Upton homers as Diamondbacks top Harang, Reds 10-4Posted: Updated:
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Justin Upton hit a two-run homer, and the Arizona Diamondbacks roughed up right-hander Aaron Harang in his first spring training start on Tuesday, pulling away to a 10-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Upton got a six-year, $51.25 million deal - the second-largest in franchise history - last week. The 22-year-old outfielder singled home a run and had a two-run shot off Matt Maloney, who is competing for the Reds' fifth starter role.
Harang, already picked to start his fifth straight season opener, lasted only 1 1-3 innings. He gave up four hits, including three doubles, and walked one, allowing three runs overall.
The right-hander is coming off two tough seasons. He went 6-17 in 2008 and was 6-14 last season, when he needed an emergency appendectomy in August. At the recommendation of pitching coach Bryan Price, Harang has been trying to shorten his stride to the plate this spring.
"It's still early on, so I'm not worried about it," Harang said. "There is still some fine-tuning. I've pitched a certain way for a long time. If you watch tape from the last two years, you can see I've increased my stride six or seven inches from what it was."
When spring training began, manager Dusty Baker was noncommittal about whether Harang would start a fifth straight season opener. He has since decided to stay with Harang.
"The ball was coming out of Aaron's hand real nice today," Baker said. "He got two strikes on almost everybody but couldn't put them away. He threw 50 pitches in a short period of time."
Diamondbacks starter Billy Buckner went three innings and gave up solo homers by Jay Bruce and Ryan Hanigan. Bruce also singled, raising his spring average to .500. The outfielder missed two months last season with a broken wrist.
Buckner made 13 starts last season and is trying to win a spot in the rotation. Hanigan's homer appeared to be wind-blown.
"I thought Buckner threw the ball well for the most part," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He got a couple balls up a little bit. It was somewhat tough conditions for him, but he persevered. It was important to get him three innings. He's really, really focused on competing for this job. This is one of the first real opportunities to break into the big leagues."
NOTES: Arizona's Brandon Webb played catch again on Tuesday. Webb is coming back from shoulder surgery in August. "We have to see how he recovers," Hinch said. "We have to let him do a couple of days of long toss." If Webb comes through the throwing sessions without problem, he will then try throwing off a mound. ... Reds LH Bill Bray, who is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, threw 25 pitches to minor leaguers during batting practice. ... The Reds added a "B" game against Cleveland on Sunday morning to get their pitchers some work.
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