Category archive: Alfonso Soriano

DEWITT TO START AT SECOND FOR DODGERS (10:31 p.m. ET)

The Dodgers have chosen Blake DeWitt as their Opening Day second baseman and knuckleballer Charlie Haeger as their No. 5 starter.

Manager Joe Torre delivered the news to both players when they reported to Dodger Stadium on Thursday for the first of the team's final three exhibition games.

Before Torre and general manager Ned Colletti let DeWitt know he had made the club, they played an April Fool's joke.

DeWitt said Torre told him he was being sent to Triple-A Albuquerque. After DeWitt admitted he didn't know the date, Torre told him it was April 1.

Ronnie Belliard and newly acquired Jamey Carroll will serve as infield backups.

-- The Associated Press

PEAVY SAYS HE FEELS AS GOOD AS '07 (9:53 p.m. ET)

Jake Peavy declared he feels as good as he did in his 2007 Cy Young Award season despite giving up two home runs in four innings in his final spring start as the White Sox lost to Triple-A Charlotte 4-3.

Peavy gave up three runs and four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Peavy struck out six through three scoreless innings before surrendering home runs to Stefan Gartrell and Josh Kroeger on cut fastballs. He left after throwing 68 pitches.

Mark Kotsay and Carlos Quentin homered for Chicago, which played its regulars four innings before finishing the game with many players from Class A Winston-Salem.

Jeff Marquez allowed two runs and five hits in five innings for the Knights.

-- The Associated Press

REDS DELAY ROSTER CUTS (9:03 p.m. ET)

The Reds' plans to slash their spring training roster have been pushed back another day.

The Reds made two moves, optioning right-hander Carlos Fisher to Triple-A Louisville and reassigning catcher Corky Miller to their minor league camp. They're left with 38 players in camp -- 13 over the limit for Opening Day.

General manager Walt Jocketty had indicated the club would substantially reduce the roster on Thursday. However, the team wasn't able to tell some of the players about its plans before they left the training complex following a 7-6 win over Texas, so the rest of the moves were put off for another day.

-- The Associated Press

ANDERSON TO TRY TO BECOME PITCHER (8:57 p.m. ET)

Outfielder Brian Anderson is going to give pitching a try.

Anderson signed a one-year, $700,000 free-agent contract with the Royals in the offseason after finishing 2009 with the Red Sox. But instead of taking a minor league assignment as an outfielder, the former first-round draft pick opted to go to the low minors and work his way back as a pitcher.

Royals manager Trey Hillman says he's not sure how the transition will work "but it's going to start at the very bottom."

Anderson last pitched in college for Arizona, where he appeared in 17 games and had a 5.40 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

Selected by the White Sox with the 15th overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft, Anderson has a .227 average in five major league seasons with 22 homers and 80 RBIs.

-- The Associated Press

CUETO STRUGGLES THROUGH BACK PROBLEMS (7:53 p.m. ET)

Right-hander Johnny Cueto had trouble getting his back loose and struggled through four innings, but Scott Rolen hit a homer and sacrifice fly that rallied the Reds to a 7-6 victory over the Rangers.

Cueto hasn't had any issues with his back this spring and didn't think the problem was serious. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in four innings. He also hit two batters.

Rolen hit a two-run homer off closer Frank Francisco, who started the game and gave up four hits in his one inning. Reds minor leaguer Daniel Dorn singled home a run in the seventh and hit a two-out solo homer in the ninth off left-hander Richard Bleier to win it.

-- The Associated Press

SORIANO SPOILS FRANCIS' BEST OUTING THIS SPRING (6:33 p.m. ET)

Jeff Francis, who missed last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, pitched five scoreless innings for Colorado before Alfonso Soriano's two-run homer in the sixth lifted the Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Rockies.

Francis entered with a 7.27 ERA but Colorado's No. 2 starter held the Cubs to three singles and three walks in his best outing. The left-hander won 17 games in 2007 before going 4-10 the next year as his shoulder became problematic.

Soriano, who slumped most of March, capped his three-hit day with a homer off Matt Daley. Coming off his worst season -- .241 with 20 HRs and 55 RBIs -- Soriano has only two homers and five RBIs this spring.

Cubs starter Carlos Silva allowed six hits over five scoreless innings.

