MLB Notes: Teixeira to miss World Baseball Classic

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MLB Notes: Teixeira to miss World Baseball Classic

Still nearly a month away from his first meaningful start, Cole Hamels wasn't troubled after his rough outing in a loss to the Dominican Republic.

In the defeat, Darin Ruf's spring struggles persisted.

Here is a look at the other news around baseball:

Teixeira to miss World Baseball Classic
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Teixeira's stay with the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic didn't last long.

The Yankees slugger strained his right forearm while taking some light swings off a tee in the batting cage Tuesday, forcing him to withdraw from the tournament even before the Americans could play the Chicago White Sox in the first of their two scheduled exhibition games.

X-rays were negative and an MRI revealed the strain, U.S. manager Joe Torre said. The Yankees said in a statement that Teixeira will be evaluated further Wednesday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser.

"It wasn't something he wouldn't be doing (with the Yankees)," Torre said after the U.S. played to a 4-4 tie with the White Sox. "It was just a freak thing."

Torre said that there have already been conversations about who will replace Teixeira but no decisions have been made. The U.S. opens pool play Friday night against Mexico.

"I'm not throwing any names out," Torre said. "We certainly are looking to fill this spot as soon as possible, so you know I'll meet with my coaches. We'll try to figure it out."

Torre may not have been discussing options with reporters, but he did bring up White Sox slugger Paul Konerko with his manager, Robin Ventura. Konerko went 3 for 3 and drove in a run against the U.S. team in their exhibition game at Camelback Ranch.

-The Associated Press

Re-signing Valverde 'not in picture'
Tigers coach Jim Leyland denied a New York Post report that he "remains interested" in re-signing Jose Valverde as a "closer safety net" (via HardballTalk).

"That's not in the picture, trust me," Leyland told Jason Beck of MLB.com. "That has not even been discussed."

Valverde remains unsigned following a rough postseason last year.

In the regular season, he converted 35 of 40 saves with a 3.78 ERA.

Valverde made four appearances in the playoffs. He allowed nine runs in 1.2 innings pitched.

Feliciano pitches with heart monitor
JUPITER, Fla. -- New York Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano wore a heart monitor while pitching and reported no problems or discomfort during his first spring training outing.

Feliciano threw one inning against the Miami Marlins in a "B" game on a practice field behind Roger Dean Stadium. He allowed one run -- on Ben Lasater's home run -- hit a batter and struck out one.

"I think it was better than what I was expecting in my velocity, release," Feliciano said.

Feliciano was diagnosed last week with a rare genetic condition called left ventricular noncompaction. The condition results from the failure of myocardial development from birth. Feliciano said he never thought about the heart monitor while in the game.

The 36-year-old left-hander, who missed the past two seasons because of a shoulder injury, threw 11 of 18 pitches for strikes. His fastball was clocked by scouts in the low 80 mph range.

- The Associated Press

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reliever Joaquin Benoit gives manager Mackanin a thumbs-up for calling team meeting

Reliever Joaquin Benoit gives manager Mackanin a thumbs-up for calling team meeting

Pete Mackanin gave his team an earful after it lost for the 21st time in 26 games Friday night.
 
Reliever Joaquin Benoit thought it was a good idea.
 
And he believes it had an impact.
 
The Phillies reported for work on Saturday and beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, on Tommy Joseph's walk-off hit in the ninth (see game story).
 
"It always helps when the manager comes and talks about different situations and the things we need to do," said Benoit, a 39-year-old veteran in his 17th big-league season. "It always helps. It shows that everybody cares on the whole team and it's a wake-up call for everybody."
 
While Joseph was the ultimate hero for the Phillies on Saturday, Benoit and his mates in the bullpen weren't far behind. Edubray Ramos, Pat Neshek, Benoit and Hector Neris combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings to help put Joseph in a position to win it in the ninth.
 
Not long ago, the Phillies' bullpen was having big problems, giving up big hits and posting big ERA numbers.
 
But over the last five games, the bullpen has racked up a string of scoreless innings that numbers 19 2/3. That scoreless streak has lowered the bullpen's overall ERA from 4.82 to 4.23, not great, but better and moving in the right direction.
 
"I believe that we are going good, taking advantage of the situation," Benoit said. "I think we are being more consistent in the strike zone and getting ahead. That translates to zeroes."
 
Benoit had been critical of Mackanin for not having his relievers in set roles. The manager responded by saying it was difficult to give guys set roles when they were pitching poorly.
 
Performances are improving.

And roles are now emerging.
 
