Matthews homers in Angels win

Thursday, March 15th 2007, 8:05 am
By: News On 6

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Gary Matthews Jr. was relieved, and the center fielder sure looked like it on the field.

Matthews had one of his best games of spring training just hours after denying for the first time he ever took human growth hormone. He went 2-for-3 with a home run in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

Matthews, who was allegedly sent HGH in 2004 from a pharmacy that's part of a widespread steroid investigation, issued a statement before the game denying he ever took the substance.

The Angels had been pressing Matthews to explain why The Times Union of Albany, N.Y., reported he was listed as a customer of Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala. That company is under investigation for allegedly being part of a national steroids distribution network.

``I have never taken HGH _ during the 2004 season or any other time,'' Matthews said in a statement. ``Nobody has accused me of doing so, and no law enforcement authority has said I am a target of any investigation for doing so.''

Matthews did not comment other than his statement issued by the team.

He starred on the field, leading off the bottom of the first with a single off Russ Ortiz. He stole second, but was stranded there. In the third, Matthews hit his second homer of the spring. He grounded out to end the fourth inning.

``I think we're relieved that the release will let us start to move forward and turn the page on this,'' Scioscia said in Tempe, Ariz. ``I think Gary's statement is a step in that direction.''

Barry Bonds returned to the Giants' lineup after taking Tuesday night off and went 0-for-2 with a walk as the designated hitter.

Bonds flied out to right in the first inning and then struck out swinging against Kelvim Escobar in the third. He walked in the fifth before being replaced by pinch-runner Ryan Klesko, who played for the first time since injuring his left side last week.

Reds 2, Devil Rays 1

At Sarasota, Fla., Reds manager Jerry Narron said Ken Griffey Jr. needs to get into a game soon so he can be ready for opening day. Griffey broke his left hand in December. He has taken batting practice during spring training, but has yet to play.

``It's March 14 and he hasn't played,'' Narron said. ``You need some spring training.''

Rangers 9, Padres 5, 10 inn.

At Peoria, Ariz., Padres ace Jake Peavy turned in his best outing of the spring, yielding one run and two hits in five innings. Ramon Vazquez and Ian Kinsler homered for Texas.

Yankees 4, Twins 1

At Tampa, Fla., Minnesota left fielder Rondell White left in the fifth with a bruised left knee and is day to day. He was hit by a pitch from Chase Wright. Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi had RBI doubles for the Yankees.

Tigers 2, Mets 0

At Lakeland, Fla., Curtis Granderson went 4-for-4 with a home run, and Kenny Rogers went five innings for Detroit. Mets right-hander John Maine allowed one run and three hits in four innings.

Astros 4, Braves 2

At Kissimmee, Fla., Chris Burke had two hits, including a home run, and Jason Jennings pitched four innings for Houston.

White Sox 11, Brewers 8

At Tucson, Ariz., Eduardo Perez strained his right calf rounding first base after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning for the White Sox. Perez was unable to round the bases, but said he expects to be back on the field within the next few days.

Pirates 3, Red Sox 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Pirates starter Zach Duke gave up four hits, including a two-run homer to Mike Lowell in the fourth. Ian Snell pitched three hitless innings for Pittsburgh, striking out four and walking one.

Marlins 5, Orioles 1

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Marlins left-hander Scott Olsen allowed two hits over five scoreless innings.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 2, 10 innings

At Jupiter, Fla., Scott Rolen homered for the Cardinals and Anthony Reyes tossed 4 1-3 shutout innings.

Jason Simontacchi, bidding for a spot in the Nationals' rotation after being out of the major leagues the last two seasons, worked five innings.

Indians (ss) 0, Blue Jays (ss) 0, 10 innings

At Dunedin, Fla., Cleveland's Josh Barfield went 2-for-4 at the spring training home of his father's former team. Jesse Barfield was drafted by Toronto in 1979 and was with the Blue Jays until they dealt him to the New York Yankees in 1989.

Indians (ss) 8, Blue Jays (ss) 1

At Winter Haven, Fla., Victor Martinez, Cleveland's regular catcher, made three strong defensive plays in the field in his first start of spring training at first base. He also hit one of the Indians' four home runs.

Royals 6, Rockies 2

At Surprise, Ariz., Zack Greinke struck out six in four scoreless innings. The Royals right-hander gave up four hits, walked none and lowered his spring ERA to 4.00.