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Phillies' Rollins will let this season play out

CLEARWATER — Spring training is officially under way for the Phillies now that Jimmy Rollins is talking.

This time, though, he's watching what he says.

That's probably a good thing for the two-time defending NL champions, who held their first full-squad workout Tuesday.

The Phillies fell two wins shy of repeating as World Series champions, losing to the Yankees in six games last fall. They're trying to become the first NL team to win three straight pennants in 66 years.

"We do have a chance at doing something special," Rollins said Tuesday. "(Someone) told me that NL teams that go to the World Series three years in a row win two out of three. Sounds like some pretty good odds."

Pressed to make a specific prediction, Rollins smiled and said: "You just heard them."

The three-time All-Star shortstop is known for brash statements. He called the Phillies' NL East title in 2007, then said they'd win 100 games in 2008. They had 92 in the regular season but 11 in the postseason en route to their second World Series title.

Before the World Series last year, Rollins said on The Jay Leno Show that the Phillies would beat the Yankees in five games. He was a little off.

"The magic eight ball? Shoot, I don't know where that thing is," Rollins said. "At this point, it's just for fun, just for laughs.

Jays: Closing options

DUNEDIN — While Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston ponders this spring who among a dozen candidates will be in his starting rotation, he also has to look at the other end of the game.

Who among three or more pitchers will be Toronto's closer — or closers?

RHP Jason Frasor and LHP Scott Downs pretty much shared the role last season after the oft-injured and ineffective B.J. Ryan was released. Of the Blue Jays' 25 saves, Frasor had 11 and Downs nine. Added to the mix this year is more experienced closer Kevin Gregg.

"Whatever role we all end up in, you're making that bullpen pretty deep," Gregg said. "Looking at the starters, and seeing these guys are pretty young, with what they've done and what they've accomplished, it allows us to shorten the game."

Yanks: No letdown

TAMPA — Mark Teixeira believes the defending World Series champion Yankees are the favorites again.

The first baseman said complacency won't be an issue "because we're the Yankees" and that winning a championship "just makes you want it even more."

"Once you taste that victory, you realize it's everything you've ever hoped for," he said after reporting to camp.

As for considering New York to be the 2010 favorite, Teixeira said the Yankees "have to feel that way every single season. …

"We feel like we're just as capable of defending our championship as we were winning it last year. We have a great team with a core group of guys back."

FAST FACTS

Yankees

First full-squad workout: Today

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive,

Tampa

Phillies

Where: Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Blue Jays

First full-squad workout: Friday

Where: Englebert Complex, 1700 Solon Ave., Dunedin

Phillies' Rollins will let this season play out 02/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:01pm]
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