Your West Valley News: Spring Training

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  • Josh Hamilton has injured knee and will start season on DL

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list because of an injured left knee.Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the five-time All-Star, bothered by swelling in the knee, received a stem cell and platelet rich plasma injection Monday, when he was examined by Dr. James Andrews.Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, will be on crutches for seven-to-10 days and is projected to need eight weeks of recovery time. Levine said Hamilton likely would start a minor league rehabilitation assignment in late April and the Rangers hope he will return to their lineup in early May."Obviously it's frustrating and disappointing," Hamilton said Wednesday. "As an athlete, you don't want to be pushed back and wait and have a drawn-out time period to get back. That stinks. At the same time, I really felt like it was something that needed to be done now."Hamilton will be making his 11th trip to the disabled list."The reason we are giving him an eight-week program is so we don't cut any corners and give him a full spring training," Levine said.After reporting to spring training last week, Hamilton experienced pain caused by an inflamed capsule behind his left knee. He had surgery twice on the knee last year, in September and then after the season after returning for the end of the regular season and the playoffs.Following the October operation, Hamilton didn't take batting practice again until Jan. 22, the day after a cortisone shot."This is something different, that I haven't tried yet," Hamilton said. "This was the next step to go. We've exhausted things. If this makes it 50 percent better, I'll be good to go. Everybody I've talked to who've said they had any kind of stem-cell stuff said they've had good results from them, so that's positive and encouraging. It will never be right, but I just want to get better. That's the simplistic way to put it. There's always that fear there that it might not work."Hamilton, who turns 35 on May 1, never went to spring training last year with the Los Angeles Angels when he was coming off shoulder surgery and a self-reported relapse with alcohol and cocaine. An arbitrator ruled Major League Baseball could not discipline him for that.He was traded back to Texas at the end of April and made his season debut May 25. Hamilton hit .253 with eight homers in 170 at-bats over 50 games for the Rangers last season.Hamilton tore ligaments in his left thumb in the eighth game of the 2014 Angels' season and did not return until June 3. Injuries limited him to one game after Sept. 4 and he has appeared in just 139 games the past two seasons.Candidates to play left in his absence include prospects Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson, plus Ryan Rua. Gallo, 22, is primarily a third baseman, but appeared in 19 games last year in the outfield. Mazara is 20 and Brinson 21.Rua was the 2015 opening-day starter in left but sprained his right ankle and fractured a heel in the first game that required surgery and went on the 60-day DL."I feel we are in a good place with the guys we have in camp," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "How that all shakes out, we have 40 days until the end of it."Texas also is looking outside the organization."We are very aware of the players who are out there on the free-agent market, and we're still having conversations with those guys, as we have been for weeks," Levine saidNOTES: RHP Yu Darvish, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery, threw off a half-mound. . RHP Tanner Scheppers underwent knee surgery and will not return until the second half of the season. . RHP Luke Jackson has lower back stiffness.

  • Fans bring major league love for spring training throughout West Valley

    GLENDALE, Ariz. – Paul Mora has been a Los Angeles Dodgers fan “since forever.” So, it’s probably not surprising the 27-year-old Whittier, Calif., resident and his girlfriend are making two trips in the next six weeks to the Glendale area.“Ever since I was a kid; when I played baseball. I have a program from Ebbets Field (the Brooklyn, N.Y., stadium the Dodgers called home before moving to L.A. in 1958.),” Mora smiled while waiting for the present club’s players to emerge from the clubhouse for their first workout of spring training Saturday.The Dodgers, who share Camelback Ranch complex with the Chicago White Sox, are one of eight teams who call the West Valley home while preparing for the upcoming season. Pitchers and catchers for the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners reported late last week as well to their respective facilities at Peoria Sports Complex. The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians players checked in and began working out in Goodyear, and Surprise Stadium saw the return of the American League West champion Texas Rangers and World Series winners, the Kansas City Royals, begin training.“I’m a baseball fan. From the time I was a kid through college I’ve been a fan,” said Mike Richardson, 61, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., while waiting outside the Dodgers’ clubhouse with his wife, Debbie, 60. “I enjoy just being out here and watching.”Season-ticket holders for a dozen years, the Richardsons traveled so often to the Valley for spring training they bought a house in the MarleyPark section of Surprise and a condominium in Scottsdale. Like other fans at the complex Saturday, the Richardsons said the atmosphere was unique at spring training, where fans can see players up close and have a decent chance at an autograph and a bit of conversation with a big-name star such as 3-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw.“It’s huge. Some of the fans can be pretty rude, and I think a lot of players probably become callused ,and they don’t want to interact. I have respect for players who take the time,” said Richardson.

