CC Sabathia was sad to see Thurmon Field in Vallejo, Calif., had been overrun with weeds when he returned for a visit last year. So he did something about it.
On Saturday, Sabathia was joined by Major Leaguers Milton Bradley and Manny Parra for the dedication of the field he helped renovate through his Sabathia Family Foundation "PitCC In."
"We had a lot of help from some very dedicated people who are equally passionate as me about making sure kids get to play this great game of baseball," Sabathia said. "Thinking back to what was here in terms of weeds and old dugouts to what we have now -- I'm as excited as the kids on the first day of the season."
Teaming with the Good Tidings Foundation and project general contractor Robert A. Bothman, the renovation took about two months to complete. Thurmon Field was given new irrigation, infield dirt, bases, dugouts and an electronic scoreboard.
The field also received 37,000 square feet of new sod from West Coast Turf, which is the same turf used at Oakland Alameda County Stadium.
After the formal dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, Sabathia, Bradley and Parra joined Vallejo alum Joe Thurston for a baseball clinic.
PitCC In was founded by Sabathia and his wife Amber and is dedicated to enriching the lives of inner-city youth by working to raise self-esteem through education and athletic activities.
Morneau to carry Olympic torch: Justin Morneau, who is going to carry the Olympic torch through Vancouver the day before the Opening Ceremonies -- near his hometown of New Westminster, British Columbia -- says this experience will rank among his all-time most memorable.
"It will be right near the top," Morneau told MLB.com. "That's pretty cool. It's something that's once in a lifetime. Maybe I'll stick around to watch Canada beat Norway [in hockey] and then get ready for Spring Training."
Catalanotto to get a chance close to home with Mets: The Mets signed Long Island native Frank Catalanotto to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Catalanotto hit .278 with one home run and nine RBIs last season for Milwaukee in 144 at-bats. Catalanotto can play in both the infield and outfield and is a career .292 hitter.
"He can be a guy that can be a left-handed hitter off the bench," Mets general manager Omar Minaya told the New York Daily News.com.
Wuertz signs two-year deal with A's: The A's signed Michael Wuertz to a two-year contract with a club option for 2012. The deal leaves the A's with no arbitration cases.
"I'm relieved to have a little bit of security here," Wuertz told the Oakland Tribune. "It's just a big thing for me and my family. We really enjoyed Oakland last year, and I'm ready to be part of something special, with some of the new guys we brought in."
McGown throws off mound, seeks starting spot: Dustin McGowan threw off the mound on Friday and suffered no setbacks as he attempts to land a spot in the Blue Jays' starting rotation. McGowan is coming back from right shoulder surgery.
"We're taking it step-by-step," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com. "But we're not looking too far ahead. We don't want to build any expectations or timelines or anything like that. He threw off a mound today. He didn't have any pain or any soreness. It went well and he looked good, and it's a step in the right direction."
Hanson geared up for early pitching camp: The Braves are holding a two-week pitching camp prior to the start of Spring Training. Among those expected to attend is Tommy Hanson, who is hoping to build upon a terrific rookie season.
"I'm definitely looking forward to some baseball," Hanson, who was third in National League Rookie of the Year voting after going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I've had enough time away from it. I'm ready to go. My arm's never felt better."
Edmonds eyes roster spot in Milwaukee: Jim Edmonds has appeared in four All-Star games and has earned eight Gold Gloves during his career. But, when he shows up to Spring Training with the Brewers, Edmonds knows he will be battling for a job.
"They didn't make me any promises," Edmonds, who signed Minor League contract with the Brewers, told MLB.com. "But I'll get to go in there with a chance to show them I can still play."
Dunn could see extended stay in Washington: The Nationals are interested in extending Adam Dunn's two-year deal.
"It's something that we've discussed with Adam and his people," Washington general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post. "We had a little conversation this afternoon about it. Seriously, he's become one of the family. We love him here. He had a terrific season for us last year. He's one of the most consistent players in the league, and he's a guy that fits for us long-term."
Byrnes lands with Mariners: The Mariners picked up free agent Eric Byrnes after he was released by the Diamondbacks. Byrnes has one year left on his three-year contract.
"Once I talked to [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik], I knew this was the right fit," Byrnes told the Seattle Times. "It was just a matter of figuring out what other opportunities I had out there. Right away, I just kind of felt this was the place I felt I could contribute. It was a team I felt had a great chance of winning the American League West and potentially the American League, if not the World Series. I wasn't going to consider signing with a team I didn't feel would have a real good chance of winning. What Jack and [manager] Don [Wakamatsu] have put together is impressive."
No more moving vans for Holliday: Matt Holliday likes the feeling of stability provided by the seven-year deal with a no-trade clause that he's signed with the Cardinals.
"With all the moving that we've done my first six years -- my first 10 years in pro baseball -- there's just a lot of moving," Holliday told MLB.com. "You start getting kids in school, it's important to have some security. To have a no-trade clause and a contract of seven years was important to me. As long as we could possibly get, as far as bringing some stability to my children and my wife."
Nady figures to see plenty of action with Cubs: General manager Jim Hendry believes Xavier Nady, who is rehabilitating his surgically repaired elbow, will be an impact player for the Cubs.
"We feel we've got an everyday, legitimate, five-hole type player to augment our lineup," Hendry told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We know he can play. We know he can hit. We know he's a quality guy off the field. I'm really appreciative [owner] Tom Ricketts and [president] Crane Kenney allowed us to get a player like this, this late in the offseason."
Brantley focused on a healthy season: Michael Brantley believes preparedness is a key to earning a spot on the Indians' 2010 roster.
"I just want to be more physically and mentally ready, each and every day," Brantley told MLB.com. "Sometimes last year, I did have some injuries with my right ankle. Now that I'm 100 percent healthy, I want to stay that way the entire season."
Marcum appears ready to start season after surgery: Shaun Marcum, who missed last season for Toronto after undergoing Tommy John surgery, appears to be on track to start the 2010 season on time.
"He's doing very, very well," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com. "There's no restrictions -- no limitations at all. He looks great. He's going to come into camp with full guns-a-blazing. We think he's going to be ready to go to pitch, hopefully, a full season for us and have a great year."
Marcum is 23-15 with a 3.85 ERA during his career with the Blue Jays.
Thome already has Twin Cities memories: In addition to a powerful bat, Jim Thome brings some fond memories to Minneapolis-St. Paul.
"I debuted in the Metrodome; I'll never forget it," Thome told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "We're taking batting practice and Kirby Puckett runs by and says my name and says hello. I about flipped over. Kirby Puckett saying hello to a 20-year-old, basically nobody? That was Puckett in a nutshell.
"I get my first Major League hit. I go out to third base and I look over at the Twins dugout and at the corner where all the pitchers sit. They are looking at me, pointing at me, smiling and I'm thinking, 'This is kind of odd. Opponents aren't supposed to do this.'
"I look down and I've got my shin guard on. I'm throwing balls across the diamond with my shin guard still on. I was so excited after my first Major League hit."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.