Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run double in the first inning on the first pitch he saw this spring, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 on Saturday. I was hoping to get some ground balls and see how I move out there, but we've got plenty of time.'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the club will be careful with Ramirez, who played just 92 games in 2013 due to knee problems and hit .283 with 12 home runs and knocked in 49 RBIs. ''We want him to get 100 percent by opening day, and so that's where we are at.'' Marco Estrada, making his third start of the spring for the Brewers, gave up three runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. STARTING TIME Royals: John Lamb lasted only two-thirds of an inning after he gave up four runs on four hits while walking two batters.
Michael Brantley extended his strong start to the spring with four more hits, including two doubles, as the Cleveland Indians tied the San Diego Padres 4-4 in 10 innings Saturday. In five Cactus League games, Brantley is hitting .615 (8 for 13) with three doubles. He uses the whole field and he's got a nice swing,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''I don't know if it matters what time of year it is, he's a good hitter.'' Josh Johnson went three innings for the Padres.
Kelly Johnson homered after Mark Teixeira's first hit of the spring, and the New York Yankees beat a Houston Astros split squad 9-6 on Saturday. ''I like doing that in spring training because we have days off, and sometimes pitchers are changing so much,'' he said. I'll go a week without hitting right-handed.'' Chris Carter hit a three-run homer for the Astros, and Jose Altuve had two hits and scored twice. Ivan Nova gave up three runs and eight hits in four innings in his second spring start for the Yankees.
Russell Martin homered for the third time this spring and drove in four runs to lead Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 10-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Martin had an RBI single during a six-run first inning against Rays starter Matt Moore and added a three-run homer off Grant Balfour in the fourth. With six hits in his last 10 spring training at-bats, the 31-year-old catcher has boosted his average to .462 through five games. Liriano sat for more than a half-hour while the Pirates were batting in the top of the first, at one point getting up to play catch to try to stay loose.
Jose Bautista hit his third home run of the spring for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Twins, who got three scoreless innings from newcomer Phil Hughes. After spending his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees, Hughes signed a $24 million, three-year contract with Minnesota in the offseason. The right-hander missed most of spring training with a back injury last year and struggled mightily in the regular season, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA with the Yankees. But again, it's still spring training and once the season starts that's the biggest thing, and I want to get out of the gates going well.'' Adam Lind was 2 for 2 with two doubles for the Blue Jays.
Bud Norris pitched three shutout innings in his second start of the spring, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3 on Saturday in the first of two split squad games between the teams. The Red Sox were to host the Orioles in Fort Myers on Saturday night. Norris, the leading contender to be the Orioles' No. 5 starter, allowed two hits and struck out four. In his first start on Monday, Norris gave up one hit in two shutout innings.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been excused because of a personal matter.
Matt Carpenter called agreeing to a new $52 million, six-year deal with St. Louis a no-brainer. The Cardinals are hoping their third baseman sticks even longer than that. ''He's the type of player you'd like to think could finish his career as a Cardinal,'' St. Louis chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt said Saturday. St. Louis began contract talks with Carpenter in August.