|Tulowitzki, Holliday get NL champion Rockies off to strong spring start|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2008 16:34|
Troy Tulowitzki homered on his first swing and Matt Holliday hit a long double and made a nice defensive play as the NL champions beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3 on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz.
``It was nice just to be in the dugout with all the guys again. It brings back some memories,'' Tulowitzki said.
The White Sox wore white Northern Illinois University caps to honor the school and the victims of the recent shooting in which a 27-year-old gunman killed five people and wounded several others in a university lecture hall before committing suicide.
``Being in Illinois, everything that happens there we feel like we're connected,'' White Sox pitcher John Danks said. ``We are trying to do what we can to help.''
Afterward, White Sox players autographed the caps, which will be sent to the school in DeKalb, Ill., and auctioned off to benefit a scholarship fund in memory of the slain students.
Elsewhere, AL strikeout leader Scott Kazmir will be sidelined for at least two weeks because of an elbow strain, although the Tampa Bay left-hander remains confident he'll be ready for opening day.
The Rays said an MRI did not reveal a serious injury, but stressed the club will not take any unnecessary chances with the 24-year-old's recovery, even if it means him missing a start or two when the season begins.
``The good thing is we're talking weeks, not months,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. ``It's one of those things we're not going to put a timetable on. We're looking at it in phases, and the first phase is to get the inflammation out of the elbow and start him on a throwing program.''
Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa will undergo a heart procedure in Chicago on Thursday to correct an irregular heartbeat.
Team doctor Stephen Adams said DeRosa is expected to return to Arizona on Sunday, be back on the field as early as Monday and ready to play in spring training games by March 8.
``Theoretically, this should take care of the problem,'' Adams said.
Alan Kadish, a cardiovascular electro physiologist at Northwestern Hospital, will perform the hour-long procedure that Adams described as ``simple but very high tech.''
DeRosa should return to his Chicago home Thursday night, Adams said.
``He's in an excellent mood. Ready to go, very open,'' Adams said.
The infielder experienced an irregular heartbeat Saturday during a workout and spent the night in an Arizona hospital. He returned to Chicago on Monday and underwent a medical evaluation Tuesday.
DeRosa, who turned 33 on Tuesday, said earlier this week he'd had the condition since he was a teenager.
``We're thinking about Mark,'' Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. ``Everything will go fine and he'll be back this weekend.''
The St. Louis Cardinals released utilityman Scott Spiezio after he was charged in a six-count complaint involving drunken driving and assault in a December car crash.
``We had heard some things about this,'' Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. ``Ultimately nothing was ever confirmed to the level it was today. To have this warrant put out there, it completely changes the landscape of what we're dealing with.''
A warrant was issued Tuesday by California police for Spiezio, who missed more than a month last year while getting treatment for substance abuse. The warrant was recalled Wednesday after Spiezio's attorney appeared in court, and the arraignment was continued to March 26.
The Orange County, Calif., district attorney charged Spiezio with misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more, hit and run, aggravated assault, assault and battery.
``We anticipate a successful resolution to this misdemeanor matter,'' attorney Paul Meyer said.
The 35-year-old Spiezio did not play Wednesday against St. Louis University at Jupiter, Fla.
``Scott and I will have a statement at a later date,'' Spiezio's agent, Barry Meister, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
``Scott is clean and sober, and has been for a significant period of time, and is fully prepared to continue his career. He has had no problems at Cardinals camp, is in great shape and was and is looking to have a great 2008 season,'' he said.
Police said the accident occurred Dec. 30. The maximum penalty is two years in state prison.
Spiezio won World Series championships with Anaheim in 2002 and St. Louis in 2006. He has cultivated a hard-rocking image during his 12 seasons in the majors and plays in the heavy metal band SandFrog.
At Fort Myers, Fla., Francisco Liriano arrived at Minnesota Twins camp after missing the first nine days of spring training because of visa problems in his native Dominican Republic.
The 2006 All-Star is coming off Tommy John surgery. The left-hander went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 innings in 2006 before developing arm problems.
``We can start now,'' catcher Mike Redmond shouted across the room. ``Franchise is here!''
Liriano threw a 10-minute bullpen session and said he felt good.
At Vero Beach, Fla., Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley was scratched from Thursday's spring training opener against Atlanta because of tightness in his right groin.
He'll be replaced by non-roster invitee Jason Johnson, manager Joe Torre said. Billingsley will pitch a simulated game. He said the injury was ``nothing serious.''
At Winter Haven, Fla., Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook was scratched from his scheduled start in Thursday's spring opener against Houston because of soreness in his right arm.
Westbrook doesn't expect the soreness to last. He has experienced similar discomfort in past training camps.
``I usually get this every year,'' he said. ``I'm not a big fan of throwing bullpens every other day. It usually acts up on me.''
Westbrook will throw a bullpen session Thursday and see how his arm responds.
At Tucson, the Rockies decided against bringing back infielder Neifi Perez.
Perez and the team had agreed to a $750,000 minor league contract on Tuesday, a goodwill gesture that manager Clint Hurdle called a lifeline for one of the more popular players in club history who has hit hard times of late.
But the team later had second thoughts and decided against bringing him back.
``We just didn't feel like it was a good fit,'' assistant general manager Bill Geivett said.
The first player suspended by baseball for stimulants since they were banned before the 2006 season, Perez has 18 games remaining on an 80-game suspension he received last season after testing positive for a third time.
In other spring training games:
Phillies 8, Reds 1
At Clearwater, Fla., Jamie Moyer threw three scoreless innings and Philadelphia scored six runs in the fifth off reliever Gary Majewski. Greg Dobbs homered for the Phillies.
Braves 8, Georgia 0
At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta remained unbeaten against college teams from back home, as Chipper Jones hit a two-run double and five minor leaguers combined on a seven-hitter.
Tigers 4, Mets 2
At Lakeland, Fla., Mike Pelfrey faced the minimum six batters for New York in two scoreless innings. Jeremy Bonderman started for Detroit and allowed runs in each of the first two innings.
Rangers 6, Royals 1
At Surprise, Ariz., Josh Hamilton hit a two-run double. Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, pitched two perfect innings for Kansas City.
Cardinals 15, Saint Louis 2, 6 innings
At Jupiter, Fla., Colby Rasmus got the Cardinals off to a fast start. A top prospect who is trying to win the center-field job, Rasmus was on base all four times.
Pirates 5, Manatee Community College 0
At Bradenton, Fla., Doug Mientkiewicz had two hits and two RBIs, and Ryan Doumit singled in two runs.