season
Switching from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Wilson was 15-5 with a 3.38 ERA and allowed just 7.1 hits and .441 home runs per nine innings, third and second in the American League, respectively. Lewis was 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA.
Both easily reached career highs in innings pitched, Wilson with 204 innings and Lewis with 201 innings.
"My arm feels nice and loose already," Lewis told the Sacramento Bee . "It doesn't feel at all like 'dead arm;' I don't really believe in that anyway. I feel great. I don't feel like there will be any repercussions of throwing that many innings."
Said Wilson: "My body's great. I got MRIs and stuff to make sure. My body is actually cleaner than it was last year and two years ago.
"I still feel like there's a lot of room to improve. My main focus is to continue to look at the goals I had set, see where I feel short and why I fell short, and to bridge those gaps."
Raburn hopes every ball flies his way: Ryan Raburn believes he has what it takes to become a great outfielder and plays with a "hit it to me" attitude.
"When I'm out there waiting for the ball to be thrown," Raburn told the Detroit News, "I definitely want it to be hit to me. Anytime you start saying I don't want the ball hit to me, that's when it will be, and you're going to screw up.
"You always have to be ready for everything. You always want the ball hit to you."
Ray could bring new look as closer: Closer David Aardsma isn't expected to be ready at the beginning of the season following hip surgery, but the Mariners have veteran Chris Ray to potentially fill that role temporarily.
Ray saved 49 games for the Orioles from 2006-07. Following Tommy John surgery, he has changed his approach, mixing a two-seamer into his arsenal.
"I've had to learn to pitch a little bit more," Ray told the Seattle Times. "When you struggle like I did in 2009 when I came back, it's not the same as when you're first starting out and trying to blow everyone away with your stuff. You have to show them something different."
"Last year, I broke more bats throwing inside to right-handed hitters with my two-seamer than I have at any other time in my career."
Arencebia gets offseason boost from Bautista: Major League home run champion Jose Bautista took the time to help J.P. Arencibia when he wasn't bashing the long ball last season, and the Jays' catching prospect went on to lead the Minor Leagues with 32 home runs for Las Vegas.
"Last year, Jose was a big part of my success," Arencibia, who was the Pacific Coast League MVP, told the Toronto Sun. "We would talk a about hitting and what I needed to do to get better. He helped me out an awful lot."
Arencibia is expected to be the starting catcher for the Blue Jays, and he has been working out with Bautista during the offseason.
"It's a good match because we're both very alike in the gym and the way we go about our work," Arencibia said. "We've developed a really close relationship. We both really push each other.
"Jose's one of the hardest workers here, and he has a true passion to be the best at what he does. He doesn't ever do anything for show."
Granderson to enjoy normalcy of Spring Training: With one season in New York under his belt, Curtis Granderson is feeling a lot more comfortable as the Yankees get ready for the start of Spring Training.
"I know the guys more, I know the facility more, the coaching staff more," Granderson told the New York Daily News. "This year will be very similar in mentality to every other Spring Training except for last year. I'm excited about that. Everything is just normal again."
Santana shows progress by playing catch: When Johan Santana will take the mound for the Mets this season is still unknown. However, the left-hander is now playing catch, a good first step toward a return this season.
"He's thrown a baseball three times now," Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told the New York Post. "We'll find out how he is and put together a program."
Pitching coach part of enticement for Harang: Playing close to home in a big ballpark with a former pitcher as his new manager, Aaron Harang may be poised for a bounce-back season with the Padres.
"Aaron's in a good frame of mind," Padres manager Bud Black told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I think this is a classic case where a change of scenery is going to be very good for the player."
Harang said the main reason he signed with San Diego is to work with pitching coach Darren Balsley.
"Getting to pitch under somebody who understands exactly what I've been through and trying to get me back on that old page and move forward?" Harang said. "Yeah, that played a big part."
Jenks living a dream by playing for Red Sox: Hard-throwing Bobby Jenks isn't looking back as he moves from the White Sox bullpen to the Red Sox bullpen this season.
"This is a place that I've wanted to play in for a while," Jenks told the Boston Herald. "Once the opportunity came up here, I jumped right on it. It wasn't a matter of the money or years. That had nothing to do with the decision to come here. I wanted to play baseball for the Red Sox. I got that opportunity and I jumped on it."
Burriss glad to be part of Fan Fest: Some of the Giants particularly enjoyed the club's Fan Fest this winter.
"This was the first time everyone was able to talk about what they went through, winning the World Series," Emmanuel Burriss told the San Francisco Chronicle. "After the season, everybody went home. Now, guys are starting to relive it."
Weaver says arbitration hearing not 'like sitting in math class': The Angels and Jered Weaver went to arbitration to establish his 2011 contract.
"It was kind of fun," Weaver told the Los Angeles Times of the hearing. "It wasn't like sitting in math class where I wasn't paying attention. It was interesting. You wish you didn't have to do it, but this game has become very business-oriented."
"It wasn't too harsh," Weaver said. "I have pretty thick skin, so nothing they said really bothered me that much. This decision won't have any effect on me pitching my butt off for the Angels."
Laird preparing to be ready when called: Gerald Laird knows he won't be getting 100 starts behind the plate for the Cardinals.
"When you've got a guy like Yadier [Molina], who likes to play and is definitely a great player, I know he's going to do the bulk of the catching," Laird told MLB.com. "But I'm just here to do what I can, and try to get the trust of the coaching staff to where, when I play, they know they're getting a quality guy."
Tillman plans to make an impression: Chris Tillman is as prepared as possible to win a job with the Orioles.
"I think I'm very prepared for Spring Training," Tillman told the Baltimore Sun. "I put myself in a good spot in the offseason to get ready for Spring Training and the rest of the season. You walk in here, see a bunch of new faces, see the names on the [locker] tags. It's an exciting time."
Coke making move from reliever to starter: As he transitions from reliever to starter, Phil Coke understands the importance of pitching deep into games and keeping the bullpen fresh.
"I know what that feels like on both ends," Coke told MLB.com. "I feel like it's absolutely my job to go out there and eat up as many innings as possible. That way, we have our three beasts in the back of the bullpen come out there and handle business like it's nothing.
"The last thing I want to do is put these guys in a position where they have to clean up a mess that I made, when I know that I'm better than that. I take that personally because I failed them. I failed the team because I didn't handle my business."
-- Red Line Editorial