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Friday, March 27, 2009
Ichiro returns to Seattle; A's Duchscherer ailing

Associated Press

With the stress of waiting to be sentenced for misleading Congress alleviated, Miguel Tejada flashed the skills that made him an AL MVP.

There is uncertainty surrounding Angels ace John Lackey, who has tightness in his right forearm and might not be ready to start the season.

After spending a day in a Washington court, where he was sentenced to one year of probation, given 100 hours of community service and fined $5,000 for denying Congress information about an ex-teammates use of performance-enhancing drugs, Tejada homered and drove in two runs Friday in the Houston Astros' 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"It's a lot easier with the stuff behind me," said Tejada, who had been awaiting sentencing since pleading guilty Feb. 12. "I don't have to worry about that anymore. The only thing I have to worry about now is to just play baseball."

Tejada went 3-for-3 with an RBI double and a single to back Roy Oswalt, who was making his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic.

"Every time I take the field, it doesn't matter what happens off the field. I'm going to play the best I can," said Tejada, who was hitting just .251 this spring coming into the game.

Oswalt allowed 10 hits and three runs in six innings.

"Early on I couldn't get the ball down," Oswalt said. "As the game went on I was able to get some command and start getting people out."

Oswalt will have one more spring start before opening day. He'll throw two bullpen sessions before his next start as he tries to get into regular-season form. Oswalt struggled in the WBC, posting a 5.56 ERA in three starts and got the loss to Japan in the semifinals.

At Tuscon, Ariz., the Angeles said Lackey's opening-day start might be in jeopardy, and a trip to the disabled list is possible.

"Right now, it is on hold," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said about Lackey's scheduled start for the regular season. "We will make a determination this week. He is getting over stiffness."

Lackey will have an MRI exam this weekend to determine the extent of the injury. The tightness surfaced March 22 while throwing 90 pitches against Kansas City.

Lackey, who was 12-5 with a 3.75 ERA last year, is entering the final year of his contract.

"I think we are relieved that everything seems structurally where his elbow needs to be. There is just inflammation in there," Scioscia said. "We will evaluate it every day and see where he is. He has already thrown 90 pitches (in a game) so it shouldn't take him too far along to get where he needs to be" once he starts throwing again.

In other news:

-Alex Rodriguez's rehabilitation from right hip surgery will keep him from returning to the Yankees' spring training complex until after the team heads to New York to play two exhibition games in their new stadium.

A-Rod has been rehabbing in Vail, Colo., where he had the surgery March 9. Rodriguez is working out in a pool, doing range of motion drills and lifting weights.

"He'll be back after we're gone," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday. "All is going good."

-At Scottsdale, Ariz., American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee talked about his contract, which is up after this season, and Cleveland holds an option. He said the Indians approached him in the offseason but there haven't been any talks this spring.

"They said they can't do it due to the economy," Lee said. "I respect that. I can't force anything."

-Right-hander Ricky Nolasco has been chosen to start the Florida Marlins' season opener April 6 against the Washington Nationals.

-At Fort Myers, Fla., Daisuke Matsuzaka had his first bullpen session of the spring with the Boston Red Sox after being the MVP of the World baseball Classic. Matsuzaka struggled with his control in the 54-pitch session ahead of his first Grapefruit League game of the season Monday against the Braves in Orlando.

Yankees 4, Reds 1

At Tampa, Fla., CC Sabathia, the Yankees' opening day starter, allowed one run and four hits over 7 2-3 innings.

Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang gave up four runs -- two earned -- and four hits over six innings. The right-hander is set to become the first Reds pitcher to make four straight opening-day starts since Jose Rijo (1992-95).

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Johan Santana gave up one run on four hits over seven dominant innings for the Mets. Santana struck out six and needed only 75 pitchers, even though it was only his third start in the Grapefruit League.

Nationals left-hander John Lannan, who also will start on opening day, gave up his first earned runs of the spring but said it was his best outing so far.

Blue Jays 4, Pirates 1

At Bradenton, Fla., Roy Halladay limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run and four hits over seven innings.

Giants 10, Indians 3

At Scottsdale, Ariz., Cy Young winner Lee again struggled for the Indians, giving up 12 hits and seven runs in five innings. He has given up 17 earned runs in his last 12 2-3 innings.

Royals 4, Dodgers 1

At Phoenix, Gil Meche worked seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits -- three singles by Manny Ramirez. He struck out six and walked one against Los Angeles.

Cubs 9, White Sox 4

At Mesa, Ariz., Carlos Zambrano is ready to head to Chicago after throwing 89 pitches over six innings and gave up two runs. He allowed five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Rockies 8, Mariners 3

At Peoria, Ariz., Aaron Cook pitched into the sixth inning, throwing 100 pitches and giving up three runs for the Rockies.

Seattle starter Erik Bedard made just his third appearance since missing time with a sore buttocks muscle. But instead of building on his last effort when Bedard threw 2 2-3 shutout innings, he struggled to barely last three innings, tagged for six runs with four walks.

Red Sox 11, Cardinals 8, 10 innings

At Fort Myers, Fla., Josh Beckett gave up four runs and six hits in six innings, and Chip Ambres hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to give Boston the victory.

Twins 16, Rays 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., James Shields, Tampa Bay's projected opening-day starter, gave up 11 runs and 12 hits. Shields yieled homers to Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel in 4 1-3 innings.

Orioles 9, Marlins 7

At Jupiter, Fla., Jeremy Guthrie Guthrie gave up six runs in the first inning. After he left the game in the fifth, he was told by manager Dave Trembley he'd be starting the season opener April 6.

Braves 3, Tigers 2

At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta's Tom Glavine and Detroit's Justin Verlander are looking to have bounce-back seasons, and each made strides toward reaching their goals.

Verlander threw seven scoreless innings and Glavine shut out the Tigers for four.

Brewers 7, Rangers 4

At Surprise, Ariz., Brad Nelson hit a three-run homer in the first inning for the Brewers, who got a decent start from Dave Bush in running his spring record to 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA.

Kevin Millwood allowed only four hits but walked three and gave up six runs, one earned.

Padres 5, Athletics 2

At Phoenix, Jake Peavy pitched six scoreless innings in his first outing since returning from the WBC, and Scott Hairston hit two homers to lead the Padres.

Shawn Hill followed Peavy to the mound and gave up two runs in his Padres debut.