MLB Notebook: Jeter goes 0-for-2 in first spring action

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) tags out Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison...

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) tags out Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) as he attempted to steal during the fifth inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Feb 27, 2014 in Tampa, FL, USA. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Sun Wire Services

, Last Updated: 9:14 PM ET

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter made his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday and went 0-for-2 at the plate while playing five innings in the field in an 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 39-year-old Jeter, who played in only 17 games last season because of a fractured ankle and leg problems, grounded into a double play his first time up against Pirates starter Charlie Morton and grounded out to third base against left-hander Jeff Locke in his second at-bat.

In the field, Jeter's only action was a tag at second base on a stolen base attempt.

"I feel like I haven't played a game in a couple of years," Jeter said. "That's what it felt like, even though I played a couple last year. I think just getting out there (felt good). I don't know if there's one thing in particular, but just getting into a game, feeling good, that's what I was most excited about."

Jeter announced earlier this month that he will retire after the 2014 season. He received a standing ovation when he left Thursday's game.

"I've (run) already," Jeter said. "I've run a lot. You guys may have not seen it, but I've run a lot. It's always good to do stuff in game action. I wasn't out there for such a long time, so it's good to get back in game action. But I'm not concerned about running. That doesn't cross my mind."

GREINKE INJURED AGAIN

On his fourth pitch of his first outing, L.A. Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke felt a twinge.

And, as a result, so ended his spring training debut.

The 30-year-old will now miss time with a strained right calf.

"I just felt something," Greinke told MLB.com . "Just try to take care of it this early in spring. Hopefully it's not a big deal. I think it's minor. We'll see in a couple of days. Right now, I don't feel too bad."

The Dodgers had hoped Greinke would make four Cactus League starts prior to being eligible to pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks in their opening series in Australia.

Greinke retired the first batter he faced before being escorted off the mound and into the clubhouse.

The 2009 Cy Young Award winner has had injury woes in the past.

He missed a portion of spring training last year due to elbow discomfort.

He also suffered a broken collarbone in a bench-clearing brawl with the San Diego Padres early in the season.

MORE RUNNING, PLEASE

New Cincinnati manager Bryan Price plans to have the Reds run more. And he's not just talking about leadoff man Billy Hamilton.

That starts with the spring games.

"What we're going to do is open things up in spring training," Price said. "One way to find out where we need to improve is to give these guys more responsibility and more freedom during spring training and see what they do with it. It creates more dialogue between the players and the staff.”

The Reds were 10th in the National League in stolen bases last year. With Hamilton in the lineup, that is going to go up given he stole 155 bases in the minors two years ago.

But Price wants shortstop Zack Cozart and third baseman Todd Frazier to run as well.

"We've got a couple guys there in Frazier in Cozart who are capable base-stealers who simply need to seize the opportunity," Price said. "If we get into a situation where a pitcher is consistently slow to the plate, we need to create those scoring opportunities by getting more guys in scoring position

GARCIA MAKING PROGRESS

St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia, who has missed significant time in the last two seasons because of shoulder problems, leading to labrum and rotator cuff surgery last May, probably won't be ready at the start of this season.

Garcia, after experiencing discomfort following a throwing session before the exhibition season began, saw two doctors and then got a cortisone shot for his shoulder before returning to camp. But when he will pitch again is uncertain.

"The good news is that there's nothing structurally wrong with him," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He does have inflammation. Depending on how he feels after that injection will determine that next step.”

Mozeliak said the immediate program for Garcia is "baby steps. He is behind but, in fairness, we should let the next few days or week unfold."

Asked if Garcia might be better off trying to return as a reliever, Mozeliak said, "From the volume (of innings) standpoint, there might be some logic there. But the one counterintuitive part of that is 'can you go back-to-back (days)?' That's the part I can't answer.

The 27-year-old Garcia is 39-25 in his Cardinals career, including 5-2 last year before he went on the disabled list, and is in the midst of a four-year contract that will pay him $7.75 million this year, $9.25 million next year, with team options of $11.5 million and $12 million for 2016-17.

PIRATES ON PROWL

Neal Huntington continues to look for a left-handed hitting first baseman. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates general manager maintains his stance that he will only add a player "if it makes sense."

The Pirates have been linked to such trade possibilities as the New York Mets' Ike Davis, the Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind and the Seattle Mariners' Justin Smoak. Switch-hitting Kendrys Morales remains on the free agent market, but the Pirates would prefer not to give up their first-round pick in this year's amateur draft – 24th overall – to sign him.

"I don't see the need to overpay for a first baseman, whether it be in a trade or in free agency," Huntington said. "The reason I feel that way is because of our internal options. I think we can fill the position with what we have."

In a perfect world, right-handed hitting Gaby Sanchez would be platoon player and start against left-handed pitchers. He has a career .895 OPS against lefties but a .700 figure against right-handers in six seasons.

The Pirates, though, are willing to consider playing Sanchez regularly at first base and he thinks he can do the job. He lost 20 pounds in the offseason in anticipation of his playing time possibly increasing.

Two 25-year-old left-handed hitting rookies --- Andrew Lambo and Chris McGuiness --- will also get an opportunity to show they deserve at-bats at first base this spring.

 


Videos

Photos