Red Sox pair seek healthier openings

FORT MYERS — After starting the previous two seasons on the disabled list, Red Sox starter John Lackey is trying a new approach to spring training in hopes of being ready from the get-go in Boston.

Lackey, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract in the offseason, said he will be more conservative in his first camp with Boston.

Lackey started 2008 on the disabled list with a strained right triceps and 2009 with inflammation in his right elbow. He threw about 40 pitches in a side session Thursday, the reporting day for pitchers and catchers.

"I think I'm definitely going to be a little bit more careful this year," he said "Because I definitely want to start on time, and I want to get out of the gate strong and help the team as much as I can."

Fellow starter Daisuke Matsuzaka also is trying to do things differently after he won just four games in an injury plagued 2009.

He worked out at Athletes' Performance in Tempe, Ariz., in the offseason for the first time to improve his overall conditioning. He appears to be in better shape, but a back ailment has limited his workouts this week.

He downplayed the extent of the injury — calling it "just a little bit of fatigue that built up" — but acknowledged that in the past he might have kept the information to himself.

Matsuzaka said he learned a few things last year, when communication with the team about his injuries and conditioning became a problem.

"I think that if a similar situation had happened in the past, I feel like I have a pretty high pain tolerance," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "So if I can tolerate the pain and still somehow play through and be able to do what I had to do, I think I would have taken a lot of that on myself. So right now, I think it's important for me to talk about my condition and share that with the team. "

Angels: Infielder Erick Aybar, whose older brother Willy plays for the Rays, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.05 million deal. In 2009, he hit .312 with five homers and 58 RBIs.

Astros: Wandy Rodriguez lost in arbitration. The lefty will make $5 million instead of his request of $7 million.

Cubs: Carlos Zambrano has lost about 15 pounds and says he's also planning to cut out something else: emotional outbursts. Zambrano, 28, said he wasn't proud of last season, when he went 9-7 and twice went on the DL, first with a hamstring problem and later with back spasms. The 6-foot-5 right-hander is now at 260 and hopes to drop five more pounds before the season.

Indians: General manager Mark Shapiro will be promoted to president after the season and be succeeded by his assistant, Chris Antonetti.

Mariners: Left-hander Cliff Lee plans to throw his first bullpen session Wednesday. His workouts have been limited because of foot surgery. Catcher Rob Johnson will be limited to batting practice and a throwing program while recovering from hip surgeries.

Marlins: Mike MacDougal, an All-Star reliever with the Royals in 2003, signed a minor-league contract.

Nationals: Lefty Ross Detwiler will miss at least three months after this week's surgery for torn right hip cartilage.

Pirates: Reliever Joel Hanrahan will miss the start of the season with a sore right elbow, and there is no timetable for his return.

Red Sox pair seek healthier openings 02/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:06pm]

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