Category archive: Jorge Posada

REDS' ARROYO STOMPED IN FINAL SPRING TURN (1:38 a.m. ET)

Bronson Arroyo was hit hard during his final spring start and committed a costly throwing error in the Cincinnati Reds' 10-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

Arroyo allowed 10 runs and 11 hits in four innings. The right-hander's error in the third led to five unearned runs.

"Bronson wasn't sharp tonight, but he had to get his work in," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He feels good. He just wasn't sharp. He was missing."

-- ESPN.com news services

LOPEZ CLOSES OUT NEAR-PERFECT SPRING (12:45 a.m. ET)

Rodrigo Lopez wrapped up his phenomenal spring with a gem against the Chicago Cubs.

The 34-year-old right-hander, a non-roster invitee who pitched his way onto the Arizona rotation, ran his string of scoreless innings to 19 with 6 2/3 in the Diamondbacks' 5-3 victory over the Cubs on Friday night.

"I finished strong," he said. "This is one of my best spring trainings I ever had in my career. I'm pretty happy to be part of the Diamondbacks this season. This is a good feeling."

Lopez pitched to just 21 batters, one more than the minimum possible, allowing two hits, striking out four and walking one.

Lopez, released by Philadelphia last September after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007, did not give up a run after the first inning of his second outing. He is Arizona's No. 4 starter behind Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. Lopez has a 68-66 record with San Diego, Baltimore, Colorado and Philadelphia, but missed virtually the entire 2008 season. He was 3-1 in five starts for the Phillies last year.

-- ESPN.com news services

ASTROS' MEYERS SOLID IN RETURN TO ACTION (12:30 a.m. ET)

Brett Myers pitched six innings in his first action since a groin strain more than a week ago and the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays played 10 innings to a 3-3 tie Friday night.

Myers, scheduled to be Houston's third starter behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez, allowed six hits and three runs and struck out two.

Myers said he felt great after a week's rest following the injury that caused him to leave after 5 1/3 innings March 25. He said he wanted to work on his fast ball, but that he soon changed things up after they were hitting his fast balls.

"That's what I wanted to work on but after that I was just kind of like: 'I'm not going to let them get the best of me. I'm not going to try to give up six runs just because I'm going to work on some pitches,'" he said. "So I think my competitiveness took over and I just started pitching."

The Astros wanted to keep his pitch count around 80 and he left with 82, but felt like he could have pitched to 100.

"Smart move," he said of being pulled. "I feel strong now, so why not try to stay strong, no sense in putting any more stress on anything because we've got 162 of these to go and hopefully I've got 35 [starts] in me."

-- ESPN.com news services

RAYS CLINCH BEST SPRING RECORD (8:13 p.m. ET)

Matt Garza pitched five scoreless innings in his final tunep for the regular season, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Mets 4-2 on Friday night to clinch the best spring training record in the major leagues.

Garza allowed one hit, walked two and struck out six. Three other pitchers limited the Mets to one hit before Mike Jacobs broke up a shutout bid with a two-run homer off Lance Cormier in the ninth.

Pat Burrell drove in Tampa Bay's first run with a second-inning double off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey. Kelly Shoppach had a run-scoring single in the seventh off Fernando Nieve, and the Rays tacked on a pair of unearned runs to make 4-0 in the eighth.

The Rays improved to 20-8-2 this spring and will close out their exhibition schedule at Triple-A Durham on Saturday. They also had the top spring training record in the majors two years ago, when they went on appear in the World Series.

-- The Associated Press

BRUISED THUMB BENCHES RANGERS' CRUZ (8:13 p.m. ET)

All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz has been scratched from the Texas Rangers' lineup because of a bruised right thumb.

Cruz felt discomfort during batting practice before Friday night's exhibition game against Kansas City. He was hurt a day earlier when he hit a ball of the end of his bat.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was second in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting last season, wasn't in the lineup after getting a cortisone shot Friday to alleviate inflammation in his left wrist. The Rangers said he won't play in the final exhibition game Saturday either.

