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Philadelphia Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. barges into roster mix

CLEARWATER — John Mayberry Jr., the son of former Royals 1B John Mayberry, has gone from possible Triple-A project to a player on the cusp of being on the Phillies' opening day roster.

The younger Mayberry, 25, is hitting .270 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

"I'm obviously very pleased to be given the chance to go out there and play pretty much every day, and to play to the best of my ability," said Mayberry, 6 feet 6, 230 pounds, who was taken 19th overall in the 2005 draft by the Rangers.

"I think sometimes it takes you a while to get it, it takes you a while to get used to pro ball," manager Charlie Manuel said. "With the talent he's got, there's no reason he can't play in the big leagues."

Blanton upbeat: RHP Joe Blanton gave up two runs on five hits in 42/3 innings of the 6-5 loss to the Pirates, but he was pleased with the outing.

"I look at spring training, personally, on trying to get your routine down, in between starts, on working out, to where you're feeling good on the day you pitch, where you're not tired but you're getting plenty of work in," Blanton said. "If I make gradual progressions, I've had a successful spring."

After a one-out RBI single to put the Pirates up 2-0 in the second, Blanton retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced.

Yanks: Walloped

TAMPA — RHP Chien-Ming Wang gave up six hits and seven runs — one earned — in 12/3 innings as the Yankees lost 8-4 to the Red Sox, who sent 10 men to the plate in the second.

"Everything was flat," Wang said. "Arm was behind my body. Second inning, ball (was) up."

Hurting: 2B Robinson Cano (tightness in back) and reliever Damaso Marte (tightness in chest) are scheduled to be examined by doctors today and won't immediately play after rejoining New York after their stint with the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic.

Rivera close: Closer Mariano Rivera (shoulder) will throw batting practice today. If that goes well, he may make his first game appearance Tuesday.

Jays: He hates walks

DUNEDIN — LHP Brett Cecil, vying for a rotation spot, struggled over 32/3 innings as the Blue Jays beat the Rays 3-1.

He did not allow a run, striking out two and allowing only one hit, but he walked four and his pitch count reached 70 by the fourth. "Four walks is not really me, hasn't been me the past couple of years," said Cecil, who threw 27 pitches in the third. "I'd rather give up four home runs than four walks."

Minor-league INF Brad Emaus had a two-run double and a triple, but he is likely headed for Double A.

The teams

Yankees (ss)

vs. Astros (ss)

1:15 today, George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Yankees: 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com.

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429 or online at bluejays.com.

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com.

Philadelphia Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. barges into roster mix 03/13/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 14, 2009 12:19am]
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