Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez is going back to the Dominican Republic to obtain his work visa, hoping to straighten out a problem that appears to stem from his performance-enhancing drug ban last year.
Volquez has already been picked to start on opening day for the NL Central champions.
The 27-year-old righty plans to be back in the Dominican this weekend and meet with U.S. government representatives Monday. He expects to rejoin the Reds at their Arizona camp on Tuesday.
Volquez only has a travel visa right now. He has not been allowed to pitch in any exhibition games for which admissions were charged. His ban last April for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug apparently has prevented him from getting the proper documentation.
Volquez has been allowed to work on the back fields and threw 50 pitches in live batting practice on Wednesday. He will get four starts between now and opening day.
"When I get back, I'm going to jump right into a game," Volquez said Thursday. "Four starts should be enough to get ready. When I come back, I'll pitch four or five innings. The 50 pitches yesterday was about three innings."
Around the majors
Cubs: Manager Mike Quade is OK with dugout dustups — as long as his team gets better. Quade held a team meeting before practice early Thursday to address the dugout fight Wednesday between pitcher Carlos Silva and third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Quade said the matter has "been put to bed."
"Sometimes a little revolt's not bad. I'm glad people were (upset)," Quade said. "But we need to channel that anger at the opposition and within ourselves. And that's all."
■ Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano pitched three scoreless innings in his second spring start, and a split squad of Rangers rallied to beat the Cubs 8-7.
Astros: Catcher Jason Castro will undergo knee surgery Friday and will be out for an indefinite period, leaving an opening at catcher. Castro has a torn right medial meniscus.
Humberto Quintero, who drove in two runs Thursday with a pair of hits against the Marlins, and J.R. Towles are the remaining catchers on the Astros' roster. Plans to use Towles at other positions this spring training have been suspended, Manager Brad Mills said.
Yankees: Freddy Garcia launched his bid to win a spot in the starting rotation by working two scoreless innings during a 1-1, 10-inning exhibition tie with the Rays on Thursday. The 34-year-old, two-time All-Star — signed to a minor-league contract after going 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA for the White Sox last season — allowed two hits and struck out one in his spring training debut.
Phillies: Cole Hamels pitched one-hit ball over four innings, and Philadelphia beat the Red Sox 2-0 Thursday in a spring-training matchup of teams favored to reach the World Series. Hamels struck out three and walked one, throwing 29 of 50 pitches for strikes. Relievers Scott Mathieson, Michael Stutes and Juan Perez held the Red Sox hitless.
Braves: Chipper Jones played third base for the first time since injuring his knee last August, and the perennial All-Star was flawless in the field Thursday in a 4-3 win over the Tigers. "I just want to play," Jones said. "Once you get on the field instinct takes over."
Rangers: AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz pitched two scoreless innings in his bid to become part of the starting rotation, and a Rangers split squad beat the Indians 11-9. Feliz, who posted 40 saves last season for the AL champions, is getting a chance to start this year. He allowed two hits, walked one, hit a batter and threw 19 of his 36 pitches for strikes.
Padres: Bench coach Rick Renteria was taken to a hospital after being hit in the mouth by a line drive during batting practice.