Willis pitches two more perfect innings for Cincinnati
Dontrelle Willis continues to make a case for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds' bullpen. Willis pitched two perfect innings, striking out three, and Drew Stubbs hit a three-run homer as the Reds defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-2 Tuesday in Surprise, Ariz.
Willis, the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year, has made three relief appearances in 192 games in the majors. The Reds have openings for left-handed relievers, and Willis hopes to get one of the spots. He has allowed two hits in five scoreless innings in three spring-training outings. In his past two outings, he has been perfect in four innings against the Royals and Seattle Mariners.
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"We keep our fingers crossed that he keeps performing the way he's performing and enjoying it while he's doing it," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said.
■ The Brewers found out Tuesday that Zack Greinke might miss opening day because of a rib injury and later got into a bench-clearing skirmish during a 7-1 loss to the Dodgers in Phoenix. Greinke is likely to begin the season on the disabled list after breaking a right rib while playing pickup basketball in the off-season. The 2009 AL Cy Young winner is expected to be out two to four weeks. The teams tangled Tuesday after Los Angeles pitcher Roman Colon punctuated a strikeout with a fist pump. There were no punches and no ejections.
■ Twins star Justin Morneau hit a three-run double in a spring training "B" game, the first time he's played since a concussion sidelined him last July. The 2006 AL MVP was at first base in a 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh in Fort Meyers, Fla., after he received medical clearance from his doctor following an hourlong conversation.
■ Outfielder Carlos Beltran is expected to miss four to five days for the Mets because of tendinitis, the team announced Tuesday before Laynce Nix hit an RBI double in the 10th inning that sent the Nationals past New York's split squad 4-3 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
■ A South Florida sports agent has been charged with stealing more than $305,000 from Angels first baseman Kendry Morales. Coral Springs police reported that Rodney Fernandez, 31, turned himself in Monday on a grand theft charge. Authorities say Fernandez was working for Hendricks Sports Management between 2008 and 2009 when he conducted numerous financial transactions from Morales' business account. Coral Springs police began an investigation after the ballplayer's attorney contacted them and told them that Fernandez didn't have permission to remove money from the account.
■ Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown had surgery Tuesday on his broken right hand and is expected to miss four to six weeks. The 23-year-old is a top prospect in the majors. Without Brown, the Phillies might rely on Ben Francisco to play right field.
■ Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya is undergoing tests on his sore right elbow and forearm, and there's a chance he might not be ready by opening day. Trainer Kevin Rand said Tuesday it would be at least two weeks before Zumaya would be cleared to throw.
Black, Littrell lead Bat Cats' rout of EKU
Senior shortstop Taylor Black had a career-high four hits, and freshman left-hander Corey Littrell went seven innings as the Kentucky baseball team opened up its 11-game homestand with an 8-1 win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Black went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, falling a homer shy of hitting for the cycle. He also stole two bases, including home as part of a double steal at first and third. Littrell, a Trinity graduate, allowed three hits and one run, walking two and striking out five in his second start.
Irish won't use lifts after student's death
Notre Dame announced Tuesday that it will no longer use hydraulic lifts for videographers at football practices, five months after a student fell to his death when one of the machines toppled over on a windy day. The school said it will instead use remote-controlled cameras — a system the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, said fulfills a pledge made after Declan Sullivan died. The Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration is still investigating what caused the lift holding Sullivan to fall as he filmed practice on Oct. 27. The National Weather Service reported gusts of up to 51 mph at the time.
■ Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton threw 50-plus passes to receivers at Auburn's pro day on Tuesday before dozens of pro scouts, coaches and executives. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Newton's performance "was way better than the combine."
Tiki Barber coming out of retirement
After four years in retirement, former Giants running back Tiki Barber is looking to get back into the NFL. The Giants acknowledged on Tuesday that Barber, 35, has asked to be taken off the reserve-retirement list and that they will release him once the league allows it. Teams cannot make roster moves during the current extension of the CBA talks. Barber retired after the 2006 season. He had two years left on his contract when he left the game for a job in television, so the Giants still hold his rights.
■ The NFL Players Association has retained an investment bank that will help it decide whether the league's offer to reveal more financial information will be enough to satisfy the union's call for full disclosure. Zeroing in on the crux of the labor dispute — how to split $9 billion in revenues — the NFLPA's executive committee member Scott Fujita said Tuesday that what the NFL has turned over to the union so far "hasn't been sufficient."
Blazers hand Heat fifth straight loss
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, Gerald Wallace scored 22 and the Trail Blazers sent Miami to its fifth straight loss, beating the Heat 105-96 Tuesday night. Dwyane Wade scored 38 points, and LeBron James added 31 for the Heat, who are the 12th team in NBA history to have a 12-game winning streak and five-game losing streak in the same season.
■ The Blazers and Coach Nate McMillan agreed Tuesday to a two-year contract extension. McMillan is in his sixth season as coach. He has a 235-239 record with the team.
■ Kobe Bryant scored 26 points to pass Moses Malone on the career scoring list, and the Lakers beat the host Hawks 101-87. The Lakers took a three-game losing streak into the All-Star break. Since then, they've won eight straight. Bryant passed Malone for sixth place.
■ Thaddeus Young scored 18 points, and former Kentucky star Jodie Meeks added 15 to help the visiting 76ers beat the Pacers 110-100, Philadelphia's seventh win in eight games.
■ Nuggets Coach George Karl signed on for three more seasons Tuesday. Karl's new deal runs through 2014 and includes options for additional years. He is 1,023-698 in 23 NBA seasons.
Tiger, Phil in the same starting group
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be in the same group at Doral, Fla., for the first time this year. The Cadillac Championship based the groups for the first two rounds on the rankings. That puts Martin Kaymer, the new No. 1., in the same group with Lee Westwood and Match Play winner Luke Donald. However, the greater focus will be on the next batch of players — Graeme McDowell at No. 4, Woods and Mickelson.
■ Classmates, coaches and former opponents were among the mourners who filled a southwest Michigan church Tuesday to celebrate the short life of a teen athlete who friends and family say will have a long-lasting impact. Many of the more than 1,500 people at Wes Leonard's funeral wore orange ribbons, and some released orange and black balloons outside the church, mirroring the colors of the Fennville High team that he made a game-winning shot for last week before collapsing on the basketball court.
The last word
Raheem Morris, coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, slipped on a Rays uniform, carried the lineup card to home plate, pulled his starting pitcher in the fourth inning and boasted of his 1-0 record as guest manager after beating the Blue Jays 3-2 in 10 innings Tuesday. He was asked what it took to stand in for Joe Maddon?
"All I've got to do is look serious and spit seeds."