Ichiro Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners for the first time this spring and showed why he's so valuable to the team despite rumblings that he was a divisive force in the clubhouse.
The Oakland Athletics, meanwhile, likely will start the season without ace Justin Duchscherer, who has elbow problems.
Fresh off a second World Baseball Classic title with Japan, Suzuki made his Cactus League debut by slapping a pair of singles and scoring a run in a 10-9 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
The eight-time All-Star played five innings and got his first taste of life in the same outfield with Ken Griffey Jr., his idol while playing in Japan. But everyone wanted to know what he thought about comments from former teammates and coaches this spring that Suzuki's behavior led to bickering by other players.
When asked about those comments, Suzuki felt addressing it was "silly" and said through a translator, "I hate to be wasting time with this kind of thing. I'm surprised at this."
"We're all professionals here. Is it at a level where I have to explain to other people the reasons why I do things?" Suzuki said. "We are all professionals. It makes me feel like a mom telling a child, 'This is why I do things.' So the problem, once again, is we were still at that level."
Seattle was expected to contend for a postseason berth last season but instead finished with 101 losses.
Suzuki's arrival overshadowed Sidney Ponson's debut with the Royals. The burly right-hander pitched five strong innings before running into trouble in the sixth and giving up four runs in the inning, including a two-run homer by Russell Branyan.
At Phoenix, Duchscherer left a minor league game with elbow pain. The right-hander was making his first game appearance of the spring. He was scheduled to throw 35-40 pitches on the A's off day, but had to cut the outing short.
"My arm still isn't right," Duchscherer told MLB.com. "I was fine warming up, but as soon as I started throwing at game speed, I knew I wasn't going to last long. It got worse on every pitch. I walked a guy and gave up two singles and a homer and just said, `I can't pitch like this.' It's probably the most frustrated I've ever been since I started playing baseball."
General manager Billy Beane, who was not at the game, said Duchscherer's setback was discouraging.
"Needless to say, this is bad news," Beane told MLB.com. "I can't say he'll definitely (start the season) on the DL, but it's certainly fair to say that it's likely under the circumstances."
The A's currently have Dallas Braden in line to make the opening-day start in place of Duchscherer.
In other news:
_Astros third baseman Aaron Boone had open heart surgery in California to replace a bicuspid aortic valve. The 36-year-old Boone was diagnosed with a congenital defect in his heart where the valve has two _ not the normal three _ cusps to manage blood flow. The surgery was performed at Stanford University Medical Center.
_At Tampa, Fla., Yankees manager Joe Girardi said CC Sabathia will pitch the season opener at Baltimore on April 6, and also will throw the first regular-season pitch at the new Yankee Stadium 10 days later against Cleveland.
_At Lakeland, Fla., Tigers manager Jim Leyland said oft-injured reliever Joel Zumaya is unlikely to start the season in Detroit.
The 24-year-old Zumaya has pitched in only one game this spring. He was considered for the closer job this season but felt soreness after an appearance on March 2 against Florida Southern College.
Leyland said "there is no timetable" for Zumaya's return.
_At Surprise, Ariz., former All-Star reliever Brendan Donnelly was released from his minor league contract by the Texas Rangers. Donnelly was a key setup man for the Angels during three trips to the playoffs from 2002-05 that included a World Series title.
Yankees 10, Phillies 2
At Clearwater, Fla., Hideki Matsui hit one of four New York home runs, offsetting consecutive long balls by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard off Joba Chamberlain.
Utley hit his second homer in two games and Howard connected for his seventh of the spring. Cody Ransom, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera also homered for the Yankees, who began experimenting with a new lineup _ batting Derek Jeter leadoff and Johnny Damon second.
Blue Jays 7, Braves 5
At Kissimmee, Fla., Derek Lowe struck out seven in six sharp innings for Atlanta.
Mets 9, Cardinals 5
At Jupiter, Fla., John Maine threw 95 pitches for New York. Maine, who had a bone spur shaved in his right shoulder last September, gave up six hits and three runs _ one earned _ in five innings.
St. Louis' Adam Wainwright also had his best spring outing as he prepares for an opening-day start. Wainwright yielded two runs in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out eight, giving him 15 in his last 10 1-3 innings.
Marlins 11, Orioles 6
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Emilio Bonifacio enhanced his chances of making Florida's roster with a big day at the plate: a bases-clearing triple and five RBIs.
Brewers 11, Rangers 10
At Phoenix, Braden Looper's long-awaited Milwaukee debut wasn't what he had hoped for. Looper allowed six runs _ five earned _ and seven hits in two-plus innings. The right-hander was scratched moments before his first scheduled start Feb. 28, when his left oblique muscle tightened as he was warming up in the bullpen.
Diamondbacks 3, White Sox 1
At Phoenix, Brandon Webb pitched six efficient innings in his best outing of the spring for Arizona. Webb, who entered with an 8.18 ERA, gave up a run and five hits. He struck out four and walked one.
Angels 8, Indians 5
At Goodyear, Ariz., Torii Hunter hit two of the Angels' four home runs, showing no ill effects of being hit in the cheekbone by a flyball that ricocheted off the outfield wall Wednesday. He snapped a 4-for-24 slump by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero and Hunter hit consecutive homers in an eight-pitch span off Scott Lewis. Angels starter Nick Adenhart allowed four runs _ one earned _ in six innings.
Dodgers 8, Rockies 6
At Tucson, Ariz., Huston Street is finally showing he might be the right choice for Colorado's closer job. Street pitched a scoreless inning, his fifth in six games, but manager Clint Hurdle refuses to say if he favors Street or Manuel Corpas. Todd Helton went 3-for-3 with two walks and a pair of doubles.
Reds 6, Twins 4
At Sarasota, Fla., Micah Owings gave up only one run even though his control was way off, keeping himself in line for the final spot in Cincinnati's rotation.
Owings allowed six hits and five walks in four innings while pitching out of a couple of bases-loaded threats. Ramon Hernandez hit his first homer for the Reds.
Tigers 6, Rays 3
At Lakeland, Fla., prized prospect Rick Porcello, trying to earn the No. 5 spot in Detroit's rotation, allowed a run and three hits with three walks in 2 1-3 innings. Curtis Granderson had a double and a homer in his return from the WBC.
Dioner Navarro had three hits for the Rays.
Cubs 5, Giants 3, 6 1/2 innings
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Milton Bradley homered and Chicago beat San Francisco in a game that was called after 6 1/2 innings because of high winds. Giants left-hander Barry Zito gave up three runs and struck out seven in five innings.
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