Upton homers, Kemp hitless in Padres debuts
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Justin Upton homered and Matt Kemp went hitless in three at-bats in their debuts with the San Diego Padres, a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.
Kemp and Upton, each two-time All-Stars, were two of the main acquisitions in a busy offseason for the Padres. Upton, the centerpiece of a trade with the Atlanta Braves, was 0 for 2 until he hit a towering home run to straightaway center field in the seventh.
''That was a good start to spring,'' Upton said. ''At the end of the day if you're taking good swings and you're on time, the hits will start coming.''
Kemp, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in December, grounded into a double play with runners on first and second to end the top of the sixth inning.
''Just getting work in. Just trying to get in a rhythm,'' Kemp said. ''First game of spring training, you're just trying to work on your timing and see pitches and try to make something happen if you can.''
D.J. Peterson, a top prospect in the Mariners organization, hit a solo home run in the first.
The Mariners went with a starting lineup of players not projected to make the major league roster out of camp, though manager Lloyd McClendon said he'd start using regulars on Thursday.
Padres: LHP Jason Lane, at 38 he is the oldest Padres pitchers to start the spring training opener since at least 1996, allowed a run on four hits in two innings. Lane is a converted outfielder who appeared as a pitcher for the Padres last season.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker, who is trying to crack the major league rotation, struck out two and allowed a hit in two scoreless innings. ''Fastball command could have been better. Threw the slider. Had good movement,'' Walker said. He struck out Kemp and got Upton to fly out with a runner on third base in the first inning.
''He threw the ball extremely well,'' McClendon said of the 22-year-old Walker. ''His changeup was good. The command of his slider is coming along just fine.''
Mariners: 1B Ji-Man Choi, likely headed for the minors out of spring camp, broke his right ankle going for a high throw from shortstop in the ninth inning. Choi was carted off the field. ... LHP Danny Hultzen, coming back from shoulder surgery on his throwing arm, will see action in games perhaps toward the end of the week, McClendon said.
Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner, 5-7 with a 2.55 ERA last season, gets the start Thursday against Seattle. The Padres are again the visiting team.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias, competing for a spot in the back end of the starting rotation along with Walker, starts for Seattle.
ODDS AND ENDS
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw batting practice before the game. He isn't scheduled to start in a spring training game this week. ... A new yellow line painted beneath the batter's eye in center field, 410 feet from home plate, gave Upton his home run. In years past, any ball hit off the giant blue wall above the line was merely a ball in play. Padres 3B Yangervis Solarte had two of San Diego's seven hits.