Australian organizers of Major League Baseball's season-opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are upset about comments made by Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, who said he is not thrilled about the trip, according to reports.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian officials reached out to the Dodgers and MLB for an explanation.
The March 22-23 series at the Sydney Cricket Ground was planned among Australian officials, MLB, the players union, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
Greinke is likely to pitch one of the games.
"I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it," Greinke told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "There just isn't any excitement to it. I can't think of one reason to be excited for it."
The Dodgers responded by saying the team is looking forward to the trip.
"Zack has this endearing, contrarian quality to him that we all know and love about him," Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. "He's famously focused and meticulous about his training regimen. It's what makes him so good and such a great teammate. This is clearly going to alter his routine. I understand that aspect of it.
"But my problem right now is trying to make room for all the people that want to go -- players, family, front-office people. As an organization, we couldn't be more excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Greinke said he is willing to pitch in Australia and understands the purpose of the trip.
"It's a baseball thing. It's an ownership thing, spreading stuff around," he said. "That's what it's for and it's for the greater good of baseball."
GARDNER INKS EXTENSION
The New York Yankees agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract extension with outfielder Brett Gardner on Sunday.
According to CBSSports.com, Gardner's new deal begins in 2015. It buys out the first four years of his free agent eligibility. It also includes a fifth-year club option for $12.5 million, according to the YES Network.
"It's a demonstration from our end," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "We don't typically do this, but it shows the level of confidence, belief and trust in the type of person and player he is, and we're excited to know he's going to be part of this thing going forward."
Gardner, 30, had a batting line of .273/.344/.416 with 33 doubles, an American League-best 10 triples, eight home runs, 52 RBI, 81 runs and 24 stolen bases in 2013. He has played center field, but with the signing off Jacoby Ellsbury, he will move back to left field.
"I don't want to be anywhere else," Gardner said. "There's no better place to play baseball than in New York. I've never been anywhere else. I got drafted here almost nine years ago, and I love it here. I love everybody in the organization, the coaching staff and all my teammates, and this is where I want to be."
The Yankees' starting outfield is locked up through 2016. In addition to Gardner and Ellsbury, the club also signed right-fielder Carlos Beltran earlier in the offseason.
ANGELS, TROUT TALKING
The Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Mike Trout are negotiating a six-year, $150 million contract extension, Yahoo Sports reported Sunday.
Trout, 22, is not eligible for salary arbitration until next season and is under team control through the 2017 season. He is due to make less than $1 million this year.
Trout had a batting line of .323/.432/.557 with 39 doubles, nine triples, 27 home runs, 97 RBIs, 109 runs and 33 stolen bases in 2013. He finished second behind Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera in voting for the American League MVP in each of the past two years.
MRI FOR CHACIN'S SHOULDER
Colorado Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is experiencing right shoulder inflammation and will undergo an MRI on Monday. He is expected to miss at least a week.
The right-hander has not thrown a full side session and has been limited to long-tossing this spring.
Trainer Keith Dugger said the injury is not related to the pectoral nerve injury that caused Chacin to miss much of the 2012 season when he made 14 starts and pitched 69 innings. Dugger said Chacin's current injury is inflammation of the right biceps tendon with the irritation near the rotator cuff.
Chacin went 14-10 last year with a 3.47 ERA, the second-lowest ERA by a starter in franchise history behind only Ubaldo Jimenez's 2.88 ERA in 2010. The 14 victories were a career-high for Chacin.
BIG BUCKS FOR BABE'S WATCH
Babe Ruth's pocket watch from the 1923 World Series sold at an auction in New York on Saturday for $717,000.
The pentagonal 14-karat gold watch was purchased by a telephone bidder, according to ESPN.com. Heritage Auctions, which administered the auction, said the buyer requested anonymity.
The timepiece was part of a set given to the Yankees after they beat the New York Giants in the 1923 World Series.
Ruth batted .368 and hit three home runs in the series. It was the first of the Yankees' 27 World Series championships.
The watch is engraved with a picture of a pitcher, hitter and catcher, and a ball in flight. It is inscribed, "Presented by Baseball Commissioner to George H. Ruth."
Ruth gave the watch to a friend, Charlie Schwefel. The seller was a collector who acquired it from a member of Schwefel's family, according to Heritage Auctions.
Also, a 1911 game-used bat from "Shoeless" Joe Jackson sold for $956,000 at the auction. Jackson was banned from baseball after he and teammates from the Chicago White Sox were accused of fixing the 1919 World Series.