Cruz and Andrus are both expected to in the lineup for the season opener Monday at home against Toronto.

"I have no level of concern," manager Ron Washington said.

-- ESPN.com news services

RAYS' BLALOCK FREE TO SIGN ELSEWHERE (7:00 p.m. ET)

Hank Blalock did not make Tampa Bay's opening day roster and will try to sign with another major league team.

If Blalock doesn't land a deal, he'll report to the Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham.

The two-time All-Star agreed to a minor league contract last month. The deal includes an option allowing him to opt out and seek a job elsewhere if he's not on the 25-man roster coming out of spring training.

Manager Joe Maddon said Friday that Blalock has shown enough this spring that the Rays think he can be helpful if he remains with the organization. Blalock said he plans to do that if another opportunity doesn't materialize.

"I really tried to impress upon him how valuable we feel he is to us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

"You're talking about an All-Star, and a really good major league player hitting a bunch of homers last year. ... I really think he's going to have a big year, and we want it to be with us. We feel very fortunate that he will go back if this doesn't work out for him otherwise."

Blalock hit .234 with 25 homers and 66 RBIs in 123 games for the Texas Rangers last year.

-- ESPN.com news services

YANKS' PETTITTE RETURNS TO MOUND (5:40 p.m. ET)

Andy Pettitte finally made his second official appearance of spring training on Friday, pitching into the fifth inning in the New York Yankees' 6-6, nine-inning tie with the Baltimore Orioles.

It was the first start for Pettitte since March 17 because of inclement weather. He took part in simulated and intrasquad games after two starts were canceled and a third was limited to one inning by another rain out.

Pettitte scattered seven hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings Friday on a cloudless day with temperatures hovering in the 80s. Alex Rodriguez had an RBI single and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer in the Yankees' four-run first inning.

"The biggest reason I needed this was to build my stamina up," Pettitte said. "You can't simulate a game because it's just not real."

Baltimore starter Alfredo Simon went four innings, giving up four runs -- all in the first -- and five hits. Robert Andino had two RBIs for the Orioles.

-- ESPN.com news services

SOGGY START FOR TARGET FIELD (5:30 p.m. ET)

Target Field's gates are open for major league baseball for the first time, and the Minnesota Twins have -- so far -- avoided their first weather problem.

The new ballpark was christened on Friday for an exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals, which started on time under a dry sky after steady rain fell through the morning and early afternoon.

Players were prevented from taking batting practice, but the rain stopped about two hours before the scheduled first pitch as fans streamed in. The first few people in through the right field entrance yelled in celebration and sprinted to the seats. When the grounds crew took the tarp off the infield, there were plenty of claps and cheers.

Minnesota's Denard Span hit the first home run, estimated at 360 feet into the right-field seats.

The regular-season home opener is set for April 12. The Twins moved outdoors this year after playing inside the Metrodome since 1982.

-- The Associated Press

GORDON, FIELDS FACE DL STINT TO OPEN SEASON (10:53 a.m. ET)

The Royals are running out of third basemen.

Alex Gordon and Josh Fields likely will open the season on the disabled list, and they remained in Arizona when the club broke camp in Surprise. Gordon has a broken right thumb and Fields a hip injury.

Switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo, who was slated to replace Gordon at third and bat third, has not played since March 25 because of an irritation in his right side that bothers him when swinging left-handed.

If Callaspo is unable to play in the season opener Monday against Detroit, the three candidates to start at third are Mike Aviles, Willie Bloomquist and Wilson Betemit.

-- The Associated Press

POSADA TO MISS ANOTHER GAME WITH STIFF NECK (9:49 a.m. ET)

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a stiff neck.

Posada said the neck was feeling better when he arrived at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Friday. He underwent treatment for the injury.

Mike Rivera replaced Posada for Friday's game against Baltimore. The non-roster catcher has been sidelined almost two weeks by a strained right hamstring.

