Alex Rodriguez will sit out at least a few days with a small herniated disk in his neck, but the Texas Rangers are confident their $252-million shortstop will be ready by opening day.
"From everything we've been told about the injury, we sit here today very confident that Alex will be back any day," General Manager John Hart said Friday. "There's no reason to think he won't. We just want to hold Alex back, get him 100% over the next day or two and ease him back in. There's plenty of time."
Rodriguez complained of stiffness and fatigue in his left shoulder after playing Tuesday and Wednesday. He was scheduled for a day off Thursday and went back to Dallas for additional tests after an examination by team physician Drew Dossett.
A CT scan revealed a small herniated disk in one of the vertebrae in his neck and an irritated nerve. Rodriguez received a cortisone injection Friday to relieve the swelling and is expected back in Rangers' camp Sunday or Monday.
Montreal outfielder Vladimir Guerrero was suspended for three games and Florida pitcher Brad Penny was suspended for five games for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl this week.
Montreal infielder Jose Macias was suspended two games. All three players were also fined by baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson.
The suspensions for Guerrero and Penny are scheduled to start opening day unless the players appeal them. Macias' suspension is scheduled to start April 4.
On Monday, Penny hit Guerrero high in the chest in the first inning. Guerrero, still holding his bat in his left hand, said a few words to Penny as catcher Matt Treanor tried to restrain the All-Star outfielder.
After Penny got closer, Guerrero swung his right fist around the catcher at the pitcher, missing. Penny retaliated with punch that missed, and the benches emptied. Macias joined the fight and was punished for his role.
San Diego Padre right-hander Jay Witasick strained his pitching elbow while throwing out the garbage. He will be out at least a week.
"He was taking some bags of trash out," Padre Manager Bruce Bochy said. "They were heavy, had some watermelon in them, apparently. He tossed them into the dumpster and strained his elbow."
Kenny Lofton reached terms with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a $1,025,000, one-year contract. Lofton, 35, also was negotiating with the Rangers, but they offered him only a minor league contract.
The Cincinnati Reds signed outfielder Benny Agbayani to a minor league contract..... The Houston Astros signed left-hander Bruce Chen to a minor league contract.