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Archive for Sunday, April 2, 2006

Tigers, Giants hit by injuries to closers

Jones shelved because of hamstring ailment; Benitez bothered by bursitis in his left knee

April 2, 2006

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The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants are closing spring training with injured closers.

Detroit's Todd Jones aggravated a left-hamstring injury while throwing a ninth-inning pitch during Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Armando Benitez, bothered by left knee bursitis, gave up four runs in the eighth inning of the Giants' 14-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics. San Francisco said he would start the season on the DL.

"I'm not disappointed, but right now, I can't even be the closer," Benitez said in Oakland, Calif. "I need to get my stuff together. I think I need a couple of weeks. I can get myself together and come back. We've got people here that can close the games. My arm is good. My knee, it will be (good). My windup, my mechanics right now are terrible."

Jones, an All-Star for the Tigers in 2000, was 1-5 with 2.10 earned-run average and 40 saves with the Florida Marlins last season. In December, he signed an $11 million, two-year contract to return to Detroit. The 16-year veteran hurt his hamstring during an outing against Houston on March 21, but said he felt OK after an appearance against Cleveland on Thursday. He retired his first two batters Saturday, then left with a 2-1 count on Joey Gathright.

"I'm not one of those who say, 'Oh man, what a way to end spring training.' We've got to move forward," new Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We're not going to have Todd Jones for 15 days. What are we supposed to do? I feel bad for Todd Jones, but I'm not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself. And if any of the other players are out there feeling sorry for themselves, they're on the wrong team."

In spring training games:

Athletics 14, Giants 3

At Oakland, Calif., Barry Bonds was 0-for-4, playing nine innings and looking smooth while playing in a wet outfield at the Coliseum. Bonds is expected to be the Giants' designated hitter in their final exhibition game today.

Mets 2, Cardinals 1

At Jupiter, Fla., Billy Wagner struck out two in a scoreless inning in his first game since March 18 and said he was fit to start the season.

Twins 8, Pirates 2

At Bradenton, Fla., Joe Mauer went 4-for-4 as Minnesota finishing spring training with six straight wins against major-league teams.

Dodgers 0, Angels 0, 10 innings

At Anaheim, Calif., the second Freeway Series game ended like the first one - in a tie. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels played 10 scoreless innings, one night after a rain-shortened 6-all tie.

Reds 7, Indians 5

At Sarasota, Fla., Eric Milton struck out nine in five innings. Milton, who missed part of spring training because of a strained right calf, allowed one run and three hits.

Phillies 9, Red Sox 5

At Philadelphia, David Bell went 4-for-5 with a home run, a double and three runs after missing most of spring training because of a bad back and sore quadriceps. Chase Utley drove in four runs.

Rangers 6, Marlins 4

At Arlington, Texas, new Texas leadoff hitter Brad Wilkerson homered in the first two at-bats of his home debut.

White Sox 10, Braves 5

At Atlanta, Jim Thome hit a first-inning homer against Jorge Sosa, his eighth in seven games. Thome batted .464 (13-for-28) during the streak with 12 RBIs and nine runs, and his eight spring-training homers tied the club record set by Magglio Ordonez in 2000. Pitcher Jose Contreras and the White Sox agreed to a $29 million, three-year contract extension.

Blue Jays 2, Syracuse (AAA) 0, 7 innings

At Dunedin, Fla., Toronto's A.J. Burnett threw two hitless innings against Triple-A Syracuse in his first appearance since scar tissue broke free in his right elbow March 18.

Rockies 6, Brewers 1

At Phoenix, Todd Helton hit a two-run homer and ended the exhibition season with a 12-game hitting streak, going 19-for-35 with three homers, nine doubles, six walks, 12 RBIs and 11 runs.

Cubs 6, Padres 5, 10 innings

At Las Vegas, Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux made his first professional appearance in his hometown, pitching two scoreless innings.

Yankees 3, Diamondbacks 3

At Phoenix, Shawn Chacon allowed two runs in five innings, one day after he was selected as the Yankees' fourth starter.

Orioles 8, Nationals 4

At Baltimore, Nationals starter Pedro Astacio, who figures to be No. 3 in the rotation, left after two innings because of tightness in his right forearm and was put on the disabled list. Miguel Tejada homered and drove in three runs for Baltimore.

Rainiers 5, Mariners 4

At Tacoma, Wash., Gil Meche allowed one run and six hits over 51â3 innings.

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