February 25, 2017

Welcome to spring training, Bryce Harper. The swing looks pretty good.

Harper hit a long solo homer and a single, helping the Washington Nationals to an 8-6 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday at Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Andrew Stevenson and Matt Skole also connected for Washington, and Gio Gonzalez struck out one in a scoreless first inning. Joe Nathan, bidding to fill the Nationals' closer spot, gave up one hit in a scoreless third inning.

Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki injured his left leg in a collision at the plate with Washington prospect Rafael Bautista and had to be helped off the field. New York's Gavin Cecchini went 1 for 1 with two walks and scored twice.

Harper led off the second inning with a drive to right-center against Sean Gilmartin in his first at-bat of spring training, then singled in the fourth.

The 24-year-old Harper won the NL MVP award in 2015, when he hit .330 with 42 homers and 99 RBIs in 153 games. He hopes to after slumping to a .243 batting average, 24 homers and 86 RBIs last year.

VENTURA REMEMBERED

Late Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was remembered before Kansas City's spring training opener against Texas in Surprise, Arizona.

With teams lined up on the foul lines, the Rangers' Carlos Gomez and Adrian Beltre placed flowers on the mound. After highlights of Ventura's career were shown on the videoboard, Royals manager Ned Yost was given a plaque honoring the pitcher, who died Jan. 22 in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

BOURN SETBACK

Michael Bourn had a major setback in his attempt to make the Baltimore Orioles, breaking a finger while playing catch with a football during a team workout.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Bourn will miss about four weeks. The 34-year-old outfielder injured his right ring finger Friday.

Bourn spent the final month of the 2016 season with Baltimore. If added to the 40-man roster, he would get a $2 million, one-year contract.

HELLO THERE

Cuban outfielder Adolis Garcia could make it up to the St. Louis Cardinals at some point this season, according to general manager John Mozeliak.

''In terms of skillset, I just feel like I would describe him more as a five-tool player, so from a defensive standpoint, above average, from an offensive standpoint, I think there could be some power,'' Mozeliak said Saturday.

Garcia, who turns 24 next Thursday, agreed Friday to a minor league contract with a $2.5 million signing bonus and was in camp Saturday ahead of the Cardinals' exhibition opener against Miami.

Garcia earned MVP honors in Serie Nacional, Cuba's highest league, in 2016 after hitting .319, with 14 homers and 71 RBIs in 81 games with 15 outfield assists. He then had a brief stint with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's Central League.

''Obviously there were other offers and there were other teams, but I picked St. Louis because of the tradition and because it is such a wonderful organization and I knew that I was going to identify with the team and fit in,'' Garcia said through an interpreter.

While Garcia worked out with the Cardinals on Saturday, he won't play in games until after he returns to his current residence in Haiti and obtains a U.S. work visa, a process expected to take a few weeks.

AROUND THE CACTUS AND GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUES

PIRATES (SS) 6, ORIOLES 2

At Bradenton, Florida, Pirates star Andrew McCutchen , playing right field for the first time as a major leaguer, went 1 for 2 with a double off the left-field wall and scored a run.

McCutchen caught Greg Gentry's third-inning flyout and fielded Anthony Satander's RBI single in the fourth - McCutchen's final inning.

Starling Marte, taking over for McCutchen in center, had a strikeout and a walk, going 0 for 2. Daniel Hudson, trying to make the club in the bullpen, gave up a run and two hits in one inning. Gregory Polanco went 3 for 3, drove in two runs and swiped two bases.

For the Orioles, Adam Jones went 1 for 3 and scored a run, and Jonathan Schoop also had a hit.

INDIANS 8, REDS 2

At Goodyear, Arizona, sprinklers turned on with two outs in the eighth inning, causing a delay of about 20 seconds.

Cleveland prospect Bradley Zimmer had two hits, including a three-run, opposite-field homer to left-center, and five RBIs in his first Cactus League game.

Edwin Encarnacion, who joined the Indians with a $60 million, three-year contract, added two hits and an RBI.

Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton went hitless in their spring training debuts, and Eugenio Suarez homered.

DODGERS 5, WHITE SOX 3

At Glendale, Arizona, Clayton Kershaw breezed through his first inning of spring training work , not allowing a runner in throwing 12 pitches. Justin Turner drove in a run and Yasmani Grandal went 2 for 2 with an RBI.

Chicago starter Carson Fulmer struck out three in two scoreless innings. Avasail Garcia went 2 for 2 with two runs scored. The White Sox scored twice off Alex Wood in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Geovany Soto and a sacrifice fly from Yolmer Sanchez.

Yasmani Grandal, Justin Turner and Franklin Gutierrez drove in runs for Los Angeles in the third.