-- The Associated Press

WHITE SOX'S ELARTON OUTDUELS MARINERS' SNELL (6:28 p.m. ET)

Scott Elarton pitched two scoreless innings in his first start since 2008 and a squad of White Sox minor leaguers roughed up Ian Snell in a 9-4 win over the Mariners.

Elarton, who hasn't pitched in the majors since the Indians placed him on the disabled list in July 2008 for what the club then called a non-baseball medical condition, signed a minor league deal this week. He gave up one hit and struck out one.

Snell, the Mariners' No. 2 starter, gave up six runs and 10 hits while striking out five.

The White Sox's big league roster left Thursday morning for exhibition games in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta.

-- The Associated Press

LACKEY WALKS FIRST BATTER OF SPRING (5:58 p.m. ET)

John Lackey walked his first batter in 20 innings this spring and gave up a run in the Red Sox's 5-3 win over the Twins.

The Red Sox scored two runs in the eighth inning off Twins reliever Ron Mahay. Scott Schoeneweis pitched a scoreless eighth for the Red Sox.

Lackey went five innings and gave up six hits, including a homer to Jim Thome. He walked six and struck out two.

"I thought he got on some fastballs," manager Terry Francona said. "I think like [Jon] Lester and [Josh] Beckett, he's ready for the season. I think he's raring to go. I think he was chomping at the bit a little bit today even."

-- The Associated Press

MOYER, PHILLIES CLOSE OUT SPRING SCHEDULE (4:58 p.m. ET)

Jamie Moyer pitched six strong innings and the Phillies closed out their spring training schedule with a 4-2 win over the Pirates.

Moyer, who was named the fifth starter two days earlier, gave up solo home runs to Ryan Church and Ryan Doumit but held Pittsburgh in check the rest of the way. The 47-year-old left-hander scattered six hits while striking out three and walking none.

Moyer, who underwent three offseason operations, enters his 24th major league season healthy and coming off a strong spring. In six starts, including three B games, Moyer had a 2.02 ERA while striking out 23 and walking just one in 26 2/3 innings.

-- The Associated Press

ROBERTSON DEBUTS WITH MARLINS (4:34 p.m. ET)

Newly acquired Nate Robertson allowed one earned run on two hits in seven innings and even drove in a run in the Marlins' 3-1 victory over the Cardinals.

"I got here yesterday with a full car, my family is back in Detroit and I'm pitching seven innings in the final game of the Grapefruit League," Robertson said. "But I'm excited to be here. If there was a team to go to, it's definitely the team that drafted me and got me going into my professional career."

Robertson, acquired in a trade with the Tigers on Wednesday, surrendered a run in the fifth when Ryan Ludwick led off with a double to left, stole third and scored on David Freese's groundout to short.

"What I saw today I liked," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He threw a lot of strikes. I think he went seven innings and didn't get to 90 pitches."

-- The Associated Press

ASTROS' JOHNSON HITS SEVENTH SPRING HOMER (4:31 p.m. ET)

Chris Johnson hit his team-leading seventh home run of the spring, but the Astros dropped a game to a Tigers split-squad 4-2.

Houston reliever Brandon Lyon allowed three runs on four hits in one inning.

-- The Associated Press

TEIXEIRA RETURNS AFTER TWO-GAME ABSENCE (4:05 p.m. ET)

Mark Teixeira doubled and singled after missing two games with a sore elbow as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 5-2.

Teixeira wore a protective shield on his right elbow, which was bruised when he was hit by a pitch Monday against Baltimore. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher each had a pair of singles for New York.

Right-hander A.J. Burnett allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings for the Yankees, including Jose Bautista's home run on his second pitch.

New York's Joba Chamberlain pitched in consecutive games for the first time this spring.

-- The Associated Press

MAINE GIVES UP SIX HITS TO NATS (3:18 p.m. ET)

Mets right-hander John Maine pitched through stomach problems and allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings as the Washington Nationals defeated New York 9-3 Thursday.

Maine, who will pitch second in the Mets' rotation, gave up six hits and walked four.

Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer for Washington in the fourth off Maine to make it 3-2, and the New York pitcher couldn't get through the fifth.

