Around the Grapefruit League

2/18/2007 - MLB

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Scott Kazmir looked good on the
mound and felt fine afterward, which was great news for Tampa

The All-Star left-hander, coming off an injury that cut last
season short, resisted the temptation to put his arm to a stern
test on the first day of spring training. For now, he's content
with gradually working his way back to form.

"It felt real free, real easy," Kazmir said after throwing
Saturday during a workout for pitchers and catchers. "It's kind of
at the point where you want to test it out as far as you can. But
this is not the time to do it right now. ... I feel really good
where I'm at and want to just keep building up arm strength."

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey were
encouraged, not only by what they saw from Kazmir but by the way
another projected starter, left-hander Casey Fossum, threw after
missing the final month of last season to have shoulder surgery.

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:

Houston Astros: Manager Phil Garner will miss Sunday's workout so
he can attend the wedding of his daughter, Bethany, at nearby
Disney World.

Bench coach Cecil Cooper will run the practice.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Pierre, who signed a five-year contract with
the Dodgers during the offseason, arrived at Dodgertown on Saturday
during the first workout session for pitchers and catchers. He was
among other early arrivals such as Andy LaRoche and Matt Kemp, two
young players who will be fighting for spots this spring.

"I don't consider myself a veteran by any means so I look at it
every year, I come out here and go all out like with a rookie
mindset -- get here early, get my work in and going to the house,"
Pierre said. "It's something I have always done."

New York Mets: Mets manager Willie Randolph said he does not intend to
pick a captain for the season.

When pressed, he said he might
choose Tom Glavine if forced to pick one.

"He knows how to lead," Randolph said.

Pittsburgh Pirates: For the second straight day, a promising
prospect for the Pirates, recovering from a major
operation, took the mound.

A day after John Van Benschoten threw a seamless bullpen
session, Bryan Bullington did likewise Saturday by throwing 40
pitches for his most intense workout since having shoulder surgery
in October 2005.

"I felt great out there," Bullington said. "The change-up
felt good. The slider and curveball are still coming, but I'll take
it for the first one."

New York Yankees: Kei Igawa threw his first bullpen session to
regular catcher Jorge Posada, and one of his first pitches sailed
high, went through the gap between the door and the fence and
nearly beaned a photographer.

"The first pitch that he threw, it was, I don't know, 6 feet
off the plate, away. And another one away," Yankees pitching coach
Ron Guidry said. "And then I asked the interpreter: When was the
last time that he threw off of a mound?' And then he told me,
'November.' Well, now you can understand."

Guidry has been impressed with what he's seen from Igawa. He
told him Saturday not to rush and to slow down his tempo.

"His command is ridiculous. He can throw the ball anywhere he
wants," Posada said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.