Deion Sanders and Sid Fernandez could hardly wait to start their comeback in baseball.
Out of baseball since 1997, the former Mets pitcher caught a redeye flight to Florida, showed up at the New York Yankees' spring training camp Tuesday and headed to the mound.
And after a 15-minute audition at Tampa, the 38-year-old lefty got what he came for a uniform and a minor league contract.
``It's win-win for me,'' Fernandez said. ``It's exciting to come here. It's not a guarantee. At least I got a shot.''
Said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman: ``We saw enough where we're intrigued.''
Steve Rain probably wishes he'd been as prompt.
After pitching 37 games for the Chicago Cubs last season, he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals and was invited to camp at Haines City, Fla.
Before his first workout, manager Tony Muser and GM Allard Baird warned the reliever about being late for workouts. So when Rain showed up two hours tardy Tuesday, the Royals wasted no time they released him.
``We knew his history in the past, his problem of not being on time,'' Muser said. ``We've got to move on. He's got a great arm, but I don't have the time to waste for another meeting with him.
``I wish him well, but if you can't show up on time, then you're no longer here,'' he said.
Deion Sanders was among the players who took part in drills. Out of the majors since 1997, he worked out with the Cincinnati Reds in Sarasota, Fla.
``What we're asking him to do for a normal human being is fairly impossible,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. ``He's probably the one guy on the planet who could do what he needs to do to get back to world-class status in baseball.''
Barry Bonds is wondering about his future.
The three-time MVP opened spring training by asking the San Francisco Giants either to begin negotiations on a contract extension or to consider a trade Bonds will make $10.3 million this season and is eligible for free agency after the season. He wants to stay in San Francisco and would like an answer from the Giants before the regular season begins.
``If there's dead silence, then I've got an answer,'' the 36-year-old outfielder said in Scottsdale, Ariz.
``At this point in my career, after all I've done for this organization, I should just be told whether I'm going to be back here or not. If I am going to be here, then let's talk about it and let's get it done.''
GM Brian Sabean said the Giants ``unequivocally'' want to keep Bonds, and wouldn't consider trading him during the season unless they were hopelessly out of the pennant race.
Devon White, meanwhile, joined fellow Los Angeles outfielder Gary Sheffield in asking to be traded.
White, 38, is unhappy that the Dodgers plan to use him as a fourth outfielder.
``I said to the group today it's very, very important that we go west with a group of people who really want to be Dodgers,'' new manager Jim Tracy said in Vero Beach, Fla.
The Baltimore Orioles are hoping Albert Belle is healthy enough for a full season. Though the slugger passed a physical Tuesday, his arthritic right hip hindered his ability to run and forced him to perform at less than full speed during a workout.
``If Albert either proves to himself, or to us, or breaks down or something happens that says he can't, obviously we will adjust,'' manager Mike Hargrove said.
In other medical news, Los Angeles pitcher Kevin Brown returned to training camp, one day after having an irregular heartbeat checked out at a hospital.
``It's really not a big deal,'' Dodgers team physician Frank Jobe said. ``He came in saying he had a lot of Cokes and had an arrhythmia of the heart. I have it myself, and a lot of people have it.''