Major Leagues: Spring Training Roundup
KISSIMMEE, Fla. ó The Atlanta Braves signed Derek Lowe to be there ace, and he’s pitching like one.
Lowe struck out seven in six sharp innings for the Braves, but the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 7-5 victory Thursday.
The Braves gave Lowe a four-year $60 million free-agent contract to lead the Braves’ revamped rotation. He gave up a run and five hits without walking a batter, lowering his spring ERA to 3.27. He has 24 strikeouts in 22 innings.
“He was good again,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s had a terrific spring.”
Cox hasn’t decided on his opening day start, but Lowe is in line for the honor.
“It hasn’t been brought up,” Lowe said when asked about starting on opening night at Philadelphia on April 5.
Lowe was 0-3 in that role with Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I’m overdue for a win,” he joked.
Cox said he might have a decision by Friday.
Brian McCann, playing in his third straight game after returning from the World Baseball Classic, caught Lowe for the first time as he continued his crash course with Atlanta’s new starters. He caught Javier Vazquez for the first time on Tuesday and Kenshin Kawakami for the second time Wednesday.
“It went really good,” Lowe said. “He knows how I pitch. He’s seen me plenty of times.”
Braves rookie Jordan Shafer, competing for the job in center field, had a triple and single to raise his average to .383. He also threw out a runner at the plate in the fifth inning.
But the Atlanta bullpen blew a 5-1 lead.
Yankees 10, Phillies 2
CLEARWATER, Fla. ó Hideki Matsui hit one of four New York home runs, offsetting consecutive long balls by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and leading the Yankees to a 10-2 win over Philadelphia.
Diamondbacks 3, White Sox 1
PHOENIX ó Brandon Webb pitched six efficient innings in his best outing of the spring, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1.
Webb, who entered the game with an 8.18 ERA, gave up a run and five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Mets 9, Cardinals 5
JUPITER, Fla. ó John Maine took another step toward being ready for the regular season, throwing 95 pitches in the New York Mets’ 9-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Maine, who had a bone spur shaved in his right shoulder in September, gave up six hits and three runs ó one earned ó in five innings. He struck out five, walked three and threw two wild pitches.
TAMPA, Fla. ó CC Sabathia will start both the regular season and home opener for the New York Yankees.
Manager Joe Girardi said Thursday the left-hander will pitch the season opener at Baltimore on April 6, and will also throw the first regular-season pitch at the new Yankee Stadium 10 days later against Cleveland.
“I’m excited,” Sabathia said. “To be able to take the ball the first one of the season and then to open the new stadium, I think it’s going to be fun.”
Sabathia agreed to a $161 million, seven-year contract with New York in December after leaving Milwaukee as a free agent.
PEORIA, Ariz ó Ichiro Suzuki thinks talking about the divisive and jealous clubhouse that helped lead to Seattle’s huge flop last season is just “silly.”
Fresh off a second World Baseball Classic title with Japan, Suzuki made his spring training debut with the Mariners on Thursday. He slapped a pair of singles and scored a run in a 10-9 win over Kansas City.
WASHINGTON ó All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada has been sentenced to one year of probation for misleading Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
HOUSTON ó Astros third baseman Aaron Boone had open heart surgery in California on Thursday to replace a bicuspid aortic valve.
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