New York backup catcher Francisco Cervelli will not play again during spring training because of a strained left hamstring.

-- The Associated Press

Spring Training Blog: Feb. 21

February, 21, 2010
02/21/10
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PIRATES TO BE CAREFUL WITH MAHOLM (3:25 p.m. ET)
The Pittsburgh Pirates plan to be more careful with pitcher Paul Maholm this season.

Maholm went 8-9 with a 4.44 ERA last year, not what the Pirates expected from their ace.

But there were times, pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said, when Maholm insisted on taking his regular turn in the rotation despite a sore left knee and illness. Kerrigan went along, and Maholm paid the price with awful outings.

"This guy pitched with a whole bunch of injuries last year," Kerrigan said. "Some of it was our fault. There were a couple of times when we shouldn't have let him pitch with that knee."

"But he'll convince you -- he'll lie to you. He's a real good liar. We're going to have to be more forceful, I think, if we see that knee swell up a little bit. We've got to be smarter. We've got to be stubborn about it," he said.

-- The Associated Press

PITCHING DEPTH A PLUS IN OAKLAND (2:52 p.m. ET)
The A's currently expect Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson to slot in as the top four starters in the rotation. That leaves Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Vin Mazzaro to compete for the fifth spot.

Cahill, one of Oakland's top prospects, posted a 10-13 record with a 4.63 ERA in 32 starts last season. The A's want him to work on his slider and improve his performance against left-handed hitters, who batted .286 against him with a .558 slugging percentage in 2009.

It's possible that one of the losers in the fifth starter derby will assume a long relief role, but manager Bob Geren isn't thinking that far ahead.

"Right now I'm just going to treat them all like starters and stretch them out and see how the next few weeks progress,'' Geren said.

-- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

LIRIANO'S SLIDER IS BACK? (2:47 p.m. ET)
In his first three seasons after Tommy John surgery, Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano lost touch with his slider, once one of the most feared and unhittable pitches in the big leagues.

In his fourth offseason since the procedure, Liriano was finally able to rear back and let it fly. For the first time in a long time, the bite was in the slider and not in his elbow.

While pitching in winter ball in his native Dominican this offseason, Liriano started to feel like the All-Star power pitcher he was in 2006, not the wayward youngster of the past three seasons who looked lost without his favorite pitch. He went 3-1 with a 0.49 ERA in seven postseason appearances for Leones del Escogido, including a one-hit, 10-strikeout, five-inning masterpiece in the championship game.

As the Twins' pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., the team and Liriano hope his winter ball performance was a sign of things to come.

"You just have to wait and see how he carries it up to here," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's one thing pitching down there and it's another thing pitching up here. But the reports are that he's really throwing the ball well. He could be one of those ace in the holes if he can come back and bounce back, keep his arm up and the ball down."

-- The Associated Press

VAZQUEZ HAS FIRST BULLPEN SESSION (2:33 p.m. ET)
Yankees right-hander Javier Vazquez threw 35 pitches during his first spring training bullpen session Sunday.

Vazquez was acquired in an offseason trade with Atlanta to be the fourth starter behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte.

"The first time out, I feel OK," Vazquez said.

Vazquez had pitched off a mound several times -- the last being a week and a half ago -- at home in Puerto Rico. After working 219 1/3 innings last season, the Yankees had originally planned to keep him off the mound until Wednesday.

Jorge Posada caught Vazquez. The pair were Yankees teammates in 2004.

-- The Associated Press

OSWALT SETS GOALS FOR 2010 REBOUND (12:03 p.m. ET)
Roy Oswalt will be counting innings more than victories this season.

The Houston Astros' ace said on Sunday that if he can make 35 starts and reach 200 innings, he'll have a successful season.

Oswalt is coming off the most frustrating year of his career, when he went 8-6 and set a dubious franchise record with 16 no-decisions. He strained his lower back in July, then sat out the last two weeks of the season with a bulging disk.

The 32-year-old Oswalt says his back is healed and he's been reinvigorated by new manager Brad Mills and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.