PHILLIES 6, YANKEES 5

At Clearwater, Florida, Maikel Franco connected twice for Philadelphia, including an inside-the-park homer . Adam Morgan pitched two scoreless innings, and Brock Stassi hit a game-ending single.

Yankees starter Adam Warren pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts, and Chris Carter, the NL home run co-leader last season, went 1 for 3.

TIGERS 11, ASTROS 4

At Lakeland, Florida, Andrew Romine, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez homered in consecutive at-bats in the third inning against minor leaguer Edison Frias. Frias hit the next batter, Miguel Cabrera, and was ejected.

Cabrera went 2 for 2 and James McCann went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Detroit's Justin Verlander pitched two innings of one-hit ball.

Houston starter Brad Peacock pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out one.

ROCKIES 8, DIAMONDBACKS 4

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Ian Desmond went 3 for 3 with an RBI and a stolen base in his Rockies spring training debut and Gerardo Parra had a two-run single.

Desmond, who agreed to a $70 million, five-year deal, played first base - a new position for him. Trevor Story homered to lead off a three-run fourth in his first game since July 30, when he tore a ligament in his left thumb.

Colorado starter Tyler Anderson allowed three earned runs and five hits, including a Jake Lamb homer and a triple, in 1 1/3 innings.

PIRATES (SS) 7, RAYS 2

At Port Charlotte, Florida, Jacob Stallings hit a solo homer in Pittsburgh's six-run fifth inning, and Joey Terdoslavich had three hits and two RBIs.

Terdoslavich and Phil Gosselin each had a two-run double in the fifth.

For Tampa Bay, Corey Dickerson went 2 for 4 with a solo home run and starter David Carpenter pitched one perfect inning with a strikeout.

MARLINS 8, CARDINALS 7

At Jupiter, Florida, Christian Yelich and Justin Bour homered off closer Seung Hwan Oh in the third inning, and Matt den Dekker added a two-run single in the fifth.

Marlins starter Edinson Volquez gave up a run without a hit in his one inning of work.

New Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler walked twice and scored twice, and Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer.

BRAVES 7, BLUE JAYS 4

At Kissimmee, Florida, Bartolo Colon gave up one run and three hits in two innings in his Braves debut. John Danks followed Colon and was charged with two runs and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Toronto utility player Jake Elmore went 3 for 3 with an RBI and catching prospect Reese McGuire drove in a run and went 1 for 3.

RED SOX 8, TWINS 7

At Fort Myers, Florida, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Young each hit an RBI double for Boston, and Mookie Betts went 2 for 3 and scored two runs.

Byungho Park and Drew Stubbs homered for Minnesota. Phil Hughes allowed two runs and four hits in two innings.

ROYALS 7, RANGERS 5

At Surprise, Salvador Perez went 2 for 2 with a run-scoring double and a three-run homer as he prepares to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Texas starter Martin Perez, who plans to compete for Venezuela, allowed two earned runs and four hits in Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy had RBI doubles in a five-run third inning.

CUBS (SS) 4, ATHLETICS 3

At Mesa, Arizona, Matt Szczur keyed a three-run second inning for the World Series champions and Charcer Burks hit a solo homer in front of 14,929 fans.

Burks also had a diving catch in left field with two on and one out in the eighth inning.

Matt Joyce hit a solo home run in his first game with Oakland and Matt Chapman tied it 3-all with a two-run drive in the fourth. Rajai Davis, who hit a tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of last year's World Series Game 7, opened the game for the Athletics with a walk, then stole second and third but was stranded when Stephen Vogt flied out.

A's starter Jesse Hahn allowed three runs, all in the second, including a two-run single by Szczur that deflected off the pitcher's glove.

GIANTS 8, CUBS (SS) 6

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Giants starter Matt Cain gave up two runs - one earned - and three hits over two innings.

New Giants closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 third inning in his first outing. Cain threw 40 pitches and Justin Ruggiano had an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

Javier Baez went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

MARINERS 13, PADRES 3

At Peoria, Arizona, Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the first and Seattle finished with 17 hits. Starter Ariel Miranda, fighting for a rotation spot, gave up one hit over two innings with a strikeout.

Dan Vogelbach had two hits for the Mariners and Guillermo Heredia was 3 for 3 with three RBIs.

San Diego's Hunter Renfroe drove in Wil Myers with an RBI double in the third inning and Travis Jankowski hit a two-run homer.

ANGELS 2, BREWERS 0

At Tempe, Arizona, new Angel Ben Revere went 1 for 1 with a walk and an RBI and Yusmeiro Petit pitched two scoreless innings. Seven Los Angeles pitchers combined on a four-hitter.

Ryan LaMarre hit a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.

Milwaukee's Jungmann pitched a perfect inning of relief.

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