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Zito plunks Fielder over old walkoff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It appears Barry Zito will settle old scores for the Giants during spring games.

With two outs and a runner at first base Thursday, the left-hander's first pitch hit Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder squarely in the back, an apparent retaliatory gesture for Fielder's antics after a walkoff homer last season.

After hitting a 12th-inning shot in a 2-1 victory Sept. 6, Fielder untucked his jersey as he ran the bases. As he reached the plate, his teammates collapsed around him like bowling pins.

Zito wouldn't admit plunking Fielder on purpose, but there had been rumblings in recent days that payback would occur.

"My fastball was running in, and it just got away from me," Zito said.

Fielder walked to first, tossed the ball lightly in Zito's direction and clapped his hands.

"If that's what they gotta do, let them hit me once, if it makes them feel better," he said.

Later, Andres Torres hit a run-scoring single in a four-run fifth as the Giants rallied to win 5-3.

Angels: Shortstop Erick Aybar will get the first shot at winning the leadoff spot. He led off against the White Sox, while Maicer Izturis, who is also in consideration for the job, batted fifth as the DH. Aybar was 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run. Izturis was 0-for-3.

Braves: Rookie Jordan Heyward, who has been creating a buzz with his batting practice displays, went 0-for-2 in a 4-2 win over the Pirates but hit the ball solidly both times. He hasn't swung and missed on a pitch in three games.

Mets: Jason Bay, the former Red Sox leftfielder, made his Mets debut in a 17-11 win over the Cardinals, going 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He signed a four-year, $66 million contract in December. "Everybody wants results, but good or bad in spring training I don't think really has much carry-over," he said.

Padres: Right-hander Chris Young, who had shoulder surgery in August, fought through a 33-pitch first inning, giving up one run on three hits, and was encouraged after a 9-3 loss to Seattle. "There was a lot of energy there," said Young, projected as the first or second starter. "I wasn't happy with my command, but I think part of it was the nerves."

Rockies: Right-hander Jason Hammel, a former Ray who has the fifth spot in the Colorado rotation locked up, threw just 23 pitches in two innings during an 11-1 win over Arizona. He allowed a run and four hits with one strikeout and no walks.

Drug testing: Executive vice president Rob Manfred said Major League Baseball has begun studying the logistics of installing a blood-testing program in the minor leagues, New York's Newsday reported. Manfred would not speculate whether the program could be installed this year.

Zito plunks Fielder over old walkoff 03/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 10:57pm]
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