Johan Santana and Erik Bedard definitely showed something in their debuts for new teams: Even baseball's best pitchers need time to tune up in spring training.
Acquired in a blockbuster trade this offseason, Santana gave up a three-run homer to Juan Gonzalez in the first inning of his first start with the Mets on Friday. The St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat New York 5-4 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"There are a lot of adjustments I've got to make. It's going to take some time, but that's what we're here for," Santana said. "The numbers will say something different, but I feel really good."
The Seattle Mariners can only figure Bedard will get a lot better after their new ace of few words allowed three runs in two innings during a 5-3 victory over a San Francisco Giants split squad in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I was throwing strikes. They were just hitting them. Can't do much about that," Bedard said, shrugging his shoulders after yielding four hits, walking two and striking out one in his first game since Aug. 26, when a strained side muscle ended his season with Baltimore.
"I already forgot about it."
The New York Yankees' trio of touted youngsters opened 2008 with shutout ball.
Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes combined for five scoreless innings to lead the Yankees past South Florida 11-4 in Tampa, Fla.
The three, all 23 or younger, could wind up together in New York's rotation at some point.
"They're on a journey. Their careers are under way," general manager Brian Cashman said. "It will be fun to watch them tested every five days and see their growth spurt."
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watched new manager Joe Girardi's spring training debut from his suite along with son Hank.
Chamberlain, who will likely start the season in the bullpen before joining the rotation, struck out two. He threw 15 of 22 pitches for strikes.
"It's a good start for all of us," said Chamberlain, who was Mariano Rivera's setup man for the final two months last season. "I don't care what you say, you're still a little nervous no matter who you're playing. I think it was good to get the nerves out of the way. I felt good. My body felt great. It went well."
The Mets stood on the top step of the dugout for Santana when he took the mound to start the game. The crowd chanted his name and cheered his every move.
Twice a unanimous AL Cy Young Award winner with Minnesota, the left-hander gave up three runs and four hits in two innings. He threw for the cycle, in fact Gonzalez homered, Brendan Ryan tripled, Albert Pujols doubled and Chris Duncan singled off Santana.
"Today was definitely good," Santana said. "The fans keep you in the game, they keep you going. They were excited to finally have the opportunity to see me throw.
Santana threw 30 pitches, 22 for strikes, before going to the bullpen and throwing an additional 15 pitches.
"I was rushing my delivery a little and they were aggressive swinging right away," he said. "We threw a lot of first pitches for strikes. I threw a couple of fastballs that stayed up in the strike zone."
Pujols later homered off Duaner Sanchez, pitching in his first game since injuring his shoulder in a taxi accident in July 2006.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright gave up two runs in three innings.
A day after Gonzalez got two hits and drove in a run, the two-time AL MVP picked on a familiar foil. He is 6-for-7 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in the regular season against Santana.
Gonzalez is 38 and has 434 career home runs. He sat out the last two years he tore a hamstring in his only at-bat while with Cleveland in 2005.
Pitching against Bedard was Tim Lincecum, a former star at the University of Washington in Seattle, and he fared well. The Giants' young gun allowed two hits, walked one and struck out one in 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
In other news, Cincinnati shortstop Alex Gonzalez was diagnosed with a broken left knee. He will be evaluated again in three weeks.
Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez will miss at least five days after receiving an injection to help ease inflammation in his lower back. He had corrective surgery in October after missing the final two months of last season with lower back spasms.
Florida pitcher Sergio Mitre was diagnosed with a strained forearm muscle, and outfield prospect Cameron Maybin limped off the field in Viera, Fla., with a tight left hamstring. -->
In other spring training games:
ASTROS 4, INDIANS 3: At Kissimmee, Fla., Roy Oswalt pitched two hitless innings, Houston newcomer Jose Valverde struck out two in an inning and Miguel Tejada went 0-for-2 in his first game for the Astros.
TIGERS 3, BLUE JAYS 1: At Dunedin, Fla., Detroit's Justin Verlander threw two scoreless innings and Toronto's Roy Halladay allowed one run in two innings in a matchup of American League aces.
WHITE SOX 7, DIAMONDBACKS 5: At Tucson, Ariz., Brandon Webb and Mark Buehrle each pitched two scoreless innings in their spring debuts. Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer for Arizona.
GIANTS (ss) 8, CUBS 6: At Mesa, Ariz., Carlos Zambrano allowed two hits and an unearned run in two innings for Chicago.
PHILLIES 5, PIRATES 4: At Bradenton, Fla., Ian Snell pitched two scoreless innings and Jack Wilson went 3-for-3 with a home run for Pittsburgh.
BRAVES 10, DODGERS 3: At Kissimmee, Fla., Hiroki Kuroda pitched two scoreless innings in his Los Angeles debut, and Jair Jurrjens gave up two hits in two innings in his first game for Atlanta.
ATHLETICS 11, BREWERS 4: At Phoenix, Jack Cust homered in each of his first two at-bats and drove in five runs. Milwaukee's Corey Hart tripled, singled and drove in two runs.
ANGELS 3, RANGERS 2: At Surprise, Ariz., Texas closer C.J. Wilson struck out two of his three batters. Brandon Wood hit a two-run homer for Los Angeles.
RAYS 7, REDS 6: At Sarasota, Fla., Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria had an RBI double and Eric Hinske hit the go-ahead single off second baseman Jolbert Cabrera's glove in the ninth inning.
MARLINS (ss) 4, NATIONALS 1: At Viera, Fla., Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a homer and drove in two runs for Florida. Washington's Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-2 and Bret Boone was 1-for-2 with a double.
ORIOLES 7, MARLINS (ss) 5: At Jupiter, Fla., Baltimore's Brian Roberts stole third twice, a day after stealing two bases in one inning. Roberts, Melvin Mora and Luis Terrero each had two hits.
ROYALS 13, PADRES 9: At Peoria, Ariz., Shawn Estes of San Diego was roughed up in his first big league outing in nearly two years, allowing six runs and four hits with two walks while getting just two outs.
ROCKIES 15, MEXICAN NATIONAL ALL-STARS 2: At Tucson, Ariz., Ubaldo Jimenez pitched two scoreless innings and Ryan Spilborghs doubled twice for the defending NL champions.