"The other one was just an awful pitch. I didn't think anyone would swing at that. I thought it was going to hit him in the face when I threw it. He turned and kind of tomahawked that pitch."Slowly, surely: Eric Gagne has pitched just 15 1/3 innings in the Majors the past two years because of back surgery last July and elbow surgery in 2005. Gagne, who threw another bullpen session on Friday, is scheduled to make his first Spring Training outing on Monday in a "B" game against the Brewers. He is not rushing things this year. "I want to stay with really, really baby steps," Gagne said. "I don't want to go too fast like I did the last two years. I just want to go out there and make sure I can bounce back every day, get my work in." He said he has to constantly remind himself not to rush things. "That is what is so good about here," Gagne said. "The players remind me a lot. The coaching staff reminds me. The trainers remind me every day. That is why it is a lot easier, where I don't feel pressure to comeback real quick. Whenever I'm ready, I'm ready. That is what they are making me feel like. I'm not out there trying to throw 100 miles per hour. I'm out there to make sure I feel free throwing. There's not one day I've felt pain in there, and we want to keep it that way." Gagne said there is no doubt he will be ready to go when the regular season begins on April 2. "Right now I feel like I'm ready for a game," he said. Gagne said his bullpen session was with "a little bit more intensity." A couple of times Gagne became frustrated with his pitches.
"I always get mad because I don't get my release point right," he said. "I know I can make my pitches, and when I don't, I get real emotional."Cruz hurting: Nelson Cruz was a late scratch Friday with tightness in his left hamstring. He has also been battling shin splints. Freddy Guzman replaced him in center field. No travel: Manager Ron Washington will leave most of his regulars behind, including Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler, on Saturday, instead of bringing them to Scottsdale to play the Giants. "They're throwing [Barry] Zito, so I'm going to let those kids have him," Washington said. "The other guys they've played four games in a row. A lot of them wanted to play [Friday] so they didn't have to make that Scottsdale trip, so I'm going to give them that time."
Upcoming: Robinson Tejeda will start for the Rangers against the Giants on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Zito gets the call for San Francisco.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.