Notes: Sosa moves on from Cubs
Slugger insists meeting with old team was just another game
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Sammy Sosa hit 545 of his 588 career home runs with the Cubs, but on Friday, he was facing them for the first time."I know I was playing against them, but I was not thinking about it," Sosa said. "I was thinking about a normal game, the same approach. I have a lot of fans from Chicago, and I was happy to show the fans from Chicago that I still get some hits. I was happy to have an opportunity to have another good game." Sosa had an infield single in the second inning and another single in the seventh before being replaced by a pinch-runner in the Rangers' 11-9 victory over the Cubs. He also walked. "Chicago is over," Sosa said. "I don't have no hard feelings for nobody. I'm happy to have another opportunity to play this game and go out there and produce and look good. A lot of people thought I was going to come over here and look bad." Sosa has looked anything but bad, posting a .500 average, 9-for-18, with two home runs and a double this spring. He has hit safely in all six "A" games he has played. "So far so good," Sosa said. "I'm tired right now. I'm just excited to be here and get to continue to go out there and get some hits and once in a while get some long balls, help my ballclub win the game. Even though this is Spring Training, start getting in that kind of habit that we're looking for and bring it out for the season." Forget this one: Brandon McCarthy was roughed up for five runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in two-plus innings on Friday. What was McCarthy's mission? "Throw better than that and not to do what I did," McCarthy replied. He said it was an outing "you have to dismiss as a learning experience." "If I sit here and mope around all day long, I'm not doing anybody any good," McCarthy said. "I'd be doing the coaches, the team a disservice by doing that. I realize it is four more days before I get out there, then regain the focus and regain some of the things I had going for me last week and go out and try to turn that around. Spring Training, it is obviously easier to do that than the regular season, but it still applies." Friday's start was a complete contrast to McCarthy's first outing, when he struck out four and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings against the Royals. "In terms of where I was last week vs. this outing was definitely a little different, but in Spring Training you have ups and downs," McCarthy said. "I was struggling with focus a little bit, focusing with mechanics, I made some bad pitches in bad counts and that adds up to a lot of runs. It is a good learning one." While he said he threw "a few too many" offspeed pitches, the home runs to the Cubs' Matt Murton and Koyie Hill were on fastballs. "The one to Murton, I had a runner on and I'm trying to get ahead," McCarthy said. "It was a fastball down, but in the middle of the plate. They were really aggressive today, which I don't think I was expecting. He certainly jumped on that ball.
"The other one was just an awful pitch. I didn't think anyone would swing at that. I thought it was going to hit him in the face when I threw it. He turned and kind of tomahawked that pitch."Slowly, surely: Eric Gagne has pitched just 15 1/3 innings in the Majors the past two years because of back surgery last July and elbow surgery in 2005. Gagne, who threw another bullpen session on Friday, is scheduled to make his first Spring Training outing on Monday in a "B" game against the Brewers. He is not rushing things this year. "I want to stay with really, really baby steps," Gagne said. "I don't want to go too fast like I did the last two years. I just want to go out there and make sure I can bounce back every day, get my work in." He said he has to constantly remind himself not to rush things. "That is what is so good about here," Gagne said. "The players remind me a lot. The coaching staff reminds me. The trainers remind me every day. That is why it is a lot easier, where I don't feel pressure to comeback real quick. Whenever I'm ready, I'm ready. That is what they are making me feel like. I'm not out there trying to throw 100 miles per hour. I'm out there to make sure I feel free throwing. There's not one day I've felt pain in there, and we want to keep it that way." Gagne said there is no doubt he will be ready to go when the regular season begins on April 2. "Right now I feel like I'm ready for a game," he said. Gagne said his bullpen session was with "a little bit more intensity." A couple of times Gagne became frustrated with his pitches.
"I always get mad because I don't get my release point right," he said. "I know I can make my pitches, and when I don't, I get real emotional."Cruz hurting: Nelson Cruz was a late scratch Friday with tightness in his left hamstring. He has also been battling shin splints. Freddy Guzman replaced him in center field. No travel: Manager Ron Washington will leave most of his regulars behind, including Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler, on Saturday, instead of bringing them to Scottsdale to play the Giants. "They're throwing [Barry] Zito, so I'm going to let those kids have him," Washington said. "The other guys they've played four games in a row. A lot of them wanted to play [Friday] so they didn't have to make that Scottsdale trip, so I'm going to give them that time."
Upcoming: Robinson Tejeda will start for the Rangers against the Giants on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Zito gets the call for San Francisco.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.