Edmonds' blast powers Brewers past Cubs

PHOENIX -- Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer to strengthen his case for making Milwaukee's opening-day roster and the Brewers beat a Chicago Cubs split-squad 12-3 on Friday.

Edmonds, who finished with two hits and scored twice, agreed to a minor league deal with the Brewers on Jan. 28. The 39-year-old outfielder with eight Gold Gloves is a career .284 hitter with 382 homers and 1,176 RBIs in 16 seasons, but took last year off.

"I don't feel any different than I did five years ago, actually I feel better," Edmonds said. "Everybody says, 'Your age, your age, your age' -- I felt 50 years old when I was 35, so it doesn't really (matter). You go through years where it's just tough to stay healthy and stay focused and it's a grind. And when it's a grind the game will beat you down."

Edmonds and Gregg Zaun hit consecutive homers in the first inning off Jeff Samardzija, who gave up four runs in the first and was gone after the second.

"He's always had that swing for as long as I can remember," Samardzija said of Edmonds. "Certain things you can't lose, it's like riding a bike. I'm sure for him, going out there and hitting fastballs isn't too hard to pick back up."

Jody Gerut, also looking to solidify his role in the outfield, hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Edmonds, Gerut and Carlos Gomez are competing to be Milwaukee's starting center fielder.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella stayed behind while half of his team headed 270 miles northwest for a pair of games against the White Sox in Las Vegas, joking that he sent bench coach Alan Trammell to hang with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

Piniella instead got to watch another Cubs nemesis in Edmonds, who hit a drive to deep center field. Zaun followed with a shot just over the leaping Jim Adduci in right field.

Doug Davis, the second new arm in the Brewers' rotation, gave up a run in three innings. Milwaukee backed the left-hander with two double plays.

The NL Central rivals both showed off their sure-handed young shortstops.

Rookie Alcides Escobar helped turn one of the double plays for the Brewers. Starlin Castro has been turning heads in Cubs camp even though he's slated to start the season with Triple-A Iowa to start the season. Castro had a throwing error in the first that hurt Samardzija.

Castro turns 20 later this month but Piniella said age doesn't matter when it comes to playing in the majors. The manager also pointed out that the Cubs already have a strong shortstop in Ryan Theriot.

"The whole thing here is we've got a shortstop, too," he said. "(Theriot) did well last year. He's done well for me every year. It's not like we're naked in that position."

Game notes
Cubs 1B Derrek Lee missed the game after he fouled a ball off his left foot on Thursday. Piniella said Lee had a bruise, and was held out as a precaution. ... Brewers manager Ken Macha said closer Trevor Hoffman continues to be on schedule, but is working through some stiffness in his upper back.