Last updated: March 16. 2013 7:38PM - 180 Views

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Harper arrives early at Nationals camp

VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper arrived early at the Washington Nationals' spring-training camp and declared he has several goals for this season — there's only one he'll share publicly, though.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year said Thursday his main goal this season was bringing a World Series title to Washington D.C.

Coming off a season in which he helped lead Washington to its first playoff appearance and then became the first Nationals player to earn top rookie honors, the 20-year-old outfielder wants more.

Unlike last spring when Harper was competing for a roster spot, the only uncertainty for the dynamic star this year is where he will hit in the lineup.

Marmol happy to still be with Chicago Cubs

MESA, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol thought he was headed to the Los Angeles Angels.

That was three months ago, when the Cubs asked Marmol to waive his limited no-trade clause because they were close to finalizing a deal to acquire Dan Haren from the Angels.

They told me I was traded, he said. The next day I was told, ‘No, you're not going there.'

Marmol is still with the Cubs, and his status is still unclear.

Marmol is entering the final year of a three-year, $9.8 million. The 2008 All-Star is certain to be trade bait for the rebuilding organization near the July 31 trade deadline if the Cubs are out of contention.

He's our closer, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

But for how long?

Closer Grant Balfour has knee surgery

PHOENIX — Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus.

Dr. Douglas Freedberg operated Thursday. The A's said recovery time usually is four to six weeks and Balfour decided to have the procedure now with the hope of returning for the start of the season. The injury is considered minor.

Balfour said through the team that the knee bothered him late last season but wasn't considered anything serious and that the knee calmed down during the offseason. So, he went about his regular regimen over the winter.

I didn't know what it was other than I was a little sore, Balfour said in the statement. Obviously we were in a pennant race so I was going to pitch. ... I was able to work out with very little soreness, so I really wasn't concerned.

Rookie Eaton ready to seize leadoff role

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — His general manager has described Adam Eaton as the quintessential leadoff hitter — scrappy, fast, a daring threat to cause havoc on the bases.

The Arizona Diamondbacks rookie has quite an opportunity this spring, and he intends to make the most of it.

Eaton knows the pressure is on, but as he put it, if you can't deal with pressure by now you shouldn't be in this game.

Eaton's feisty attitude stems, he says, from his diminutive size — he's 5-foot-8 — and the battles that have ensued to prove that a short guy can play the game at a high level.

He calls it that Napoleon syndrome and he's counting on it to carry him through a long major league career.

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