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Harvey throws to batters for 1st time since elbow surgery (The Associated Press)

Matt Harvey drew an ovation from the crowd of 100-150 fans and high-fives from teammates after stepping off the mound Friday. The New York Mets ace threw 43 pitches to David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy in his first time facing hitters since elbow-ligament replacement surgery on Oct. 22, 2013. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud and manager Terry Collins sounded impressed by Harvey’s accuracy and command.

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A-Rod shifts across the infield and works out at first base (The Associated Press)

Stripped of his job at third base, Alex Rodriguez moved across the diamond and worked out at first base for the initial time with the New York Yankees. Asked whether he felt comfortable at first, Rodriguez said: ”Too quick to tell.” ”I’m anxious to learn, though,” he added. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman say Chase Headley will be their starting third baseman and Rodriguez will compete for at-bats at designated hitter. Having Rodriguez get occasional playing time as Mark Teixeira’s backup at first would give Girardi flexibility.

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Harvey draws positive reviews after facing batters

Matt Harvey, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery, threw 43 pitches during two batting-practice stints on the mound, his first against live hitters since Aug. 24, 2013. And although the batters were not swinging, the assessment — from Mets manager Terry Collins, the players and Harvey alike — was nothing but positive.

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Collins watching lefty bench bat competition closely

There’s a position battle that Mets manager Terry Collins is going to be watching closely for the next month — the one involving left-handed hitters Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

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Blue Jays sign LHP Johan Santana, hope for return to majors (The Associated Press)

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana to a minor league contract, hoping the former ace can make it back to the majors. The Blue Jays announced the deal Thursday and invited him to big league spring training. He last pitched in the majors in 2012 with the New York Mets and has undergone two operations on his left shoulder in recent years. Santana was in Baltimore’s minor league system last year and tore his left Achilles tendon in June.

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Murphy focused on task at hand with Mets

Six and a half years ago, Daniel Murphy arrived in Houston as a little-known 13th-round Draft pick trying to help the Mets win a pennant race. He spent much of the next half-decade trying to prove he belonged — first in the big leagues, then at second base. Consistently, Murphy defied the odds.

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Harvey set for first spring start on March 6

Matt Harvey will take a significant step forward in his rehab from Tommy John surgery on March 6, when he is scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League start against the Tigers. It will be Harvey’s first live game action since Aug. 24, 2013, also against Detroit.

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