"It's incredible; it looks like a whole new building," Lerner said. "I had
to blink twice when I pulled up. Matt Blush [the director of capital
improvements for the Lerner Corporation] has done an incredible job, and we
are delighted with it.
"I don't think anybody wanted to see the teal anymore. We had to do
something and do it quickly. The county in Viera has been great. They have
been very cooperative. They deserve an applause also."
This Spring Training marks the first full year of the Lerner era, and Mark
Lerner still can't believe that he is part of a group that owns the
Besides spending time at Space Coast Stadium, Lerner went to the Carl Barger
Complex to watch the workouts and greet some of the players. Lerner
is expected to stay another day and then return to the Spring
Training camp sometime next week.
"It's a little surreal and very exciting," Lerner said. "It might take a day or two to soak
it all in. I was very excited coming off the plane this
morning. It's a dream come true, certainly."
Injury report: Shortstop Cristian Guzman, who threw the baseball for the
first time this spring Friday, said his right shoulder felt a little tight. He took
ground balls and threw softly about 50 times. Guzman has tendinitis in his
right shoulder, but he feels he will be ready for the exhibition opener against
the Dodgers on March 2.
Guzman hasn't played a game since March. He missed all of the 2006
regular season because of a slap tear in the shoulder.
"I'm excited [to play my first game in almost a year]," Guzman said. "I can't wait for the
games to get started."
The switch-hitting Guzman said he doesn't have any problems with the
shoulder when he is taking batting practice.
"He looked good," said second baseman Felipe Lopez, Guzman's
new double-play partner. "He was throwing a little bit and he was swinging the bat
very nicely. I'm excited to see him out there."
Manager Manny Acta announced that outfielder Alex Escobar will only play designated hitter until March 15. Escobar is still recovering from a
separated shoulder suffered against the Braves on Aug. 25. He doesn't have
any problems swinging the bat and he has started throwing the baseball from
110 feet. The next step is to throw at 120 feet. Once he gets to 180 feet,
Escobar will start taking fielding practice.
"I don't have any doubt in my mind that I will be ready by the time I leave
Spring Training," Escobar said. "I feel like I'm on schedule right now. I'm taking it easy -- one day at a time."
Left-hander Mike O'Connor, who's out with an elbow injury, is throwing from 75
feet on flat ground. He hopes to be playing in a Spring Training game by the
end of March. O'Connor most likely will not be with the team for Opening
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