I-Rod, Tejada have new teams beaming

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

Ivan Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada wasted no time in getting started on helping turn around losing teams.

In his debut with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, Rodriguez had two singles and an RBI in a 5-4 win over the Montreal Expos.

''With him signing, automatically we've got a chance to win the Central,'' fellow newcomer Rondell White said. ''I don't think there's no one to overpower us.

''The attitude around here is not like we lost 119 games last year. We're walking around here with confidence, and cockiness.''

Rodriguez signed a four-year, $40 million contract in the offseason to help the Tigers rebound from one of the worst seasons in major league history after leading the Florida Marlins to the World Series title.

The 10-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner will try to instill some of that championship swagger on his young teammates.

 

New Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada fields a hit during a spring training workout, Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

''We have to win every day, even in spring training,'' Rodriguez said at Lakeland, Fla. ''If everything works out well here, we're going to be fine in the season.''

Carlos Pena, who hit a home run against Florida Southern on Wednesday, hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Rodriguez and Dmitri Young followed with RBIs in the inning.

Tejada hit a solo homer off World Series MVP Josh Beckett and the Baltimore Orioles made Lee Mazzilli a 6-5 winner over the Marlins in his first game as a big league manager.

''I'm really happy to hit that home run, and really happy to see my team play good baseball,'' said Tejada, who signed as a free agent from the Oakland Athletics in December.

The Orioles' two other high-profile acquisitions, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez, didn't disappoint either. Palmeiro had an RBI single with two outs off Beckett in the first and Lopez went 1-for-2 at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Baltimore second baseman Jerry Hairston broke the ring finger on his right hand while stealing third in the first inning. He will be out at least a month.

''I'm just hoping it stays in place and I don't need surgery,'' he said.

Hairston's backup, Mike Fontenot, hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the winning margin.

In his first action of the spring, Beckett allowed two runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Mazzilli, the New York Yankees' first-base coach last year, was encouraged by his team's success against Beckett, the pitcher who stifled the Yankees in Game 6 to clinch the series.

''At the end of the season I went to bed with Beckett on my mind. I wake up in spring training and here he is pitching again,'' Mazzilli said before the game. ''I can't get away from him, I guess.''

Ramon Castro started his campaign to replace Rodriguez as catcher for Florida with two home runs, including a two-run shot off Orioles opening day starter Sidney Ponson in the second.

In other spring training games: Giants 9, Cubs 3

At Mesa, Ariz., Barry Bonds grounded out in his only at-bat before leaving on a cold and rainy day.

Jeffrey Hammonds hit a grand slam for San Francisco. Corey Patterson, making a comeback from knee surgery, homered for the Cubs off Kirk Rueter.

Phillies 5, Yankees 1

At Clearwater, Fla., Jim Thome and Jimmy Rollins homered and Philadelphia opened its new spring training ballpark by beating New York.

Alex Rodriguez did not play for the Yankees. Eric Milton pitched three hitless innings for the Phillies.

After 49 springs at Jack Russell Stadium, the Phillies moved into Bright House Networks Field. A sellout crowd of 8,205 watched the exhibition opener, with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the Phillie Phanatic in attendance.

Dodgers 7, Braves 5

At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta's J.D. Drew homered for the second straight day.

Drew connected off Los Angeles starter Jeff Weaver. Julio Franco, the oldest position player in the majors at age 45, hit a two-run triple for the Braves.

Mets 4, Cardinals 2

At Jupiter, Fla., Jason Phillips hit a solo home run and the Mets beat St. Louis. Steve Trachsel pitched two hitless innings for New York.

Rangers 9, Royals 5

At Surprise, Ariz., Alfonso Soriano went 1-for-3 with a stolen base and started two double plays in his Texas debut.

Jason Jones hit a tiebreaking double over the head of Royals left fielder Garth Brooks.

Padres 3, Mariners 2

At Peoria, Ariz., Terrence Long hit a two-run homer and Brian Buchanan had a solo shot for San Diego.

Raul Ibanez and Scott Spiezio doubled off the Padres' Ismael Valdez. After his last name was spelled ''Valdes'' for many years, the pitcher requested his name be listed as ''Valdez.'' He told the Padres that ''Valdez'' is how it's spelled on his birth certificate.

Reds 6, Pirates 3

At Bradenton, Fla., Adam Dunn doubled twice and drove in two runs for Cincinnati.

The Pirates held a moment of silence before the game for former Reds owner Marge Schott, who died Tuesday at 75.

Pirates starter Kris Benson, who did not pitch after mid-July because of shoulder tendinitis, gave up two runs and three hits in two innings. Brewers 8, Athletics 7

At Phoenix, Scott Podsednik went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases as Milwaukee beat Oakland.

The Brewers won it on Bill Hall's one-out triple off Lou Pote in the bottom of the ninth inning.

