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Around The Area Camps

Royals spoil Clemens debut

By MIKE READLING, TIMES WIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 1999


Roger Clemens wound up with plenty of work and a loss in his Yankees debut on Saturday as the Kansas City Royals beat a New York split squad 9-1 in Haines City.

The majority of New York starters stayed in Tampa to play the Red Sox, a 7-4 loss.

Clemens gave up three runs and seven hits in three innings in his first game since being traded last month from Toronto.

"It was good," the five-time Cy Young Award winner said. "I wasn't going to try to knock the bat out of anyone's hands."

Clemens' debut helped draw 6,525, nearly the first sellout at Baseball City Stadium since 1990.

"I feel good about what I saw," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, who ran the Yankees while manager Joe Torre stayed in Tampa. "I know (Clemens) was real pumped up. He wanted to get this first one out of the way."

Highlighting the Legends Field group was starting pitcher Ramiro Mendoza. The right-hander threw 37 pitches over three innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out two. He also hit one batter.

Jeff Juden pitched two strong innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Ryan Bradley got the final two batters to ground out.

The Yankees had nine hits but couldn't move the runners around. They struggled to get one run in the eighth despite having the bases loaded with no outs. Mark Guthrie struck out Shane Spencer, Chad Curtis and Jerome Walton to end the inning.

HOT: 3B Scott Brosius had two singles and moved his RBI total to three in the past two games. Chili Davis also had two hits and two RBI.

OUCH: 2B Chuck Knoblauch was hit in the left kidney by a Greg Mix pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning but said he felt all right. Boston's Michael Coleman twisted his left knee in a bang-bang play at first base in the eighth inning and left the game.

ON DECK: Today, New York hosts Minnesota at 1 p.m. with Andy Pettitte making his spring debut against former Yankee Eric Milton.

Byrd's debut is a mixed bag

CLEARWATER -- Paul Byrd has done some impressive things since being claimed off waivers from Atlanta in August. He pitched a shutout in his Phillies debut, was named NL player of the week and finished with a 5-2 record.

Those numbers should be good enough to land a spot in the rotation, but Byrd also knows he has to produce.

"I could say, "Yeah, I have a spot here,' " Byrd said, "but I also have taken things for granted before. I need to bear down and have a good spring."

Byrd went three innings in his spring debut, giving up two runs on six hits.

B GAME: The Phillies lost to the Devil Rays 11-3 at Huggins-Stengel Field. Jon Zuber hit a three-run triple and Reggie Taylor had two hits. Starter Ryan Nye pitched three scoreless innings.

SPELLING RELIEF: Jeff Brantley, acquired in a trade from the Cardinals, made his Phillies debut. He threw one inning. Brantley blew eight of 22 save opportunities last season and is coming off shoulder surgery.

"Brantley looked good," manager Terry Francona said.

-- BOB PUTNAM

CLEARWATER -- After struggling at the plate the past two games, Shannon Stewart touched all the bases Saturday. Playing against the Phillies, Stewart tripled in the first inning, walked in the second and homered in the fourth. They were his first hits of the spring after going 0-for-7 in a home-and-away series with the Yankees

"I'm just trying to have good at-bats," Stewart said. "It's spring, but it's still a tough game and it's hard to get hits. I want to at least show something."

INJURY UPDATE: LHP David Wells, out with back problems since Tuesday, threw off the mound at Englebert Complex. SPEED BURNER: The Jays are trying to take advantage of Jose Cruz's speed by using him as the No. 2 hitter. Cruz went 4-for-4, all singles, on Saturday.

LLOYD DEBUT: Graeme Lloyd, involved in the trade for Clemens, allowed one run and two hits in the sixth.

-- BOB PUTNAM


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