Around the Cactus League

Texas Rangers: After watching the first four days of practice, manager Ron
Washington said he has "no doubt" that Sammy Sosa will make the
team as the designated hitter. Then Washington added, "if he
doesn't perform, doubt will probably set in." The games start

Instead of pitching in the Cactus League opener Friday,
No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood will start in a "B" game earlier in
the day. Washington said that's what Millwood, a 16-game winner
last year, wanted to do.

Country music singer Charley Pride, a
longtime regular at Rangers camp, was in uniform for the first time
Monday. "I know he can sing," said Washington, who met Pride for
the first time.

Elsewhere in the Cactus League:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson felt a little sore after his
session on the mound Monday but said that was to be expected.

It was Johnson's second mound stint in his comeback from back

He said the soreness was "the residual effects from the first
time out."

Johnson said he threw 35 pitches, stopping for a break about
halfway through. He said he felt much better in the later portion.

Chicago Cubs: Oft-injured pitcher Mark Prior was pushed up to start next Monday in a spring training game
against the Seattle Mariners.

After the team worked out Monday, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said
Prior will pitch in Chicago's fifth exhibition game. Only 24 hours
earlier, Piniella said the right-hander would not make an
appearance until the second time through the rotation late next
week. Originally, Piniella had planned to start left-hander
Ted Lilly against the Mariners on March 5.

Lilly still will pitch, but he'll follow Prior in the game.

"We're going to let Prior start the game because he needs a
little more time to warm up," Piniella said. "I had a nice talk
with him today. We brought him in here and had a nice conversation
with him."

Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd, who is competing for a spot in the rotation after being acquired in the trade that sent Freddy Garcia to the Phillies, rolled his ankle during an intrasquad game and will be sidelined a few days, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly after delivering a pitch to teammate Joe Crede.

Oakland Athletics: Dan Haren, who experimented with a cut fastball last season, hopes to add the pitch to his repertoire as he looks for ways to improve his performance.

Haren spent the offseason in Northern California, throwing to
A's bullpen catcher Brandon Buckley five or six times a week and concentrating on the cutter.

"It was a good time to work on it and bring into spring
training," said the 26-year-old who went 14-13 with a 4.12 ERA
last year. "If it doesn't work out, I still have time to go back.
It was a benefit to have Brandon around. If anyone knows me and my
mechanics, it's him."

San Francisco Giants: It's no surprise that Barry Bonds will
not play in San Francisco's Cactus League opener Thursday against
the Cubs.

The slugger rarely treks to road ballparks -- as close as they
are around here -- during the exhibition season. Giants manager
Bruce Bochy said Monday he is opting to keep Bonds back at
Scottsdale Stadium to get his work in despite how healthy and
strong the San Francisco star has been feeling so far.

"Does it matter?" Bonds said with a smile after his workout
Monday. "It's the same question every year. ... I'm exhausted."

Bonds' first chance to play at home in Scottsdale will be Friday
against the Milwaukee Brewers. Sometimes in recent springs, a
reeling Bonds had the chance to be the designated hitter even
against National League teams when the opposing club agreed to it. Bochy doesn't see that being necessary this year.

Seattle Mariners: George Sherrill is taking it easy this
spring training. But he can't take it as easy as he and his sore
arm may want to.

The Mariners' left-handed reliever has soreness and stiffness in
his pitching triceps and shoulder. But that didn't keep him from
throwing 50 pitches as scheduled in the bullpen Monday. The session
was breezy, with Sherrill appearing to throw at less than full
velocity while an assistant trainer watched a few feet away.

Sherrill said a "tweak" in his elbow caused pain throughout
the last half of 2006. He was 2-4 with a 4.28 ERA in a team-high 72
appearances last season.

"It will probably come and go all season," Sherrill said of
the new soreness. "It probably will always be there."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.