CLEARWATER — Brad Lincoln spent the first week of December hunting with friends some 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh, the city where he once imagined a fruitful career as a starting pitcher. Those dreams were dashed in 2012 with a trade to Toronto, and now Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was on the phone.
"When you get a call from your GM at midnight on a Tuesday in the offseason," Lincoln said, "you've either been released or something has happened."
Lincoln was traded to the Phillies, where a muddled bullpen is his benefit. The 28-year-old right-hander is out of options and a near lock to make the Phillies, who traded backup C Erik Kratz and minor-league LHP Rob Rasmussen for Lincoln.
The Phillies crave power arms for the middle of their bullpen. Lincoln can hit 96 mph and averages 93, a sharp uptick from his days as a starting pitcher.
The Texan, one of the nation's best starters as a senior in college, embraced the change.
"I always say it's not what you want to do, it's what you're good at," Lincoln said. "I found a niche in the bullpen."
Lincoln was drafted by Pittsburgh ahead of Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer and Ian Kennedy as the fourth overall pick in 2006. Less than a year later, he had Tommy John surgery, and in four seasons he has a 4.66 ERA in 97 appearances.
"Hopefully," he said, "it'll get better from here."
Yanks: Fine with A-Rod
TAMPA — Union head Tony Clark said the players' association has no issues going forward with suspended Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and the players' association in January in an effort to overturn a season-long suspension, then dropped the lawsuit this month. Rodriguez was initially suspended for 211 games in August by commissioner Bud Selig. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz shortened the penalty after a hearing the three-time AL MVP says was flawed.
"The page has been turned," Clark said after holding the union's annual spring training meeting with Yankees' players.
Rodriguez was among 14 players suspended last summer following MLB's investigation of a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned substances. He was the only player to contest his penalty.
"I'm comfortable with the process that is in place," Clark said. "A player has an opportunity to go through the process as one of the players did. Others decided not to go through the process."
Jays: Backing owners
DUNEDIN — A day after superagent Scott Boras accused Blue Jays ownership of pinching pennies, GM Alex Anthopoulos continued to stand by his employers.
Boras told foxsports.com on Sunday that Toronto could be competitive in the AL East if Rogers Communications, the team's parent company, would give the front office more financial flexibility. The Blue Jays, who finished in last place last season, had a fairly quiet offseason.
Asked about it Monday, Anthopoulos referred to his comment to the website: "Our ownership has been outstanding and given us all the resources we need."