Time for Americans to embrace World Baseball Classic

Venditte throws right-handed to right-handed hitters and left-handed to left-handed hitters. He's 26, in his fifth season in the organization and headed for Triple A.

Manager Joe Girardi apparently had told umpires he wasn't going to play extra innings, as the night game in Fort Myers, Fla., was more than two hours from home in Tampa. The Red Sox's Bobby Valentine wasn't amused, in part because he had warmed up a reliever trying to win a job, Clayton Mortensen, for an inning that wasn't played.

"They had plenty of pitching. Probably too long of a ride," Valentine said. "They could have known that going in."

It's going to be interesting to see how much Valentine's candor turns up the heat on baseball's best rivalry.

Less is more: Anyone rising early Thursday to see MLB Network's replay of the Mariners-A's regular-season opener in Tokyo will notice that there's less of Felix Hernandez. The Mariners ace dropped about 15 pounds in the offseason, changing his diet, and he thinks he's poised for a better season after posting a 3.47 ERA in 2011, his highest since '08.

"I feel more athletic," Hernandez said. "I can get off the mound more quickly."

Eric Wedge made some surprising decisions at the end of his starting rotation. He is lining up Hector Noesi (acquired from the Yankees in the Michael Pineda trade), Blake Beavan and Kevin Millwood behind Jason Vargas, which means Japanese Hisashi Iwakuma will work as a long reliever.

Iwakuma had expected a spot in the rotation and said through a translator he was "really surprised" with the decision.

Police blotter: Bobby Jenks and Matt Bush find their careers in jeopardy after arrests last week in incidents involving impaired driving and reportedly leaving the scene of an accident.

Jenks, the former White Sox closer, has been sidelined with back issues since July and was months from returning to the field after having his second back surgery in the winter.

Jenks, now with the Red Sox, hit two cars with this Mercedes SUV after leaving a Fort Myers strip club. The police report says he blamed muscle relaxers for his driving issues. It said he was "shaking uncontrollably'' but that an alcohol breath test he was given registered 0.00.

Bush, a shortstop when the Padres made him the first pick in the country in 2004, had gotten close to the big leagues as a power reliever. He has bigger issues after allegedly hitting a motorcyclist late Wednesday night near the Rays' complex. Police say his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He had pitched well in spring training but recently was optioned to the minors.

After a court appearance Saturday morning, he is being held at Charlotte County Jail on seven DUI-related charges with his bail set at $1.015 million.

The last word: "Sometimes you just don't know what goes through C.J.'s mind." — Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, on C.J. Wilson posting Napoli's cell phone number on his Twitter account.


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