Ortiz figures to face Johnson
Boston Red Sox: With the Red Sox scheduled to face New York Yankees left-hander Randy Johnson in the team's season-opening game, manager Terry Francona already has some ideas for his lineup. David Ortiz, who has never faced Johnson, will likely be in there, while Trot Nixon will sit.
"It'll be interesting to see how this all transpires," Francona told The Boston Globe. "Not many good left-handers face [Johnson]. I'm not taking anything away from this guy's talent, but he never faces the real lineup because he's the one guy that makes managers change their lineup. We're probably the one team that can throw out some right-handed hitters."
In all likelihood, the Red Sox will only send up two left-handers to face Johnson: Ortiz and Johnny Damon.
Newcomer Jay Payton is the top candidate to spell Nixon in right field.
San Diego, which holds an option for a fifth year, plans to announce the deal after obtaining an insurance policy on Peavy.
"I'm just glad its over, and we don't have to worry about it anymore" said Peavy, who led the majors with a 2.27 ERA last season. "You got one thing on your brain, and that's getting people out and winning ballgames. That's what I'm excited about."
Peavy, who went 15-6 last year, could have accepted a one-year deal worth about $500,000 and taken his chances next winter in his first year of salary arbitration. But he opted for a long-term deal with the team that drafted him in the 15th round out of high school in 1999.
"Both sides are a little unhappy, and I think that's a sign of a good deal," Peavy, 23, said. "That's when you know both sides gave a little bit."
Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, said negotiations were close to falling apart until Peavy stepped in and agreed to extend the length of the contract from three to four years, with the option wiping out his first year of free agency. As a concession, the Padres agreed to include performance bonuses and escalators that could increase the value of the deal.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Former Arizona third baseman Matt Williams was hired as a special assistant to Jeff Moorad, the Diamondbacks' general partner.
Williams, who joined the expansion Diamondbacks in 1998, has been working as an adviser to manager Bob Melvin during spring training. He will assist the team in the baseball operations department and do some broadcasting on radio and television.
Williams retired from playing in 2003 after 17 major league seasons.
All four players figure to open the season on the big-league roster, with Ross and Choi penciled in as starters.
Other players who agreed to terms were right-handers Edwin Jackson and Joel Hanrahan, left-handers Derek Thompson, Frank Brooks and Orlando Rodriguez, infielders Willy Aybar and Joe Thurston, and outfielders Jason Grabowski, Chin-Feng Chen and Henri Stanley.
In addition, former Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall was hired as manager of the Double-A El Paso Diablos. Marshall played for the Dodgers from 1981-89.
Rodriguez was with Texas last year, but his season ended in July when his right elbow was broken by a line drive. Astacio, a 35-year-old right-hander with just one start since shoulder surgery in 2003, signed as a free agent.
Astacio threw 13 pitches, allowing only a one-out double to outfielder Ramon Nivar. He got his outs on a grounder and two flyballs.
"I don't feel I have to prove I'm healthy, but every game, every pitching opportunity is important," Astacio said. "It's good to see some hitters. That's what spring is all about. I feel really good."
While Rodriguez has to prove himself as one of several candidates for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, Astacio seems certain of a spot if he stays healthy.
Rodriguez threw 17 pitches. The only runner against him reached on an error, and he had a strikeout.
Snelling, 23, is expected to be out about six weeks following the cartilage surgery.
It's the same knee in which Snelling suffered a torn ACL during the 2001 season.
Snelling, an Australian, had an MRI on the knee last week. The results were announced after Mariners medical director Dr. Larry Pedegana reviewed the MRI in Seattle.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Matt Maddux of Phoenix.
Snelling missed the entire 2004 season because of surgeries to his right hand and right wrist.
In 2003, he hit .269, with three home runs and 10 RBI, in 18 games at Triple-A Tacoma and .333, with three homers and 25 RBI, in 10 games at Double-A San Antonio.
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.
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