"I believe everything is going well for us and I believe everyone is where they are supposed to be," Benoit said.
 
Benoit took some pride in Saturday's win. He has pitched seven straight scoreless innings.
 
"Every win is a step forward," he said.
 
No matter how many steps this Phillies team takes forward, it will not be a contender this season. It has dug itself a huge hole and it wasn't expected to contend anyway. It is a rebuilding team.
 
But Benoit will likely pitch for a contender later this season. He is expected to be dealt to a contender in July. Who knows what he will bring back, but his value will only go up if he can keep putting up zeroes.
 
Neshek, too. He has allowed just two runs in 18 2/3 innings. He has 15 strikeouts and just three walks.
 
While it's not clear how long Benoit will be here, he believes this Phillies team has weathered the worst and is ready for a turnaround.
 
"It's tough when you are losing," he said. "When you start winning and you do the little things, I believe everything can change.
 
"I'm the kind of guy who likes to start over from zero so everything that happens is in the past and you start over from scratch and let's see where everything goes from now on."

Phillies respond to Mackanin's verbal spanking, beat Reds on Joseph's walk-off

Phillies respond to Mackanin's verbal spanking, beat Reds on Joseph's walk-off

BOX SCORE

It's too early to tell if the worm has turned for the Phillies, but this was certainly a step in the right direction.

The Phils, who entered the day with the worst record in the majors, pulled off a 4-3, walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday (see Instant Replay). The Phils won it on a hit by Tommy Joseph after Aaron Altherr made a heads-up baserunning play to advance to second on a wild pitch that bounced just a few feet away from Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart.

The win was just the Phillies' sixth in the last 27 games — inching them out baseball's basement — but it was their second in the last three and both of them have been walk-off specials with Joseph delivering the winning run with a single up the middle.

"Works for me," Joseph said of his recent penchant for walk-off hits.

Works for manager Pete Mackanin, too.

On Saturday night, the Phils were beaten, 5-2, by the Reds. The Phils were held to one hit and no runs over the first eight innings by a pitcher (Tim Adleman) with an ERA of over 6.00 and after the game, Mackanin called a team meeting. The skipper was tight-lipped about the meeting, but sources say he gave the lads a verbal spanking that belied his mild-mannered personality.

Time will tell if the meeting creates lasting impact and the intensity Mackanin would like to see, but he saw a response Saturday.

"I'd like to think it did (have an impact)," Mackanin said. "I was hoping they would. They played well. They put together a few hits. The home runs were nice to see, but I would like to see us bunch four or five base hits."

For the record, Joseph did not think the meeting had a huge impact on the team. He believes the Phils are better than they have shown and did not need a manager's scolding to play better.

"No, no," he said when asked if the meeting led to more intensity. "We know what we're capable of. We have a great team in here. It's a matter of playing great as a team. We were able to show that today."

There were a lot of contributors in this win.

Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders and Joseph all smacked solo homers off 40-year old Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo.

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff was not at his best, but he did manage to stop the bleeding after allowing a two-run homer in the first. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one more run before handing a tie game off to the bullpen.

That bullpen was outstanding, running its scoreless streak to 19 2/3 innings. Edubray Ramos, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the game tied until Joseph could work his walk-off magic in the ninth.

But that magic started when Aaron Altherr led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Michael Lorenzen and alertly took second on an 0-2 wild pitch that didn't bounce very far away from Barnhart. Altherr's getting into scoring position for Joseph was huge.

"Tommy Joseph has been coming up big in big situations and coming through for us," Mackanin said. "That wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Altherr coming up and advancing on that ball in the dirt. So it's a good day.

"Maybe I should have a meeting every night."

After batting just .179 with one homer and seven RBIs in April, Joseph has hit .321 (25 for 78) with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 24 games this month. He is the first Phillie with two walk-off hits in a three-game span since Juan Samuel in June 1985 and first in the majors since Starlin Castro, then of the Cubs, did it in June 2015.

"If he continues like this, he’s going to have a heck of a good year and help us win a lot of games," Mackanin said.

Joseph nearly had his career ended by a series of concussions. A month-long slump was nothing he couldn't handle.

"At the beginning of April, I didn't think I'd have an April like I did," he said. "So it was just a matter of making adjustments with (hitting coach) Matt Stairs, making sure that we stay a little more consistent with what's going on, and it's all about really sticking to the adjustments that we make."

The Phillies have not won two games in a row in exactly a month — since April 26-27.

Can they do it Sunday?

Is the worm turning for this team?