Around the Grapefruit League

Updated: February 25, 2007, 8:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates' Freddy Sanchez is the National League's reigning batting champion.

But so far at spring training, his position for the upcoming season is uncertain.

Sanchez excelled at third base last season, but he has performed exclusively at second in the opening days of camp, largely because management wants to determine where two other competing infielders, Jose Castillo and Jose Bautista, fit into the plan.

Sanchez says he's not worried about which position he'll play and says he's ready for either.

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are trying another new double-play combination, and this one may stay together for quite a while.

Boston signed shortstop Julio Lugo to a four-year deal and rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia is getting a chance to show he can handle his position in the majors.

The more he and Pedroia work together, the better they should get at turning the double play. Manager Terry Francona thinks the difficulty of that is overrated anyway.

"There will be some [exhibition] games where we go on the road, we'll leave both of them back together [in Fort Myers] so they can work together," he said. "It doesn't take very long. It really doesn't."

Houston Astros: Like candidates in an election, Jason Lane, Luke Scott and Richard Hidalgo are campaigning to become the starting right fielder for the Houston Astros.

Lane had the job last season, but lost it after hitting .205 in the first three months. Scott was called up from the minors to replace Lane after the All-Star break and put up MVP-caliber numbers, batting .336 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 65 games.

Hidalgo, who played for the Astros from 1997-2004, joined the race when he signed a minor-league contract in January. Now 31, Hidalgo sat out the 2006 season, but dazzled the Astros brass in the Venezuelan Winter League.

"Physically, he looked better than I'd seen him in a long time," said general manager Tim Purpura. "He was there from the beginning, played just about every game and really performed well."

Los Angeles Dodgers: Jason Schmidt said he passed up opportunities for a longer, more lucrative deal in the offseason because of his children.

"My kids are my interest. I've got two and one on the way," Schmidt said. "There were five-year deals to be had. I can see why guys want to stretch out the contract. It was a family thing."

Schmidt said the divorce of his parents when he was 6 has motivated him to be available as much as possible for his children -- a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. That's always going to be difficult as a baseball player because of the travel involved, so he's reticent to plan too far ahead.

"I just don't want to get locked into something," he said. "I don't know what the future holds -- I might want to play three years, I might want to play 10."

Minnesota Twins: Carlos Silva has looked sharp so far this spring. He threw a live batting practice session on Sunday and has worked hard to develop a split-fingered fastball to complement his sinker, which is falling off the table again.

Most importantly, he spent much of the winter working on his mental approach to keep from getting too down when things don't go his way.

"Just to forget what happened last year. Last year is over," Silva said. "This is 2007, a new season. Try to do something different. If something goes wrong, just pick my head up and stay positive and keep doing my job."

New York Yankees: Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano had an MRI exam and X-rays taken Sunday on his injured left foot.

The team didn't immediately release the results, but Pavano said afterward that he wasn't concerned.

"Just for precaution," Pavano said. "It's feeling better than it did. I'm not really too alarmed. There's no bruising or anything. It's just stiff."

Pavano didn't participate in on-field drills. He did undergo treatment, including icing the foot.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Thomas had a special visitor in the Blue Jays clubhouse Sunday: A former munchkin.

Mickey Carroll, one of the Munchkins in the 1939 movie the "Wizard of Oz," came to meet the 6-foot-5 Thomas. The 87-year old, 4-7 Carroll spent about 10 minutes talking and exchanging autographs with the Big Hurt.

Carroll was asked what his favorite baseball position is. He responded "shortstop."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.