Originally created 03/17/04

Green 'right' where he belongs

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Shawn Green is back in right field and happy to be there.

Green, a right fielder his entire career, had been working out at first base all spring until Los Angeles Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said Monday that the two-time All-Star would return to his original position.

Green played right field Tuesday for the first time this spring in an exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves that was canceled because of rain in the fourth inning.

Green said the plan all along called for him to move to first base only if the Dodgers had added another outfielder.

The 31-year-old Green said he was gradually growing more comfortable at first base, but admitted he felt more at home in right field.

Robin Ventura, a six-time Gold Glove winner at third base, is the leading candidate to get most of the playing time at first.

MINOR ADJUSTMENT: In recent seasons, the San Diego Padres might not have been able with withstand the loss of an experienced player like reliever Rod Beck.

This year should be different. General manager Kevin Towers paid a lot of attention to the bullpen as he spent the off-season rebuilding the National League's worst team, which had an incredible lack of depth.

Beck has left the Padres with undisclosed personal problems. Since he hasn't pitched in any spring games, Towers doubts Beck will be ready by Opening Day. Towers won't say what problem Beck is dealing with or even when he's expected back.

PRIOR'S PROGRESS: Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, sidelined by an inflamed right Achillies' tendon, threw from a mound for the first time in two weeks.

While the rest of his teammates had the day off Tuesday, Prior threw 25 to 30 pitches, general manager Jim Hendry said. The session was closed to reporters, but Hendry said Prior had "no discomfort" and that things "went exactly as we had hoped."

INJURY UPDATE: Bernie Williams could start playing in minor league exhibition games Monday, the first action for the New York Yankees center fielder since his appendix was removed Feb. 26.

Williams will miss the Yankees' opening two-game series in Tokyo against Tampa Bay on March 30 and 31.

REYES SIDELINED: New York Mets second baseman Jose Reyes might miss Opening Day after injuring his right hamstring again.

Reyes was hurt while stealing a base during a spring training game Sunday. Tests revealed a Grade 1 strain, the least severe.

It's the third time in a year Reyes has pulled his right hamstring.


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