TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Kevin Brown's back didn't ache and Gary
Sheffield's shoulder didn't hurt. The New York Yankees remained
winless in spring training but were pleased with the 2005 debuts of
two stars coming off major injuries.
Brown struggled through the first inning, allowing a run and
three hits. Then he made some adjustments and followed with two
scoreless innings Sunday in New York's 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati
"At least I felt like I was moving OK. I didn't feel like I was
locked up. It wasn't an issue," he said.
Sheffield, recovering from an offseason operation on his left
shoulder, went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles to second base.
The Yankees started their regular lineup for the first time this
year -- an All-Star at every position.
"Just to know that you can play a baseball game without feeling
the agony or the pain I had last year, I can't really explain it,"
Sheffield said. "I just know when I'm healthy what I can do."
Jason Giambi went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and a
hit-by-pitch, dropping to 1-for-7 with one RBI this spring.
"It's starting to come now. I'm happy," he said.
Following a year of illness and an offseason in the steroids
spotlight, Giambi has been received warmly by fans. That could
change Monday, when a Yankees' split squad goes to Fort Myers for
New York's first game against Boston since the Red Sox overcame a
3-0 deficit to win last October's AL championship series.
"They're not going to say anything I haven't heard before or I
haven't said myself," Giambi said.
New York fell to 0-3 with a tie, wasting a 5-3 lead in the ninth
when Cincinnati rallied against Tom Gordon, helped by an error and
a passed ball.
Owner George Steinbrenner, who in the past has wanted wins even
in spring training, was able to joke about the start.
"We're very consistent: lose, lose, lose," he said.
Brown's health could be a major factor in the Yankees' pitching.
He didn't feel right all of last year, and he was the loser in Game
7 against Boston.
He made 53 pitches against the Reds, allowing four hits and two
walks with four strikeouts.
"I loved what I saw," catcher Jorge Posada said.
Often a curmudgeon, Brown spent much of the offseason working on
his back alignment, getting help from a specialist when he was back
home in Georgia. Even when he was winning at the start of last
season, he didn't think he was pitching effectively. The
right-hander, who turns 40 next week, was 14-9 with a 2.39 ERA for
Los Angeles in 2003 before slipping to 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA last
"In my mind's eye, I want to be the pitcher that I was two
years ago," he said. "I felt like I pitched probably about as
well as anybody in the game."
He gave up an RBI single to Rich Aurilia in the first and loaded
the bases before striking out Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
Brown had flashed his anger during the inning when he walked a
batter and walked off the mound.
"I was just frustrated," he said. "When you're not throwing
the ball where you want to throw it, I don't care if it is spring
training, you're just trying to gather yourself and figure out a
way to make a change."
Sheffield managed to be the team's best hitter last year despite
the injury, batting .290 with 36 homers and 121 RBI. But his left
shoulder hurt so much he was forced to catch balls at his hip.
He overdid batting practice when he first arrived in Tampa, and
slowed himself down. He wasn't elevating the ball in batting
practice until Saturday, and credited center fielder Bernie
Williams with telling him that he was ready.
Sheffield said the absence of pain was noticeable.
"I was pretty shocked on a couple of swings I took," he said.
Cincinnati starter Ramon Ortiz allowed three runs in the
third on Derek Jeter's RBI single, Sheffield's single and Giambi's
opposite-field sacrifice fly to left. The Reds rallied in the ninth
when third baseman Felix Escalona threw away Encarnacion's
grounder, Joe DePastino allowed a run-scoring passed ball and Bobby
Estalella hit an RBI double. Ben Kozlowski got the win and Todd
Coffey the save. ... Yankees LHP Randy Johnson, scratched from his
first scheduled start Thursday because of left calf tightness,
threw 56 pitches in the bullpen. He is scheduled to make his first
spring training start Tuesday against Atlanta. ... New York closer
Mariano Rivera and LHP Mike Stanton are set to make their spring
training debuts in Monday's home spilt-squad game against