Pujols not ‘El Hombre’

The Los Angeles Angels will phase out use of the phrase “El Hombre” in marketing campaigns involving superstar slugger Albert Pujols.

Angels Vice President of Communications Tim Mead said billboards using Pujols and “El Hombre” would remain up in parts of Southern California until early April.

But Mead said the franchise is aware of how Pujols feels about the phrase and will respect his wishes that it not be used further.

Pujols told reporters early in training camp that he was not in favor of being referred to as “El Hombre,” as he felt it undermined the respect St. Louis baseball fans have for former Cardinals great Stan Musial, whose nickname was “The Man.”

Pujols signed a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels in the offseason.

Top prospect needs surgery

The Washington Nationals lost top pitching prospect Sammy Solis for the season because of an elbow injury.

The Nationals said that Solis will need major surgery on his left elbow.

Solis, 23, split last season between Class A teams in Hagerstown and Potomac. He felt pain during the Arizona Fall League but there were conflicting opinions about whether he needed Tommy John surgery. The Nationals hoped he could get through the injury with rehabilitation and invited him to spring training as part of their accelerated development program.

But the pain returned during a throwing session last Friday. General Manager Mike Rizzo said the ligament-replacement operation will be performed in Los Angeles next week by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who did the same procedure on Nationals pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann.

Yankees add to rotation

Now two spots in the New York Yankees’ rotation are secure.

Manager Joe Girardi indicated that right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will join Opening Day starter CC Sabathia in the five-man unit.

Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia are also in the mix, although Garcia and Hughes appear to be competing for the final job.

Kuroda agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract last month. The 37-year-old was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers after a long career in Japan.

Reliever Joba Chamberlain has thrown off a full mound for the first time in eight months after elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Chamberlain made 16 throws during the session and said “everything went great.”

The right-hander started working off a half-mound as part of a rehabilitation program on Feb. 3.

Chamberlain went 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 27 relief appearances last season before surgery on June 16. He is expected to rejoin the Yankees this season, possibly before the All-Star break.

A’s pick opening starter

The Oakland Athletics have their Opening Day starter, and it’s right-hander Brandon McCarthy.

Manager Bob Melvin said McCarthy was an easy choice based on last year’s results and trades that left the team without All-Stars Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill.

The A’s open their season in Japan on March 28. Bartolo Colon gets the call to start the second game the following day.

McCarthy had a career high in wins, starts, complete games, innings pitched and strikeouts last season. He was 9-9 with five complete games in 25 starts, and had 123 strikeouts in 170‚ innings.

Astros select closer

Brett Myers, who started 66 of the 67 games in which he played during his first two seasons with the Houston Astros, will be the team’s closer this year. The 31-year-old right-hander has 94 wins in 249 starts, including a 7-14 record with a 4.46 ERA for the Astros last season. He saved 21 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 after starting that season in the rotation.

Royals sign Duffy

The Kansas City Royals and pitcher Danny Duffy have agreed to a one-year contract for $487,750. The 23-year-old left-hander is expected to be a member of the rotation after going 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie last year.