Tigers Won't Gamble With Rogers' Health

Thursday, March 29th 2007, 7:53 pm
By: News On 6

UNDATED (AP) _ Texas Rangers closer Eric Gagne will start the season on the disabled list. The team wants to give him more time in his comeback from elbow and back operations.

The 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner has pitched only 15 1-3 innings over the past two seasons. He had elbow surgery in June 2005, then another operation last April to remove a nerve from his pitching elbow. He had surgery last July to repair a herniated disk in his lower back.

Akinori Otsuka, who converted 32 of 36 saves last season, will handle the closing duties until Gagne returns.

Elsewhere around spring training camps:

-- Angels set-up man Scot Shields has agreed to a three-year, $14.6 million contract extension through the 2010 season. Shields came to terms on a one-year, $3.4 million deal last month.

-- The Detroit Tigers announced that pitcher Kenny Rogers will start the upcoming season on the 15-day disabled list. That means he'll miss at least one regular-season start.

General manager Dave Dombrowski says the 42-year-old left-hander is seeing a specialist and would not speculate on how long he will be out.

-- Carlos Delgado returned to the New York Mets, five days after the birth of his son in Puerto Rico. The veteran slugger says he may be a little rusty but he expects to be ready for Sunday night's season opener at St. Louis.

-- A day after getting hit by a line drive on his pitching arm in the 1st inning of his last spring training start, Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia says he expects to be ready for Monday's opening-day assignment. Indians manager Eric Wedge says he wants to see how Sabathia's bullpen session goes Friday before committing.

-- The Toronto Blue Jays have chosen Tomo Okha as their fourth starter headed into the new season, but the competition for the fifth spot could go down to the last day.

Victor Zambrano and Josh Towers are the favorites to fill that role.

Zambrano is scheduled to go at least 5 innings Friday against Cleveland while Towers starts the final spring game on Saturday against a Cincinnati split-squad.

-- The Florida Marlins say infielder Jason Wood and reliever Lee Gardner will be on the 25-man roster when the team heads to Washington for Monday's season opener. The 37-year-old Wood has only 81 at-bats outside the minors, and the 32-year-old Gardner has just 17 major league appearances under his belt.