Greinke scoreless streak now 34 innings
Royals righty hasn't allowed a run in three 2009 starts
Zack Greinke is "only" 25 innings from Orel Hershiser's record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings.
The 25-year-old right-hander's latest effort was his first career shutout. He struck out 10 Rangers batters and allowed just seven hits on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, which is a hitter's park.
That raised his string of scoreless innings to 34, including 20 over three starts to begin this season.
"That's about as good as it gets for three starts," manager Trey Hillman told the Kansas City Star. "I wouldn't want to put a ceiling on him. I think Zack is going to be one of the premier pitchers in the Major Leagues. That's good for us and good for Zack Greinke."
Griffey Jr. brings new look to kangaroo court: Ken Griffey Jr. wore a black robe with a gold medallion around his neck, and he even had a gavel when he took over the Mariners' kangaroo court on Sunday.
The robe said, "Judge Mo' Money," while the medallion had his uniform number 24 on it.
"I've been around the game a long time; I haven't seen anyone that fancy," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times. "He was decked out. He had everything. It was great."
Francisco keeping hitters at bay: Frank Francisco has allowed only one base runner through his first 4 1/3 innings while striking out six batters. The Rangers' closer has a 0.00 ERA, but he also has only one save, meaning the club has had to use him in several non-save situations.
"I'm here for the team," Francisco told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Whatever they need me for, I'm going to be ready for. I don't care if it's a save situation or not. My job is to help the team out."
Saltalamacchia gets rare blast from right side: Jarrod Saltalamacchia did something on Friday night that he had never done as a Texas Ranger -- he hit a home run as a right-handed hitter. It was his first right-handed home run since June 26, 2007, when he was playing for the Atlanta Braves.
"I think Salty's been doing a great job," manager Ron Washington told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "There's been a great improvement in Salty's game-calling and the way he's been handling the pitching staff and the way he's been blocking balls and the way he's been throwing. His energy's been very high."
Papelbon turning to 'filthy' slider: Jonathan Papelbon has been showcasing a slider to go along with his fastball this season.
"I think it's been filthy," Papelbon told the Boston Globe about his slider. "I'm always going to be more of a fastball pitcher, and I think hitters have to respect the split-finger. But I'm happy with the fact I can throw the slider at 85, 86 [mph], and it's a contrast to the other pitches."
Santana prepared himself for hot start: Johan Santana has allowed only one earned run in 19 2/3 innings, giving him a 0.46 ERA.
"I feel very good," Santana told the New York Daily News. "I worked a lot during the offseason, getting ready for the season -- not just because of the knee [surgery] but because of the way the season ended last year. The idea in a very demanding city like New York is to start the season in a good way. I'm trying to be consistent during the whole season, from the very beginning."
Matsui keeping tabs on his knee: Manager Joe Girardi and Hideki Matsui both want Matsui to avoid the disabled list. Matsui, who had offseason knee surgery, says any discomfort in the knee comes and goes quickly.
"It's somewhat discouraging," Girardi told Newsday, "but it's something we're going to have to deal with throughout the season because of where he's at in his career with his knee."
Masset ready to start if needed: Given his flexibility, Nick Masset says he's ready and willing to go back to work as a starter if called upon by the Reds.
"Absolutely," he told MLB.com. "My arm is ready. If someone gets injured or whatever the situation is, I figured as long as I'm getting stretched out two or three innings here and there and keep my arm loose, I can always come in for a spot start any time. For the future, I could do either role."
Monroe sees success after plate adjustments: After smashing eight home runs this spring, Crag Monroe hit a pair of three run home runs in Saturday's 10-0 win over Atlanta to become the first member of the Pirates to drive in six runs in a game in almost three years.
"It's nice to be able to come off a good spring where I made some big adjustments and do every little thing I possibly can to help this team win coming off the bench," Monroe, who has hit 20 or more home runs three times in his career, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Jackson finding strike zone: Edwin Jackson has dominated in two of his past three outings, including Saturday, when he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in Detroit's 2-0 win over Seattle. He is now 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA.
"The more I've thrown, the more I've learned about myself and the more I've been able to stay around the plate," Jackson told the Detroit Free Press. "My main emphasis is attack the strike zone, attack the strike zone, attack the strike zone."
Giese has experienced Yankee Stadium sprawl: The A's are going to make their first appearance in new Yankee Stadium, but they already have someone familiar with the place. Reliever Dan Giese spent Spring Training with New York, played exhibition games there and was impressed with the size of the home clubhouse.
"You need a GPS to keep track of everyone in there," Giese told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Going to the weight room is a commitment; it takes five minutes to get there. And if you forget something in your locker, forget it."
Backe making progress on the mound: Brandon Backe continues to inch closer to a return to the active roster. The right-hander, currently on the disabled list due to a strained intercostals muscle, threw two simulated innings on Saturday, tossing 20 pitches in each inning.
"I felt good," he told the Houston Chronicle. "The feedback from the hitters proves that I feel just as good as it looked. I'm just happy that I don't feel anything in the ribs. The arm feels pretty good. The ball feels like it's coming out of my hand pretty good.
"The hitters said the curveball was looking pretty good. I'm not really worried about that, but to have that feedback is a bonus."
Green playing with confidence: Nick Green, who hit .333 his first week in the lineup for the Red Sox, said playing regularly at shortstop has been a big help to his performance.
"If I struggle today, I still know I'm going to get in tomorrow," Green told the Boston Globe of his role with regular starter Jed Lowrie out with an injured wrist and Julio Lugo still rehabbing after knee surgery in March. "That's the feeling I like. That's the feeling you want to have to perform at a high level."
Callaspo shows sky-hook form: It's not often that a baseball player is compared to an NBA legend like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but that's just what happened to Alberto Callaspo on Friday after he made a diving stop and made a back-handed flip to second base from his stomach to get the force out.
"We were talking, and it looked like a Kareem sky hook," Royals manager Trey Hillman told MLB.com. "He went two or three feet to make that play. I've never seen him be able to go that far and stretch that much for a ground ball. He has better lateral range, even since mid-Spring Training."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.