Around the Cactus League

Updated: February 27, 2007, 11:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Texas Rangers: Sammy Sosa and No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood will play in a "B" game Friday for the Texas Rangers instead of the Cactus League opener.

Sosa and Millwood will be on a back field facing a team of lesser-known players from the Kansas City Royals, the other club that uses the complex, instead of the spring opener in the main stadium.

Millwood requested the "B" game assignment and is expected to throw one inning. Rangers manager Ron Washington wants Sosa in that game so he can get extra work. The 38-year-old former slugger is trying a comeback with his original team.

In "B" games, there is the flexibility for Sosa to get additional at-bats. Washington didn't say if Sosa would be the designated hitter or play the outfield in the eight-inning game.

Washington plans for Sosa to play in the regular game Saturday when the Rangers play the Royals again. Sosa, who last played in the major leagues for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and is fifth on the career list with 588 home runs, has said he will do whatever Washington wants.

Elsewhere in the Cactus League:

Chicago Cubs: At Mesa, Ariz., Kerry Wood threw 27 pitches in live batting practice for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Wood will throw another session of live BP on Friday and then the team will determine when he'll get into a Cactus League game.

Wood, a former starting pitcher and staff ace, is making the transition to the bullpen following offseason rehabilitation of a rotator cuff problem. Wood did not undergo surgery, instead choosing to strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff.

The Cubs will ease him into action this spring. They plan to use him as a one-inning reliever when the regular season starts.

"He's still not as sharp as he will be, but you wouldn't expect him to be," Rothschild said. "The arm speed is there. The velocity is pretty much there."

Colorado Rockies: Reliever Mike DeJean, recovering from a right shoulder injury that required an operation to repair a frayed labrum and rotator cuff, hopes to begin pitching in the minors in three months.

DeJean starting throwing off a mound again on New Year's Day only to realize he needed a cortisone shot in the A.C. joint for arthritis. Now, his shoulder finally feels sound and strong.

He arrived at camp Monday and played some catch, threw long toss on Tuesday and will throw his first 45-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday before taking in the Rockies' first ball game from the bullpen.

Oakland Athletics: A's shortstop Bobby Crosby decided to push back a day his first live batting practice since last August.

Crosby continued his soft toss drills Tuesday and anticipates facing a pitcher when the A's break camp from their minor league complex at Papago Park and move into Phoenix Muni on Wednesday.

"If he plays the second half of the spring, he should have enough time to get ready," Geren said.

Crosby appeared in just 96 games last, mainly because of a lower back strain. His last plate appearance came in Toronto on Aug. 21, when he drew a walk off Blue Jays' relief pitcher Brandon League in the top of the seventh inning.

San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum got a pair of fly balls and a four-pitch strikeout. Talk about an efficient work day.

San Francisco's top draft pick in 2006 threw all of nine pitches in an intrasquad game Tuesday, seven for strikes. Aside from his stint with Class A San Jose last summer, it was the first time the strong-armed right-hander wore Giants across his chest in competition -- and his bosses liked what they saw.

"He had an easy inning," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He threw strikes and had good stuff. Well, he's impressive. Shoot, obviously we think a lot of him. He has tremendous arm speed. You can tell he's a good competitor and a great athlete, too. This kid has a chance to be real special."

The Giants selected the 22-year-old Lincecum with the 10th overall pick in last year's draft out of Washington and haven't ruled him out as a possibility to make the opening day roster. Yet he is being groomed as a starter and probably will begin the season at Triple-A Fresno.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.