  • Royals say one and done not good enough as camp opens

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — After winning their first World Series in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals are thinking dynasty.One and done isn't enough, or at least so said the Royals on Friday when they opened spring training for pitchers and catchers."These guys are not complacent," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We don't have that problem. If you spend a little bit of time with anyone on this club, you'll find out real quick, complacency is not an issue with these guys. They have a chance to make history and they want to take advantage of it."No team has successfully defended a World Series championship since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000."We're motivated," outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. "That's what you play the game for, man. You don't play the game to win one. (Michael) Jordan isn't shutting it down after winning one. Kobe (Bryant) isn't shutting it down after winning one. Why are we going to shut it down after winning one?"Naw, man, we want to win as many as possible. We know this group isn't going to be together forever, so we're trying to take advantage of that."The Royals' window may close after the 2017 season when first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, closer Wade Davis and outfielder Lorenzo Cain will be eligible for free agency."You don't have to talk about it," Dyson said. "Everybody basically knows about it. You know they are going to get paid. It's kind of hard to afford guys when they're like that. When you've got that group or bunch, you want to try to win it right then and there because who knows (how long) you're going to be together. Nobody knows what is going to happen in the offseason, so you try to take advantage of the season."The Royals added another pitcher Friday, signing left-hander Mike Minor to a two-year, $7.25 million contract. Minor had shoulder surgery and did not pitch last year with the Atlanta Braves. He likely won't be ready to pitch until late May or early June.To make roster space for Minor, the Royals placed left-hander Jason Vargas, who had elbow surgery last July, on the 60-day disabled list.Left-hander Brian Duensing, who spent seven years with the Twins, signed Thursday with the Royals and is competing for a bullpen job."I feel like it's the first day of school and I'm the new kid," Duensing said. "I'm trying to figure out where I'm going and remember names. I feel a little bit like a fish out of water, give me a couple of days and I'll feel more comfortable and things will move smoothly."The Royals also added first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor as a non-roster invitee. Fuenmayor hit .358 with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in 89 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha before a July knee injury ended his season.

  • Baseball is back, pitchers and catchers hold first workouts

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — David Price made his first big-money throws of spring training as Boston's prized offseason acquisition, while new Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke began Day 1 with his new club by drilling on the basics of covering first base.Johnny Cueto showed off some orange-tinted dreadlocks beneath his off-kilter cap that will fit in perfectly with his new San Francisco Giants colors. His former team, the World Series champion Kansas City Royals, arrived in the desert and were set to get started Friday.From Arizona to Florida, that familiar sound of baseballs snapping into gloves returned Thursday as many clubs held their first spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers that signaled the true start of a new year. In the greater Phoenix area, a cooling cloud cover provided a respite from the unseasonably warm 90-degree temperatures.Now, all those franchises that went on offseason spending sprees for pitching are counting on those arms to bring heat.Greinke, signed to a $206.5 million, six-year contract with surprise suitor Arizona, was picked as the Diamondbacks' opening day starter in what manager Chip Hale called the easiest decision he has had to make. The right-hander is scheduled for his first bullpen session Friday in Scottsdale.Price brought his new $217 million, seven-year deal to Red Sox camp with similar fanfare, while Jeff Samardzija began getting in sync with his new San Francisco catcher, Buster Posey.After playing catch with closer Santiago Casilla, Cueto sat in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium soaking in the scene of his new spring home. Dominican Republic countryman, former Giants manager and outfielder Felipe Alou, made a point to stop and thank the pitcher for joining the organization.Any nerves for Cueto at this stage after just winning it all with the Royals?"Claro que no" — of course not, he quipped. "Maybe if I were a rookie," he said through translator Erwin Higueros. "I came from pitching in the World Series. I don't get nervous."He is plenty funny, however. When told ace Madison Bumgarner brought horses to spring training, Cueto cracked, "Maybe he will sell me one, or maybe he will gift me one."Manager Bruce Bochy figures Cueto will fit in well on a Giants team that has won the World Series in even years of late — 2010, '12 and '14 — with some different characters."We've been called misfits, cockroaches," Bochy said. "This is as solid as I think we've been, and that's saying a lot."In nearby Tempe, the Los Angeles Angels pitchers and catchers reported ahead of Friday's first practice.Reporting day for Padres pitchers and catchers was decidedly more low-key this year than in 2015, when San Diego had big expectations following a shopping spree by general manager A.J. Preller."Same as every spring training," said outfielder Matt Kemp, one of a handful of position players who arrived early. "I think everybody has a goal of coming in and making a championship team. Nothing has changed from last year."Catcher Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals got going in Jupiter, Florida, and Pedro Martinez was busy working as a special assistant on the field with the Red Sox in Fort Myers.At Yankees camp in Tampa, new closer Aroldis Chapman said he will appeal if suspended by Major League Baseball under the sport's new domestic violence policy.Manager Buck Showalter loved seeing so many of his Baltimore Orioles regulars report ahead of time. That included South Korean outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim, who brought with him a dozen members of the South Korean media.Asked if he was nervous, he said with a smile, "A lot.""They enjoy coming here," Showalter said, "I think they enjoy being around each other."

  • Cactus League lunch tickets available in Surprise

    Surprise will be hosting the 2016 Cactus League Lunch at the Surprise Recreation Campus at 11 a.m. Feb. 24.Catch a preview of the 2016 Spring Training season as Cactus League staff and committee members provide exciting and exclusive insight into what is to come this season for fans and the state of Arizona.The cost to attend is $50 for an individual seat or $500 for a corporate table of 10. Space is limited, so get your tickets now by completing an order form.For information, please contact the Community and Recreation Services Department at 623-222-2000, or visit

  • Surprise schedules spring training ticket presale Dec. 12

    The 14th season of spring training in Surprise will kick off Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Surprise Recreation Campus – The Campus of Champions – featuring Surprise’s home teams: the Kansas City Royals – 2015 World Series Champion and Texas Rangers – 2015 American League Western Division Champion.There will be a special online pre-sale at starting at 8 a.m. Dec. 12. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone with at 888-755-2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders.Individual tickets and season packages will be available. Individual game ticket prices range from $8 in the lawn to $30 in the premium lower dugout and include free parking.Four premium games have been designated with individual ticket pricing ranging from $13-$35. These games are:• March 16 - Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.• March 22 - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.

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