He walked two to start the fifth. Adam Dunn followed with an RBI single and Willingham drove in another run on a ground-rule double to take the lead.

-- The Associated Press

SWEENEY LIKELY PART OF MARINERS' ROSTER (2:28 p.m. ET)

Five-time All-Star and camp long shot Mike Sweeney has likely made the Seattle Mariners as a pinch-hitter and backup first baseman.

The news came as part of the Mariners' announcement infielder Ryan Garko was claimed off waivers by Texas. Left-hander Garrett Olson was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

The 36-year-old Sweeney has kept his spring batting average well above .500. He also has picked up where he left off last season by mentoring young players, and has been a popular clubhouse leader.

-- The Associated Press

INDIANS NAME HUFF FIFTH STARTER (12:48 p.m. ET)

David Huff is the Cleveland Indians' No. 5 starter.

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who was in competition for the job, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

Huff gave up one run and five hits in seven innings to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in his final spring audition. The 25-year-old led Cleveland with 11 wins a year ago as a rookie after making his major-league debut on May 17.

Carrasco, 23, was one of four players acquired from Philadelphia in the trade that sent 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies in July. He had a 12-inning scoreless stretch earlier this spring and compiled a 4.60 ERA overall in four outings.

-- The Associated Press

PADRES INSPIRED BY ALI VISIT (7:48 p.m. ET)
The San Diego Padres are thrilled following a clubhouse visit by Muhammad Ali.

Dozens of players and coaches waited in a long line to shake hands and take pictures with the boxing great, who made a 45-minute appearance for the Athletes for Hope foundation on Monday.

Padres officials say Ali is only scheduled to meet with a few big league teams.

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham and reliever Mike Adams heard on Sunday that Ali might be visiting, so they each purchased a pair of boxing gloves just in case. Both walked away with autographs and a cherished memory.

Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. says he usually isn't star-struck, but was by Ali's visit.

-- The Associated Press

WESTBROOK FINALLY BACK ON MOUND (6:38 p.m. ET)
Jake Westbrook pitched 1 2/3 innings in his first game against major league hitters in almost two years and the Cleveland Indians beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Monday.

Westbrook allowed one run and one hit, walked three and hit a batter in his first big league outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2008.

Westbrook pitched in just three minor league games last year. The right-hander is expected to be Cleveland's Opening Day starter on April 5 in Chicago.

Michael Brantley went 3 for 4 with an RBI for Cleveland.

Rodrigo Lopez, a candidate for the No. 5 spot in Arizona's rotation, allowed a run in two innings.

-- The Associated Press

BECKETT, CARPENTER BATTLE ON MOUND (5:16 p.m. ET)
Josh Beckett pitched three scoreless innings and struck out three, and Che-Shuan Lin hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 7-6 exhibition win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

Boston pitchers kept the Cardinals hitless into the seventh inning.

In five innings this spring, Beckett has given up just one run.

Chris Carpenter, making his first appearance of the spring, went two innings for St. Louis. He gave up a run on four hits with a strikeout and no walks.

Three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols did not make the cross-state trip because of discomfort in his back. He is not expected to play Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins.

--The Associated Press

TOP PROSPECT HEYWARD HITS BOMB (4:39 p.m. ET)
Jason Heyward homered during a five-run first inning Monday and the Atlanta Braves went on to a 12-4 exhibition victory over the Detroit Tigers.

The 20-year-old outfielder, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, blasted a 3-2 pitch by Detroit's Max Scherzer an estimated 450 feet to drive in the first two runs of the game.

Scherzer didn't get out of the first inning, giving up four hits and three walks to the eight batters he faced.

Atlanta starter Tim Hudson pitched three innings, giving up one run on an RBI single by Jeff Larish while striking out three.

Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske each went 2 for 2 and scored twice for the Braves, and David Ross drove in four runs. Mitch Jones hit a home run in the eighth inning.

-- The Associated Press

MAINE SOLID IN SPRING DEBUT (4:25 p.m. ET)
John Maine struck out four of the eight batters he faced in his spring debut, and Chris Carter hit two ninth-inning homers to help the New York Mets beat a Florida Marlins split squad 11-2 on Monday.

Maine allowed one run, two hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings. He threw 21 of his 39 pitches for strikes.

