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Beaned Marlin feels no ill effects

JUPITER — Giancarlo Stanton spotted downcast teammate Jose Fernandez in the Marlins clubhouse Thursday afternoon and flashed him a grin.

"Relax," Stanton said. "Relax."

Stanton was feeling better after being hit in the helmet Wednesday by a fastball from Fernandez, the Marlins' top pitching prospect drafted No. 14 overall in 2011 out of Alonso High.

X-rays were negative, there was no sign of a concussion, and Stanton, 23, said his vision returned to normal after a few hours. He expects to play in the Marlins' first spring game Saturday.

All of that was good news for the Marlins, and especially for Fernandez, 20, who is in his first major-league spring camp.

Fernandez said he felt badly about the errant pitch and took some razzing from teammates for beaning the 2012 NL slugging champ. Stanton predicted the situation would ultimately make Fernandez feel more like part of the team. "Everyone is giving him a hard time," Stanton said. "But I don't think it's going to hurt his confidence. He'll be fine."

Stanton said he "pretty loopy" after the beaning, and his peripheral vision was blurry for several hours.

Reds toss up WBC block: The Reds stopped ace Johnny Cueto from pitching for the Dominican Republic in next month's World Baseball Classic. Cueto strained his right oblique eight pitches into October's division series against San Francisco. Because he finished the year with an injury, the Reds had the right to block him from WBC play.

"I wanted to pitch for the Dominican but the team said no. It's all right," said Cueto, who was 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA last season.

"I understand the pressure for the Latin player to pitch for their country," manager Dusty Baker said. "If he was a 10-game winner instead of a 19-game winner, there wouldn't be as much pressure."

More Reds: Second baseman Brandon Phillips has typically moved from spot to spot in the lineup whenever there has been an injury. After the acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo to hit leadoff, Phillips is happy to move down. "If I could hit anywhere, I would like to hit third," he said. "I feel like I can do everything that I want to do. … Also, you feel like you're the man when you hit third."

Nationals: Former Mets, Padres and Rangers right-hander Chris Young, 33, agreed to terms on a minor-league contract.

Rangers: Former All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, 41, rejoined the club as a special assistant to the GM. He will assist in international scouting, player instruction and talent evaluation.

Red Sox: Closer Joel Hanrahan started, allowed one hit and struck out two in a 3-0 exhibition win over Northeastern University. The Sox then routed Boston College 11-1 in a second seven-inning game.

PED talk: Union head Michael Weiner said reporters should refrain from jumping to conclusions about media reports linking players to a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Starting his annual tour of spring camps in Port St. Lucie, Weiner cautioned that MLB is still investigating Biogenesis, a defunct clinic in Coral Gables. "The players understand that what's happening in Miami at this point remains to be seen in terms of fairness and judging things on the evidence," he said. "But there is a lot of talk in the clubhouse about where we should be on the joint drug program, and that's a good thing."

Valentine's new job: Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will be named athletic director at Sacred Heart University next week, the Connecticut Post reported. Sacred Heart is in Fairfield, Conn., not far from Valentine's hometown of Stamford.

Beaned Marlin feels no ill effects 02/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:36pm]
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