Oswalt is confident he can put up numbers like he did when he won 20 games in 2004 and '05, and helped Houston reach unprecedented postseason success.

-- The Associated Press

ROGERS TO VISIT TIGERS CAMP AS INSTRUCTOR (11:17 a.m. ET)
Former Detroit Tigers left-hander Kenny Rogers is returning to spring training as a special pitching instructor.

Rogers spent the last three years of his 20-year career with the Tigers, leading them to an American League pennant in 2006. He'll be working with the Tigers at their spring training facility in Lakeland, Fla., on March 2-5, the team said.

Another former Tigers great will not be at camp, however. Lou Whittaker, who has been a special instructor at spring training since his 1995 retirement, will not be reprising that role this spring.

-- ESPN.com news services

POSADA LOOKING FORWARD TO CATCHING BURNETT (11:06 a.m. ET)
Jorge Posada says he never took it personally when he was benched for A.J. Burnett's four postseason starts. And now that a new season has begun, the veteran Yankees catcher is looking forward to catching Burnett again, saying he enjoys that Burnett brings the same intensity to the game that Roger Clemens did, the New York Daily News reported.

"Last year I really got up when he pitched. You can't be passive back there," Posada said, according to the report. "His stuff is so good, he's electrifying. It's a real challenge, but it's fun. It's unfortunate what happened last season, but I'm looking forward to catching him again. I really am."

During the 2009 playoffs, Jose Molina started on days Burnett pitched, as Burnett seemed to pitch better when Molina was behind the plate. Now Molina is with the Blue Jays.

"I wasn't happy to sit down [during the playoffs]," Posada said, according to the report. "But you look back and you see we won, it makes it easier to accept. I know A.J. didn't ask for it, and he expressed that, so it's not as if we have a problem.

"Joe [Girardi] felt he and Jose had a good connection, and I don't blame him. You want to win. Looking ahead now, there's nothing to be addressed."

-- ESPN.com news services

DUCHSCHERER FIGHTING BACK SORENESS (10:40 a.m. ET)
Athletics starter Justin Duchscherer says he's feeling great mentally after getting treatment for what he described as a mental breakdown last season, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. But his body is not cooperating as spring training begins.

Duchscherer says he has an irritated SI joint -- the joint connecting the base of the spine to the hip bones -- and has had three cortisone shots to fight the irritation, including one last week, the Chronicle reported. But the right-hander also said the issue is minor and that there's a simple fix that would keep him off the field only a few days.

A's manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer, who is penciled in as the A's No. 2 starter, had lingering back soreness after throwing on Friday and will be re-evaluated on Sunday, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

"He's had it off and on for a week or two," Geren said, according to the Mercury News. "He felt good [Friday]. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen. But he woke up this morning, and it was a little bit stiff."

-- ESPN.com news services

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SANTANA LOOKS SHARP (7:50 p.m. ET)
Since returning from elbow tightness, Johan Santana has been saying he's on track to make his Opening Day start for the New York Mets.

He backed that up on Sunday.

In his second Grapefruit League start this spring, Santana tossed five strong innings and the Mets scored nine runs in the seventh for a 12-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The 30-year-old lefty was sharp against the Braves, striking out seven. He worked out of one small jam and yielded two hits.

Santana made one costly mistake, opening the fifth inning by throwing a 2-0 letter-high strike to Matt Diaz, who drove it to left for a solo homer.

LEE, COOK LOOK GOOD (7:14 p.m. ET)
Cliff Lee and Aaron Cook were masterful in a matchup of staff aces.

Lee finally resembled his AL Cy Young-winning self while Cook showed crafty command Sunday in the Colorado Rockies' 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Lee has struggled, allowing 14 earned runs in 6 2-3 innings coming in. But he found his rhythm against the Rockies, giving up two runs in five innings.

Cook had another stellar outing, allowing one run and five hits over five innings. His 1.89 ERA is among the lowest in the Cactus League.

