TEMPE, Ariz. — With a fastball he can dial up to 97 mph, a big overhand curve and a sharp-breaking slider,
Richards threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-2 exhibition victory over the
"Fastball command, a lot of ground balls, a lot of early contact — that's the kind of pitcher I am, and that's the mentality I'm going to take into the season," Richards said. "I started to focus on that in double A [in 2011]. When I started throwing a sinker and getting early contact, I got deeper into games and my game evolved."
Richards has struggled to master a changeup this spring, his inability to throw the pitch any slower than 90 mph — ace
But an ability to give his fastball two looks, by cutting it and sinking it, has given Richards, who shuttled between the bullpen and rotation the last two seasons but is a rotation lock this season, enough weapons to be successful.
"My fastball is moving in two different planes," Richards said. "The situation may arise when I throw a changeup to a left-hander, but other than that, I'll stick with my three pitches."
Veteran first baseman
"It's hard to put into words," Pena said in February. "You just have this feeling, this hunch, that this is the right place."
It wasn't. Pena, 35, hit .139 with 14 strikeouts in 20 spring games and was released Sunday along with veteran catcher
"It's always a tough time of spring, with the conversations going from guys who are going to be really excited to conversations like we had today," said Manager
Pena, who has 285 homers in 12 seasons, became less of a fit as Pujols showed he is sound enough to play first base regularly. But Pena, who exchanged hugs with numerous players and coaches before leaving, has no intention of retiring.
"I feel too good," he said. "That's not even an option right now."
After giving up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings of a triple-A game against Arizona in which his teammates made four errors behind him, Santiago drove straight from the
Santiago, whose next start will come in
Clean bill of health
Jose Alvarez, the left-hander acquired from Detroit for infielder
"That was the wrong news," Alvarez, 24, said. "That wasn't me."
Alvarez made 24 starts for double-A Jacksonville in 2012, going 6-9 with a 4.22 ERA, and he went 8-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 20 starts for triple-A Toledo in 2013. He is expected to open 2014 at triple-A Salt Lake.
"I've always been healthy," said Alvarez, who gave up three hits and struck out five in 3 1/3 scoreless innings of a triple-A game against the