BEIJING — Almost everyone is ready to play more baseball in China. Whether they want to eat more Chinese food in Beijing — particularly some exotic offerings — is another matter.
"Some of the things were very different and not my style of food," Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff said Sunday after his team beat the Dodgers 6-3 in the second of a two-game exhibition series — the first major-league games in China.
Josh Geer earned the win, and Scott Hairston hit a go-ahead, two-run double to help the Padres overcome a three-run deficit.
Chinese fans struggled to understand baseball, cheering foul balls and sitting silently for a seventh-inning chorus of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. For Kouzmanoff, the trials came choking down a few delicacies.
He sampled silk worm in a streetside market, something called a sea scorpion and snake.
"It was pretty gross," said Kouzmanoff, who paid $5 for the three-course meal. "I think the taste was better than the smell. The snake was extremely rubbery. It was like chewing on a rubber band."
Saturday's opener ended 3-3 after nine innings, not unusual for a preseason game. Sunday's game drew a near-sellout crowd of 11,890 to the new Olympic baseball venue in west Beijing, down slightly from 12,224 the previous day.
"I would love to come back," Dodgers chairman Frank McCourt said. "I feel we would be making a mistake if we felt that by playing these exhibition games the job was done. The job has just begun."
Despite no back pain, Beckett won't travel
FORT MYERS — Josh Beckett will stay behind when the Red Sox fly 7,500 miles to Tokyo on Wednesday, even though he threw a ball 75 feet without back pain.
"He's not going to go with us to Japan," manager Terry Francona said of his ace right-hander, who probably would have started Boston's regular-season opener against the Athletics. "Talked to him this morning about it. He completely understands. … It's just not the right thing to do."
Beckett threw for the first time in eight days since hurting his back. Pitching coach John Farrell said Beckett felt no discomfort or restrictions in his arm action and his follow through. But Farrell was pessimistic that he would pitch in Boston's third or fourth regular season games, April 1-2 in Oakland.
Angels: Outfielder Garret Anderson was out of the lineup for a split-squad game at the Cubs because of irritation in his right knee and is day to day.
Braves: Rightfielder Jeff Francoeur was hit on the left side of his face by a pitch from the Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer. X-rays were negative, and Francoeur could be back in the lineup in a few days.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Dustin McGowan struck out four and walked none but gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings in an 8-3 win over the Twins.
Marlins: Left-hander Scott Olsen, recovering from shoulder tendinitis, threw a two-inning, 35-pitch simulated game and could be in line to pitch Thursday.
Mets: Pedro Martinez pitched four scoreless innings in his spring debut, and Carlos Delgado needed four stitches to close a bloody gash in his arm after a freak accident in a split-squad game. Delgado hit an RBI double in the third inning and later took a lead off third base. Brady Clark swung and broke his bat, and the jagged barrel sailed down the line and speared Delgado on the outside of his right forearm. He is expected to be out a couple of days. … Catcher Ramon Castro felt a twinge in his right hamstring while running out a single, was pulled as a precaution and will have an MRI exam today.
Phillies: Brett Myers had an encouraging tuneup for his opening day start, allowing five hits over seven innings in a 6-2 win over the Reds.
Pirates: Ian Snell, 9-12 last season with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts, agreed to three-year contract worth at least $8-million that includes team options for 2011 and 2012. Snell would have been eligible for salary arbitration after next season.
Yankees: Former catcher Jim Leyritz, facing DUI manslaughter charges in South Florida, visited former teammates before a game with the Indians. Leyritz spent 1 hour, 40 minutes in the clubhouse but didn't stop to talk with reporters as he left Legends Field. Leyritz pleaded not guilty last month to a charge of DUI manslaughter by unlawful blood-alcohol levels. Police said Leyritz drove his SUV through a red light Dec. 28 in Fort Lauderdale and crashed into another vehicle. He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of DUI manslaughter with impairment.
Best bet of the day
Red Sox at Yankees, 1:15, Legends Field, Tampa: It's
St. Patrick's Day, and the Red Sox and Yankees meet for the first and only time in the spring.