Around the Cactus League
Colorado Rockies: Right-hander Aaron Cook, who is one of three pitchers competing for the Opening Day assignment, has been working on a four-seam fastball and he had great immediate success with it when he rung up White Sox DH Jim Thome with a man on third base and one out in the first inning.
"That situation, a guy on third base, less than two outs, you're looking more to get a guy to punch out or hit a weak fly ball into the infield," said Cook, whose sinker might otherwise induce a ground ball that could score the run. "It's something I'm going to try to incorporate more."
Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Enrique Gonzalez, one of a handful of candidates for the fifth spot in the Arizona rotation, struck out four in two innings in a Diamondbacks' intrasquad game on a chilly, windy Wednesday afternoon.
The 24-year-old right-hander allowed one run on one hit. He walked one.
Overall, manager Bob Melvin said, it was "kind of a mixed bag" in terms of pitching performance.
The game featured mostly players destined for the minor leagues to start the season, the next wave of youngsters behind the touted group that has advanced to the major league club.
He extended his throwing range to 140 feet on Wednesday and said the plan is for him to be in right field for exhibition games in late March. Until then, he will be a designated hitter, starting Thursday in a charity exhibition against San Diego.
"The ball is just jumping out of my arm. It's so scary," Guillen said.
Texas Rangers: Manager Ron Washington said performance this spring will determine who gets the No. 5 spot in the rotation. To make sure everybody gets a fair chance, he has already scheduled four "B" games to go along with the regular Cactus League games.
In the spring opener Friday against Kansas City, Kameron Loe is scheduled to start with John Koronka and Edinson Volquez, a highly touted prospect, to follow him. Bruce Chen is expected to pitch Sunday while Jamey Wright's first appearance apparently won't come before Tuesday. John Rheinecker has been bothered by back spasms.
"The bottom line is that everyone will get quality innings," Washington said. "Loe starting [first] just works out that way."
Loe spent this winter working out in Texas under the direction of a team strength coach, instead of alone at home in Los Angeles again.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
SPRING TRAINING NEWS
Follow the day's news from spring training in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues as we begin the countdown toward Opening Day on Sunday (Mets at world champion Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2):
• Colon, Weaver, Figgins on DL
• Pirates send Sanchez to the DL
• Rogers has clot removed, will miss first half
• Sabathia throws, says he's ready for opener
• Pavano to start Opening Day for Yankeees
• A's put Dan Johnson on DL with hip injury
• Walker signs minor league deal with A's
• Grapefruit: Towers wins spot in Jays' rotation
• Cactus: Big Unit to start season on DL