By MARK DIDTLER, BOB PUTNAM, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 12, 2001
TAMPA -- Alfonso Soriano made the most of his first chance in leftfield. Soriano went 2-for-4 with a three-run triple during a five-run seventh inning as a Yankees split squad beat Montreal 7-6 at Legends Field on Sunday.
"He's very impressive," manager Joe Torre said. "He caught everything, and continues to hit everything."
Soriano is batting .500 (16-32) this spring. After filling in for injured shortstop Derek Jeter, Soriano is getting a look for the open leftfield spot.
JETER'S BACK: Jeter went 0-for-3 in his spring debut. After missing eight games with an inflamed right shoulder joint, Jeter sat out Saturday with a viral throat infection. "Everything went as expected," he said. Jeter is expected to make the trip to Fort Myers to face Minnesota today.
POOR AUDITIONS: Adrian Hernandez is trying to earn the fifth starter's spot. Sid Fernandez is trying to make a comeback.
Both will have to try again after Sunday's performances.
Against the Blue Jays, Hernandez, the starter, allowed two runs and five hits in three innings to pick up his first loss. Hernandez allowed back-to-back homers by Raul Mondesi and Carlos Delgado in the first inning.
Fernandez, making his third appearance in his comeback, gave up three runs in the fifth. Fernandez is pitching for the first time since 1997.
ETC.: Left-hander Randy Keisler allowed five runs and eight hits over 22/3 innings, a blow to his bid to be the fifth starter. ... The Yankees formally announced the signing of Cuban third baseman Andy Morales to a four-year, $4.5-million contract. The team renewed outfielder Shane Spencer's contract at $320,000. ... Orlando Hernandez will miss his start Wednesday because of right forearm stiffness. The problem is not considered serious. ... Left-hander Allen Watson (shoulder) was placed on the 60-day disabled list.
DUNEDIN -- Mondesi showed Sunday that he is stronger, focused and injury-free.
Mondesi, who missed the last seven weeks of last season after surgery on his right elbow, continued his strong spring with two hits, three runs and two RBI against the Yankees at Dunedin Stadium.
In the first inning, Mondesi got his first home run of the spring.
COO-COO FOR COCO: Pasqual Coco, the Jays starter, pitched three scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the spring. He walked one and struck out two.
DID YOU KNOW?: Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the Blue Jays' first spring training game. On March 11, 1977, the Jays defeated the Mets 3-1 in Dunedin.
CLEARWATER -- "Pitch counts" has become one of the oft-repeated catch phrases in Phillies camp this spring. Manager Larry Bowa talks about it a lot, and he believes it could determine whether his team has a good or poor season.
Bowa wants his starting pitchers to go deep into games. The way to do it, he believes, is to keep pitch counts down. The best way to do that is by making batters hit quality pitches early in counts.
"We need our starters to stay in games, because if you go into your bullpen early and you keep using three guys every day, by June they're done," Bowa said.
Former manager Terry Francona often came under fire for overworking his starters. Former Phillies right-hander Curt Schilling injured his shoulder and missed significant time last season in rehabilitation, and left-hander Randy Wolf, one of five pitchers in the majors to average more than 110 pitches, had an ERA of 3.68 before the All-Star break and 5.22 after.
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