Feb 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Recoveries and contracts continue to be the biggest news for the New York Yankees.
Closer Mariano Rivera pitched an inning of a simulated game Thursday morning as he continued his recovery from a torn ACL in his right knee.
Rivera had already thrown to batters last week, and an 18-pitch session included fielding balls off the mound, one of the final obstacles in his recovery from the May surgery that ended his 2012 season.
Rivera, 43, needed to cover first on a bunt, field a bunt up the first-base line and cut off a bouncing ball between first base and the mound.
"That's what I wanted to do, field some bunts, go after some balls in between first and the mound, and just plant and throw," Rivera said. "It feels good, guys, it feels real good. It was perfect."
Meanwhile, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed that the team has made a "significant offer" to second baseman Robinson Cano.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said last week that the Yankees have told agent Scott Boras, who represents Cano, that they're willing to consider a long-term deal.
Cano, 30, can become a free agent after the 2013 season, and Boras typically prefers that his players hit the open market.
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Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks said his right wrist was fine after being examined by the team's medical staff, but he'll visit a wrist specialist to determine if more tests are needed.
Middlebrooks checked his swing in the first inning of Wednesday's exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles, and appeared to injure the same wrist he fractured Aug. 10, when he was hit by a pitch, ending his rookie season.
He will be fitted for a protective batting glove. He said the initial exam didn't reveal any structural damage and that the pain quickly subsided.
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Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus proved body art can be painful.
Andrus was removed from Thursday's Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians due to muscle soreness in his left arm attributed to a new tattoo.
Andrus used Wednesday's day off to get a tattoo that fills most of his left arm from the shoulder to the elbow. The artwork is a tribute to his late father.
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Oakland A's pitcher Brett Anderson was tabbed by manager Bob Melvin to start opening day on Thursday.
"Let's go ahead and say Brett Anderson is our Opening Day starter," Melvin told reporters.
Anderson, 25, is in his fifth season with the AL West champions. He'll face the visiting Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum on April 1.
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The Cardinals aren't ready to let shortstop Rafael Furcal return to the field.
Furcal, nursing bone chips in the right elbow where he suffered a torn ligament last Aug. 30, said he was ready to go in the field by March 1 but manager Mike Matheny was being a bit more cautious.
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Former major-league pitcher Mike Hampton, who won 148 games in 16 big-league seasons, is returning to baseball as a pitching coach in the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, in the Los Angeles Angels system.
(Editing by Julian Linden)