Bobby Jenks, who converted 24 of 26 save opportunities last season, strives for that level of efficiency and dependability as a closer.
"It's definitely not ERA," Jenks, who has kept his ERA well below 3.00 in each of the last two seasons, told the Chicago Tribune. "It's my save percentage. It should be the biggest issue for a closer.
"We're going to have bad days. It's unavoidable. But if I can cut out a few bad days throughout the season, it might take us where we need to get to."
Tejada will play for Dominican after all: Miguel Tejada reversed course and will now represent the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Dominican manager Felipe Alou contacted Tejada and assured him he would not have to play first base. Instead, he will play shortstop, third base or designated hitter.
"I never really said I didn't want to play," Tejada told the Houston Chronicle. "The reason I said I didn't want to play was that it was uncommon I play first base. Everything changed because I talked to Felipe, and he called me. One thing I love to do is represent my country."
Braun excited to join Team USA: Ryan Braun went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Saturday in his final appearance before leaving Brewers camp to join Team USA in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
"I'm really excited about [the Classic]," Braun, who has three hits in nine at-bats with two RBIs this spring, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I can't wait. It's a huge honor to represent your country and play with guys I grew up watching."
Vizquel shakes off back soreness: Omar Vizquel experienced a sore back after batting practice late last week but is back on the field for the Texas Rangers.
"It was just a little sore," the 11-time Gold Glove-winner told the Dallas Morning News. "I just pulled a little muscle while taking a wrong swing. Everything feels fine now."
Shoulder soreness makes Posada a scratch: Jorge Posada was scratched from the team's exhibition game against Minnesota on Saturday after experiencing soreness in the front of his right shoulder. Posada believes the soreness is nothing to worry about, but the Yankees didn't want to take any chances.
"He just has a little irritable weakness," manager Joe Girardi told Newsday. "...It's Feb. 28th. There's no reason to take any chances."
Buchholz takes positive step with start: It was only a Spring Training start, but Clay Buchholz was pleased with the two scoreless innings he threw against the Reds, allowing only one hit with one strikeout and no walks.
"I guess the big difference for me this year is I know I'm still fighting for a job; I don't have a legit spot yet on this team," Buchholz told the Boston Herald. "... I'm going to make for them the decision to send me to Triple-A or keep me in Boston the hardest decision possible for them to make."
Carpenter impressive with efficient work: In two innings of work on Saturday, Chris Carpenter needed just 19 pitches to shut down the Nationals despite being ready to work deeper into the game if needed.
"He was conditioned to throw more than he threw, but we thought he was in a really good place, so why push it?" manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Lilly plans to build up pitch count at Classic: As he prepares to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, Ted Lilly says he has no concerns when it comes to the 75-pitch limit that is to be imposed in the international tournament.
"I'm not going to go out there and throw 75 pitches the first outing. They wouldn't do that," Lilly told the Chicago Sun-Times. "As far as the schedule and [building up] pitch count and everything, I don't think it's going to be a whole lot different [than Spring Training]. I don't imagine they're going to leave anyone out there and run their pitch count out and have them grind it out at WBC. Obviously, we want to win, but I don't think at the risk of getting anyone hurt."
Wood feeling fine after bullpen session: Kerry Wood threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session over the weekend.
"I feel great," Wood told MLB.com.
Dempster focuses on being a starter: Whether Ryan Dempster comes to Spring Training preparing to be a closer or a starting pitcher, nothing changes in the way he goes about his business.
"The approach doesn't change for me," Dempster told MLB.com. "I never treated last year like a tryout or I was auditioning for anything. I just tried to go out there do what I needed to do to be a starting pitcher. I approached it the same way this year."
Moylan pain-free after debut: Less than 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, Peter Moylan returned to the mound and pitched one inning, giving up one run and two hits. Most importantly, the outing was pain-free for Moylan.
"He didn't have any pain whatsoever when he came out," Braves manager Bobby Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That first time out, it's tough [to be sharp]. I was pleased. This is a big day for us."
Ross to get new look in right field: With Cameron Maybin poised to take over in center field, the Marlins plan to shift Cody Ross to right field and Jeremy Hermida to left. Ross looked comfortable immediately in right, making a nice play to throw out a runner at second base in the team's Grapefruit League opener.
"Cody's accuracy and arm strength plays into it," outfield coach Bo Porter told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the switch. "I think it's a great move for both of them. It's going to make our defense better with Hermida having all the plays in front of him as opposed to being in right field and having those plays that are behind you."
Dunn a late addition to Classic team: Adam Dunn, who recently signed with the Nationals, checked with his new manager before agreeing to join Team USA's World Baseball Classic roster.
"I didn't want to do anything until I talked to Manny [Acta], because I think that's only fair," Dunn told the Washington Post. "As soon as I talked to him, he was very ecstatic about it."
Martin agrees to more days off: Russell Martin is more agreeable to resting this season, and the Dodgers would like to limit him to 140 games behind the plate -- down from 155 in 2008.
"Before I just lied to myself even if I didn't feel good," Martin told the Los Angeles Times. "I was just hard-headed, saying I was ready to play 162 games. You just lose that edge, you lose that explosiveness, you know? A day off can do a lot further down the road."
Sampson sees progress after two days on mound: Chris Sampson, who is recovering from offseason surgery on his right elbow, threw off the mound for the second straight day this weekend and came away pleased with his progress.
"There were no issues with the elbow," Sampson told the Houston Chronicle. "The other parts of the body that go with pitching have to get in shape. I felt like everybody else felt their first few bullpens they threw. It's getting past that and getting the body in shape. The elbow feels great and it's encouraging. It's a big step in the right direction."
Mather gets work at third base: Joe Mather played the outfield last season but has returned to the infield in Spring Training to help provide the Cardinals with depth at third base.
"I grew up playing the infield, so it's a little bit like a homecoming. I'm having fun with it for sure," Mather told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I didn't really expect to be playing it until January, when we found out that Troy [Glaus] was out."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.