Around the Grapefruit League

Updated: March 27, 2007, 1:45 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Boston Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five hitless innings that left him silent and dissatisfied.

The Red Sox's celebrated rookie walked five Cincinnati Reds and fell short of his own expectation for himself Monday.

After Boston's 5-0 loss, Matsuzaka stared at the floor in the visitors' clubhouse for some time. It's not the way he wanted his last full tuneup for his first major league season to end, especially for a player the Red Sox invested $103 million in because of his ability to avoid such struggles during eight seasons in Japan.

The usually cooperative pitcher refused to talk to reporters and issued a statement.

"This time of year I think the content of my pitching is more important than the result on paper. I am not happy with the content of my pitching today," it said. "I threw a lot of walks and wasted balls. It was tough on my [fielders] to defend and to get into a good rhythm on offense. It's something I will want to pay attention to in the regular season."

Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League:

New York Yankees: Andy Pettitte threw 25 pitches Monday in his first bullpen session since being sidelined by back spasms.

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said he was pleased with Pettitte's performance, but didn't rule out the possibility that the left-hander might miss his first turn during the regular season.

"If it's the second round, so be it," Torre said. "Remember, it's 162 games, and the long haul is what we're concerned about. So whenever we're comfortable that he's ready to take the ball and go out there, that's when it will be."

Pettitte will have another mound session Wednesday if there are no physical setbacks. He might pitch in a minor league game Friday or Saturday.

Pettitte expects to be ready for the start of the season.

"I plan on it, no doubt," he said. "I'm feeling a lot better. Everyday I'm feeling better."

Atlanta Braves: Braves starter Lance Cormier left the game after 1 2/3 innings with a right shoulder strain. He's listed as day-to-day.

Baltimore Orioles: One of the byproducts of the five-year contract Adam Loewen signed in 2003 was that he would have to be a part of the Orioles active roster this season. If Baltimore chooses to send him to the minor leagues, he first must pass through waivers.

Fortunately, that won't be an issue. Loewen is delighted that the Orioles genuinely want him to be part of the pitching staff -- as a starter.

"I just didn't want to be a reliever this year. I wanted to earn my way here," he said. "All the things I've gone through and the steps I went through to get to this level, to feel I earned my way here is big for me."

Cincinnati Reds: Right-hander Gary Majewski made his first appearance in a major league game this spring and walked one. Majewski has been slowed by weakness in his right shoulder, which also was a problem last season.

"I was really happy to get into a game," said Majewski, who likely won't be ready for the season.

"Since Feb. 3 I've been trying to get out there and pitch without pain."

Cleveland Indians: Right-hander Matt Miller, who hasn't pitched since experiencing cramping in his right forearm while warming up Saturday, will try to throw Wednesday

Detroit Tigers: Ivan Rodriguez will lead off for the Tigers against left-handed pitchers this season.

The All-Star catcher was a leadoff hitter three times last year and has done it 13 times since making his major league debut in 1991.

"I'll hit anywhere I am in the lineup. It doesn't matter," said Rodriguez, a career .304 hitter. "I don't care where I hit, as long as I'm in the lineup every day."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland -- who will lead off with Curtis Granderson against right-handers -- used Rodriguez in five different spots in the lineup last season.

Also Monday, the Tigers optioned infielders Chris Shelton and Ramon Santiago and right-hander Zach Miner to Triple-A Toledo on Monday.

The moves kept infielder Neifi Perez and right-handed pitcher Chad Durbin on the team.

Houston Astros: Considering how poorly Houston starter Woody Williams pitched in his previous outings, he was more than content with his effort Monday in his final spring start.

Williams threw 92 pitches and allowed five hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings in the Astros' 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves, but said he felt the best he has this spring. He gave up 12 hits and nine runs in his previous start March 21.

"I felt good today," Williams said. "I threw the ball well and it was the kind of outing I needed to have before my final tuneup. It was definitely a step in the right direction, and I'm ready to get home."

Williams, a Houston native, will make his first start for his hometown team Friday when the Astros meet the Royals at Minute Maid Park, where he's 9-3 with a 4.42 ERA.

Minnesota Twins: Starter Sidney Ponson made a strong argument for a spot in his new team's rotation with a stellar outing.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins hoping to rehabilitate his career, pitched six scoreless innings against his former team in a 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Lowering his ERA to 3.94 in what was likely his second-to-last spring start, Ponson gave up five hits without a walk and struck out three while throwing 72 pitches.

In other Twins news, catcher Joe Mauer, who has been out with a stress reaction in the tibia in his left leg, caught in the bullpen Monday and is getting closer to taking the field again, manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies right-hander Freddy Garcia, who is out with right biceps tendinitis, played catch and will have a bullpen session Tuesday. He was hurt in his last start last Wednesday.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Pirates reliever Masumi Kuwata, one of the best-known pitchers in Japanese baseball history, sprained his right ankle while colliding with plate umpire Wally Bell during a game against Toronto on Monday.

Kuwata, a non-roster pitcher not expected to make the Opening Day roster, was sprinting to back up third base on center fielder Luis Matos' throw in the eighth inning when he ran into Bell.

Bell, part of a three-man crew, was going down the line to make a possible call when Kuwata stepped on Bell's left ankle. Kuwata might not have been expecting an umpire to be near because he is unaccustomed to pitching in games without four umpires.

Bell reached out his left arm to try to prevent the collision, but said Kuwata wasn't watching for him and did not see him coming.

The Pirates' medical staff was reviewing X-rays, but no fracture was seen during an initial examination.

St. Louis Cardinals: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina missed his sixth consecutive game because of a sore shoulder. He is expected to return in the next day or two.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Several Devil Rays hope to return this week from injuries.

• Outfielder Carl Crawford, who is sidelined with a groin injury, is scheduled to play on Tuesday.
• Catcher Dioner Navarro, out with a hand injury, is slated to return on Wednesday.
• Outfielder Rocco Baldelli, out with a hamstring injury, will return on Thursday.
• Catcher Josh Paul, also out with a hand injury, remains day-to-day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.