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Major League Baseball Notebook: K-Rod returns after scare

Associated Press
The baseball notebook …
BOSTON ó New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was back with the club on Sunday and feeling better after being hospitalized for back spasms following Saturday night’s game.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel was unsure when Rodriguez would be available.
Manuel said after Saturday night’s game that Rodriguez couldn’t walk following batting practice. The right-hander said “his legs locked up,” prompting medical personnel to take him to an ambulance on a stretcher.
“That was scary,” he said on Sunday, talking to the media with his back wrapped while the Mets took batting practice before their game against the Red Sox. “I’ve never felt anything like that.
“They gave me some medicine and it feels better.”
A three-time All-Star who saved a major league record 62 games for the Los Angeles Angels last season, K-Rod came to the Mets for a three-year, $37 million free-agent contract as the centerpiece of an offseason bullpen overhaul.
He is 12 for 12 in save opportunities, including a perfect ninth on Friday night against Boston, and is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA in 20 games.
Rodriguez said he might be able to pitch on Sunday, but Manuel wasn’t so sure.
“He’s still managing it. It feels much better today,” Manuel said. “His availability is still undetermined at this point. I have to check to see if he has a history of this thing. I haven’t found that out yet.”
CANSECO HITS
YOKOHAMA, Japan ó Jose Canseco was back in the batter’s box Sunday, facing former Seattle Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki before the start of a Japanese professional baseball game.
Canseco took nine pitches from Sasaki as part of a pre-game ceremony at Yokohama Stadium. Canseco connected on a few pitches but none were home runs.
“His fastball and forkball haven’t changed much since he was in the major leagues,” Canseco said. “I should have practiced more.”
Canseco, who hit 462 home runs in the major leagues, is in Japan to take part in a mixed martial arts event on Tuesday. The former Oakland A’s slugger is fighting South Korean Hong Man Choi on the Dream 9 card in Yokohama Arena.
Choi is a 7-foot-2, 330-pound super heavyweight and has a 1-2 record in MMA.
MADDON’S FINE
MIAMI ó Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has criticized a $500 fine he received from Major League Baseball for inciting his team’s recent confrontation with the Cleveland Indians.
Maddon said on Sunday that the fine was unjust and denied inciting the situation.
The standoff occurred May 17, when the Indians’ Kerry Wood threw behind B.J. Upton, then threw his next pitch inside. Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez, who dodged an inside pitch earlier in the series, got into a shouting match with the Rays’ bench, and both dugouts emptied.
ANKIEL
ST. LOUIS ó The St. Louis Cardinals activated Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, reversing course from a day earlier because the outfielder had a strong workout.

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