News

Royals notebook | A-Rod’s admissions draw clubhouse attention

SURPRISE, Ariz. | Several Royals gathered in chairs and lounges around TV sets Tuesday in the clubhouse to watch the Alex Rodriguez mea culpa from the Yankees’ camp in Tampa, Fla.

Most sat quietly as Rodriguez conducted a news conference in which he amplified his previous statements regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 while a member of the Texas Rangers.

“I don’t think this is too much of a scar on the game,” said outfielder Coco Crisp, who reported officially into camp earlier in the day. “Everyone has already known about the steroid era. It’s not as shocking as it once was.

“Baseball overcomes a lot of stuff from scandals back in the day to situations now. The integrity of the game I don’t think will be hurt. I think we’ll get over it, and everything will go on as it has.”

Outfielder José Guillen voiced disappointment at recent statements by Boston DH David Ortiz, who contends players should be tested three or four times a year with a season-long suspension accompanying a positive result.

Ortiz seemed to be discussing a way to clean up the game in general, but Guillen balked at a perceived piling on of Rodriguez, who is the only player so far identified among 104 who failed tests in 2003.

“(Ortiz) is one of my best friends,” Guillen said, “but that’s not his job. There is a testing plan in place that is working. Let (Commissioner) Bud Selig do his job.

“When I see (Ortiz), I’ll tell him: Just do your job. Shut up and play baseball.”

Guillen received a 15-game suspension last spring, later rescinded, for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug policy. He has steadfastly denied ever taking banned substances but expressed sympathy for Rodriguez.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Guillen said. “He’s paying for it. It’s not right that he’s the only one (identified); it’s just because he’s one of the best players in the game.” Stuck in Venezuela

Infielder Alberto Callaspo is the only member of the 64-player camp roster not expected to take the field Wednesday morning when the Royals conduct their first full-squad workout.

General manager Dayton Moore said Callaspo received his visa Tuesday in Venezuela but was unable to find an available seat on departing planes. He is booked on a plane for Wednesday morning and is tentatively scheduled to arrive before the Royals conclude workouts.

Bale not throwing Lefty reliever John Bale did not take part in any throwing drills Tuesday, and is unlikely to do so Wednesday, in an effort to reduce stiffness in his upper back.

“He’s not overly concerned,” manager Trey Hillman said, “and he’s a guy who has had some experience with trouble in his past. He’s been in the game for several years. I always tend to believe what those guys say their body is telling them.

“Hopefully, that means we don’t have to be concerned either. There is a caution, but I don’t want to make it sound like we’re overly concerned.”

Bale missed much of the last two seasons because of various injuries.

Quick decision

Guillen is now confirming he intends to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic -- one day after saying he wanted to see how he felt after a few workouts before confirming his commitment.

One workout was enough, apparently.

“They want me,” he said, “and I want to represent my country. But I’ve got to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to just go there and play. I want to be able to contribute to helping us win.”

Catcher Miguel Olivo remains undecided on playing for the Dominican but appears to be leaning toward participating.

Guillen said he initially didn’t plan to play but reconsidered because of the Dominican is short of outfielders. Vladimir Guerrero is recovering from knee surgery, and Alfonso Soriano’s status remains uncertain because of early-season leg injuries over the last two seasons.

“The WBC is important to the Dominican,” Guillen said. “If they don’t have those two guys, they might have had to get some minor-league players. They kept asking me to play.”

Five other camp players are scheduled to participate in the 16-nation field: outfielder Mark Teahen (Canada), shortstop Mike Aviles (Puerto Rico), closer Joakim Soria and non-roster pitcher Oscar Villarreal (Mexico) and non-roster pitcher Lenny DiNardo (Italy).

Training camps for most WBC teams open March 2. The tournament runs through March 23. Uniform patch

The Royals plan to wear a uniform patch this season on their right sleeve commemorating their 40th anniversary as a big-league franchise. The logo will also be showcased this season at Kauffman Stadium.

  Comments