Spring roundup: Dickey makes Blue Jays' debut
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) -- The knuckleball fraternity was in full force for Monday's game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey gave up two runs and four hits in his Toronto spring training debut while fellow knuckleballer Steven Wright pitched two scoreless innings for a Boston split squad in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
Wright and Dickey have communicated by phone and text in the past. Wright sent a message to Dickey when he arrived for Monday's game.
Both pitchers seek advice from Wakefield. Dickey said he faced Wakefield a couple times as a reliever in games the former Red Sox standout started.
Red Sox manager John Farrell , who moved from Toronto to Boston during the offseason after managing the Blue Jays in 2011 and `12, was roundly booed by fans when his name was announced during the pregame starting lineup introductions. This was the first time Farrell has faced his former team.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Justin Upton was eager to get his first hit with the Atlanta Braves .
Boy, it was a memorable one Monday, even if it was just spring training.
Upton launched one of the longest home runs ever seen at the Disney World complex, a towering drive that cleared the grass berm beyond left field, as the Braves picked up their first win of the spring with a 7-6 victory over the Miami Marlins .
Upton's teammates estimated the homer traveled at least 450 feet. He was thrilled just to get a hit after starting 0 for 6 this spring, having joined the Braves - and older brother B.J. - after a blockbuster trade with Arizona.
The Marlins led 1-0 when Jason Heyward opened the fourth with a drive over the right-field wall. Upton made it back-to-back homers off loser Scott Maine , and B.J. chipped in with a double, coming around to score on a stolen base and wild pitch to make it 3-1.
That's just the sort of speed and power the Braves are hoping to get from their revamped outfield this season. Heyward is the only holdover, joined by the Upton brothers; B.J. was a free agent who signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract.
Both Uptons had a couple of hits, and B.J. also threw out a runner trying to tag and go to third.
Atlanta extended the lead to 7-1 before Miami put together a five-run eighth against Yohan Flande. Anthony Varvaro worked the ninth for a save.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc , battling for a spot in the Miami rotation, pitched two perfect innings at the start against a lineup largely comprised of Atlanta starters.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera already looks ready for opening day. Jonathan Papelbon seems to still have some work ahead.
Cabrera hit a booming, three-run homer off Papelbon as the Detroit Tigers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-1 Monday.
The AL MVP and Triple Crown winner went 1 for 2 with a walk. He's hit two home runs this spring.
Papelbon, meanwhile, struggled to get anyone out in his first action of the spring. The five-time All-Star closer faced nine batters in the fifth inning and retired just two before being removed from the game.
With Detroit ahead 3-1, Cabrera hit a drive that cleared the Phillies' bullpen beyond the left-field fence.
Two batters after serving up the homer, Papelbon was pulled.
He gave up six runs on five hits and two walks. Papelbon also struck out two.
While Papelbon shook off a rough outing, Cliff Lee looked in midseason form in his own spring debut.
Lee, a former Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star, pitched two hitless innings. He had only one blemish, a walk to Cabrera with two outs in the first inning.
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Mike Trout singled in his first at-bat this spring and scored twice for the Los Angeles Angels in a 9-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
The 20-year-old Trout, the AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up in the MVP voting last season, also walked.
Hank Conger homered, doubled, singled and drove in five runs for the Angels. He hit a three-run homer in the first off Jeremy Bonderman.
The 30-year-old Bonderman, trying to secure a spot in Seattle's rotation after missing the past two seasons, allowed two hits and a walk in his lone inning.
Brendan Ryan homered for the Mariners and Justin Smoak doubled and singled. Seattle rallied for seven runs in the final three innings.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Joey Votto hit a two-run homer, an encouraging sign that he's progressing in his recovery from knee surgery that robbed him of his power last season, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the split-squad Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Monday.
Votto didn't homer after June 24 last season. He missed 48 games after tearing cartilage in his knee, and was reduced to hitting mostly singles when he returned because the knee wasn't fully healed.
He connected in the third inning off Robert Wooten. Votto also had an RBI groundout off Tyler Thornburg, a third-round draft pick in 2010 who is trying to win a spot in the Brewers' revamped rotation.
Right fielder Jay Bruce was scratched from the Reds' lineup after batting practice because of a sore right heel.
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