Indians' Sabathia Struck by Line Drive

Thursday, March 29th 2007, 8:09 am

By: News On 6

March and April can be rough on Indians starter C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia's forearm was bruised when he was struck by a line drive in his final spring start Wednesday in Winter Haven, Fla., putting in doubt his scheduled start in Cleveland's season opener next week at Chicago.

Last year, Sabathia strained an oblique muscle in his opening-day start against the White Sox. In 2005, he began the season on the disabled list when he strained the same muscle while warming up for his first spring training start.

``I almost got out of here,'' he joked. ``But the Winter Haven curse got me again.''

Sabathia instinctively threw up his arms but the 6-foot-7 left-hander was unable to elude the hard shot off the bat of Toronto leadoff hitter Reed Johnson, who hit Sabathia's second pitch of the game.

The ball smashed into the outside of Sabathia's arm, above his wrist. X-rays were negative, and he'll be re-evaluated on Thursday.

``It's swelling pretty good,'' Sabathia said. ``I do have a full range of motion. It's feeling better, but I'm sure it'll be sore tomorrow. I'm optimistic. I'm going to do everything I can to get out there Monday.''

Cleveland beat the Blue Jays 3-2, winning it on an RBI single in the ninth inning by Mike Rouse, who found out earlier in the day he had made the club as a utility infielder.

Several other opening-day starters across the majors made it through their last spring start unscathed.

At Fort Myers, Fla., Boston's Curt Schilling outpitched Minnesota ace Johan Santana in a matchup of two of the best pitchers in the major leagues.

Schilling allowed two hits in 4 2-3 shutout innings to help the Red Sox beat the Twins 5-4. Santana didn't fare as well, yielding four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Brett Myers worked six scoreless innings in Philadelphia's 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Clearwater, Fla. The 26-year-old right-hander will take the mound next for the Phillies against Atlanta in the opener on Monday.

``I'm ready to go,'' Myers said. ``I felt great. I'll tweak a couple things in the bullpen before opening day.''

Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir allowed one run and five hits in three innings. He'll pitch the opener against the New York Yankees.

John Patterson finished spring training by throwing 6 2-3 innings in Washington's 2-2 split-squad tie against the Baltimore Orioles.

The next time he pulls on that red mitt and climbs a mound to face a foe, it will be as Washington's opening-day starter Monday against the Marlins. And don't try to tell him that pitching game one of a season is the same as pitching game two.

``It's big,'' Patterson said in Viera, Fla. ``The culmination of a lot of hard work. It's kind of a reward for the time that I've put in.''

At Sarasota, Fla., Aaron Harang had a tough time getting his slider over the plate in Cincinnati's 6-4 win over the Pirates. He gave up 10 hits _ nine of them singles _ in five innings.

He gave up 46 hits in 25 2-3 innings during spring training, finishing with a 6.66 ERA that didn't bother him.

``Got all that out of the way,'' Harang said. ``I'm not worried about it. Now I'm just making sure my timing's correct, making sure I'm in shape and ready to go for the season.''

Manager Jerry Narron smiled when Harang's spring training struggles were mentioned.

``We got him through spring training healthy,'' Narron said. ``I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch on Monday.''

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Erik Bedard allowed three runs and eight hits in four innings against the Cardinals, who beat an Orioles split squad 5-1.

``It was just a couple of innings to get ready for the first game,'' Bedard said. ``I was throwing all my pitches and that's all that counts.''

At Phoenix, Dan Haren threw 75 pitches for Oakland in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his final preparation for his first opening-day start. He allowed one run in 4 1-3 innings.

Cubs 4, Rockies 4

At Mesa, Ariz., Mark Prior, whose career has been slowed by an assortment of injuries, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa right after his final spring training start for the Cubs. The right-hander threw three innings and allowed two hits and three runs, though no were earned.

``It wasn't easy. But at the same time, this is good for his career,'' new Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Brewers 8, Giants 6

At Scottsdale, Ariz., Brewers starter Ben Sheets was scaled back to four-plus innings in his final tuneup before he takes the mound opening day against the Dodgers. He allowed two earned runs and eight hits, struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

Tigers 3, Dodgers 3

At Lakeland, Fla., Gary Sheffield hit his fourth home run of the spring and went 3-for-3 for the Tigers.

Marlins 1, Nationals (ss) 0

At Jupiter, Fla., Florida scratched Dontrelle Willis to prevent the Nationals from seeing the left-hander so close to his opening-day start Monday in Washington. Willis allowed two runs in four innings against the Class-A St. Lucie Mets on a side field near Roger Dean Stadium.

Braves 8, Mets 3

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Jeff Francoeur hit a grand slam off Mets starter Jon Adkins in the first inning.

Mariners 11, Rangers 8

At Peoria, Ariz., Mariners slugger Richie Sexson had three hits, including his second home run of the spring, and two RBIs.

Padres 7, Royals 6

At Surprise, Ariz., Russell Branyan hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the fifth, and drove in four runs for San Diego. In his past two games, Branyan has four home runs and nine RBIs.

Diamondbacks 8, White Sox 0

At Tucson, Ariz., John Danks, pitching for the first time since winning a spot in the rotation, walked six and allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings. The White Sox have lost seven straight.

Astros 12, Yankees 2

At Tampa, Fla., Darrell Rasner, among the candidates to start the season as the Yankees' fifth starter, gave up seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.

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