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Orioles’ Corbin Burnes looks sharp in first game appearance with his new team

By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer

Corbin Burnes’ first outing with his new team looked like an abbreviated version of a typical performance with his old one.

Burnes worked one scoreless inning for the Baltimore Orioles and struck out the first two batters he faced Saturday in the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner’s Grapefruit League debut. The Orioles went on to defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on a walk-off homer from prospect Colton Cowser.

The Orioles acquired Burnes last month in a trade that sent left-hander DL Hall, infielder Joey Ortiz and a 2024 competitive balance pick to the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Today was just getting the feet wet, getting out there on the mound, feel the adrenaline going again in a game situation and then get to work with Adley a little bit,” Burnes said of catcher Adley Rutschman.

Burnes, 29, went 45-27 with a 3.26 ERA in six seasons with the Brewers. He went 10-8 last year with a 3.39 ERA, which marked the first time since 2019 that he posted an ERA above 3.00.

He has recorded at least 200 strikeouts each of the last three seasons, including an NL-leading 243 in 2022.

The Brewers traded Burnes because of the likelihood they wouldn’t be able to keep him beyond this season. The three-time All-Star is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

ANDERSON EAGER TO BOUNCE BACK

Tim Anderson is hoping his return to health and a fresh start with a new team can help him bounce back from a disappointing 2023 season.

The Miami Marlins finalized their one-year, $5 million deal with the former Chicago White Sox shortstop on Saturday.

Anderson, a two-time All-Star and 2019 AL batting champion, had hit over .300 in four consecutive seasons before batting just .245 last year. Anderson said dealing with a sprained medial collateral ligament took a toll on him.

“I had nothing to hit up against,” Anderson said. “That led to a lot of ground balls. No excuses. I kept working. I feel good today. I feel healthy. I’m ready to go and I’m excited.”

Marlins manager Skip Schumaker believes those 2023 struggles should give Anderson even more incentive this year.

“I’ve said it before, anybody that’s motivated is dangerous at this level,” Schumaker said. “I’m not sure there’s many guys more motivated than that kid.”

PICKING UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF

After homering at a record rate last year, the Atlanta Braves opened their preseason schedule by going deep again.

Michael Harris led off the first inning of the Braves’ Grapefruit League opener and homered on the first pitch from Tampa Bay’s Nathan Wiles. The Braves went on to win 6-5.

The Braves homered 307 times during the regular season last year to tie the 2019 Minnesota Twins for the season record.

MAYZA’S PUNISHMENT

Toronto pitcher Tim Mayza’s fantasy football misfortune during the offseason led to a bit of embarrassment for him during the Blue Jays’ game Saturday against Philadelphia.

The left-hander served as bat boy for the game while wearing a jersey that had “4-10” as his number as a punishment for his fantasy football failures. Mayza’s fantasy team went 4-10.

REDS SIGN FORD, KEMP TO MINOR LEAGUE DEALS

Cincinnati agreed to minor league contracts with infielder Mike Ford and utilityman Tony Kemp.

Ford, 31, batted .228 with a .323 on-base percentage, 16 homers and 34 RBIs in 83 games with the Seattle Mariners last season. Kemp, 32, hit .209 with a .303 on-base percentage, five homers, 27 RBIs and 15 steals in 124 games with Oakland.

METS’ FUJINAMI LEAVES CAMP

New York Mets right-hander Shintaro Fujinami left camp temporarily to return home to Japan to deal with a personal matter.

Fujinami, who turns 30 on April 12, went 7-8 with a 7.18 ERA in 57 relief appearances and seven starts with Oakland and Baltimore last season. He struck out 83 and walked 45 in 79 innings.

The Mets got some good news Saturday with the performance of left-hander Nate Lavender, who struck out the side in the eighth inning of a 10-5 loss to St. Louis. Lavender had 86 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings with the Mets’ Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse affiliates last season.

PADRES WELCOME PROFAR, PERALTA

Utilityman Jurickson Profar and left-handed pitcher Wandy Peralta got to San Diego’s camp Saturday after visa issues had delayed their arrivals.

Padres manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Profar is ready to go. Shildt added Peralta will be brought along more slowly but should be available for the start of the season.

Profar, 30, finalized a one-year deal worth $1 million Saturday after batting .242 with a .321 on-base percentage, nine homers and 46 RBIs in 125 games with Colorado and the Padres last season.

Peralta, 32, joined the Padres with a $16.5 million, four-year deal after going 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 63 relief appearances for the New York Yankees last season.

MURPHY VS. MURPHY

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Cactus League opener with the San Diego Padres turned into a father-son affair. Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy’s son Kai hit a two-run double for the Padres in the seventh inning of the Brewers’ 11-7 victory.

Milwaukee’s Sal Frelick, who played exclusively in the outfield as a rookie last season, has been working on the infield this spring and played third base Saturday.

KEITH, CHOURIO SHOW EARLY PROMISE

Milwaukee’s Jackson Chourio and Detroit’s Colt Keith signed lucrative contracts in the offseason despite not having any major league experience.

Both prospects showed glimpses of their enormous potential Saturday.

Chourio, who signed an eight-year, $82 million deal, went 2 for 4, scored twice and drove in a run. Keith, who signed a six-year contract that guarantees him $28,642,500, had a two-run double in the Tigers’ 22-10 loss to the New York Yankees. Both players also struck out twice.

JONES’ LONG DRIVE

Spencer Jones, the New York Yankees first-round pick in the 2022 amateur draft, hit an estimated 470-foot pinch homer to right-center off Detroit’s Mason Englert in his first spring training at-bat.

“The wind helped a little bit for sure,,” Jones said. “But it felt good.”

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound outfielder was 3 for 3 with four RBIs. He also was hit by a pitch.

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AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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