PHOENIX (AP) -- It's never easy for a baseball player to leave his family for six weeks of spring training, no matter how nice the weather is in Arizona.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Melvin Upton is expected to miss the rest of spring training because of inflammation in his left foot. The team announced Upton's condition Friday after he underwent an X-ray and MRI exam. Upton's foot will be placed in a short leg cast for two weeks, then in a walking boot from four to six weeks. The team said he will likely be able to resume baseball activities in early April, about the time the Braves are opening the regular season.
Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders had surgery on his left knee Friday and could return to the team sooner than previously expected, perhaps in mid-April. Saunders tore cartilage Wednesday when he stepped on a sprinkler while shagging fly balls on a side field at spring training. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said that Saunders could be sidelined only five to six weeks. ''We'll see how he recovers,'' Anthopoulos said.
Stripped of his job at third base, Alex Rodriguez moved across the diamond and worked out at first base for the initial time with the New York Yankees. Asked whether he felt comfortable at first, Rodriguez said: ''Too quick to tell.'' ''I'm anxious to learn, though,'' he added. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman say Chase Headley will be their starting third baseman and Rodriguez will compete for at-bats at designated hitter. Having Rodriguez get occasional playing time as Mark Teixeira's backup at first would give Girardi flexibility.
Matt Harvey drew an ovation from the crowd of 100-150 fans and high-fives from teammates after stepping off the mound Friday. The New York Mets ace threw 43 pitches to David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy in his first time facing hitters since elbow-ligament replacement surgery on Oct. 22, 2013. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud and manager Terry Collins sounded impressed by Harvey's accuracy and command.
Adam Wainwright won't pitch in exhibition games until mid-March because of his abdominal strain, a delay that could prevent the St. Louis Cardinals ace from starting the major league season opener at the Chicago Cubs on April 5.' Wainwright was hurt Monday while putting a 45-pound weight back on a rack. He returned to St. Louis for an examination by Dr. Michael Brunt, who said the injury was minor. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is open to the idea of pushing back Wainwright's season debut a couple of days if the right-hander doesn't respond to proscribed rest as quickly as doctors expect. The Cardinals' training staff will evaluate Wainwright's progress early next week.
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana to a minor league contract, hoping the former ace can make it back to the majors. The Blue Jays announced the deal Thursday and invited him to big league spring training. He last pitched in the majors in 2012 with the New York Mets and has undergone two operations on his left shoulder in recent years. Santana was in Baltimore's minor league system last year and tore his left Achilles tendon in June.