Wheeler injured taking BP
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets scheduled starter Zack Wheeler was scratched from a start Wednesday because of a mild oblique strain sustained while swinging a bat in the cage during pregame workouts.
Wheeler, likely to open the season at Triple-A, had pitched two shutout innings in relief Saturday. He said a muscle on his right side was feeling “a little stiff” but he didn’t believe it was anything serious.
“I’d rather be out one start than two months and be behind the eight-ball when I do come back,” Wheeler said. “Early in the spring you don’t want to risk anything.”
Mets manager Terry Collins said Wheeler could have pitched but there was no reason to push him.
Racing sausage gone
CEDARBURG, Wis. — One of the base-running sausages, a familiar sight at Milwaukee Brewers games, is missing.
Someone wearing the Klement’s Racing Italian Sausage costume recently posed with bar patrons in Cedarburg, Wis. The 7-foot-long, $3,000 costume was in a backroom at the Milwaukee Curling Club during a Feb. 16 fundraiser. Someone saw the sausage walk out the door that evening and it hasn’t been seen since.
The costume is owned by Milwaukee-based sausage company Klement’s. The Racing Sausages, including the Bratwurst, the Polish Sausage, the Hot Dog and the Chorizo, are a popular sight running bases at Brewers home games. The costumes are available for rent.
Cedarburg police Detective Jeff Vahsholtz tells the Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/13nWgM4) that police are interviewing bar patrons and looking for the costume.
Berkman set to make his spring debut
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Lance Berkman is set to make his spring training debut for the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Berkman has been bothered by a mild right calf strain, and the Rangers have been cautious with the 37-year-old switch-hitter. He played only 32 games with St. Louis last season because of two operations on his right knee and a left calf strain.
While being held out of the first six spring games, Berkman has still been going through workouts and some base-running drills. He is scheduled to be the designated hitter Thursday against Cleveland.
Berkman said Wednesday that he feels good and is looking forward to getting into games.
The Rangers say Adrian Beltre is “still progressing well” from his calf strain, though they haven’t said yet when he will play.
Weiner skeptical Yanks will cut spending
TAMPA, Fla. — Count union head Michael Weiner among those skeptical of the New York Yankees’ stated plan to reduce payroll next year.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says the team wants to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. That means the player payroll would have to be about $178 million at most, using average annual values of contracts, since the total for the tax will include at least $11 million in benefits such as the pension plan.
Says Weiner: “I imagine that Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
New York has paid $224.6 million in luxury tax since the current system began in 2003, including $19.3 million for 2012.