RAYS' PRICE TOUGH AGAIN (6:51 p.m. ET)
The Tampa Bay Rays aren't budging on their stance that a decision on where top pitching prospect David Price begins the season will not necessarily be based on the left-hander's spring training performance.

The No. 1 pick in the 2007 amateur draft worked four scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory Sunday that snapped the New York Yankees' nine-game exhibition winning streak.

Ray Sadler homered and Yankees pitchers walked in three runs to help Tampa Bay beat a lineup missing most of New York's regulars.

ROYALS REASSIGN YABUTA (6:48 p.m. ET)
Pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta was among four players the Kansas City Royals have assigned to their minor league camp.

The 32-year-old spent 12 years with the Chiba Lotte Mariners of Japan's Pacific League before signing a $6 million, two-year contract with the Royals before last season. He had an 8.53 ERA and .375 opponents' batting average in seven spring training appearances, allowing 12 hits, two homers and five walks in 6 1-3 innings.

Kansas City also assigned outfielder Chris Lubanski, catcher J.R. House and right-hander Oscar Villarreal to the minors. A first-round pick in the 2003 amateur draft, Lubanski hit .321 with two homers in 19 exhibition games. House was 1-for-14. Villarreal has not pitched because of a sore elbow.

PUDGE DEBUTS WITH ASTROS (6:09 p.m. ET)
Ivan Rodriguez looked right at home with the Houston Astros.

Making his spring training debut with his new team, Rodriguez stroked a single to center field in his first at-bat and helped Houston to a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The Astros plugged Rodriguez into the No. 2 spot in the lineup and the 14-time All-Star catcher finished 1-for-3 at the plate.

"I feel good out there," Rodriguez said. "I'm just trying to get used to my new teammates, and so far it was good. I was very pleased with the way I played today and the way our team played today."

After waiting all winter to land a job, Rodriguez finalized a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Astros on Friday. He can earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses.

Houston starting pitcher Brian Moehler left the game as a precaution after he was hit on the right shoulder by Ryan Zimmerman's line drive. He doesn't expect to miss any starts.

Astros right fielder Hunter Pence made his first appearance since straining his left calf Tuesday. He went 0-for-2.

POSADA THROWING WELL (3:46 p.m. ET)
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada threw out three of four runners attempting to steal second base in a minor league game on Sunday, a step forward in his recovery from right shoulder surgery last July 30.

Posada had been unsuccessful in four previous throws -- three to second and one to third -- this spring training.

"Now you know you can trust your arm again," Posada said. "That's the only thing I wanted to do -- come out of spring training knowing you can throw somebody out and trust your arm again."

Three of the baserunners were inserted into the game by Pittsburgh's Triple-A Indianapolis team to give Posada the opportunity to make throws. After Gemmy Gonzalez stole second on the first attempt, which Posada said he rushed, the catcher then threw out Brian Friday, Shelby Ford and Gonzalez.

"I told myself, just slow everything down, and that's what I did," Posada said. "It worked out. We're going to keep building from today, but today is special. You throw a couple guys out and you feel good about that. It feels good that I'm back to 100 percent."

RED SOX DEMOTE TAZAWA, BOWDEN (3:29 p.m. ET)
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa was optioned to Double-A Portland on Sunday by the Boston Red Sox, who optioned Michael Bowden to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Boston also reassigned right-hander Marcus McBeth and left-hander Bill Traber to its minor league camp.

The 22-year-old Bowden allowed one run and three runs Saturday against the Marlins and was 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA. He is rated by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization.

Tazawa, also 22, signed a $3.3 million, three-year contract with the Red Sox in December after pitching for four seasons in the in Japanese Industrial League. He allowed one earned run and five hits in nine innings over five spring-training appearances.

"Tazawa was lights out," Francona said. "He just handled everything. Nothing threw him off. He was comfortable on the mound. He's the quickest guy to the plate on our staff. ... He just needs experience."

