GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Cincinnati Reds have blocked ace Johnny Cueto from pitching for the Dominican Republic in next month's World Baseball Classic.
Cueto strained his right oblique eight pitches into last October's division series against San Francisco. Because he finished the year with an injury, the Reds had the right to block him from playing in the WBC.
"I wanted to pitch for the Dominican but the team said no. It's all right," Cueto said Thursday. "I am going to work to get ready for the season. I was ready to pitch. I'm 100 percent."
Cueto was 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA in 33 starts during the regular season.
"I'm not sure happy is the right word. I'm more relieved." manager Dusty Baker said. "I understand the pressure for the Latin player to pitch for their country. If he was a 10-game winner instead of a 19-game winner, there wouldn't be as much pressure."
The Dominican Republic is in Group C with Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela.
"I will be watching the Classic and rooting for the Dominican," Cueto said.
MLB still probing Florida clinic
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Baseball union head Michael Weiner says reporters should refrain from jumping to conclusions about media reports linking players to a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Starting his annual tour of the 30 spring training camps, Weiner cautioned that Major League Baseball is still investigating Biogenesis of America, a defunct anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
"The players understand that what's happening in Miami at this point remains to be seen in terms of fairness and judging things on the evidence," Weiner said Thursday. "But there is a lot of talk in the clubhouse about where we should be on the joint drug program, and that's a good thing."
After his one-hour session with the Mets, Weiner also discussed the agreement with management last month to extend blood testing for human growth hormone into the regular season. HGH testing began last year but was limited to spring training.
As part of the changes to the joint drug agreement, the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone (see full story).
Granderson, Gardener could flop OF spots
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees outfielders Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner could be switching positions.
Granderson worked out in left field Thursday and the speedy Gardner switched to center.
"I think it has a chance to help us a little bit, but I'm not really sure," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's why I've said from the beginning that I'm going to toy with it. I'm not saying today that this is what it's going to be opening day."
Girardi plans to play the pair together in upcoming spring training games.
"See if we like it," Girardi said. "If we do, we'll stay with it. If we don't, we won't."
Granderson also will get some playing time in center.
"I'd loved to play center. That's what I've been playing. At the same time, I want to play in general," Granderson said. "No matter where that happens to be, that's where I want to be at. You never know unless you try things out. We don't know what the best way is going to be" (see full story).
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