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Hampton is on target in return to the mound

Mike Hampton is vying for the Braves staff.

Mike Hampton is vying for the Braves staff.

KISSIMMEE — Minutes after one of Mike Hampton's most important spring outings, he faced one of his biggest media gatherings.

"Welcome to New York," Hampton said with a laugh as he walked into the Braves clubhouse after pitching two scoreless innings in his first appearance against major-leaguers in two years.

The Braves beat an Astros split squad 6-4 on Sunday, but Hampton was the big story.

The former Crystal River standout has had multiple injuries and hasn't pitched in a big-league game since 2005. He allowed one single and went to two balls on only one batter.

"I still have a ways to go," he said. "My arm feels great but my legs aren't all there yet."

SORIANO HURT: Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano will miss up to five days after he fractured his right middle finger during fly ball practice.

Manager Lou Piniella also apologized for his comments about starting pitcher Jason Marquis, who suggested Saturday he'd go elsewhere to start. "Well, if that's the case, he can go somewhere else. How's that?" Piniella said then.

The Tampa native and former Rays manager backed down.

"The whole thing here basically was I wasn't expecting it," Piniella said. "It sort of surprised me. But I should have handled it better, and I apologize."

PETTITTE SHARP: Left-hander Andy Pettitte allowed an infield hit over two scoreless innings as the Yankees and Phillies played to a 7-7 tie. He was happy with his outing, less happy about having to face more questions about performance-enhancing drugs. "I just can't wait until the day where I don't have to answer a whole lot of questions about that," he said. "I've apologized. I've got a job to do now."

BLUE JAYS: Right-hander A.J. Burnett allowed two runs and three hits in two innings against the Reds. A broken nail on his right index finger is preventing him from throwing curveballs.

BREWERS: Prince Fielder is frustrated about his contract, which was renewed for $670,000. "I'm not happy about it at all," Fielder said. "The fact I've had to be renewed two years in a row, I'm not happy about it because there's a lot of guys who have the same amount of time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more."

ORIOLES: Left-hander Troy Patton ended his side session after 10 pitches, forcing the team to schedule another examination on his ailing shoulder to determine if he should be shut down.

PHILLIES: Ace left-hander Cole Hamels allowed four runs and three hits, including two homers, in two innings against the Yankees. "I know my body is not there yet," Hamels said.

RANGERS: Ailing right-handers Kevin Millwood and Brandon McCarthy threw bullpen sessions of about 10 minutes.

TIGERS: Brandon Inge, who lost his starting job at third base when Miguel Cabrera came over in a trade, caught for the first time since 2004 and wasn't happy. "It really makes me realize that I love third base," said Inge, who has asked to be traded.

Hampton is on target in return to the mound 03/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
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