Notes: Anderson thrilled to be back

Notes: Anderson thrilled to be back

TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian Anderson made his first outing of the spring on Saturday, and the veteran left-hander performed well in a one-inning stint.

"It was so exciting to be out there," Anderson said.

Anderson, 35, has been recovering the past two seasons from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on his left arm. The 13-year Major League veteran last pitched for the Royals in 2005, when he made six starts before an injury requiring the surgery ended his season.

"So to get back out there after being out of it so long," Anderson said, "I don't really think there are any words."

Anderson gave up a leadoff single to Alex Rodriguez before retiring the next three hitters on flyouts.

"I liked Anderson -- hasn't pitched in what, two years?" Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He goes out there and throws a bunch of strikes."

Saturday's outing "was everything I was hoping it would be," Anderson said.

Kaz tosses: Scott Kazmir continues to make progress in his comeback from a left elbow strain. On Saturday morning, the Rays left-hander played catch with athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, and the session went so well that Maddon deemed Kazmir ready for the next step, which will be to throw a bullpen session on Monday.

Porterfield's "instructions to Kaz were to throw easily," Maddon said. "It didn't happen. He's very loose. He feels good, very free."

If all goes well on Monday, Maddon said that Kazmir will likely throw one additional bullpen session -- during which he might throw to some batters -- then they will try to get him into a game on March 14 or 15.

Rocco slow: Maddon said there was nothing new to report on Rocco Baldelli's progress and called his situation "day by day."

Baldelli has been taking it slow while coming back from the hamstring problems that ended his 2007 season.

"It's not like we're not concerned about it right now," said Maddon, who noted that over the course of the next week, they would like to see some positive progress.

Maddon said that Baldelli is not expected to play on Sunday.

Spring Training
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Get the legs going: Carl Crawford is the reigning American League stolen base champion; his legs are a big part of his game. So he must watch how he progresses during Spring Training to have his legs in tune for the start of the regular season.

"When you run sprints, you run them hard, but it's not like when you're in the game, when you're running as hard as you can," Crawford said. "So you have to get your legs used to 100 percent effort into a sprint. You want to try it out early so you're not struggling at the end. In your mind, you want to know you can do it."

Crawford did extra weight work in the offseason to prepare for the pounding his legs will take during the regular season on Tropicana Field's artificial turf.

"I should see a difference," Crawford said. "I just wanted to prepare for the turf. On the grass, they always feel strong, but sometimes on that turf, they feel a little weak and achy. This whole season, it was all about the turf, preparing for the turf."

Crawford stole his second and third bases of the Grapefruit League season in the first inning of Saturday's 4-1 win over the Yankees.

Top 100: Seven Rays appeared on Baseball America's annual Top 100 prospects list, and four of them were among the top 17. The Rays and Red Sox led the Major Leagues with seven players (seven teams tied for third place with five prospects each). The seven Rays named include third baseman Evan Longoria (No. 2, behind Cincinnati outfielder Jay Bruce), left-hander David Price (10), left-hander Jake McGee (15), right-hander Wade Davis (17), shortstop Reid Brignac (39), outfielder Desmond Jennings (59) and right-hander Jeff Niemann (99). In addition, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, catcher John Jaso, right-hander Chris Mason and outfielder Ryan Royster made the "Best of the Rest" list.

Up next: The Rays will host the Reds on Sunday afternoon in a 1:05 ET contest at Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field. Edwin Jackson will start for the Rays and will be relieved by Troy Percival, Andy Sonnanstine, Mitch Talbot, Gary Glover and Dan Wheeler. The Reds will start Matt Belisle, and he'll be followed by Josh Fogg.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.