Major League Notebook
Associated PressThe baseball notebook …
KISSIMMEE, Fla. ó Atlanta right-hander John Smoltz threw in the bullpen for about 20 minutes Thursday and called the session his “best day” of the spring.
Smoltz said he is on track to make his first regular-season start on April 6 and said he had no recurrence of the shoulder stiffness he suffered on Friday, forcing him to be held out of a scheduled start for the Braves.
“I just needed some time for it to settle down. It has settled down,” Smoltz said. “Now I’ll approach it like anything else. I’ll take two days off, come down here and throw and just have my eyes on my next start on Sunday.”
Smoltz is expected to start the season on the disabled list. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since March 15 so his time on the DL can be backdated.
Smoltz played catch in the outfield when he tested the shoulder for the first time on Tuesday, but he threw with normal effort on Thursday.
“I was throwing like I was preparing for a game,” he said. “The ball came out of my hand really good today. I’m a little behind on the control of some of my pitches, but that will come.”
MCNAMEE SPEAKSEVERETT, Mass. ó Brian McNamee, the onetime personal trainer for Roger Clemens, resurfaced to give a brief motivational speech to a small group of workout buffs on Thursday but refused to comment on the steroid scandal that landed him and his famous former client in front of Congress.
In his first public comments since testifying that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, McNamee gave about 25 high school athletes, coaches and parents a warning about mistakes that can tarnish one’s reputation.
“My lifetime of actions can be defined by one singular monumental mistake,” he said in a 12-minute talk at a friend’s supplement store. “I’m trying to learn from my mistake. I want you to learn from my mistake, and other peoples’ mistakes.”
McNamee canceled sit-down interviews with a local television station and Associated Press reporter, saying, “I’ve got to think about my kids.”
He did not elaborate, walking away and leaving through the back door as the lights were turned off.
McNamee is a key source for the Mitchell Report that laid bare the prevalence of steroids in baseball. Clemens has denied the allegations.
TAMPA, Fla. ó Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Sunday.
Pettitte, originally slated to start the Yankees’ second game of the regular season on Wednesday, has been slowed by back spasms. If all goes well, he likely will make his first start of the season Friday or Saturday.
“We’re going to see how it feels and try and stretch it out,” Pettitte said. “Then figure out what I’m going to do after that game.”
TAMPA, Fla. ó George Steinbrenner is in the owner’s box and on the field now.
The New York Yankees’ spring training home was renamed George M. Steinbrenner Field during pregame ceremonies Thursday.
An emotional Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ owner and Tampa resident, helped pull the cover off a new sign above the scoreboard in left field. He then rode in a golf cart past a standing ovation from the fans and applause by the Pittsburgh Pirates as he went to the plate area to watch his wife, Joan, throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
SURPRISE, Ariz. ó The suspension of Kansas City Royals catcher Miguel Olivo was reduced from five to four games Thursday.
Olivo had been suspended for the start of this season because of a fight with the New York Mets during the final weekend of last season while he was with the Florida Marlins.
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