Mosies Alou joined a growing list of Mets starters that were sidelined with injuries for Johan Santana's first impressive outing in a New York uniform.
Alou became the sixth of eight regulars - and one pitcher - out with injuries when he returned to New York on Wednesday for tests on his right groin and learned he will need hernia surgery.
The oft-injured Alou will have the operation Thursday and miss the start of the season. The 41-year-old left fielder is expected to resume baseball activities in four to six weeks.
``I myself have never seen so many injuries at one time,'' general manager Omar Minaya said. ``The good thing is it's early in camp.''
Besides Alou, the Mets are missing first baseman Carlos Delgado (right hip), right fielder Ryan Church (concussion) and catcher Brian Schneider (hamstring). Center fielder Carlos Beltran (knees), second baseman Luis Castillo (right knee) and pitcher Orlando Hernandez (toe) have yet to play in a spring training game because they're still rehabbing from offseason surgery.
The news on Alou overshadowed Santana's second spring start. The two-time Cy Young Award winner showed off his changeup, striking out four in three innings in New York's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
``I'm fine. I'm right where I'm supposed to be,'' said Santana, who threw 54 pitches.
The Dodgers aren't free from injury, either.
Second baseman Jeff Kent was scratched from the lineup because of a strained hamstring. He could miss at least a week.
``He's a veteran and with those guys when they get to this stage of their career you give them a little more leeway, a little more time,'' manager Joe Torre said.
At Surprise, Ariz., the Texas Rangers were happy to learn that their opening day starter Kevin Millwood was making progress recovering from a strained hamstring.
Millwood threw 38 pitches in a simulated two-inning outing in which he faced 10 hitters without having to field his position or worry about runners. He threw 22 pitches for strikes and had four strikeouts.
``The most important day so far of spring to get him out there and throw his pitches and walking off that mound smiling and feeling good about himself,'' manager Ron Washington said. ``Next thing you know, he'll be caught up with everybody else.''
The 33-year-old Millwood aggravated his hamstring in a conditioning drill Feb. 24, before spring training games began.
``I felt fine. My leg felt fine,'' Millwood said. ``That's really all I was looking for, just making sure of getting through it without any pain. ... I didn't think it was going to bother me. I think it was more for everybody else to feel good.''
At Lakeland, Fla., Brandon Inge played center field for Detroit - without any complaints.
Displaced at third base by the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera, Inge complained Sunday that he didn't want to catch. He had no problem after playing center field in the Tigers' 6-2 win over Philadelphia in a split-squad game Wednesday, though.
``I'll play center,'' Inge said. ``I still need to learn to adjust to the sun, but it's like golf. Think about the elements and make the play.''
In other spring games:
Braves 4, Indians 1
At Winter Haven, Fla., Jair Jurrjens, trying to win Atlanta's No. 5 starter's job, pitched three perfect innings with two strikeouts, and the Braves took a no-hitter into the ninth. Colter Bean, Atlanta's seventh pitcher, gave up the hit with two outs.
Twins 7, Yankees 5
At Tampa, Fla., Joba Chamberlain allowed a two-run homer to Garrett Jones. The 22-year-old right-hander threw just 20 of 36 pitches for strikes during a two-inning stint. He gave up two hits, struck out one, walked one and hit a batter.
Tigers (ss) 4, Pirates 1
At Bradenton, Fla., Detroit's Marcus Thames hit a two-run homer in the third off Ian Snell.
Astros 8, Rays 4
St. Petersburg, Fla., Jose Cruz Jr. went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs for Houston. B.J. Upton was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI doubles for Tampa Bay.
Nationals 6, Cardinals (ss) 5
At Jupiter, Fla., John Lannan, the Nationals' minor league pitcher of the year, allowed three hits, walked two and struck out three, extending his scoreless streak to five innings this spring.
Reds 7, Red Sox 6
At Fort Myers, Fla., Jon Lester allowed one run in three innings for Boston. Jolbert Cabrera went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Cincinnati.
Marlins (ss) 2, Orioles 1
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Rick VandenHurk faced the minimum nine batters in three shutout innings, allowing one hit and a walk. He picked off both runners.
Phillies (ss) 6, Blue Jays 1
At Dunedin, Fla., Brett Myers threw four shutout innings, and Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz had two-run doubles for the Phillies. Roy Halladay struck out two and allowed one hit in three scoreless innings.
White Sox 5, Rockies 2
At Tucson, Ariz., Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buehrle pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and walking one. Jermaine Dye homered off Franklin Morales.
Mariners 6, Angels 5
At Peoria, Ariz., new Seattle ace Erik Bedard improved from his so-so spring debut by allowing one run in three innings. J.J. Putz, the Mariners' All-Star closer, allowed three hits and two runs in one inning.
Brewers 12, Rangers 6
At Surprise, Ariz., Manny Parra started and allowed only two singles with four strikeouts in three scoreless innings for Milwaukee.
Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 4
At Tucson, Ariz., Carlos Zambrano homered and worked three scoreless innings.
Royals 3, Giants 1
At Scottsdale, Ariz., the Royals' Gil Meche allowed two hits in three shutout innings. He did not allow any runners past first. Barry Zito pitched three innings and gave up only two hits, including a solo homer to Ryan Shealy.
Athletics 15, Padres 4
At Phoenix, Randy Wolf got just two outs for the second straight start, allowing four runs. He only got two outs in his first start and has given up seven runs in 1 1-3 innings this spring. Mike Sweeney had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs runs in his bid to stick with Oakland.

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