Sports

Santana looks like old self in outing against Marlins

Johan Santana resembled the pitcher on Sunday that many call the premier left-hander in the game the past six years.

The New York Mets ace pitched four scoreless innings against the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., allowing three hits in his second spring training start since undergoing surgery on his left elbow in September.

Santana and fellow Venezuelan Anibal Sanchez left a scoreless game before the Marlins did all their scoring in the fifth off John Maine in a 5-1 victory.

“I was able to throw all my pitches. I was more consistent keeping the ball down and throwing the ball better than last time,” Santana said. “The most important thing is I don’t feel anything in my elbow.”

In his first appearance this spring, Santana allowed four runs on six hits and a walk in 12/3 innings against the Houston Astros. He threw 47 pitches in that game, but needed two fewer to go his four innings on Sunday.

“He looked today just like he’s looked his whole career, locating all of his pitches when and where he wanted to,” Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla said. “He’s back to his old self.”

Dice-K not throwing yet

Daisuke Matsuzaka said Sunday he’s feeling better but is waiting to make a decision on when he’ll have his first throwing session of spring training.

A day after he was scratched from throwing batting practice because of a stiff neck, the Red Sox right-hander played catch for about 10 minutes from 60 feet.

“I feel a little bit better than yesterday,” Matsuzaka said. “But I discussed things with the coaches and trainers and the decision was to give it one more day. Beyond tomorrow, we are going to see based on how I feel tomorrow.”

Blue Jays to sign Cuban SS?

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos wouldn’t deny he’s interested in Cuban defector Adeinis Hechavarria, but he declined to comment on a published report that the team might be close to signing the shortstop for $10 million.

The New York Post reported the Jays were closing in on the talented 21-year-old prospect.

“If there’s a report that says we have an agreement, then we don’t have any agreement,” Anthopoulos said. Asked about the accuracy of the report in the New York Post, he replied: “I don’t want to lie and I don’t want to comment.”

Short hops

Josh Hamilton promised his oldest daughter a home run on her birthday and delivered Sunday. Hamilton hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning, in the Texas Rangers’ 9-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Surprise, Ariz. “I forgot about it until I was rounding the bases, then remembered and was like ‘Yeah! Thank you, Lord,’” Hamilton said. … Kansas City Royals outfielder Rick Ankiel will miss at least a week of spring training with a right ankle injury. Manager Trey Hillman said he would hold Ankiel out for another six to seven games. The Royals signed Ankiel as a free agent Jan. 25 to be their starting center fielder. … Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is returning to Baltimore to see a specialist for an ailing back that has kept him out of games this spring. … Toronto right-hander Dustin McGowan has pitched his second simulated game, throwing 44 pitches over two innings. McGowan last pitched in a regular-season game July 8, 2008, before undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

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