Lindstrom joins USA's Classic bullpen
Marlins closer-to-be excited to learn from veteran firemen
After the season, the Marlins traded closer Kevin Gregg, clearing the way for Matt Lindstrom to assume the role as the club's stopper. The offseason news got even better for the 28-year-old right-hander when he was selected for Team USA's World Baseball Classic roster.
"The only real concern is to make sure I'm not just sitting around, and I'm getting my work in and preparing to help the bullpen in '09 for Florida," Lindstrom told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "There are a lot of guys in the bullpen of the USA team that are closers, and it'll be fun to talk to them about certain things, pick up advice, things to do and hopefully make a routine. Stuff like that will be really helpful, I think."
Lindstrom had five saves for the Marlins in September.
Flores ready to move on from collision: Last year, Jesus Flores was involved in a collision at the plate, which left him with a badly sprained ankle. This offseason, Flores has played winter ball in both Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in an attempt to get ready for his return to the Nationals.
"He said he is completely pain-free," manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. "He was a little tentative. He was thinking about the injury whenever there was a play at the plate. He got over it. The only reason he is still playing winter ball is because of how good he feels.
"In Venezuela, he didn't play every single day, and his team was eliminated in the [playoffs], which took away one month of winter ball. He went to the Dominican Republic to get some at-bats. He is going to split some time with Ronny Paulino."
Penny added to ex-Marlins gathering in Boston: The Boston Red Sox continue to add to their roster after signing Brad Penny. Penny was 16-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 2007 for the Dodgers and went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA last season.
"I was trying to push something I should have rested," Penny told the Boston Herald. "Even when I was on the DL, I was throwing. I was a little stubborn and tried to push myself."
Penny is one of nine former Florida Marlins now playing for the Red Sox, who are owned by former Marlins owner John Henry. Before signing with the Red Sox, Penny said he spoke to former Florida teammates Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.
"All three of us were really close," Penny said. "That's probably the closest I've ever been to teammates."
Kinsler keeping a busy schedule: Life has been busy for Ian Kinsler since last September. He has been rehabilitating from hernia surgery that cut his season short and is getting use to being a father to his first child, daughter Rian, who was born in December. Kinsler said tending to Rian has been harder than recovering from the surgery.
Kinsler, who had career highs in batting average (.319), runs (102), doubles (41) and RBIs (71), said there was no real rehab needed following the surgery.
"I took that last month off of the season, and then I took the normal month off I take after the season's over anyway," Kinsler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Right after that, I started going. It was sore at the beginning, and there was some tightness in there, and the doctor warned me and said it could linger for a little while, but as far as explosiveness or activity everything is fine."
Iannetta gets support to play in Classic: Catcher Chris Iannetta accepted an invitation to play for the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic after conferring with family and teammates.
"It was 50-50 when they first asked me to play," Iannetta told the Denver Post. "It sounded like a great opportunity, but I had to ask my family and my teammates what they thought. Especially, I wanted to really know what my teammates thought.
"The last thing I would ever want was to be a distraction during Spring Training."
Saito ready to put injury behind him: Takashi Saito has become the newest member of the Red Sox after agreeing to a one-year deal. Saito, who has 81 saves over the last three seasons, is coming off an elbow injury that slowed him last season.
Boston, however, believes Saito is recovered from a strained right elbow that sidelined him for two months last year.
"He's been able to throw from 150 feet, he's had good results, no pain and there were extensive physical examinations we put him through the last couple of days," general manager Theo Epstein told the Boston Herald. "He did really well."
Saito said his elbow is fine and cited the fact he was throwing 94 mph when he returned to action last September.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.