"He had a sun ball and a couple of wind balls that weren't very well tracked," said manager Trey Hillman. "But he's gotten much better. He made a real nice catch the other day over in Maryvale (against the Brewers) on a sinking, top-spin line drive. When you can track the top-spin line drive, that means we're getting somewhere.
"I think he'll be comfortable by Opening Day."
Kansas City outfield coach Rusty Kuntz notes the degree of difficulty involved in the transition.
"That's a huge adjustment just moving from right field to left field," said Kuntz. "Even other coaches don't always realize that. They'll say, 'Just stick him out in the outfield.' It's not like shagging in BP."
Olsen efficient and healthy in spring debut: Shoulder tendinitis has kept Scott Olsen out most of the spring and knocked him out of consideration to be the Marlins' Opening Day starter.
But he pitched one-hit ball over three innings against the Cardinals in his spring debut, facing 10 batters without throwing more than four pitches to any of them. He was pleased to be healthy but downplayed the result.
"It's late in Spring Training [and players] don't want to be sitting there for three hours, three and a half hours anymore," Olsen told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "That's all it is -- couple of fastballs seemed to get on guys. I don't know if that's because they were expecting an offspeed pitch or if it's coming out [good]. The health is there, I think. That's all I care about."
Local kid Schierholtz ready if needed for Giants: Nate Schierholtz was a nice story for the Giants last season. The outfielder from nearby San Ramon Valley High School and Chabot College made a big impact last September when he hit .304 in 112 at-bats.
But Schierholtz is off to a slow start this spring, and unlike other candidates for a backup outfielder spot, he still has options left, which allows the Giants to return him to the Minors without exposing him to other teams.
"Obviously, it's been brought to my attention this spring, but I'll leave all decisions to the coaching staff and the people who decide our fate," Schierholtz told The San Francisco Chronicle. "I understand all three of us won't start off with the team. All I can do is be ready. Lots of things can happen, like trades or injuries, during the year."
Slow start aside, Shields ready to go: Scot Shields, working through shoulder and mechanics issues, has given up six earned runs and eight hits in four innings, but he's unconcerned about spring results.
"This happens every spring," Shields told The Los Angeles Times. "But I feel ready to go, and my arm feels good. I just have to get down to business and throw more strikes."
Japanese fans find relic Embree card: The A's landed in Japan and were met by a large contingent of fans, including many autograph seekers. The Japanese fans even had baseball cards for the players, including Mark Ellis, Dan Johnson and Alan Embree to sign.
"They had Embree's rookie card!" Johnson told The San Francisco Chronicle, regarding the 38-year-old pitcher. "It had cobwebs on it, but they had it."
Green to give lefties a new look: Sean Green was an effective reliever for the Mariners in 2007, but as the year progressed he started having more and more trouble with left-handed batters.
Green is a sinkerball pitcher whose game plan versus lefties was to keep the ball away at all times. Hitters adjusted, and now it's up to Green to make a change in his pitching pattern.
"I think establishing the inside part of the plate with lefties is going to be important," Green told The Seattle Times. "Last year, I got in a rut of going away, away, away against lefties. If you get the rep of being a guy who's just going to throw a lot of sinkers to a certain side of the plate, then they start looking for it a little bit."
Marquis feels ready to be a starter: Jason Marquis knows he's not assured of a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, but is also aware that, if he continues to pitch well this spring, there may be a team out there interested in his services.
"Starting pitching's in need all over," Marquis told The Chicago Sun-Times. "I feel like I can help this team get to where they need to be. I'm throwing the ball well, and I feel like I could take it throughout the season.
Snell to take the mound on Opening Day: Despite his strong spring, Ian Snell was a bit surprised when Pirates manager John Russell named him the Opening Day starter.
"This whole time I thought it was [Tom] Gorzelanny," Snell told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "To be honest, I thought they were going to go left, right, left, right, left, so it was very surprising, but I'm happy."
Affeldt plans to help Reds win from bullpen: Jeremy Affeldt had hoped to get one or two more starts this spring as he attempted to work his way into the Reds' rotation. But when it was decided earlier this week that he'd be moving to the bullpen, he took the news in stride.
"Selfishly, I would have liked to start a couple of more games," Affeldt told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "But selflessly, I understand. They want to win this year. They made a decision that they think will help them win. I'm ready to roll with it."
-- Red Line Editorial