02/23/11 5:20 PM EST
Hellickson's hamstring improving
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Hellickson said Wednesday morning that the hamstring felt 90 to 95 percent.
"I can do everything, [including] running," Hellickson said, "but I don't know when I'll get on the mound."
"He was out there jogging pretty good today," manager Joe Maddon said.
Last Thursday, Hellickson felt the hamstring bother him while warming up for a bullpen session.
On Wednesday, Hellickson was named the game's sixth-best prospect by Baseball America.
Damon feels bad about Burnett's struggles
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Now playing for an American League East rival, former Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon thinks he may have been able to help A.J. Burnett last season.
"I feel real bad about A.J. Burnett, because I'm a big reason why he signed there," Damon said at Rays camp Wednesday afternoon. "I'm the guy who was on the phone saying, 'Come here.' ... All of a sudden -- I'm sure there was other reasons for his struggles -- but he knew I was a guy who, you know, he could get to. That's the tough thing about change in baseball. It happens every single year."
Burnett signed with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season, and he posted a 4.04 ERA in '09 before his ERA ballooned to 5.26 last year.
After helping the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in 2009, Damon looked elsewhere after he and the club couldn't see eye to eye on a deal that would keep him in New York. He signed with Detroit last season, while New York fell short of its title defense in the American League Championship Series.
2010 Spring Training - Tampa Bay Rays
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Overall, Damon said he felt the Yankees were simply a changed group last season.
"I heard a lot of, 'Last year just wasn't the same,-" Damon said. "That's what happens when teammates split up. People lose that comfort that you get together."
Damon was also asked about former teammate Eric Chavez, whom he played with for one season in Oakland in 2001. Chavez is trying to win a spot with the Yankees in Spring Training.
"Hopefully he has a good shot to make it," Damon said. "That's real tough. You got [Alex Rodriguez] there [at third base]. Chavez, I guess, could play some first base. I hope he makes it. I also know it's going to be a tough go at it."
Upton OK after getting hit in chest
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Center fielder B.J. Upton said he was fine Wednesday after getting hit in the ribs by a pitch from Adam Russell.
Upton went down on all fours, causing a momentary scare before getting out of the cage on a field at Charlotte Sports Park.
"Yeah, it didn't feel good," Upton said. "It still doesn't, but that's part of baseball. I'll be all right."
Upton took no more batting practice against roster pitchers, but he did continue to hit off the coaches, finishing his day normally. Other than having some soreness, he's not expected to miss any time or be limited in any way.
Manager Joe Maddon said his first fear was that Upton may have been hit directly in the chest.
"I'm standing on the field and the guy's throwing the ball pretty well," said Maddon. "It definitely got him -- I didn't know if [it hit him] in the heart or something. He's just sore."
The 6-foot-8, 255-pound Russell, part of the package the Rays received for Jason Bartlett in December, came over and embraced Upton in a sign there was no bad blood.
"We hugged it out. I thought that was [the] mutual thing," Russell said.
The pitch was a fastball in.
"It slipped, [and] that's all you really can say about it. You never want to hit a teammate," Russell said. "Nobody feels worse about it than me. [I] hope he's all right, and he said he was."
Upton was good natured about the drilling afterward and said it wasn't the first time it happened in Spring Training. Bob Wells, a non-roster invitee in 2004, Upton's rookie year, hit him twice in the same batting-practice session.
"I don't like to get hit at all," Upton said. "That's why I stopped playing football."
Upton intimated some friendly retribution could be in order.
"We'll get something good for him," said Upton.
Price carves up lumber in batting practice
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Not Manny Ramirez, not Johnny Damon, not Evan Longoria. None escaped a Wednesday morning batting-practice session against David Price without a broken bat.
"I think I was just throwing it a little slower than they expected, so they were out in front," joked Price, who declined to name those whose bats he broke.
Pitchers are always ahead of hitters at this point in camp, and some hitters don't even swing during these sessions, so it doesn't mean too much. Still, those are three big names to walk away with broken bats.
"I want to swing and see where I'm at," Damon said. "He's a pretty good pitcher. Some say he could be the best out there now. It's OK. It happens."
Funny enough, there was something of a casualty. Damon was fond of the bat he lost.
"I was dropping bombs the first two days," said Damon, "and today, it was a little different feeling. I'm going to try to find another bat like that."
Price intimated he could use the broken bats as firewood back home in Tennessee.
Wade makes good first impression
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Aside from one bad breaking ball to Evan Longoria that went a long way over a 380-foot sign in left-center field, right-hander Cory Wade was quite impressive throwing batting practice Wednesday morning.
The right person was watching, too: Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
"I was focused on not letting that ball get back in my face," a smiling Wade said when asked if he noticed Friedman behind the cage.
A 27-year-old right-hander who was signed to a Minor League deal in November, Wade made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2008, but surgery on his throwing shoulder cost him almost all of last season, when he pitched only in the Minors.
"I'm feeling really good," Wade said. "It's about time. I've gotten everything cleaned up. I feel like the fastball's come back."
Although he didn't watch Wade, manager Joe Maddon said he and Friedman are intrigued about the righty.
"He's definitely got a shot. He's definitely in our mix," Maddon said. "We like him -- we like him a lot, actually. He's one of those reverse guys, too, that absolutely kills lefties."