Displaced Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby isn't tracking the move of every team as late-spring roster moves intensify, but he still hopes to land elsewhere sometime in the near future.
An extra part now that the beefed-up Athletics have installed Orlando Cabrera as their shortstop, Crosby, 29, is still hoping to prove he can be a valuable, everyday shortstop after hitting .237, .226 and .229 over the past three seasons. In two of those, 2006 and 2007, he played in fewer than 100 games because of injuries.
"They have obviously chosen to move on with someone else, and I hope they give me the same opportunity," Crosby said.
Crosby broke in as Oakland's everyday shortstop in 2004, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Miguel Tejada. He played in 151 games that season, but the injuries started in 2005. A stress fracture in his ribs, back trouble, a broken left hand ... all conspired to prevent Crosby from developing into the shortstop he and the A's hoped.
Finally back on track last summer, Crosby's batting average was seventh-lowest in the American League and his .296 on-base percentage was worst in the AL among regulars and third-worst in the majors.
"Right now, there's nothing I can do about it," said Crosby, who was supposed to play second base in Oakland's Cactus League game against Kansas City on Tuesday but was scratched before the game. "I think everyone kind of understands where I'm at. I want to be a shortstop somewhere. That's not going to change.
"I said it right when they signed Cabrera and I'll say it to the end. But for the time being, all I can do is work at the other positions and get as good as I can and be ready."
Matthews, meantime, met with Angels officials earlier this spring, after the club signed outfielder Bobby Abreu, and expressed his displeasure at the prospect of reduced playing time. The club essentially delivered this message: Do something about it on the field during camp.
But on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia informed Matthews that he stands fifth on the outfield depth chart, behind Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Abreu and Juan Rivera. Matthews has requested a trade, and the Angels gave him permission to leave camp for a day earlier this week to come to terms with his situation.
The Angels, though, owe Matthews roughly $33 million over the next three seasons and have not found a taker. Two obvious candidates, the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, have decided to fill their center field spots internally, the White Sox appearing set to go with Dewayne Wise and the Yankees announcing this week that Brett Gardner has won the job.
In the cases of both Crosby and Matthews, their personal unhappiness has been tempered to a degree by their good relationships with teammates. So far, neither player's situation has created bitterness or tension in the clubhouse.
"The guys here have been awesome," Crosby said. "Those are the guys I want to go and play hard for, because I love these guys in the clubhouse.
"Almost everyone on the team has come up to me, especially the guys I'm close with. Jason Giambi came up and asked how things are going, and told me if I ever needed to talk. ..."
The San Diego Padres, still searching for starting pitchers, have not been able to work a deal for Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann. The Rays, who optioned David Price to Triple-A Durham because of a glut of starting pitchers, are investigating the trade market because two others vying for the No. 5 starter's slot, Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, are out of options.
Discussions with the Padres have not gained traction, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, because San Diego so far has not indicated a willingness to trade first-base prospect Kyle Blanks, a 6-6, 285-pound first baseman who has been the standout of the Padres' spring. Though Blanks' path to the majors is blocked by All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego is considering trying him as an outfielder.
Likes: Roster decisions coming swiftly in these final days. Gary Sheffield, gone in Detroit. Geoff Jenkins, gone in Philadelphia. DeWayne Wise, in as the Chicago White Sox's leadoff man and center fielder. Kevin Gregg, in as Cubs closer. ... Oakland's equipment truck packed and ready to pull out. ... Michigan State in the Final Four. What a great story, what a great coach (Tom Izzo), what a nice thing for the struggling folks in Michigan, whose 12 percent unemployment rate leads the nation. ... The Pollo Cubano at the Havana Café on Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. ... The Pad Thai at Thai Elephant in Tempe.
Dislikes: Too much hotel time these last seven weeks. Man, it will be nice to get home in a couple of days.
Sunblock day? The locals love it, but I've about had it with the chilly mornings and evenings here in the desert. Where's the heat? Mid-70s or so during the day is beautiful, and yes, I suppose you need sunblock, but as spring training closes, it's been chillier in the Cactus League than usual.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer
"I think he might've been our only decent teacher
"Getting older only makes it harder to remember
"We are our only saviours
"We're gonna build something this summer"
-- The Hold Steady, Constructive Summer