Stottlemyre is finally back

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2002 9:42 a.m. MST

Todd Stottlemyre pitched the first game in his comeback from a series of discouraging injuries. Alex Escobar might be facing a comeback of his own.

Stottlemyre, whose last appearance was Sept. 21, 2000, allowed two runs on three hits in two innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 in Phoenix on Monday.

"Lots of times, I thought this day would never come," said Stottlemyre, who threw 42 pitches, including a fastball that hit 93 mph.

Since he last took the mound, the 36-year-old right-hander has had an elbow operation, shoulder surgery, a hernia operation, a knee operation and a nerve problem in his shoulder.

Randy Johnson struck out five of his six batters and Luis Gonzalez hit his first homer of the spring, but the big story for the Diamondbacks was Stottlemyre's return.

"Todd's back," manager Bob Brenly said. "He's throwing the ball great."

Escobar, the key player the Cleveland Indians received in the trade that sent All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar to the New York Mets, injured his left knee when he crashed into the center-field fence during a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

Elsewhere, David Wells saw his first game action since undergoing back surgery in July. Wells allowed a solo homer in two innings as the New York Yankees lost 7-3 to a split squad of Minnesota Twins in Tampa, Fla.

Yankees slugger Jason Giambi left the game after his leg stiffened in the chilly weather. He is expected to be sidelined until at least Thursday. Derek Jeter will likely sit out at least five games because of a strained neck muscle.

Corey Koskie, the Minnesota Twins' third baseman, has a sprained right wrist. The team doesn't know how long he'll be out of the lineup. Koskie had 26 homers and 103 RBIs last season.

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers traded beanballs. Mike Piazza and Brian Jordan both got hit by pitches in the Dodgers' 9-4 victory.

After the game, Jordan accused Mets manager Bobby Valentine of ordering Mark Guthrie to retaliate for the pitch that left Piazza with a welt.

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