PEREZ INJURY WORSE THAN THOUGHT (2:44 p.m. ET)
Tampa Bay's first serious loss had nothing to do with the WBC, and it may be worse than originally anticipated.

Fernando Perez underwent surgery in Phoenix on Saturday for a tear in his left wrist.

"It was pretty bad," Perez said Sunday morning. "I pretty much tore everything. So it looks like four to six months. In the meantime, I am in a lot of pain."

Perez tore the wrist diving for a fly ball. He was expected to open the season in center field to allow B.J. Upton a couple of weeks of further recovery time from left shoulder surgery. If Upton isn't ready, the Rays are expected to use Gabe Kapler and Ben Zobrist in center field.

-- Peter Gammons, ESPN

BACKE TO START SEASON ON DL (2:42 p.m. ET)
Brandon Backe won't be ready to start the season for the Astros. The team had the option of placing him on the disabled list or, if he was available to pitch by April 1, releasing him and saving a portion of his $1.55 million salary for 2009.

The team decided to put Backe, who is battling a strained side muscle after slipping off a mound, on the disabled list.

"As far as the decision is concerned, it's the route that I can go in order to stay here," Backe said, according to MLB.com. "But it doesn't diffuse the frustration that I have as far as the whole situation -- all this happened because of a slip on the mound. And that's what's so aggravating about this whole thing."

HILL LIKELY TO START ON DL (2:36 p.m. ET)
Orioles left-hander Rich Hill is doubtful to break camp with the team and is more likely to start the season on the disabled list because of elbow soreness.

Hill might be ready to pitch by the second week of April.

"We're too far away. I don't think he's got a chance of breaking with the club," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said, according to MLB.com. "That's not my say, but if you're not going to make the club because you're not ready, obviously there's only a couple of options. One of them is the disabled list, so I'd think that's kind of where he may go. He won't be ready for [the start of] the season."

RHP MINER RULED OUT AS NO. 5 (10:36 a.m. ET)
Manager Jim Leyland said right-hander Zach Miner has been ruled out for the Tigers' fifth spot in the rotation, leaving Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis and rookie Rick Porcello as candidates to fill the role.

"I think I took [the news] probably better than I would've imagined," said Miner, who has struggled this spring with a 9.69 ERA. "It's kind of like, 'All right, I'll get ready to do something else.' It shouldn't change how you go about your business."

The Tigers said Sunday they optioned the contract of right-handed pitcher Freddy Dolsi to their Triple A Toledo affiliate and assigned right-hander Casey Fien and left-hander Fu-Te Ni to minor league camp.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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GRIFFEY HITS FIRST HR OF SPRING (9:21 p.m. ET)
Ken Griffey Jr. homered for the first time since rejoining Seattle, but the Mariners lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 Friday.

The 39-year Griffey, who signed with Seattle on Feb. 18, was batting just .105 before his two-run shot off Brewers left-hander Lindsey Gulin in the bottom of the eighth pulled the Mariners to 6-5.

"It stirs a lot of feelings that he still has got some things," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "To me, the ability for him to pull the ball, lately his body's been getting out there [and] sometimes that makes everything come together."

ZITO SHARPENS HOOK (8:30 p.m. ET)
Barry Zito's curveball was more on target, and so was his pitching line.

Zito allowed six hits and three runs, one earned, in six innings, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago White Sox 10-3 on Friday. He walked one and struck out three. He lowered his ERA to 5.49.

VLAD, BYRNES SHOW UP FOR SPRING (8:26 p.m. ET)
Vladimir Guerrero made his first start of spring training and impressed his manager in the Los Angeles Angels' 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes made his first appearance, too.

Guerrero, who had offseason knee surgery, played right field and was hitless in two at-bats. Manager Mike Scioscia said he hoped to have Guerrero in the lineup for a few more swings as the designated hitter Saturday against Milwaukee.

Byrnes' season was cut short in late June by a torn left hamstring. On Friday, He started in center field and went 0-for-3.

