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Sunday, March 7, 2010
Updated: March 8, 7:15 AM ET
Spring Training Blog: March 7


BONDERMAN STRUGGLES WITH CONTROL (7:30 p.m. ET)
Jeremy Bonderman struggled with his control again, and this time it hurt him.

Bonderman failed to make it out of the first inning in his second spring start, yielding Randy Ruiz's grand slam in the Detroit Tigers' 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

"Rough day, to say the least," Bonderman said. "I'm just having a hard time with sinkers running off the plate and diving and staying down, which is good. But I've got to figure a way to throw consistently where I want. I was trying to throw it over the plate."

When he got it over the plate, "it was right down the middle," he said.

Bonderman recorded just two outs and was charged with six runs and six hits. Jose Bautista connected for a leadoff homer, Ruiz went deep and Travis Snyder hit his 36th and last pitch for a sacrifice fly.

Bonderman missed most of the last two years because of a blood clot in his right shoulder that required surgery. He is entering the final season of a $38 million, four-year contract.

"There's five, six guys fighting for two jobs," said Bonderman, who won 14 games in 2005 and 2006. "Until [manager Jim Leyland] comes up to me and says 'It's your job,' I don't think I have a job. Just 'cause you're under a contract doesn't mean anything."

-- The Associated Press

HAPP, AUMONT PITCH WELL FOR PHILLIES (7:10 p.m. ET)
J.A. Happ and Phillippe Aumont felt better after their second spring outings.

Happ and Aumont combined for five scoreless innings in the Philadelphia Phillies' 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

Happ allowed two hits, walked two and struck out two in 2 1/3 innings. Aumont replaced him in the third and gave up two hits in 2 2-3 innings, bouncing back after yielding five runs in an exhibition game against Florida State on Wednesday night.

"I was a little more consistent with mechanics and I was able to throw more strikes," said Aumont, one of three prospects acquired by the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade. "We've been working the last few days on some stuff and it paid off."

Happ, who finished second in last year's voting for the NL Rookie of the Year, threw two shutout innings against the Seminoles but said he felt better after facing Tampa Bay.

"I just need to get reps," he said. "With more reps, that's how you pick up your comfort level."

-- The Associated Press

ROCKIES' KENNEDY STRONG IN APPEARANCE (6:56 p.m. ET)
Ian Kennedy has shown promise in the minor leagues. The Diamondbacks are hoping he can finally bring that success to the big league level.

Kennedy got off to a positive start Sunday, throwing two scoreless innings in a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies. The game between split squads was called because of rain after 5½ innings.

Kennedy said he threw all his pitches, including two curveballs, but focused on his fastball command. He allowed two hits and walked one. The 25-year-old right-hander is expected to be Arizona's No. 4 starter.

Last season, Kennedy's season was cut short by an aneurysm under his right armpit. He pitched one major league inning and 22 2/3 innings in the minors. He has a 19-6 record and 1.95 ERA in the minors compared to a 1-4 record and 6.03 ERA in 59 2/3 big league innings.

"Here, they've said from the get-go, I still have to prove myself, but the doors are open for me," Kennedy said.

-- The Associated Press

METS' PEREZ, NATS' MARQUIS STRUGGLE IN FIRST STARTS (4:45 p.m. ET)
Oliver Perez looked shaky in his first spring start, but Omir Santos hit an inside-the-park grand slam to help the Mets beat the Nationals 6-5 on Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Perez, coming off a terrible 2009, allowed five runs and seven hits in three innings. The notoriously wild left-hander issued just one walk and struck out two.

Jason Marquis, who signed a free-agent deal with Washington in the offseason, also had a rough start in his first spring game. He gave up five runs and three hits in two innings.

Santos hit a drive into the left-field corner in the second that Willy Taveras signaled was out of play after trying to retrieve it. The umpire ruled it was in play as Santos circled the bases.

-- The Associated Press

PADRES' SCOTT HAIRSTON DAY TO DAY WITH BRUISED HAND (4:28 p.m. ET)
Padres outfielder Scott Hairston, who was hit on the hand by a pitch Saturday in a loss to the Mariners, is day to day with a bruised left hand.

