MLB inside pitch

2013-02-25T00:00:00Z MLB inside pitch Arizona Daily Star
February 25, 2013 12:00 am

Cactus League

• Matt Garza still had a bulky wrap around his midsection Sunday, and the Chicago Cubs right-hander was uncertain when he would be allowed to throw again. A week after feeling a twinge in his left side while throwing batting practice, Garza said that he had no pain and was feeling better. "This is just a slower process because it's more important due to the fact that it's required to use in everything," Garza said. "It's just more like something's still there, and you don't want anything to be there, because you don't want to re-aggravate it and get it worse."

• Daisuke Matsuzaka believes he can be the Dice-K of old, the one who mystified hitters with his unorthodox delivery and arsenal of deceptive pitches. The Indians just need him to a dependable fifth starter. Matsuzaka, nearly two years removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, pitched two hitless innings in blustery conditions and seven Cleveland pitchers combined on a one-hitter, leading an Indians split squad to a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

• Zack Greinke pitched two clean innings in his Dodgers debut and Los Angeles tied the Chicago White Sox 2-2 in a Cactus League game that was called after nine innings. Pitching for the first time since he signed a $147 million, six-year contract to join the free-spending Dodgers in the offseason, Greinke retired six of his seven batters. He struck out leadoff man Dewayne Wise and third-place hitter Alex Rios in the first inning.

• Although Ryu Hyun-jin still has some pounds to lose and some English phrases to learn, his first spring training with the Dodgers is off to a solid start. Ryu made his debut for the Dodgers on Sunday, allowing a triple and getting a strikeout during one inning of work. Los Angeles signed Ryu to a $36 million, six-year deal in December, making him the first player to move straight from Korea's top league to the majors.

• Chris Young doubled home a run before leaving with a leg cramp in the Oakland Athletics' 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Seth Smith had two RBIs and Coco Crisp added a pair of hits for Oakland. Young doubled and scored in the first inning but was removed for precautionary reasons with a quadriceps cramp.

Grapefruit League

• On a day when two Cy Young Award winners were on the mound, Victor Martinez had a big performance at the plate. Martinez homered off Phillies ace Roy Halladay and finished 3 for 3 as the Detroit Tigers tied Philadelphia 5-5 in 10 innings Sunday. Just like Halladay, Justin Verlander made his spring training debut for Detroit. And just like Halladay, the 2011 AL MVP allowed one run and struck out two in two innings. "All I was trying to do was get a feel for the ball and hit my spots," said Verlander, who went 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA last season. "It was just good to get a feel for competition again. I don't really start thinking about results until I am going about five or six innings."

• Yankees captain Derek Jeter is about two weeks away from playing in a game for the first time since breaking his ankle last fall. New York general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday that the shortstop should be ready to play in spring training games around March 10. "Physically, he's capable of doing everything," Cashman said. "We're being very cautious."

• Russell Martin won't be moonlighting at shortstop after all. Pittsburgh's new catcher will not play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic because Canadian and Pirates officials weren't enamored with the idea of Martin moving from his normal position.

• Matt Harvey made 10 impressive starts as a rookie last season and he has a spot in the Mets' rotation this year. The 23-year-old right-hander is still not satisfied. Harvey worked two innings in his spring debut for New York, giving up two hits including a home run by former Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez, and the Houston Astros scored late in a 7-7 tie Sunday. "I'm not guaranteed anything," Harvey said. "Until I get five or six years in and sign a decent contract, then I can relax a little more. I'm intent on coming to spring training and winning a job and letting everybody know I belong."

• Jon Lester is eager to put last season behind him. His first spring training outing was a good start. Lester pitched two scoreless, leading the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Sunday. Lester retired all six batters he faced, striking out one. He needed 24 pitches - 17 strikes - to get through the two innings, six in the second. All but one of Lester's pitches were fastballs. "It was good to go through the whole routine of getting ready for a game, from stuff in (the clubhouse), to a full long toss, stretch, full bullpen, and then obviously get into a game and get up and down a couple times," Lester said.

The Associated Press

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