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MLB

MLB notebook: Marlins owner defends payroll purge

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's three-day public relations campaign to patch things up with angry fans has brought him to spring training.

Loria conducted an interview session Tuesday that included several testy exchanges before the owner cut it short. He reiterated previous comments regarding the 2012 payroll purge, saying it wasn't about money but about improving the farm system.

Fans are upset that after only one season of big spending in a new ballpark built with contributions from tax dollars, the Marlins have reverted to their tight budgets of the past.

This year's payroll is expected to be less than $45 million, compared with $90 million in 2012. Loria denied that he reneged on any promise, noting the Marlins finished last in the NL East with their biggest payroll ever.

Pujols up and running

Albert Pujols is nearly ready to start running on the field in the Angels slugger's deliberate recovery from offseason surgery on his right knee.

Pujols is taking batting practice and running on a treadmill at spring training, and he participated in fielding drills Tuesday. He's expected to start running on the field later this week. He isn't expected to play in a Cactus League game until mid-March, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia has no doubt Pujols will be ready for Opening Day.

Hamilton hitless

Josh Hamilton went 0 for 3 in his Cactus League debut with the Angels, playing five innings in their 7-7 tie with an Arizona Diamondbacks split squad on Tuesday.

Hamilton grounded out on the first pitch he faced and later flied out twice for the Angels, who signed him a five-year, $125 million free-agent deal to leave Texas for Los Angeles.

Lincecum looks to rebound

Tim Lincecum gave up three runs and failed to get through two innings in his first spring training start for the Giants, an 8-8 tie with the Dodgers.

Lincecum worked with two trainers to increase his strength after going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA last year. He thrived as a reliever during the Giants' run to a World Series championship but is poised to return to form as a starter this season.

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