Spring Training Blog: March 6

March, 6, 2010
03/06/10
11:33
AM ET
FUTURE IS NOW FOR ROYALS (7:48 p.m. ET)
The Kansas City Royals got a glimpse of their future Saturday and had to like what they saw.

Aaron Crow, a 2009 first-round pick, and Edgar Osuna, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Atlanta Braves, combined to throw three scoreless innings in their debuts as the Royals defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Crow struck out three in two innings. He allowed one hit, a Chris Davis double in the fourth. Crow threw 17 strikes in 23 pitches, with his fastball at 95-97 mph. He struck out Craig Gentry, the first batter he faced, with a 95 mph fastball.

"I expect myself to do well," Crow said. "I did about how I expected myself to. I have faith in myself. I know if I locate my pitches, I have a chance to get guys out."

Osuna, a 22-year-old left-hander, has been primary a starter in the minors, but could open the season in the bullpen. He allowed only a bunt single to Elvis Andrus and then got Craig Gentry to ground into a double play.

"I was really impressed," Royals manager Trey Hillman said of Osuna. "The change-up played out plus again. It looks like a fastball. It's very effective."

ESPN.com news services

REDDING FIGHTING FOR SPOT WITH ROCKIES (6:29 p.m. ET)
Tim Redding, vying for a spot on Colorado's staff, started and allowed three hits and run in the Rockies' 8-6 victory against a Milwaukee Brewers' split-squad Saturday.

Redding is in camp on a minor league deal. The Rockies might be in need of a starter if Jeff Francis isn't ready to begin the regular season after missing all of 2009 following shoulder surgery.

Redding threw 15 of 30 pitches for strikes in two innings.

"I'll take it. I don't know if I'm happy with it," Redding said of his outing. "I wasn't able to pound the zone as much as I'm accustomed to. I got to be a little crisper than I was today."

Jody Gerut and Craig Counsell, were two of the more recognizable players in the Brewers' lineup and each had two hits. Counsell scored twice, and Gerut hit a windblown triple and double, reached base on his three plate appearances and drove in three runs.

-- Associated Press

MARLINS' JOHNSON STARTS EARNING PAYCHECK (5:11 p.m. ET)
Marlins ace Josh Johnson has started earning his $39 million contract.

Making his first start since signing his lucrative four-year deal in January, Johnson allowed two runs in two innings in Florida's 6-5 win over the Cardinals on Saturday.

Johnson, who'll be Florida's opening day starter after posting a 15-5 record in 2009, looked like an ace in a perfect first inning that ended with Albert Pujols looking at a called third strike.

But he was a little rusty in the second inning, which started with Colby Rasmus connecting on a 2-2 pitch for a long home run to right field.

Right-hander Kyle Lohse made his spring debut for the Cardinals and allowed one run on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.

-- Associated Press

METS' PELFREY UNVEILS SPLIT-FINGER FASTBALL (4:20 p.m. ET)
Mike Pelfrey unveiled an effective split-finger fastball in his first spring start, Fernando Martinez had four hits and homered twice, and the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 14-6 on Saturday.

Pelfrey allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in the first two innings he worked, finishing with a 1-2-3 third. The right-hander took a Cristian Guzman liner off the outside of his right knee in the second, sustaining a minor bruise.

Washington is winless in four exhibition games and has been outscored 50-21.

Left-hander John Lannan, the Nationals' likely opening day starter April 5, gave up two runs, two hits and a walk in two innings of his first spring outing. He struck out two.

-- Associated Press

OSWALT WALKS THREE, LOADS BASES IN DEBUT (4:16 p.m. ET)
Roy Oswalt threw two rocky, yet scoreless innings in his spring debut and the Houston Astros beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0 Saturday.

Oswalt walked three and loaded the bases in the first. He allowed just one hit and struck out two while throwing 44 pitches.

Outfield prospect Jason Heyward singled in the fifth inning and has reached base at least once in all five of the Braves' spring games. He's now 4 for 10 with four walks.

Carlos Lee doubled and scored in his spring debut for the Astros and Lance Berkman made his first start of the spring at first base, going 0 for 1.

Braves starter Kris Medlen gave up one hit and two walks in two scoreless innings.

-- Associated Press

PUJOLS AND KOBE TALK PREPARATION (12:44 p.m. ET)

Reigning MVP Albert Pujols sat courtside Thursday for the Lakers-Heat game in Miami and had a "prep" talk of sorts before tipoff with past MVP Kobe Bryant, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"What got him so successful is what got myself so successful," the Cardinals slugger told the newspaper. "[Basketball is a] different sport, but to be successful and be the best like he is the best, you have to prepare yourself and do those things."

Pujols, who had bone chips removed from his right elbow in the offseason, told the Post-Dispatch that he's taking 150 swings a day and also doing work off a tee to prepare himself for another long season.

"I'm able right now to use the tee where last spring I wasn't able to do as much because I felt [the elbow]," Pujols told the paper. "In part, I would say my struggles in spring last year was that ... I couldn't take as many swings. ... There's nothing that I am concerned about."

-- ESPN.com news services

ENCARNACION'S SPRING STILL ON HOLD (11:59 a.m. ET)

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion will not make his spring debut for at least a few days -- until his surgically repaired left wrist can handle at-bats.

Encarnacion, who hit .225 with 13 homers and 39 RBIs in 85 games with Cincinnati and Toronto in 2009, said he feels pain when he hits the ball off the end of the bat.

"Hopefully, I will be able to play next week," Encarnacion said, according to the Toronto Sun.

-- ESPN.com news services

RANDOLPH REVVED UP FOR MORE BP (11:53 a.m. ET)

Willie Randolph's right arm is feeling better these days. The Milwaukee Brewers bench coach underwent offseason surgery on a torn right flexor tendon.

According to The New York Times, Randolph wore out his arm from throwing batting practice last season, something he did only occasionally while Mets manager from 2005-2008.

"I'm 55 years old, and I've never had a sore arm in my life," Randolph told The New York Times. "So I went back last year and threw every single day. These kids love to just hit, hit, hit, hit. The heart was willing, but my body said, you're an old man, what are you doing?"

Randolph told The Times he hopes to be throwing BP sometime in May.

-- ESPN.com news services

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