<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

Joe Blanton

Royals are only looking at Joe Blanton as a reliever


Joe Blanton is attempting a comeback after briefly going into retirement and the veteran starter showed up to Royals camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, but if he makes the team it’ll be as a reliever.

Royals manager Ned Yost made it very clear that Blanton is only being considered for a bullpen job, telling Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com:

The only way he is really going to help us is in the bullpen. We’re not going to stretch him out.

It’ll be an uphill climb for Blanton, because the Royals’ bullpen is one of the best in baseball and there aren’t many openings up for grabs even if he somehow looks good after not pitching in the majors at all last season.

Blanton has spent a decade in the big leagues pitching for five different teams, but 248 of his 265 career appearances have come as a starter and his only year with more than three relief outings was 2013 after he got bumped from the Angels’ rotation for pitching terribly.

Giants sign Ronny Cedeno

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies

Journeyman infielder Ronny Cedeno has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Giants.

Cedeno had a brief stint in the majors last season with the Phillies, but spent most of the year at Triple-A hitting .313 with four homers and a .799 OPS in 83 games.

He’s a career .335 hitter in parts of five seasons at Triple-A, but the 32-year-old has batted just .245 with a .641 OPS in 875 games as a big leaguer and is purely a depth signing at this point.

Barry Zito on his one-year retirement: “You want to be back in that game so bad”

Barry Zito

Barry Zito is trying to resurrect his career with the A’s and the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he regrets sitting out last season as part of what was supposed to be retirement:

I think hanging it up is going to be harder for guys than they realize, after being out of it for a year. You feel like you’re in control of the game, and then you’re not in it, and you want to be back in that game so bad.

We’ve got a long way to go in life once we get out of this thing. That’s not a factor for you when you’re in it. You say, “Ah, I’ve had enough.” But it’s a difficult decision.

All of which is sort of depressing within the context of Zito’s seemingly poor odds of actually cracking the Opening Day roster. In other words, a month from now he might be back in retirement except this time it won’t be by choice.

Jonathan Papelbon: “I’d be interested” in a trade to Blue Jays

Jonathan Papelbon

Now that the Brewers have re-signed Francisco Rodriguez they’re presumably no longer interested in Jonathan Papelbon, but there’s still speculation that the Blue Jays remain in the mix.

Papelbon was asked about Toronto today by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com and replied:

Yes, Toronto, interests me–if it interests [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.]. I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.

Papelbon has the ability to veto trades, but he’s made it pretty clear that he’d rather pitch for a contender. However, when asked if he’d force any team acquiring him to pick up his $13 million vesting option for 2016 to approve a deal, Papelbon said:

I can’t say. I’d have to discuss it with my agent.

Funny how that works.

Cardinals get the “best news we could have gotten” on Adam Wainwright’s abdominal injury

Adam Wainwright AP

Cardinals fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

Adam Wainwright left spring training and traveled to St. Louis to have an abdominal injury examined by a specialist and today general manager John Mozeliak told reporters the result is the “best news we could have gotten.”

Wainwright has been diagnosed with an abdominal strain and has been told to rest for a couple weeks, leaving him plenty of time to get ready for Opening Day.

He can continue to do some throwing, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, but he’ll certainly be limited overall as Wainwright tries to show that he’s healthy following elbow surgery.