SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.: Daisuke Matsuzaka spent most of his three innings extricating himself from trouble, but in the end he allowed no runs and five hits and the Indians beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 at Scottsdale Stadium.
Matsuzaka loaded the bases with one out in the first, but got out of the jam when Brandon Belt flied out, and Ryan Raburn threw out Kensuke Tanaka at the plate. With two on and one out in the second, Matsuzaka induced Hector Sanchez to bounce into a double play.
“There was a lot of luck to my outing today,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “But it’s important for me to get out of those kinds of jams.”
Added manager Terry Francona: “What Dice-K can do is put men on base then get out of it. There’s no panic in him.”
Matsuzaka’s fastball was clocked mostly at 87-88 mph and occasionally touched 90.
“I thought I was throwing about that,” he said. “More important than my velocity is that I felt like I was throwing faster. I am also getting my cutter closer to my fastball speed, and that’s another step forward.”
Nick Swisher hit his second home run of the spring and Juan Diaz hit his first, but it was Roberto Perez’s ninth-inning homer that won it.
“The biggest thing for this team is to find its identity,” Swisher said. “We have a lot of new guys here. Tito [Francona] doesn’t have many rules, but he does like us to be fundamentally sound.”
Joe Smith returned to the mound after nursing a strained oblique and gave up a two-run homer in one inning. He threw 14 pitches, 13 strikes.
“He was down, down down,” Francona said. “For a first outing it was amazing. He pounded the zone down.”
Checked and rechecked
After being struck in the side of the head with a drive on Monday, Carlos Carrasco was monitored overnight and into Tuesday.
“He’s fine,” Francona said. “We checked him again this morning. He exhibited no signs [of having a concussion]. He went through a battery of tests. They asked him questions that I couldn’t answer.”
After being hit in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs, Carrasco was examined and allowed to continue pitching. He also was checked after the game.
Michael Brantley, who sustained a deep cut near his left elbow, is close to returning.
“Michael is doing terrific,” Francona said. “He’s continuing with baseball activity: hitting and throwing. He’s itching to get his stitches out. He’s not too far from coming back. I said 10 days, and it’s going to be pretty close.”
Brantley was spiked sliding into third on Feb. 25.
Three players were sent back to the minor-league camp for reassignment: outfielder Jeremy Hermida, left-hander Edward Paredes and first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
Aguilar went 3-for-8 with a double; Hermida was 3-for-12, and Paredes gave up three runs and five hits in three innings.
Hermida will remain in big-league camp for about a week until minor-league exhibition games start.
The Indians return to Goodyear today to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. Justin Masterson will start against Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com.