Baseball Notebook

Hart expects longer absence

Brewers OF may be ready for start

Athletics first baseman Daric Barton went down after he was hit while leaping for a throw, but the injury isn’t a big concern. Athletics first baseman Daric Barton went down after he was hit while leaping for a throw, but the injury isn’t a big concern. (Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 7, 2011

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Brewers right fielder Corey Hart thinks he could be out longer than originally expected after aggravating his strained left oblique muscle while working out Saturday.

Hart, who strained the muscle during a throwing exercise a week ago, was taking fly balls when he turned to catch one and felt discomfort in his rib cage.

Manager Ron Roenicke still hopes to have Hart ready by Opening Day.

“It will be a day-to-day thing to see how much we can push him,’’ Roenicke said.

Hart, who made his second All-Star team last season, is willing to be patient.

“Two weeks would have been nice, but I think we definitely may be a little longer. I don’t know any timetable,’’ he said.

Thornton gets paid White Sox reliever Matt Thornton, a first-time All-Star last season, agreed to a $15 million, three-year contract that adds two years and $12 million to his previous deal. The 34-year-old lefthander is considered to be manager Ozzie Guillen’s preference as the replacement for closer Bobby Jenks.

Thornton gets $3 million this season, the salary called for in the option year of his previous contract, which was exercised in October. His new contract adds salaries of $5.5 million each in 2012 and 2013, plus a $6 million club option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout.

Aces high, and low Some of baseball’s premier pitchers looked ready for the season yesterday. Others, not so much.

Cliff Lee was in peak form for the Phillies, shutting out the Rays over four innings while striking out five without allowing a walk.

“I felt good, didn’t walk anyone, threw strikes, and worked a lot of my pitches,’’ Lee said after Philadelphia’s split squad picked up a 5-4 win in Clearwater, Fla.

Tim Lincecum struck out seven and worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the third inning to lead the Giants to a 6-1 win over the Mariners in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lincecum gave up three hits in 3 2/3 innings, and closer Brian Wilson, who’d been out with a bad back, made his spring debut and struck out two in one inning.

Tommy Hanson threw three hitless innings, his second shutout appearance of the spring, to lead the Braves to a 5-0 victory over the Nationals in Viera, Fla.

In Glendale, Ariz., the Royals tagged White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle for five runs and nine hits in three innings while rolling to an 8-3 victory. Buehrle dodged a scare in the third inning when he caught Lorenzo Cain’s line drive that was headed right for his head. “I was just getting out of the way and it went in my glove,’’ Buehrle said.

Zack Greinke allowed five hits in two innings, throwing 38 pitches before his day was over in the Brewers’ 8-1 loss to the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz. “If the season was next week it wouldn’t be a good thing,’’ said the righthander, who only gave up one run, but was denied another inning of work because his pitch count was so high.

Barton out, Bell in Athletics first baseman Daric Barton left a split-squad game against the Padres in Peoria, Ariz., after he was kicked in the calf while leaping for a high throw. The injury isn’t considered serious. Padres All-Star closer Heath Bell made his spring debut in San Diego’s 7-6 win, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Bell had been out since the first day of camp because of a strained left calf . . . Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, took a line drive off his left shin during live batting practice. X-rays were negative, and the Rangers expect him to make his scheduled start Wednesday . . . With girlfriend Cameron Diaz cheering from a front-row seat near the Yankees’ dugout, Alex Rodriguez popped his first home run of the exhibition season and New York outslugged the Astros, 10-8, in windy conditions in Kissimmee, Fla. . . . Phillies rookie right fielder Domonic Brown traveled back to Philadelphia to have his broken right hand examined by a specialist. Brown is likely to have surgery tomorrow, which would put his return around 3-6 weeks.

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