Around the Grapefruit League

Updated: March 17, 2007, 11:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Boston Red Sox: Manager Terry Francona said relief pitcher Mike Timlin, who's being counted on to settle Boston's bullpen worries, has been able to throw again.

Francona said Timlin was able to play catch Friday from about 90 feet and was expected to will do again Saturday, according to The Boston Globe. He may be able to throw off a mound in three to four days, though Francona said that quick a comeback would be "aggressive."

Francona also said that left-hander Jon Lester, who is returning to baseball from battling cancer, will not begin the season in extended spring training and is likely to begin the year on a minor-league roster, probably Triple-A Pawtucket.

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League.

New York Yankees: Manager Joe Torre played down whatever faint hopes there are of outfielder Bernie Williams returning to the team this season on Friday.

"You hate to say it because anything is possible, but I think it would be a very long shot," Torre said of the odds the team would reach out to Williams should it need an outfielder later this season, the New York Post reported.

It would be unlikely "Only because spring training would have been important for him and for us, too," said Torre, according to the Post. Torre said he hasn't heard from Williams since the early days of camp, when Williams, who has spent his entire career with the Yankees, declined a minor-league camp invite.

Detroit Tigers: Gary Sheffield returned to the Tigers after missing time to handle a legal matter and went 2-4 and scored a run to help the Tigers beat the Blue Jays 8-6. Sheffield hadn't played since Monday.

Sheffield's lawyer, Rufus Williams, said Thursday that his client "is involved in a legal proceeding for a baseball-related matter. ... brought about by a previous agent."

"He's not himself yet," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said, adding that he didn't expect Sheffield to miss any more time with the legal issue.

Cameron Maybin, Detroit's first-round pick in the 2005 draft, drove in three runs with a triple and his second homer of the spring.

Baltimore Orioles: Orioles right-hander Hayden Penn was scratched from his scheduled start in a split-squad game against the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday because he failed to arrive on time at Roger Dean Stadium.

Penn, who drove himself to the Marlins' facility, later pitched three innings of two-hit, scoreless relief.

"All you have to do is make a phone call and you're clean," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said, adding that Penn's discipline was "over and done."

Pittsburgh Pirates: John Grabow, one of the most reliable pitchers in the Pirates' bullpen the past three seasons, is hurting.

The left-hander has a sore elbow that has kept him off the mound since working an inning against the Cincinnati Reds a week ago. The Pirates have no timetable for when he can pitch again.

Grabow made 203 relief appearances from 2004-06, ranking 11th among major-league lefties in that span. He has not been on the disabled list in his major-league career.

Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Lohse was in a hurry to get outs, not surprising for a pitcher whose last game was 15 days earlier.

Cincinnati's No. 4 starter, who faced only six batters before leaving that first outing with a hamstring injury, allowed three hits and no walks in five shutout innings in the Reds' 2-1 win Saturday over the Red Sox.

"I felt really strong," said Lohse, who struck out three. "I don't even count that last time out as being an outing because it was short."

Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodgers non-roster invitee Tony Abreu left Saturday's game against the Astros in the seventh inning after injuring his shoulder in a headfirst slide into first base.

An MRI exam on his left shoulder found a mild bone contusion and he will be out two to four weeks, Dodgers spokesman Joe Jareck said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.