Cueto gets knocked around in 10-9 loss

Published 1:24 am Friday, March 22, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Johnny Cueto insists there’s still enough time to get set for opening day.

Derek Norris homered as the Oakland Athletics roughed up Cueto and beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-9 Thursday.

Cueto allowed five runs on five hits and two walks in 1 2-3 inning.

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The Reds have not announced their opening day starter, but Cueto’s turn would come up then. He blamed his mechanics for the tough outing.

“My fastball was up and out over the plate,” Cueto said. “I was flying open. I knew what was happening but couldn’t correct it. In the bullpen all my pitches were down.”

Cueto said he had no concerns about being ready for the opener against the Los Angeles Angels on April 1.

“I’m ready,” Cueto said.

Norris added a single to increase his spring average to .379. Josh Reddick and Chris Young hit doubles in the A’s five-run second inning. Jed Lowrie had two hits for Oakland.

Mark Prior, trying to make another comeback, pitched a scoreless inning for the Reds. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“It was good to be out there. It was fun,” Prior said. “I was trying to throw strikes. I was a little up, a little rushed.”

“It was the first time doing it in a big league environment in a couple years. It was good. Two years ago when I was in camp with the Yankees, I got to face hitters in spring, nine outings that went pretty good. It was a good test for me to see if I could get big league hitters out,” he said.

The 32-year-old righty, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006, was in Triple-A for Boston last year.

“After pitching in minor league games in minor league camp and last year in Pawtucket, you still want to know does your stuff still play,” Prior said.

“My location wasn’t as good as it’s been in the minor league camp, but I’m sure it was adrenaline and anxiety.”

Prior starred in Chicago a decade ago when Dusty Baker was the manager. Now managing the Reds, Baker helped Prior get this chance.

“I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this position. I’m here because of Dusty. Maybe I can surprise some people by doing something,” Prior said.

Said Baker: “He’s not far off from where he was before.”

“His fastball had good zip on it. His breaking pitches will come in time. He hasn’t been here that long. I’m glad for him. It’s a matter of staying healthy. It was nice for me to shake his hand when he came off the mound.”

A’s starter Brett Anderson pitched for the first time in a game since March 10. He had been out with a strained right trapezius. The left-hander missed most of last season while recovering from elbow surgery.

Anderson gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out five.

“The results weren’t awesome but I threw some good pitches,” Anderson said. “I threw some not good pitches. I threw a lot of pitches I wouldn’t throw in a regular season game. A lot of changeups that got hit. I got some strikeouts on my slider that was good.”

“The results weren’t very good from the outside looking in, but I gave up eight hits, four or five were on pitches I wouldn’t throw in the regular season,” he said.

Todd Frazier and Derrick Robinson homered off Anderson. It was the third of the spring for Frazier.

Grant Balfour made his first appearance of the spring for Oakland and pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. The A’s closer had surgery on his right knee on Feb. 14.

NOTES: Reds OF Shin-Soo Choo put in full workout. He’s missed five games with back spasms.