Sheets leads five rehabbing players who can shape the races

PHOENIX—For players returning from injury-marred 2009 seasons, the start of the exhibition schedule means it is time to put spring training optimism to the test.

Ben Sheets will make his Oakland debut by facing his former team, Milwaukee.
Ben Sheets will make his Oakland debut by facing his former team, Milwaukee.

Five rehabbing players who could help shape this season’s playoff races:

Ben Sheets, SP, A’s

2009 injury: Elbow surgery
Last pitched: September 2008
Status: Sheets will face his old team, the Brewers, Friday. "I’m not worried about who I’m facing," said Sheets. "I’m just worried about getting back out there and back in the swing of things." The normally thrifty A’s gave Sheets a one-year, $10 million contract and named him their opening day starter. "I’m ready to get out there," he said.

Brandon Webb, SP Diamondbacks

2009 injury: Shoulder surgery
Last pitched: Opening day 2009
Status: Throwing off mound. The 2006 N.L. Cy Young award winner isn’t expected to make his spring debut for about two weeks but hasn’t reported any setbacks.
Next step: Webb will throw live batting practice.

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers

2009 injuries: Back, ribs, abdomen
Last played: September 2009
Status: Sidelined by bruised shoulder. He was limited to 89 games last season and finished with 10 homers, 54 RBIs and a .741 OPS. Hamilton should make his Cactus League debut next week. "He can crush the ball," Mariners closer David Aardsma said. "If he’s healthy."

Troy Glaus, 1B, Braves

2009 injury: Shoulder surgery
Last played: October 2009
Status: In action. He hit .172 in 29 at-bats for the Cardinals last season after debuting in September. Glaus, on the same workout schedule as his new teammates, is hoping the move from third base to first will decrease the wear and tear.

Jose Reyes, SS, Mets

2009 injury: Hamstring surgery
Last played: May 2009
Status: In action. Reyes is running at full speed and has reported no problems. He was scheduled to play his first Grapefruit League game Thursday but didn’t because he needed follow-up work on his physical. He should debut Friday. UPDATE: Reyes is returning to New York for tests and is not expected to take part in any physical activity while he is gone.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

PHOENIX—For players returning from injury-marred 2009 seasons, the start of the exhibition schedule means it is time to put spring training optimism to the test.

Ben Sheets will make his Oakland debut by facing his former team, Milwaukee.
Ben Sheets will make his Oakland debut by facing his former team, Milwaukee.

Five rehabbing players who could help shape this season’s playoff races:

Ben Sheets, SP, A’s

2009 injury: Elbow surgery
Last pitched: September 2008
Status: Sheets will face his old team, the Brewers, Friday. "I’m not worried about who I’m facing," said Sheets. "I’m just worried about getting back out there and back in the swing of things." The normally thrifty A’s gave Sheets a one-year, $10 million contract and named him their opening day starter. "I’m ready to get out there," he said.

Brandon Webb, SP Diamondbacks

2009 injury: Shoulder surgery
Last pitched: Opening day 2009
Status: Throwing off mound. The 2006 N.L. Cy Young award winner isn’t expected to make his spring debut for about two weeks but hasn’t reported any setbacks.
Next step: Webb will throw live batting practice.

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers

2009 injuries: Back, ribs, abdomen
Last played: September 2009
Status: Sidelined by bruised shoulder. He was limited to 89 games last season and finished with 10 homers, 54 RBIs and a .741 OPS. Hamilton should make his Cactus League debut next week. "He can crush the ball," Mariners closer David Aardsma said. "If he’s healthy."

Troy Glaus, 1B, Braves

2009 injury: Shoulder surgery
Last played: October 2009
Status: In action. He hit .172 in 29 at-bats for the Cardinals last season after debuting in September. Glaus, on the same workout schedule as his new teammates, is hoping the move from third base to first will decrease the wear and tear.

Jose Reyes, SS, Mets

2009 injury: Hamstring surgery
Last played: May 2009
Status: In action. Reyes is running at full speed and has reported no problems. He was scheduled to play his first Grapefruit League game Thursday but didn’t because he needed follow-up work on his physical. He should debut Friday. UPDATE: Reyes is returning to New York for tests and is not expected to take part in any physical activity while he is gone.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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