Major League Baseball notes

Wright believes he can win with Mets

David Wright has some unfinished business in New York, and he still has faith he can win with the Mets.

The third baseman re-signed this winter for another eight years and $138 million, a contract he said gave him some peace of mind about his future.

"It's so easy to look at the offseason and see we lost a Cy Young winning pitcher (R.A. Dickey), and we didn't go out and sign a lot of big-ticket free agents," Wright said before the first full-squad workout Monday. "We didn't spend a lot of money, but the guys that were here last year know what we were able to accomplish the first half and that was fun, going out there and playing good baseball and winning a lot of games.

"There are 100 different reasons why guys are motivated and excited about this season, and when you put together a room full of those young, energetic players, those types of teams can be scary."

The Mets started 46-40 last season but won just 28 of their last 76 games. In nine years in the majors, Wright has been to the playoffs once, in 2006.

Wright said when he spoke to general manager Sandy Alderson during contract negotiations, he felt reassured about the team's future. He's excited about the potential of pitchers like Matt Harvey, who made his major league debut last July, and Zack Wheeler, who is expected to be called up sometime this summer.

"They have electric stuff," Wright said. "You see how Washington has turned it around so quickly. You see how San Francisco has won championships, and that's based on those young power arms, and we have a lot of those."

Jeter takes part in most drills Monday

Derek Jeter received an ovation that could be heard throughout Steinbrenner Field when he jogged onto the diamond for the New York Yankees' first full-squad workout Monday.

Jeter took part in most of the team drills, including on-field batting practice for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery last October. The 38-year-old captain, who has been hitting in an indoor cage, also took part in a 25-minute defensive session at shortstop.

"It felt good," Jeter said. "It's the first time I'm doing everything on the field, in terms of hitting on the field, groundballs on the dirt. What I'm doing now is what I would be doing at the beginning of workouts anyway, but I'm a couple weeks behind."

Although he didn't take part in agility or running, Jeter got the day's biggest salute from the several hundred fans present when he first appeared. They also cheered when he lined a ball to right on his first BP swing.

While waiting to enter the batting cage, a young fan near the dugout yelled "Jeter" several times before the 13-time All-Star turned toward the stands, said "What?, smiled and then tipped his batting helmet.

A woman then asked for an autograph, and Jeter replied "(manager Joe) Girardi said no." That prompted laughs from the fans, Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long, who was standing nearby.

After batting practice, Jeter signed a photo for the woman.

Baker in good health as new season starts

Red manager Dusty Baker has watched his diet and gotten plenty of rest, the main changes in his lifestyle since his health scare late last season.

Baker was in a hospital in Chicago when the Reds clinched the NL Central title last season, getting treatment for an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke. He was back in time for the playoffs, which ended with a first-round loss to San Francisco.

The 63-year-old manager acknowledged that he wasn't feeling all the way back to normal when he returned to the dugout.

“I didn't really know how to feel," Baker said. "All I know is I wasn't myself, but I was better than most."

After the Reds were eliminated in a five-game series, Baker returned home to California and had more tests. He's made a few changes in his lifestyle.

"I always took care of myself, but now you're really aware of what you eat, how you sleep and stuff like that," Baker said. "I lost weight by being sick but once you do lose weight by being sick, it's up to you to keep it off. I didn't really change what I eat but I eat less of it."

He works out every day, makes sure he gets enough rest and tries to manage the stress of his job.

Baker said the toughest part of the offseason was living in an area with so many fans of the Giants, who overcame a two-game deficit to beat the Reds and went on to win the World Series.

"Everywhere I went there were Giants caps and Giants jackets," Baker said. "So many people came up to me and said, "I root for you unless you play the Giants.' After a while, you say, "Come on.' You don't get over it that fast."

Baker had surgery for prostate cancer in 2001, but had been otherwise healthy. He said the most difficult part was being in the hospital at the end of last season, when the Reds clinched the division title at home. He also found it tough to have his 14-year-old son, Darren, visit him.

"It was hard to be in bed then," Baker said. "It was hard to have my son see me in bed. My son had never seen me sick at all. I was sick - I had cancer - but he was 3 years old. I never saw my dad sick - only at the end. My dad never missed a day of work. I didn't think my dad got sick. I thought the flu skipped over our house."

Owner Bob Castellini awarded Baker a two-year contract extension at the end of last season, giving the manager a chance to try for his third division title with the Reds.

"I appreciate Mr. Castellini giving me an extension when he didn't have to," Baker said. "I appreciate my team. I appreciated how they reacted and responded."

Baker said he doesn't worry about his health.

"There isn't much that scares me," Baker said. "I'm really not scared of dying. I am scared of leaving my son and my wife."

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