With less than a week to go before the regular season for most teams, managers are putting their pitching rotations in order, with many announcing their opening-day starters.
Kevin Brown, an 18-game winner last year, will pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers' season opener in Montreal next Monday night against Dustin Hermanson, with Chan Ho Park and Orel Hershiser starting the second and third games.
Alex Fernandez will start Florida's season opener against San Francisco on Monday, and Ryan Dempster, Vladimir Nunez, Jesus Sanchez and Brad Penny will follow Fernandez in the rotation.
Darryl Kile, acquired from Colorado as part of an offseason pitching makeover, will start St. Louis' opener Monday against the Cubs, Chicago's first game back following the two-game series this week against the New York Mets in Tokyo.
Garret Stephenson, who takes the place in the Cardinals' rotation that opened when Kent Bottenfield was dealt to Anaheim for Jim Edmonds, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings Monday during a 3-3, seven-inning tie against Montreal in Jupiter, Fla.
''In the regular season, if he throws 80 pitches the way he did today, that's the difference between going five or six innings or pitching into the seventh or eighth inning,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
At Tokorozawa, Japan, Rickey Henderson went 3-for-4 as the Mets beat the Seibu Lions 8-1.
Henderson's name has come up in trade talks with the Detroit Tigers involving Bobby Higginson. Baseball's career steals leader created a commotion this spring by asking for a deal, but nothing has happened so far.
Against Seibu, Henderson scored two runs and drove in one. He left after five innings with the Mets ahead 5-0.
''That's the way it is with baseball,'' teammate Mike Piazza said. ''You have to put the distractions behind you.''
At the Tokyo Dome, Sammy Sosa went 0-for-4 as the Chicago Cubs lost to the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants 6-0. He went 0-for-4 again, with a sacrifice fly, today as the Cubs beat Seibu 6-5.
''The pitching was everything. They've got good pitching,'' Sosa said. ''All of them were impressive.''
Meanwhile, Jeff Cirillo, expected to replace Dante Bichette as Colorado's cleanup hitter, aggravated a strained right quadriceps Monday while hitting eight times in a minor league game.
''The leg's not ready,'' Cirillo said. ''There's no pain, but there's definitely something in there. I almost regret doing this today. ... I do regret doing it. After my first at-bat, I was like, 'This is probably not a smart idea.' That's where I'm stupid.''
In other games:
Tigers 15, Royals 7
At Haines, City, Fla., Luis Polonia went 3-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs, and Tilson Brito hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs.
Pirates 9, Phillies 4
At Bradenton, Fla., Brian Giles hit his first homer this spring and Kevin Young put Pittsburgh ahead with a two-run homer in the first inning.
Indians 8, Marlins 2
At Melbourne, Fla., Jaret Wright, coming off two subpar outings, pitched four scoreless innings and sent Florida to its fifth consecutive loss.
Rangers 9, Reds 8
At Port Charlotte, Fla., David Segui went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Gabe Kapler added a solo homer and run-scoring single.
Twins 6, Orioles 2
At Fort Myers, Fla., Joe Mays had his strongest outing of the spring, allowing one run and six hits in six innings.
Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 6
At Dunedin, Fla., Raul Mondesi hit two of the Toronto's five home runs, and Carlos Delgado went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double. Tony Batista and Brad Fullmer also homered for Toronto.
Astros 8, Braves 4
At Kissimmee, Fla., Paul Bako hit a two-run single and Mike Robertson added a two-run double off Ismael Villegas in the 10th inning, sending Atlanta to its eighth loss in nine games.
Yankees 5, Devil Rays 1
At Tampa, Fla., Ramiro Mendoza allowed one hit in five shutout innings as the Yankees won their fifth straight. Paul O'Neill went 3-for-3 with a solo homer and three RBIs.
Mariners 13, Padres 7
At Peoria, Ariz., Mike Cameron hit a pair of two-run homers, Jay Buhner added a three-run shot and Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer.
Rockies 6, Angels 2
At Tucson, Larry Walker and Terry Shumpert each hit solo homers. Troy Glaus and Scott Spiezio drove in Anaheim's runs, and Darin Erstad had two singles to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
Brewers 9, Athletics (ss) 2
At Phoenix, Geoff Jenkins went 3-for-3 and Jeromy Burnitz homered. Brewers starter Valerio De Los Santos left in the third inning after he cracked a nail and aggravated a blister on the middle finger of his left hand.
Athletics (ss) 10, Giants 9
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Miguel Tejada hit a three-run homer in a five-run eighth inning. Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez also homered for the A's, who stopped a five-game losing streak.
White Sox 12, Diamondbacks 8
At Tucson, Ariz. Chicago scored six runs in the eighth inning to beat Arizona. Jose Valentin keyed the rally with a bases-loaded triple.
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