Even Frank Thomas admitted he didn't come off well during his six-day hiatus from Chicago White Sox camp.
"I did look like a poster boy for greed over the weekend, but that is not the case," Thomas said Tuesday after returning to camp in Tucson, Ariz. "I've never been greedy."
Thomas acknowledged that fans, whose favor he regained by hitting .328 last year with 43 homers and 143 RBIs, probably would turn on him.
"I extend my apologies to those who were affected by my absence," he said. "It was a big distraction. I do want to apologize to my teammates and all Chicago White Sox fans."
Thomas, who returned on the mandatory reporting date specified by baseball's collective bargaining agreement, is due $9,927,000 in each of the next six seasons, but only this year is really guaranteed.
"Frank Thomas has apologized publicly for his remarks about renegotiating his contract, his delayed arrival in camp and the effect his words and actions may have had on our team and fans," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said.
In Phoenix, Devon White says his days as an unhappy camper are over following his trade from Los Angeles to Milwaukee, which sent Marquis Grissom the Dodgers.
White was upset about a lack of playing time with the Dodgers after he returned from a shoulder injury last season. He didn't want to play behind Gary Sheffield, Tom Goodwin and Shawn Green this year.
But if Milwaukee doesn't make a trade, White figures to become a backup to Jeromy Burnitz, Jeffrey Hammonds and Geoff Jenkins.
"I understand we have three young good players, superstars as far as I'm concerned, and I don't have a beef in backing them up and helping them any way I can," White said after his first workout with his new team.
In Vero Beach, Fla., Grissom arrived at Dodgertown with a smile, somewhat unusual for Los Angeles outfielders these days.
"I'm very happy to be here," Grissom said. "I remember how awesome it was for me to come to Dodger Stadium when I first came up. There's a lot of history here, an outstanding organization respected throughout baseball."
Gary Sheffield, upset the Dodgers refused to extend his contract beyond 2004, remains in camp but also wants out, preferably to the New York Yankees, the Mets or Atlanta.
"We've been friends for a long time," Grissom said. "What he's got going on, I have no idea."
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the Baltimore Orioles said Albert Belle won't be in their lineup for their spring opener against St. Louis because of a sore hip that has put his future with the team in doubt.
While Belle will miss the road trip to Jupiter, he is scheduled to start in right field the next day against the Minnesota Twins at Fort Lauderdale.
Belle has been used in right field for all three intrasquad games, with mixed results. He has hit the ball with authority, but continues to move poorly in the outfield and on the basepaths and hasn't attempted to slide, even in drills.
"I didn't come here with any preconceived notions about where Albert should be with his hip. I think that's fairly untested waters for all of us," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.
At Tampa, Fla., the Yankees said they'll open the spring season without shortstop Derek Jeter or catcher Jorge Posada.
One day after Jeter was scratched from an intrasquad with a stiff right shoulder, Posada was limited to designated hitter duties Tuesday with the same problem.
Neither is expected to play until at least the Yankees' third exhibition game, Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.
"I really don't want to push it yet," Posada said.
Jeter took groundballs Tuesday, but did not throw or take batting practice. He expects to resume throwing and hitting late this week.
In Peoria, Ariz., Tony Gwynn hit against a pitcher for the first time in eight months and one knee operation.
Gwynn, who played in a career-low 36 games last season, went 1-for-2 in San Diego's intrasquad game. Even though he had trouble breaking out of the box his first at-bat and later got doubled off second, he said it was a good day.
"It feels good being out there again, a nice feeling when you go up there to the plate, kind of settle in and try to find it again," said Gwynn, who's entering his 20th season with the Padres.
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