Mark Prior will enter spring as the favorite for the fifth starter's job, competing with Wade Miller and perhaps Sean Marshall, whom the Cubs prefer to start out at Triple-A Iowa. If Miller wins the job, there's no assurance Prior will go to the bullpen. He could be sent to Iowa to start the season, even if he's healthy. -- Chicago Tribune

The only area in which the Rockies had hoped to make an offseason adjustment was center field, and the truth is, an impact center fielder was not on the market. The question is whether the Rockies will step up if a player such as Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter or Vernon Wells becomes available. -- Rocky Mountain News

Bernie Williams is leaning toward accepting the Yankees' offer of a minor-league contract, two people familiar with the situation told Newsday Thursday. The 38-year-old, ultra-popular outfielder is aware that he'll be a long shot to make the 2007 Yankees, the sources said. But he has no desire to play for another team. -- Newsday

San Diego has put on hold a proposed trade of right- handed reliever Scott Linebrink to Philadelphia for outfielder Aaron Rowand. The Padres want to check out outfielder Terrmel Sledge and see how the bullpen fits together before making the move. -- Rocky Mountain News

According to club and league officials, Barry Bonds would be placed on the 40-man roster once Major League Baseball approves his contract. Bonds does not need to sign the contract to be on the roster but must put pen to paper before playing in a game. -- Contra Costa Times

Congress is ready to step in if baseball players refuse to cooperate with George Mitchell's steroid investigation, two lawmakers told the former Senate Majority Leader. -- New York Daily News

There's growing concern among Rockies fans regarding Matt Holliday. If the Rockies want to talk about a multiyear contract, Holliday said he'll listen, but the Rockies don't have to do anything. There have been no discussions about a multiyear contract since Holliday hired agent Scott Boras 14 months ago. -- Denver Post

Mike Matheny's decision to retire was made for him. His doctor refused to clear the longtime catcher to play in 2007 after a concussion sidelined him for the final four months of last season. -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After seven years of last-minute political defeats, the plan to help the Marlins build a new ballpark with the help of state funds got a major boost Wednesday when Gov. Charlie Crist announced he is a fan of using taxpayer money to subsidize sports stadiums. -- Miami Herald

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