Matsuzaka Buzzes Through Big Leaguers

Wednesday, March 7th 2007, 6:19 am
By: News On 6

Daisuke Matsuzaka breezed through his first outing of the year against major leaguers, and Freddy Sanchez and Mike Piazza got banged-up at spring training.

Baseball's most famous rookie, Matsuzaka allowed two hits in three scoreless innings and struck out three Tuesday for the Boston Red Sox in a 14-6 rout of the Florida Marlins at Jupiter, Fla.

``My readiness for the season is difficult to judge from the outside,'' Matsuzaka said through a translator. ``I'm probably 40 to 50 percent there.''

Before a sellout crowd of 8,044, including some who began lining up for tickets at 5 a.m., Matsuzaka threw a fastball that topped out at a brisk 151 _ that's kilometers per hour, as measured by Japanese TV. It translates to 94 mph.

``He's definitely got the ability to be a dominant pitcher,'' Florida's Dan Uggla said. ``He's got the stuff, he's got the command. He has done it in Japan, and there's no reason he couldn't do it here.''

Florida learned right-hander Josh Johnson has an irritated ulnar nerve that likely will force him to miss at least the first two months of the season. Johnson said his arm first hurt while he was lobbing a ball Jan. 19.

``If it was real bad, I'd probably be out for four months,'' he said. ``It's good to know exactly what it is.''

At Bradenton, Fla., Sanchez sprained a ligament in his right knee and left the Pittsburgh Pirates' 11-10, 10-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The NL batting champion was injured when Philadelphia's Rod Barajas slid into his knee as he was turning a double play at second base in the fourth inning. A test showed a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament.

``As of right now, it just feels like a bruise or something like that,'' Sanchez said. ``It's nothing big.''

Sanchez, who hit .344 last season, is day to day. He didn't complain about the slide. Barajas thought Sanchez didn't do enough to get out of his way.

``I'm taught to go hard to second to break up two, and that's what I did,'' Barajas said. ``I didn't come up high, and my spikes weren't up. I slid the way I've always been taught. Unfortunately, he didn't get out of the way.''

At Phoenix, Piazza was hit just above his left elbow by a pitch from Kansas City's Brian Bannister, and the designated hitter came out of Oakland's 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

Piazza has a bruised left triceps. Impressions from the seams of the baseball were visible on his elbow in the clubhouse after the game. Piazza doubled earlier to raise his spring training average to .444, third-best among A's regulars.

``He got it pretty good,'' said Piazza, who initially put a thick bag of ice on his elbow. ``I'm just going to ice it again, see how it feels and go from there. If everything's all right, I'm sure it will calm down in a day or two.''

In Tucson, Ariz., Javier Vazquez was roughed up by Colorado after agreeing to a contract extension with the White Sox.

Vazquez and Chicago agreed to a $34.5 million, three-year contract extension through 2010. Vazquez will get $12.5 million this season, the final year of his current contract, and $11.5 million in each of the following three seasons.

``Javier and his representative made a proposal that we felt was fair and made sense for us over the next several seasons,'' White Sox general manager Ken Williams said.

Vazquez gave up four runs and six hits in three innings of a 6-3 loss to the Rockies, who got a long, two-run homer from Brad Hawpe.

In other games:

Mets 7, Astros 2

At Kissimmee, Fla., Tom Glavine extended his spring training scoreless streak to five innings. Glavine, who returned to Mets camp this week after missing a few days due to a personal matter, allowed four hits in three innings. He worked out of first-and-third jams twice.

Indians 6, Yankees 5

At Winter Haven, Fla., Chien-Ming Wang gave up two runs and five hits in three innings, and Kevin Reese and Josh Phelps each hit a two-run homer for New York, which lost its first game following a 5-0 start. Grady Sizemore hit a leadoff homer for Cleveland.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 3

At Peoria, Ariz., Chris Young allowed two hits, including a home run by Scott Hairston, in three innings for the Padres. Cy Young winner Brandon Webb went three innings for Arizona, allowing two runs and three hits.

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 4

At Lakeland, Fla., Detroit's Mike Maroth pitched four scoreless innings and ALCS MVP Placido Polanco went 3-for-3 to boost his average to .714.

Braves 10, Nationals 6

At Viera, Fla., after missing three games for the birth of his daughter, Brian Schneider went 2-for-2 with a home run, double and four RBIs for the Nationals. Washington starter Colby Lewis allowed six runs _ four earned _ in two innings.

Dodgers 7, Twins 4

At Fort Myers, Fla., Dodgers starter Jason Schmidt struck out three while walking one and giving up one run and two hits in two innings. Andre Ethier had two hits and two RBIs for Los Angeles, and Chin-Lung Hu had three hits to raise his batting average to .444.

Reds 3, Devil Rays 1

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Eric Milton allowed two hits in three innings as Cincinnati (6-0) remained the only unbeaten team at spring training and won its 12th straight exhibition game dating to last year.

Orioles 2, Cardinals 2, 10 innings

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Steve Trachsel allowed one run and three hits in three innings, his second appearance with Baltimore. Chris Carpenter gave up one run and two hits in three innings for the Cardinals.

Giants 8, Angels 4

At Scottsdale, Ariz., Giants slugger Barry Bonds went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Bonds, who had the flu, saw his first game action since his exhibition debut four days earlier.

Mariners 10, Rangers 3

At Surprise, Ariz., Sammy Sosa struck out against Horacio Ramirez, flied out against Arthur Rhodes and singled off Eric O'Flaherty. Sosa, in Rangers camp on a minor league contract, is 3-for-9 with a solo home run and three strikeouts in three games.

Cubs 3, Brewers 2

At Mesa, Ariz., Jason Marquis had another strong outing, pitching three scoreless innings for Chicago.