VERO BEACH, Fla. – New York Mets shortstop Kazuo Matsui hit his first home run of spring training on Monday as he made his long awaited debut in the infield in an 11-9 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Matsui’s first home run as a major leaguer came at the expense of Dodgers pitcher Tanyon Sturtze in the top of the third inning from the left side of the plate, with one out and no runners on base.
The switch-hitting Matsui led off for the Mets while playing solid defense at shortstop.
Prior to the home run in his seventh game of the spring, Matsui had struggled to showcase his skills going 3-for-17, all of which had been from the left side.
Matsui has yet to attempt a right-handed at bat after sustaining an injury to the middle finger on his right hand on Feb. 29.
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) San Diego Padres reliever Rod Beck will be out indefinitely while he deals with personal problems and probably won’t be ready by Opening Day.
Beck hasn’t been in camp for several days and hasn’t pitched in a spring training game. The last time anyone with the team heard from him was Wednesday, when manager Bruce Bochy spoke with him by phone.
“He said that he really needed to take care of some personal issues and if he could possibly do it, he’d try to get back on schedule as soon as he can,” Bochy said Monday. “Now, it’s going to take a little bit longer than he or us had anticipated.”
The Padres have several options after strengthening their bullpen in the offseason, but general manager Kevin Towershe said it wouldn’t be as good without the 35-year-old Beck.
Other additions were Antonio Osuna and Akinori Otsuka, who had a successful career in Japan. Holdovers include Jay Witasick and Scott Linebrink.
Towers said he couldn’t discuss Beck’s problems other than to say it “possibly” was health-related.
Beck’s wife, Stacey, answered the phone at their Phoenix-area home on Monday and said her husband wasn’t in. She refused further comment.
“I’m not 100 percent sure what all the issues are,” Towers said. “I’m just somewhat aware of what’s going on. It puts us in a tough spot because we want to be as candid as possible, but with respect to things that are going on, I want to be as confidential as I can with the information that I have.”
The easygoing Beck, popular with teammates and fans, converted all 20 save chances last year after being signed as a free agent in June to solidify a struggling bullpen that was missing All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman.
Beck’s absence comes as Phil Nevin, the team’s cleanup hitter and first baseman, begins his rehabilitation for a strained left shoulder. He could be out until Opening Day or beyond.
Bonds back in action
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Barry Bonds went 0-for-1 with two walks on his late father’s birthday, and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied for six runs in the 10th inning of a 12-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
Bobby Bonds, who died last summer, would have been 58. His 39-year-old son said earlier in the spring that he didn’t know if he could play on his father’s birthday, but Barry Bonds asked manager Felipe Alou to put him in the lineup for the first time since injuring his back last Wednesday.
“I was kind of surprised that he played, especially after he missed a couple of games,” Alou said. “It’s hard to tell how a guy is feeling on a day like this.”
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