Dominican Republic wins World Baseball Classic

Dominican Republic wins World Baseball Classic
March 20, 2013, 9:00 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double in the first inning that held up, and the Dominican Republic capped a dominant, unbeaten run through the World Baseball Classic with a 3-0 win against Puerto Rico for the championship Tuesday night.

Erick Aybar added an RBI double to back winner Samuel Deduno, and the demonstrative Dominican righty threw his arms into the air in delight after watching a run-saving defensive gem by center fielder Alejandro De Aza in a tough fifth.

Cheers of "Dominicana! Dominicana!" rang out through the rain at AT&T Park all the way to the streets of Santo Domingo. The Dominican fans -- fanaticos, indeed -- didn't let the Bay Area's wet weather keep them from dancing in the stands, waving flags and tooting horns. Flags became makeshift ponchos. (See full story.)

Pujols debuts in unorthodox game
PHOENIX -- In a game where balls and strikes were briefly called from behind the pitcher's mound after an umpire was injured, Albert Pujols made his spring debut at first base for the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-1 loss Tuesday to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pujols played the field for the first time since offseason surgery on his right knee. The slugger went 0 for 2.

Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez and Sean Halton homered for the Brewers.

Pujols was hit by a pitch from Wily Peralta with two outs in the top of first inning. The ball deflected and broke plate umpire Seth Buckminster's hand.

Buckminster left the game along with umpire Anthony Johnson, who changed into home-plate gear. After a brief delay, with only two umpires left on the field, play resumed for four batters with Tim McClelland calling pitches from behind the mound.

Johnson returned to the field and McClelland shifted to third base three batters into the bottom of the first. (See full story.)

Furcal ready for rehab
JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal returned to the Cardinals' spring training complex for the first time since undergoing ligament replacement surgery by Dr. James Andrews last week, saying Tuesday the operation went well and he is ready for rehabilitation.

Furcal says Andrews is "happy we did this," and confident the All-Star will be ready for next year. Furcal originally injured the elbow late last season. He had hoped off-season rehabilitation would prevent the need for surgery. Furcal was never able to throw at 100 percent in camp, and after a few weeks opted for surgery.

Andrews performed the surgery in his Pensacola office. Furcal plans to rehab from the surgery in South Florida.

The Cardinals also released veteran middle infielder Ronny Cedeno, a move the 30-year-old didn't see coming.

"It's a surprise," Cedeno said. "It's the first time it happened to me." (See full story.)

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