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McGwire wants to focus on Cardinals' hitting, not past
Updated 2/10/2010 4:59 PM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals say they don't know what kind of reaction they will get when new batting coach Mark McGwire arrives at spring training Feb. 17, the day the team's pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla.

One thing is for sure, and that is McGwire will not be answering questions about his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days.

"He's answered more than 250 questions on this, and he reached out to multiple levels of media," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "He's not required to do any more. If (reporters) want to talk to him about players, hitting and the experience, that's fine."

In the last two years, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez each held a news conference at the start of spring training to address illegal drug use after making admissions during the offseason.

McGwire, who hit 583 career home runs, hasn't been in uniform since he retired in 2001. The Cardinals announced his return as a batting coach in October, and in January he admitted to using steroids and human growth hormone throughout a majority of his career, including in 1998 when he hit a then-record 70 home runs.

Lincecum showdown:

The Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers locked up their young aces this winter, but Tim Lincecum is heading to a historic salary-arbitration hearing Friday.

The hearing, which will be attended by Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Players Association, will determine whether Lincecum's 2010 salary will be $8 million, as the San Francisco Giants have submitted, or $13 million, a record for a first-time arbitration player. That would shatter the $10 million awarded to Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2008.

"I felt like it was going to a hearing from Day 1," said Rick Thurman, Lincecum's agent.

The two sides have made no movement toward a long-term contract. Justin Verlander of the Tigers signed a five-year, $80 million deal last week — $2 million more than what Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez signed in January.

Lincecum, with two Cy Young awards in his first three years, "has done something that is unprecedented," Thurman said, "and he's seeking a salary that's unprecedented."

Arbitration hearings are usually based on how a player rates to those with similar service time, but Lincecum is permitted to compare his value to any pitcher because of a "special accomplishment" provision — the Cy Young awards. Lincecum, who is 33-12 with a 2.55 ERA the past two seasons, could compare himself to teammate Barry Zito. The veteran left-hander, who is entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $126 million contract, is 31-43 with a 4.56 ERA since joining the Giants in 2007.

"Going through arbitration, everybody knows what can happen and the feelings that can get hurt," Lincecum said last weekend. "I'm just trying to keep an open mind."

Short hops:

Outfielder Willy Taveras has been released by the Oakland Athletics, eight days after he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds with infielder Adam Rosales. … Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Contributing: Bob Nightengale, wire reports

Posted 2/9/2010 8:52 PM ET
Updated 2/10/2010 4:59 PM ET
New Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire was a big hit at the team's Winter Warmup last month.
By Jeff Curry, US Presswire
New Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire was a big hit at the team's Winter Warmup last month.