SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — When a grounder ricocheted off Prince Fielder’s mitt during his first workout with the Texas Rangers, he quickly held it up and proclaimed with a smile, “It’s new.”
So much is new this spring for the All-Star slugger. He’s in Arizona for spring training, not Florida. He has a No. 84 on the back of his uniform, not No. 28. And he is on a new team.
“It felt good. It was a lot of fun,” Fielder said. “Nice easy day, I had a lot of fun meeting my new teammates. So yeah, I’m excited.”
Fielder joined other veteran Rangers players on the field for more than an hour Wednesday, taking grounders and some batting practice on the day before the first official full-squad workout. It was also the first day in camp for shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was also part of the session.
After cutting off his dreadlocks during the offseason and going through some mixed martial arts workouts, Fielder appears trim. Asked he if had lost any weight, Fielder chuckled and said he didn’t know for sure since he doesn’t allow any scales in his house.
“I feel great. Lost a couple of pounds cutting the hair, so that helps,” he said. “I just want to be athletic and not carry around so much weight. ... I have no idea what it is, but I think I lost something. I definitely lost something.”
The Rangers acquired Fielder from Detroit in November in exchange for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler.
CINCINNATI: Starter Homer Bailey agreed to a $105 million, six-year contract on Wednesday that avoids arbitration and will help the Cincinnati Reds with their cash flow by deferring some of the salary for short periods. The deal includes a $25 million mutual option for 2020 with a $5 million buyout.
BALTIMORE: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles have finalized a $50 million, four-year contract. The 30-year-old gets salaries of $11.25 million this year, $12.25 million in 2015, $13 million in 2016 and $13.5 million in 2017 under Wednesday’s agreement. Each season’s salary includes $2.25 million deferred without interest, payable in four equal installments on each July 1 starting in 2018.
BROOKLYN: The Brooklyn Nets acquired guard Marcus Thornton from the Sacramento Kings for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans, removing two little-used veterans from their aging roster and hoping a younger one can rediscover his scoring touch. Terry came from Boston along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but has appeared in just 35 games after a knee injury, averaging 4.5 points on 36 percent shooting. Thornton averaged 21.3 points in 23 games with the Kings in 2010-11 after being acquired in a midseason trade with New Orleans.
LA LAKERS: A person familiar with the deal says the Los Angeles Lakers have traded point guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for reserve guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.
CMU: Braylon Rayson scored 30 points while Chris Fowler had 18 points and 12 assists as Central Michigan beat Ball State 101-95 in triple overtime. John Simons (Cadillac) had 13 points in the win for the Chippewas (9-16). Rayson netted 13 of his points in the third overtime.
WMU: David Brown scored 23 points as first-place Western Michigan beat Ohio 73-63 for its sixth straight win. It was Western Michigan’s first win in Athens since Jan. 22, 2000. Connar Tava added 18 points for Western Michigan (17-8, 10-3 Mid-American Conference), while Shayne Whittington added 11 and 11 rebounds.
INDIANA: An inspection of the roof and ceiling at Assembly Hall on Wednesday found more places where melting snow and ice had loosened steel plates inside Indiana University’s basketball arena. Athletic director Fred Glass said workers found two or three additional spots where the plates appeared to be damaged, but were in no imminent danger of falling.
MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP: Graeme McDowell pulled off the biggest surprise Wednesday in an opening round of comebacks in the Match Play Championship. McDowell was 4 down through seven holes and still three holes behind with three to play when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland. McDowell seized on Woodland’s mistakes to win the next three holes, and then put him away with a 6-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole. Eleven of the 32 matches went at least 18 holes, with five of them decided in overtime.
MIAMI: The Miami Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and longtime head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill on Wednesday for their roles in the team’s bullying scandal. The moves were the first punitive steps taken by the Dolphins since a report on the NFL’s investigation of the case was released last week.