Aparicio 'unretires' number for Vizquel
Veteran shortstop asked Hall of Famer for permission
When Omar Vizquel joined the White Sox, his customary No. 13 was already being used by manager Ozzie Guillen, so he contacted a fellow Venezuelan about allowing him to take No. 11 out of retirement.
"One day, I was hanging out with Luis Aparicio and I had the courage to ask if I could use his number," Vizquel told the Chicago Tribune. "He thought about it for a while and, with a little smile, said it would be great. He said, 'If someone does it, I would like it to be you.'"
For Aparicio, he was happy to let his number be "unretired."
"If there is one player who I would like to see wear my uniform number with the White Sox, it is Omar Vizquel," Aparicio he said in a press release. "I have known Omar for a long time. Along with being an outstanding player, he is a good and decent man."
Granderson offers support to White House program: Curtis Granderson was in Washington, D.C., recently to join first lady Michelle Obama to support the new White House Anti-Obesity Program.
Granderson, the son of a physical education teacher, knows why it is important for kids to become more active.
"The things that I did were just second nature, going outside and riding my bike," Granderson told MLB.com. "I didn't realize they were paying dividends at the age of 5, 6, 7 years old. But now that I look back, I'm glad that I did it. I'm able to be in the physical shape that I am today because of those little things that I did. All of it was because of having fun and being a little kid."
Greene is a fighter: Tyler Greene, who had 29 total starts for the Cardinals, including 20 at shortstop, in 2009, plans to scrap for more playing time.
"I know there are some open spots and there are some set spots," Greene told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "During Spring Training, I want to compete for a starting spot. Whether that's realistic, that's my main goal. I want to fight for that spot, fight for a spot on the team, fight to break camp in April in whatever role is needed."
Pirates have high hopes for Hart: General manager Neal Huntington says Kevin Hart is among those in contention for a spot in the Pirates' rotation.
"We saw some good signs, but we also saw some reasons to continue to work with him," Huntington told MLB.com. "Like Ross Ohlendorf last year, we have reason to believe that Kevin Hart can step up -- maybe not to the level that Ross did -- but there is every reason to believe that the five-plus ERA this year can turn into something pretty good and that he can be a very good Major League starting pitcher."
Frazier aiming to have his ticket punched: Todd Frazier is vying for a spot on the Reds' roster.
"Just being invited to big league camp is great," Frazier told MLB.com. "You're one step away from going [to the Majors]. It's going to be competitive this year. I'm all about competition. I believe you have to earn your way to a spot in the Major Leagues, no matter who you are -- just give it your all."
Thames could add punch to Yankees outfield: Veteran Marcus Thames agreed on a one-year Minor League deal with the Yankees that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
"We'll have a chance to evaluate him in the spring, and he can compete for a bat job off the bench or to start against lefties," general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News. "He's got a lot of ability, and there's always been curiosity about what he can do with 500 at-bats if he were to get that many."
Thames showed off his power last year, hitting 13 home runs with 36 RBIs in 87 games for the Tigers. He missed two months due to a strained rib cage. In 2008, he hit 25 home runs in 316 at-bats. He hit 26 homers in 348 at-bats in 2006.
Manzella hopes to replicate world title celebration: New Orleans native Tommy Manzella hopes Astros fans get the championship feeling Saints fans are experiencing this week.
"I can't tell you how inspiring it is knowing that you have an opportunity to do that every year," Manzella told MLB.com. "That's what we're fighting for -- to get that same kind of trophy celebration and to bring Houston its first World Series championship. I can't imagine anything would be better than that.
"I would imagine almost the same kind of large-scale celebration going on here. You see something like that, and it's inspiring to me. If we get the right chemistry and the right group of guys together, something like that is possible."
Daley turns to hard work to reach his goal: In 2004, Matt Daley went undrafted out of Bucknell University, but that didn't keep the right-hander from chasing his dream of becoming a big league pitcher.
Last season he became a member of the Rockies bullpen, going 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in 57 appearances.
"You've got to believe in yourself more than anything and try and prove people wrong," Daley told MLB.com. "Those are two things I did that helped me get to where I am. I worked even harder knowing that I had to to get to this level, knowing that, in the offseason, somebody else is working -- so I need to work as well."
Motte plans to hone in on location: Jason Motte regularly hits the upper 90s with his fastball, but the St. Louis reliever says he knows he has to mix in other pitches to get hitters out.
"Up here, it's just keeping guys off balance, trying to locate your pitches," Motte told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "It's location more than just going out there and rearing back and throwing. I learned a lot last year from these guys. You can't just go out there and throw the crap out of it every time and expect it to go where you want it to. You really have to focus on where you want to throw it. It's really location more than it is the pitch."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.