Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 20, 2001
Jays new left-hander has a sore shoulder
TORONTO -- Left-hander Mike Sirotka, acquired by the Blue Jays from the White Sox Sunday, has a sore shoulder and will go through rehab, his new team said Friday.
Sirotka, obtained in a six-player deal that sent David Wells to the White Sox, admitted after the trade that he had shoulder stiffness.
He was examined Friday in Florida by Steve Mirabello, who found a tight capsule in the shoulder but no instability. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis, and Mirablello recommended stretching and rehab. He expects Sirotka to be ready for opening day.
Sirotka, 15-10 with a 3.79 ERA with Chicago, hyperextended his left elbow during his final regular-season start last season. While pitching for major-league All-Stars in a post-season tour of Japan, Sirotka favored the elbow and strained the shoulder.
METS: Infielder Desi Relaford was designated for assignment to open a roster space for reliever Rick Croushore, acquired in a deal from Boston.
PHILLIES: Right-hander Chris Brock became the first player to sign among the 63 who exchanged arbitration figures with teams, agreeing to a $1.7-million, two-year contract.
RED SOX: Infielder Craig Grebeck agreed to a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training. He will get a $700,000, one-year contract if he is added to the major-league roster.
ROYALS: To Kansas City, which has blown 56 saves chances in the past two seasons, Roberto Hernandez looks like the answer.
Hernandez saved 75 games for the Rays in the past two years. Acquired last week in the three-team trade that sent Johnny Damon to Oakland, Hernandez could be the Royals' first consistent closer since Jeff Montgomery.
"I don't know if this team is a closer away," Hernandez said. "I know they've got the tools. They've got the young players. They've got the desire from management. Right now we've just got to go out there and play the game."
The artificial pump that helped Ted Williams' heart function after Monday's surgery has been removed and he is being given fewer medications, leading his doctor Friday to say the Red Sox legend is making "very gratifying progress."
But there's still a rocky road ahead. Williams, 82, remains on a ventilator, which poses a risk of pneumonia or other infections. He's still heavily sedated, continues to require drug support, and attached to three IV lines, although a catheter going to his heart has been removed.
"The cardiac recovery is not yet complete but he clearly is moving in the right direction," said Jeffrey Borer, the cardiologist at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan that is overseeing Williams. "I can say that with greater confidence today than two days ago."