Carter began the ninth with a pinch-hit homer, and had a three-run drive with two out.

The Mets are 6-2 this spring and have scored 91 runs.

Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla committed two errors on one play in the first inning, bobbling a grounder and then making a wild throw, and Jason Bay's single scored a run.

Florida's Ryan Tucker gave up two runs in two innings.

-- The Associated Press

OLSEN RETURNS FOR NATS (4:24 p.m. ET)
Washington's Scott Olsen, making his first start since season-ending shoulder surgery last July, threw two innings in the Nationals' 11-2 loss against a Florida Marlins split squad Monday.

The left-hander, penciled into a rotation spot provided he is healthy, allowed seven hits and three runs. Olsen gave up a three-run home run to Jorge Cantu in the first inning after a bloop single and a broken-bat liner off the glove of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

Washington is 0-6 this spring and has been outscored 67-30.

Florida right-hander Ricky Nolasco worked three innings in his first turn against major leaguers this spring, allowing a run on four hits with five strikeouts.

Josh Willingham and Zimmerman homered for the Nationals.

Florida's Ronny Paulino had four hits.

-- The Associated Press

ACEVES MAKES CASE FOR 5 SPOT (4:21 p.m. ET)
Alfredo Aceves may be pushing his way into the thick of the battle for the No. 5 spot in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.

Aceves tossed four perfect innings Monday in a 6-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a split squad game for both teams. In two outings this spring, both against the Pirates, the right-hander has retired all 18 batters he's faced.

Aceves, who worked one inning more than originally planned, struck out three. He threw just 36 pitches in the game, then tossed another 16 in the bullpen before cooling down.

"He's a strike-throwing machine," said Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. "He's a great weapon for us."

Along with Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin, Aceves went into spring training as a long-shot for a rotation job. The front-runners are Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Even if he doesn't wind up a starter, Aceves could nab a roster spot as a long reliever and fill-in starter.

"I would like to be a starter," Aceves said. "But it's not up to me."

Also, Javier Vazquez settled down after allowing a first-pitch homer to Jimmy Rollins, striking out four of his last five batters to help a New York Yankees split-squad beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-5.

Vazquez was pitching for New York for the first time since he gave up a first-pitch grand slam to Boston's Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

-- The Associated Press

SORIANO PHYSICALLY FINE, MENTALLY GUN-SHY (3:11 p.m. ET)
Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano said Monday that although his knee feels 100 percent, he is still trying to overcome the mental hurdle in terms of extending himself and going all out in spring training.

Soriano on Saturday made his first appearance in the Cubs lineup since knee surgery ended his 2009 season on Sept. 15, later saying he planned to play back-to-back Cactus League games Monday and Tuesday. "I want to test and trust my knee a little bit more," Soriano said Saturday.

According to Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Soriano will hit either fifth or sixth in the Cubs lineup this season. The Cubs slugger said he has been working on better balance at the plate with new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
-- Buster Olney, ESPN The Magazine

WANG RETURNS TO NATS, STARTS IN WITH LONG TOSS (11:33 a.m. ET)
Chien-Ming Wang is back with the Washington Nationals, but there's no timetable for the right-hander's return to the mound.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman says Wang's health will determine when he pitches. Wang is recovering from right shoulder surgery that ended his 2009 season in late July.

The 29-year-old pitcher played long toss with Jordan Zimmermann from about 120 feet for 20 minutes Monday morning. He also threw some soft pitches from both the stretch and windup from about 90 feet.

Wang signed a one-year, $2 million deal last month that could earn him another $3 million in performance incentives. Wang was 1-6 with a 9.54 ERA for the New York Yankees last season.
-- The Associated Press

RIVERA HAS FIRST BP SESSION (11:02 a.m. ET)
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera threw 34 pitches during his first batting practice session Monday.

Rivera has taken a slower approach at spring training for the past few years. The 40-year old right-hander went 3-3 with 44 saves and a 1.76 ERA in 66 games last season. He will make the first of his eight or nine game appearances early next week.

Left-handed reliever Damaso Marte had his initial bullpen session, making 27 pitches. Meanwhile, Nick Johnson was back in New York's lineup after missing the previous four games with lower back stiffness.
-- The Associated Press