He said he's already seeing improvement. Hairston said he had full strength in his hand though he planned to take the day off.

"The look of it made me nervous," Hairston said. "Right now it's very early in spring training. It's not necessary to push things right now. I just want to make sure it's right."

Padres manager Bud Black had a brief conversation with Hairston in the morning and believes he will return soon.

Also, Padres right-hander Jon Garland said he felt good enough to avoid treatment a day after he was struck on the inside of the left knee by a line drive.

-- The Associated Press

RAYS GIVE DH BURRELL A SHIFT IN LEFT FIELD (4:11 p.m. ET)
The Tampa Bay Rays did something Sunday they did only once all last season: They played DH Pat Burrell in the outfield.

Burrell started in left field against his old team, the Phillies, after suggesting to manager Joe Maddon that he'd like an opportunity to play in the field more often.

While Carl Crawford is set in left field, the Rays are still trying to figure out who's going to be their right fielder. But Maddon said Sunday he didn't foresee Burrell playing regularly in right.

"I'm not going to play him in the outfield if I think we're better suited not to have him play in the outfield," the manager said. "You look at our team defensively ... and we really pride ourselves on that. We think that's a big part of our success, because obviously, we have some really good defenders out there. I'm not saying he can't get out there. We'll see how the season plays out. But for right now, he's the DH."

Burrell's take: "I'm here as a player, and what they call on me to do, I do. I'd like to create as many options for them as I can. And playing the outfield is an option. But if it's not, it's not."

-- Jayson Stark, ESPN.com

SS WILSON, CF GUTIERREZ LIKELY BACK FOR MARINERS (2:40 p.m. ET)
Shortstop Jack Wilson and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez are expected to be back in the lineup when the Mariners play a pair of spring games Monday in Arizona.

Wilson left Seattle's 9-3 loss to San Diego on Friday when he felt tightness in his right hamstring. Gutierrez has been hampered by a sore right shoulder and will make his first spring start when the Mariners play Milwaukee and the Chicago White Sox in split-squad games Monday.

Closer David Aardsma, who strained his groin Thursday against San Diego, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday.

-- The Associated Press

INDIANS WON'T BABY WESTBROOK (2:09 p.m. ET)
The Indians and Rangers were rained out Sunday, pushing Jake Westbrook's first spring training start back to Monday. He's scheduled to throw two innings or 30 pitches against the Diamondbacks in Tucson.

Westbrook, 32, won 44 games and averaged 213 innings a season for Cleveland from 2004 through 2006 before the injuries hit. He underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May 2008, and made two unsuccessful attempts to come back last season.

But Westbrook made four starts in winter ball in Puerto Rico, and the Indians don't plan to coddle him this spring.

"I expect Jake Westbrook to be good the way he was before,'' manager Manny Acta said Sunday. "I don't understand why there is so much uncertainty around him when just about every staff has a guy or two who's had Tommy John surgery. Why do we have to be so cautious or negative about Jake? Tommy John [surgery] is as common as your everyday dentist's visit in baseball now.''

The Indians are looking at Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson as their top three starters. Aaron Laffey, David Huff, Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco are the prime candidates for the final two spots in the rotation. Jeremy Sowers is currently rehabbing from a shoulder injury.

-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

BLUE JAYS LHP CECIL TO MAKE SPRING DEBUT WEDNESDAY (1:01 p.m. ET)
Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil says he will make his spring debut Wednesday, one week after he cut his left thumb while "chopping up chickens."

Cecil says he will pitch against the Phillies when they travel to Dunedin, Fla., to face Toronto. Cecil went 7-4 with a 5.30 ERA in 18 games, 17 starts, last year as a rookie and is trying to earn a spot in the Blue Jays' rotation.

Cecil, 23, was scheduled to debut Thursday against Detroit. He has been playing catch since shortly after the injury and is expected to throw a bullpen session Monday.

-- The Associated Press