Gagne hoping for a return
Nearly a decade since he last pitched in the big leagues, Eric Gagne is gearing up for the World Baseball Classic — and maybe a major comeback.
The former Cy Young Award closer pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday for Team Canada in a 7-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., consistently hitting 93 mph with his fastball.
“Nervous, didn’t know what to expect, and it went well,” he said. “I just didn’t want to embarrass myself.”
Gagne, 41, turned a oneshot deal into this opportunity. Out of the majors since playing for Milwaukee in 2008, Gagne started for Ottawa of the independent Can-Am League last year as part of a promotion in the team’s regular-season finale. After retiring his first 12 batters, Gagne allowed one earned run, two hits and striking out six in five innings against Quebec.
“I know I’m ready physically and mentally, but going out there is a different story,” Gagne said. “It’s a great test right now to go against some major league guys and see where you’re at. For me it was a really, really successful day.”
Gagne relieved in the third inning against Toronto and retired Darwin Barney and Ezequiel Carrera on flyballs. After Jake Elmore walked on a 3-2 change-up and Kevin Pillar singled, Gagne ended the inning by getting a grounder from Melvin Upton Jr. on his 18th pitch.
“Looked like the old Gagne,” Canada first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “Throwing strikes.” Nationals: Reigning NL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer threw a live batting practice session for the first time this spring as he rehabs a stress fracture in the lower knuckle of his right ring finger. Scherzer threw 44 pitches during the outing, the majority of which were fastballs.
Pirates: Prospect Jose Osuna hit his third home run of the spring in Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Braves.
Phillies: Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is in camp as a guest instructor in spring training. Halladay, 39, plans to work with pitchers on the mental side of the game along with the fundamentals and mechanics of pitching.
World Baseball Classic Japan 11, Cuba 6: Nobuhiro Matsuda had four hits, including a three-run homer, to key a five-run fifth inning as twotime champion Japan defeated Cuba in Tokyo. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo added a two-run homer for Japan. Israel 15, Taiwan 7: Ryan Lavarnway hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Nate Freiman added a threerun homer in the ninth to help Israel rout Taiwan in Seoul. Netherlands 5, South
Korea 0: Jurickson Profar and Randolph Obuder each hit two-run homers as the Netherlands beat South Korea in Seoul. Former MLB starter Rick van den Hurk allowed three hits in four shutout innings for the win.
2003 Cy Young winner Eric Gagne pitched one inning Tuesday for Canada.