SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One might think Dallas Braden would be angry and downcast after the Texas Rangers batted around with five first-inning runs against him Wednesday in a 9-2 spring training spanking.
Braden is 0-3 in three outings this spring with a 10.80 ERA, having surrendered 13 hits in 62/3 innings. He willingly confessed Wednesday's performance was "a hit parade."
But the left-hander isn't worried. Braden was even joking afterward that his rocky first inning might have been good for right fielder Ryan Sweeney, who was playing his first game in eight months after knee surgery. Sweeney had to chase down a couple of rockets in the first.
"There you go, get him running around, test that knee out, right?" Braden said. "If this was football and he could have called for a replacement, he might have."
Braden said he's working on some new things that pitching coach Ron Romanick has mapped out for him. He wouldn't say exactly what, but he threw primarily fastballs in the first inning and just one changeup.
"It wouldn't be a game plan if I just divulged everything, but the bottom line is to evolve," he said. "You've got to take a few steps backward and rebuild before you can start making strides forward."
Clearly, he didn't want to show his "A" material against what was mostly the Rangers' "A" lineup, either.
"I don't want to go out there and give them the same song-and-dance that they're going to get during the year," he said. "Honestly, I have no reservations of getting my (butt) kicked like that knowing that my approach is going to be a little different (during the season)."
Braden opened up his repertoire in the second and third innings and pitched two scoreless frames, giving up a single and a walk and striking out two.
"Good, strong," manager Bob Geren said. "He faced all of their regulars in a good hitters' park, and it was just another good outing for him. He's stringing together solid performances every time out, and that's what we like to see."
"He's an out-and-out pro, and our guys (the Yankees) loved him right away," Torre said. "Oakland will, too."
Torre said Matsui was always willing to do anything the club asked of him.
"Knowing his history of hitting 50-something home runs every year (in Japan), I asked him in spring training the first year about hitting and running," Torre related. "He said, 'No problem.' And he was my best hit-and-run man that year. That told me a lot about him."
"I wasn't really nervous at all for the game," he said. "But once I got in the dugout, I had to figure out how to do some things. When I got on base, I went to reach for my hand guard and I didn't have it."
Sweeney will take two days off and play again Saturday.