- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Roy Halladay tossed a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter, all in the same year. He also won a Cy Young Award in each league, has been to eight All-Star games, and is one of the best pitchers in baseball history.

Yet for all his accomplishments on the mound, Halladay finds himself talking more about snakes these days.

Who knew?

Despite being outpitched by his good buddy, Chris Carpenter, in Game 5 of the NLDS in which St. Louis upset Philadelphia 1-0, Halladay’s legend grew a bit this offseason for a heroic effort far from the ordinary.

Halladay, Carpenter and some friends were on a fishing trip in the Amazon when they rescued a fisherman who had been bitten by an Anaconda.

As word of the story leaked, various accounts exaggerated Halladay’s role in the rescue. The Phillies’ right-hander set the record straight Tuesday.

“I was not wrestling snakes. I was nowhere near snakes,” Halladay said. “We were just driving back. We had been fishing all day and we were on the boat driving back and we happened to see a guy sitting on the shore line without clothes. We couldn’t talk to him. The guides had to talk to him. They were speaking Portuguese. He had been attacked by a snake and escaped, but it had ripped the engine off the boat and left all his stuff out in the middle of the river. So we picked up his stuff and drove him back to his tribe, I guess you would call it.”

So much for Halladay diving underwater to fight off a killer snake and save a man’s life.

“By far, I’ve told that story more than any other story I’ve ever had,” Halladay said. “And I’ve got the guys I went fishing with to thank for leaking it. It was quite an experience.”

MARINERS: The lineup change Seattle manager Eric Wedge hinted a t during the offseason is going to become permanent. It won’t be Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the Mariners’ batting order to begin the 2012 season.

Wedge announced that he will move Suzuki from his traditional leadoff spot to No. 3. It’s not a simple spring training experiment; Wedge is set to make Suzuki’s move permanent, and he will figure out who is Seattle’s best option to take over in the leadoff role.

RANGERS: Yu Darvish arrived at Texas’ spring training complex and had his first bullpen session with his new team. Darvish threw about 35 pitches, manager Ron Washington said.

The AL champion Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire Japan’s top pitcher. Darvish, 25, got a six-year contract guaranteeing him $56 million, and Texas had to pay a record $51,703,411 posting bid to his former team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

ANGELS: Mark Trumbo did everything Los Angeles asked in 2011 - he led the team in home runs and RBI, played a solid first base and did his best to keep them in playoff contention.

Now, the Angels want something else from Trumbo after he finished second in the rookie of the year voting. They’d like him to shift across the diamond to third base.

The Angels signed star free agent Albert Pujols to play first base. They’re also anticipating the return of first baseman Kendrys Morales, who didn’t play in the majors last year after breaking his left ankle during a home-plate celebration in 2010.

REDS: Aroldis Chapman will be tested as a starter this spring by Cincinnati. The 24-year old left-hander whose pitches have been clocked at 105 mph has a 6-3 record with a 3.27 ERA in 69 relief appearances over the last two seasons with the Reds.

Chapman was supposed to pitch in the Arizona Fall League as a starter, and then in one of the Puerto Rican winter leagues. But shoulder soreness canceled the plan.

INDIANS: Infielder Cristian Guzman will sign a minor league contract with Cleveland. Guzman, 33, has played for Minnesota, Washington and Texas. He sat out last season because of a shoulder injury. He had surgery in 2009 when he was with the Nationals and played for Indians manager Manny Acta. The switch hitter has a career. 271 average in 11 seasons. He batted .316 for the National in 2008.

YANKEES: Outfielder Raul Ibanez and New York finalized a $1.1 million, one-year contract. Ibanez, 39, hit .245 last year for Philadelphia with 20 homers and 84 RBI.

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