TEX HOMERS, HUGHES SHINES (7:11 p.m. ET)
Mark Teixeira hit his first spring training home run for the New York Yankees, a solo drive off Joe Nathan in a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.

Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, was 11-for-28 (.393) with two RBIs before his sixth-inning homer. He went 0-for-2 hitting right-handed against lefty Glen Perkins before switching to left-handed against Nathan.

Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes gave up one run and three hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out none.

He lowered his ERA to 2.19 but likely won't have a rotation spot because the Yankees signed free agents CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and intend to start Joba Chamberlain.

"He's pitched well all spring," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, there's a chance he won't be with us. But he's growing up as a pitcher. He's throwing the ball well. It's a numbers game for the starters. We moved Joba into the rotation. We feel good about our rotation. But he learned a lot from last year. He looks at this as a challenge."

STOMACH SIDELINES HARDEN (5:51 p.m. ET)
The Cubs scratched right-handed pitcher Rich Harden from Friday's scheduled start because of a stomach illness. In place of Harden, the Cubs called up right-hander Mitch Atkins from their minor league camp.

Harden, 27, has been brought along slowly this spring because of his history of shoulder problems. He has made two starts so far, going 0-0 with a 5.79 ERA.

STRAIN? WHAT STRAIN? (5:48 p.m. ET)
Dustin Pedroia had a hit and an RBI in his first game since straining an abdominal muscle 10 days ago while playing for the United States in the World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-4.

Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew was taken for X-rays after being hit by a pitch from Donnie Veal on his right hand in the fifth inning. The Red Sox said he has a bruise and is day to day.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona skipped the game to attend his son Nick's graduation from Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va. Bench coach Brad Mills ran the club.

DUCHSCHERER TRIES IT OUT (5:39 p.m. ET)
Oakland Athletics ace Justin Duchscherer tested his sore right elbow Friday, throwing 25 pitches in the bullpen.

"I'm excited, because it's the first time I've thrown with some velocity without pain," he said. "That's certainly a positive sign."

Duchscherer, who had not thrown in more than three weeks, threw all of his pitches at about 90 percent full velocity. He is not sure what the next step will be for him, but he is at least a week from getting into an exhibition game.

POSADA, PETTITTE IN MINOR LEAGUE MATCHUP (5:30 p.m. ET)
Jorge Posada made his first three throws to second base on stolen base attempts without any problems during a minor league intrasquad game.

"It was good," Posada said, rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery last July 30. "The last one was the best one I threw. Based on the way I felt coming up, staying back and throwing through the bag instead of throwing to the bag. It still had some carry when it got to second base."

Posada and left-hander Andy Pettitte played for Double-A Trenton against Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the Yankees' minor league complex.

"He looked good," Pettitte said. "He said he felt good, that's the important thing. He looked normal to me. I know it's a battle for him getting off that surgery and coming back from it. I think this is another step."

Runners were successful on all three stolen base attempts, although on two of the chances runners got strong jumps on Pettitte. The other try resulted in a close play.

Pettitte threw 65 pitches. He will start another minor league game on the Yankees' off day next Wednesday.

NIESE OPTIONED, AMONG OTHER METS MOVES (2:49 p.m. ET)
In an indication the Mets are leaning to selecting Livan Hernandez as their fifth starter, New York optioned left-hander Jonathan Niese to the minor leagues Friday.

Niese, 22, went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three spring training appearances. He was competing with Hernandez, Freddy Garcia and Tim Redding for the final spot in the Mets' starting rotation.

Redding (sore shoulder) appears headed to the disabled list, and Garcia has a 16.71 ERA. Hernandez has been the most consistent starter of the group, compiling a 3.07 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, and he appears likely to join Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez in the rotation.

New York also optioned catcher Robinson Cancel and right-handed pitcher Connor Robertson to minor league camp. Pitchers Kyle Snyder, Matt DeSalvo, Jon Switzer, Heriberto Rueles and Casey Fossum were reassigned to the minor league camp.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.