Bush helps old club open

The Baltimore Sun

Former President George W. Bush wound up his right arm with two windmill whirls, then fired a high strike to help the Texas Rangers start the season Monday.

In his first big appearance locally since moving to Dallas from the White House, Bush received a standing ovation and overwhelming cheers from a crowd of about 40,000 after the public address announcer said, "We welcome home the 43rd president."

Bush was the team's managing general partner from 1989 until he was elected governor of Texas in 1994.

Bush's throw easily made it over the plate and into the mitt of star outfielder Josh Hamilton. "I told him: 'You didn't need to bring a glove. It's so slow, you could catch it barehanded,' " Bush said while spending part of the second inning with the team's radio crew.

Injuries down: : Baseball got healthy this spring. There were 69 players on disabled lists at the start of the season Sunday, down from 106 last year and 97 in 2007. The only lower total since the major leagues expanded to 30 teams in 1998 was when there were 66 in 2006, the commissioner's office said. Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, said the figure counters those who say the World Baseball Classic causes more players to get hurt. "The WBC injuries were, almost exclusively, the type of small injuries [oblique strains] that are common in spring training, with or without the WBC," Manfred said.

Padres: : Outfielder Cliff Floyd was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to Sunday. Outfielder Drew Macias was recalled from Triple-A Portland to fill Floyd's roster spot before San Diego opened the season against the Dodgers. The oft-injured Floyd agreed to a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Padres in February to pinch hit and be the designated hitter in road interleague games.

Indians: : Cleveland placed utility man Jamey Carroll on the 15-day DL with a broken left hand. Carroll was hit by a pitch in Saturday's exhibition game against Houston. Carroll will visit a hand specialist to determine whether surgery is necessary.

Dodgers: : Los Angeles finalized its roster when it purchased the contracts of right-hander Ronald Belisario, infielder Doug Mientkiewicz and left-hander Will Ohman from Triple-A Las Vegas. The Dodgers also placed right-hander Claudio Vargas on the 60-day DL with right elbow tendinitis and outfielder Delwyn Young on 15-day DL retroactive to March 27 with a right elbow impingement. Left-hander Greg Miller was given his unconditional release.

White Sox: : Chicago sent right-handed reliever Ehren Wasserman outright to Triple-A Charlotte.

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