Baltimore’s Yoon impressive in debut
SARASOTA, Fla. — South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon threw one shutout inning in his debut with the Baltimore Orioles, who got a home run from Chris Davis in a 2-1 victory over a New York Yankees’ split-squad Saturday.
The 27-year-old Yoon didn’t exactly face a Murderer’s Row of Yankees, who sent most of their stars to Panama for an exhibition game.
Yoon entered in the seventh with the score tied at 1. He gave up a single to Ramon Flores, then retired Mason Williams and Kyle Roller on fly balls. He ended his 11-pitch stint by getting Carmen Angelini to bounce out to second.
Yoon earned the win when Davis homered off Mark Montgomery in the bottom half. Davis has three homers in 22 at-bats after leading the majors with 53 last season.
Yoon’s first pitch was clocked at 91. On his next offering, Flores laced a looper to left.
“Overall, I gave up the hit. My control was better than expected, but I also feel like my fastball was 2 mph faster than I expected,” Yoon said.
Yoon went 73-59 with a 3.19 ERA in nine seasons with the KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization. Although that league is not comparable to the big leagues, it did serve to prepare him for this outing against the Yankees.
“I knew I’d be nervous, but I pitched nine years in Korea so overall I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be,” Yoon said.
Yoon signed a three-year contract with the Orioles in February, but his debut was delayed by difficulties in obtaining a work visa. He hopes to ultimately be a part of Baltimore’s starting rotation, but he’s already got some ground to make up.
“It’s going to take about 20 days to get to midseason form,” he said.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter liked what he saw in Yoon, especially under the circumstances.
“You know there’s a lot of emotion flying around there,” he said. “I thought he presented himself well the first time out. Think about the whirlwind he’s had in his life the last two months.”
New York got its lone run in the sixth inning, when Francisco Arcia homered off starter Chris Tillman to make it 1-0.
Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is expected to start Sunday for New York against Atlanta.
Tanaka will throw 75 pitches. At this point, he’s trying to develop a regimen for pitching with four days rest.
“See what schedule works for him as far as throwing in-between, and how he feels on the day (he pitches),” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “He’s worked toward that.”
New York manager Joe Girardi has said Tanaka will make his first start of the regular season either in the third game at Houston, or the fourth in Toronto.
Tigers 14, Astros 3
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers think Ian Kinsler can hit in several different spots in the lineup. He showed why on Saturday.
Kinsler hit his first two home runs with his new team, leading the Tigers to a 14-3 exhibition win over the Houston Astros. The second baseman went 3 for 3 with four RBIs.
“Ideally he’s at the top of the lineup somewhere, but can he slide into the five hole for a couple of weeks when he’s hot?” asked first-year manager Brad Ausmus, who is keeping his options open on the batting order. “He does so many things well on the bases you want him in front of the big hitters, but he’s also got the ability, like today, to drive runs in. So he can be used in a lot of places.”
The Tigers traded Prince Fielder to Texas for Kinsler, but he doesn’t expect to replace Fielder’s home runs all by himself.
“They (home runs) look cool, but the goal in this clubhouse is to win a World Series, and the way you win a World Series is to score more runs than anybody else,” Kinsler said.
Kinsler spent his first eight seasons with the Rangers, batting .273 with 156 homers and 539 RBIs. He had 31 homers and 31 steals in 2009, and then put up another 30-30 season in 2011, when he had a career-high 32 homers and 30 steals. He has swiped at least 11 bags each year in the majors.
“Today I hit fifth. I’ve done that a couple times this spring,” Kinsler said. “He’s also led me off. So we’ll see opening day.”
Kinsler came to camp about 12 pounds lighter than his listed playing weight of 200, but he said that won’t affect his power. He’s not going to swing for the fences anyway.
Max Scherzer pitched 4 2-3 innings for Detroit, giving up three runs and five hits, including Robbie Grossman’s first spring homer.
Cardinals 6, Braves 2
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Joe Kelly pitched into the sixth inning and had three hits to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2.
Kelly went 5 1-3 innings, allowing four hits and a run. He became the first pitcher to have three hits in a spring training game since Chris Volstad did it for the Marlins in 2010.
Kelly singled three times, drove in two runs and scored twice.
The right-hander made 37 appearances for the Cardinals last season, including 15 starts, and went 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. He pitched into the postseason and said he feels like a permanent part of the staff heading into the season.
“I went deep into the game,” Kelly said. “I had some quick outs and that should always be a goal for me. I saw the whole lineup.”
The Braves, still reeling from the possibility of beginning the season without ailing pitchers Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, started non-roster invitee Gus Schlosser, who allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in four innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Schlosser was expected to work out of the bullpen this season, but will likely stretch his arm out in Triple-A at the start of the year as an insurance policy for the starting rotation.Second baseman Kolten Wong, a former University of Hawaii and Kamehameha-Hawaii standout, did not play for the Cardinals in Saturday’s game.
Rays (ss) 6, Pirates 3BRADENTON, Fla. — Wil Myers left the game in the third inning with a bruised right quadriceps, and Ben Zobrist doubled, scored a run and drove in a run as a Tampa Bay Rays split squad beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3.
Myers, last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, fouled a ball off his leg and bent over a few times.
“As soon as it happened, the initial pain kind of scared me,” Myers said. “I probably would have stayed in if it was a normal regular-season game that meant something. But this right here, I just want to be cautious about something like this.”
Zobrist drove in a run in the first inning then doubled and scored in the third inning as the Rays built a 4-1 lead against Pirates starter Edinson Volquez. Jerry Sands, who replaced Myers, hit a two-run single in the eighth to make it 6-3.
Jake Odorizzi and left-hander Cesar Ramos, who are competing with lefty Erik Bedard for one open spot in the Rays’ rotation, both pitched. Odorizzi started and allowed one run in 3 2-3 innings then Ramos followed and gave up two runs in 2 2-3 innings.
Volquez, expected to be the Pirates’ fifth starter after signing a one-year, $5-million contract as a free agent in December, was touched four runs — two earned — in 3 2-3 innings.
Mets 3, Twins 3, (9 inn.)
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New York Mets outfielder Chris Young has prided himself on trying to make better contact and not worrying about pulling the ball this spring.
He couldn’t help himself Saturday, though.
Young went 2 for 3 and hit his first home run of the spring off Scott Diamond in the bottom of the first inning as a Mets’ split squad tied the Minnesota Twins 3-3 in nine innings on Saturday.
Young had career lows in most major statistical category with the Oakland A’s in 2013, hitting only .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs.
He’s hitting .290 this spring with three doubles and two RBIs and has at least one hit in each of his last four games.
Nationals 2, Marlins 1
JUPITER, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg outpitched Jose Fernandez and the Nationals beat the Marlins 2-1 in a spring training game Saturday.
Will Rhymes scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the third and in the top of the fifth, Danny Espinosa scored on Wilson Ramos’ single to center.
Marcell Ozuna scored the only Marlins run in the bottom of the seventh, on Alfredo Silverio’s grounder.
Strasburg pitched four innings, allowed two hits and one walk.
Fernandez gave up two hits and an earned run with four walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Will Rhymes scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the third, and Danny Espinosa in the top of the fifth on a Wilson Ramos single for the Nationals.
Marcell Ozuna scored the only Marlins run of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
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