Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jeter cheered at first Yankees practice

TAMPA — Derek Jeter ran up the dugout steps and into the outfield to warm up Thursday. This was the first of his many lasts this year: the opening practice of his final spring training with the Yankees.

Jeter was greeted by a short standing ovation from several hundred fans at Steinbrenner Field during the initial full-squad workout of the year.

After throwing with Eduardo Nunez and stretching with the position players, Jeter took ground balls at shortstop. Whenever he got near the stands, children yelled "Mr. Jeter! Mr. Jeter!" hoping for an autograph.

Some held hand-drawn signs with his name, others had placards with his picture.

"I think the point of this season is every time I'm doing something is the last time that I'm going to be doing it," Jeter said after the three-hour workout. "Just not looking forward to it being over, especially spring training."

Fans in the crowd of 1,338 squealed when Jeter flipped a ball to the stands. After he took 20 swings over three rounds of batting practice, Jeter tossed a batting glove to 11-year-old Carter Steve of Rochester, N.Y.

Jeter took note of the signs.

"I don't know if I'll look at them more or read them more. I don't know if I'll listen more — try to, but I've still got a job to do," he said.

Blue Jays: No rush to add starting pitcher

DUNEDIN — GM Alex Anthopoulos said if Toronto adds a starting pitcher before the regular season, it probably won't be through free agency.

Anthopoulos said the team isn't opposed to making a move, but he believes it can compete with the current options.

"We'd like to do it, but we're not going to do it at all costs," Anthopoulos said. "We're getting so late into spring training, (it's) unlikely unless a trade emerges. But again, as the offseason has progressed, we've felt better about the internal options."

Last winter, Toronto attempted to bolster its starting rotation for a potential playoff push by acquiring 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the Mets and Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins.

But after a series of injuries — including a season-ender to RHP Brandon Morrow in May — and a surprisingly poor season from Johnson (2-8, 6.20 ERA), the rotation finished with a 4.81 ERA, second-worst in the majors to the Twins (5.26).

This spring, questions regarding pitching still remain.

Johnson joined the Padres on a one-year, $8 million deal, leaving a spot that manager John Gibbons says is not yet filled.

And, with the exception of signing former Rays C Dioner Navarro, Anthopoulos said the Jays were not close to deals with any other major free agents.

Anthopoulos feels good moving ahead with younger players like RHPs Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek to help fill the void.

Phillies: Hamels making progress

CLEARWATER — Phillies LHP Cole Hamels threw off flat ground and has a bullpen session scheduled Tuesday.

Hamels had discomfort in his left shoulder in November, but he and the team say there are no serious issues and he is expected to return to the rotation in April.

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