Pat Neshek pointed to the base of his locker at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where there is a big pile of letters and packages from fans. He and his wife, Stephanee, have been overwhelmed by all the support after the death of their newborn son, Gehrig John, in the fall.
"It's so nice; we do appreciate it," said Neshek, a Park Center High School product and former Twins reliever. "But when you're trying to get past it, and then you hear about it, it reminds you all over again."
Neshek said earlier this week that things are a little better now, though he and Stephanee struggle every day and they had counseling to talk about the tragedy.
"She had a hard time, and she still is, but we've made a lot of strides," Neshek said. "I wouldn't say I'm fine, but she was the one who held him all the time, and it's been real tough for her. I am proud of how far she's come.
"It will be years, I think. There is no way to get better. But there is hope we will have another kid."
Gehrig's death, 23 hours after he was born, was unexplained at the time, but the Nesheks now are pursuing legal action. Neshek said he cannot go into details, citing the legal matter, but has hired an attorney and a pathologist to look into his son's death.
"I really can't talk about it, but we wanted to look into everything that happened and we pretty much know what caused it," Neshek said.
• Athletics closer Grant Balfour, another former Twins righthander, was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday to repair a torn meniscus. The A's made the announcement that the 35-year-old is expected to miss four to six weeks, and that he had decided to have the procedure now with the hopes of returning for the start of the season.
Pujols tests knee
Angels slugger Albert Pujols hopes to begin agility drills and light running in a couple of days to test his surgically repaired right knee.
He underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in October, what he considered a minor cleanup procedure, but said Thursday he will ease into spring training with the hopes of being fully healthy for opening day.
"My goal is to be ready for Opening Day," Pujols said.
He said he will get his at-bats in some Cactus League games as soon as his knee can handle it. There's no reason to overdo things with the season still almost two months away, he said.
• Felix Hernandez will make $27 million in the final year of his new $175 million, seven-year contract with Seattle, which includes a conditional eighth-year option should he need elbow ligament surgery during the length of the deal. He also is receiving a $6 million signing bonus for the contract he signed Wednesday, the largest deal for a pitcher in baseball history.
• St. Louis announced a three-year contract extension with General Manager John Mozeliak and exercised the 2014 option for manager Mike Matheny, hoping the pair will keep the Cardinals contending for the World Series. Terms were not announced.
• Colorado acquired infielder Reid Brignac from Tampa Bay for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Brignac bounced between Class AAA Durham and the Rays last year.