San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson is sidelined with a strained ribcage muscle, an injury that could keep the big-bearded major league saves leader out for the start of the season.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday he had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. He was injured Thursday while pitching against the Angels.
Wilson will be evaluated Monday. It is uncertain whether he will be ready for opening day.
“I feel a lot better than I did Thursday, and I’ll feel a lot better tomorrow and Monday, and we’ll take it from there,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t imagine the team is worried about me. They know the situation.”
If he is out for an extended period, the closer’s role likely would be taken by left-handers Jeremy Affeldt or Javier Lopez, or right-hander Sergio Romo.
The 29-year-old Wilson led the majors with 48 saves last year.
Wilson said his teammates “know I’ll be ready” for opening day, but with the season opener less than two weeks away, manager Bruce Bochy conceded that “this is a setback.”
CUETO LEAVES AGAIN
Right-hander Johnny Cueto left the Cincinnati Reds’ spring training game for the second consecutive outing.
The 25-year-old was set to pitch four or five innings against Colorado in Goodyear, Ariz., but he left after the first inning. Cueto also left his last start against Texas on March 11 with tightness in his right forearm and biceps.
He signed a four-year, $27 million contract in January.
Joe Mauer made his first start at catcher of the spring for the Minnesota Twins, getting a hit, a walk, scoring twice and driving in two runs in a 9-2 exhibition victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Fort Myers, Fla.
Mauer, who has been brought along slowly following minor offseason surgery on his left knee, was behind the plate for five innings. His defense was tested right away when Rays shortstop Reid Brignac, the second hitter of the game, laid down a bunt that rolled down the third-base line. The three-time American League batting champion leaped up and ran over to the ball, grabbed it and threw to first base for an out.
“It was a play I’m going to have to make sooner or later,” Mauer said. “It feels good to have it out of the way.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said right-hander A.J. Burnett will be the No. 2 starter, despite his subpar 2010 season (10-15, 5.26 ERA). Jason Kendall, who had extensive shoulder surgery in September but is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation, won’t be behind the plate for the Kansas City Royals’ season opener, though he might be by mid-April. Alex Rodriguez drove in a run for the sixth consecutive game as the New York Yankees tied the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-5 in 10 innings, in Tampa, Fla. Brett Lawrie, brother of former University of Washington star softball pitcher Danielle Lawrie, had an RBI single during a three-run fourth for Toronto. Pittsburgh pitcher Kevin Correia singled twice against Josh Beckett, including a bases-loaded hit that sent the Pirates past Boston, 7-5, in Bradenton, Fla. Derrek Lee, signed as a free agent during the offseason, went hitless with a walk (0-for-1) in his abbreviated Orioles debut as Philadelphia won, 7-5, in Sarasota, Fla. Barry Zito gave up two hits in six innings to lead San Francisco to a 3-1 win over Kansas City in Scottsdale, Ariz. Chase Headley hit a grand slam as San Diego beat the Chicago Cubs, 14-4, in Peoria, Ariz. Trevor Cahill took a shutout into the seventh inning as Oakland beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-3, in Phoenix.