By The Associated Press

Ivan Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada wasted no time in getting started on helping turn around losing teams.

In his debut with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, Rodriguez had two singles and an RBI in a 5-4 win over the Montreal Expos.

''With him signing, automatically we've got a chance to win the Central,'' fellow newcomer Rondell White said. ''I don't think there's no one to overpower us.

''The attitude around here is not like we lost 119 games last year. We're walking around here with confidence, and cockiness.''

Rodriguez signed a four-year, $40 million contract in the offseason to help the Tigers rebound from one of the worst seasons in major league history after leading the Florida Marlins to the World Series title.

The 10-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner will try to instill some of that championship swagger on his young teammates.

''We have to win every day, even in spring training,'' Rodriguez said at Lakeland, Fla. ''If everything works out well here, we're going to be fine in the season.''

Carlos Pena, who hit a home run against Florida Southern on Wednesday, hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Rodriguez and Dmitri Young followed with RBIs in the inning.

Tejada hit a solo homer off World Series MVP Josh Beckett and the Baltimore Orioles made Lee Mazzilli a 6-5 winner over the Marlins in his first game as a big league manager.

''I'm really happy to hit that home run, and really happy to see my team play good baseball,'' said Tejada, who signed as a free agent from the Oakland Athletics in December.

The Orioles' two other high-profile acquisitions, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez, didn't disappoint either. Palmeiro had an RBI single with two outs off Beckett in the first and Lopez went 1-for-2 at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Baltimore second baseman Jerry Hairston broke the ring finger on his right hand while stealing third in the first inning. He will be out at least a month.

''I'm just hoping it stays in place and I don't need surgery,'' he said.

Hairston's backup, Mike Fontenot, hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the winning margin.

In his first action of the spring, Beckett allowed two runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Mazzilli, the New York Yankees' first-base coach last year, was encouraged by his team's success against Beckett, the pitcher who stifled the Yankees in Game 6 to clinch the series.

''At the end of the season I went to bed with Beckett on my mind. I wake up in spring training and here he is pitching again,'' Mazzilli said before the game. ''I can't get away from him, I guess.''

Ramon Castro started his campaign to replace Rodriguez as catcher for Florida with two home runs, including a two-run shot off Orioles opening day starter Sidney Ponson in the second.

In other spring training games: Giants 9, Cubs 3

At Mesa, Ariz., Barry Bonds grounded out in his only at-bat before leaving on a cold and rainy day.

Jeffrey Hammonds hit a grand slam for San Francisco. Corey Patterson, making a comeback from knee surgery, homered for the Cubs off Kirk Rueter.

Phillies 5, Yankees 1

At Clearwater, Fla., Jim Thome and Jimmy Rollins homered and Philadelphia opened its new spring training ballpark by beating New York.

Alex Rodriguez did not play for the Yankees. Eric Milton pitched three hitless innings for the Phillies.

After 49 springs at Jack Russell Stadium, the Phillies moved into Bright House Networks Field. A sellout crowd of 8,205 watched the exhibition opener, with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the Phillie Phanatic in attendance.

Dodgers 7, Braves 5

At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta's J.D. Drew homered for the second straight day.

Drew connected off Los Angeles starter Jeff Weaver. Julio Franco, the oldest position player in the majors at age 45, hit a two-run triple for the Braves.

Mets 4, Cardinals 2

At Jupiter, Fla., Jason Phillips hit a solo home run and the Mets beat St. Louis. Steve Trachsel pitched two hitless innings for New York.

Rangers 9, Royals 5

At Surprise, Ariz., Alfonso Soriano went 1-for-3 with a stolen base and started two double plays in his Texas debut.

Jason Jones hit a tiebreaking double over the head of Royals left fielder Garth Brooks.

Padres 3, Mariners 2

At Peoria, Ariz., Terrence Long hit a two-run homer and Brian Buchanan had a solo shot for San Diego.

Raul Ibanez and Scott Spiezio doubled off the Padres' Ismael Valdez. After his last name was spelled ''Valdes'' for many years, the pitcher requested his name be listed as ''Valdez.'' He told the Padres that ''Valdez'' is how it's spelled on his birth certificate.

Reds 6, Pirates 3

At Bradenton, Fla., Adam Dunn doubled twice and drove in two runs for Cincinnati.

The Pirates held a moment of silence before the game for former Reds owner Marge Schott, who died Tuesday at 75.

Pirates starter Kris Benson, who did not pitch after mid-July because of shoulder tendinitis, gave up two runs and three hits in two innings. Brewers 8, Athletics 7

At Phoenix, Scott Podsednik went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases as Milwaukee beat Oakland.

The Brewers won it on Bill Hall's one-out triple off Lou Pote in the bottom of the ninth inning.



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