Ricky Ledee never hit like this when it counter.
Ledee hit three homers, including a grand slam, and had nine RBIs Thursday to lead the Philadelphia Phillies over the Toronto Blue Jays 13-12 at Clearwater, Fla.
With a chance to hit his fourth home run in the ninth inning, the former New York Yankees’ prospect hit a two-run single. He wound up going 4-for-6 and scored four runs.
“The first three times I wasn’t even thinking about homers,” he said. “I just wanted to hit the ball good.”
The outfielder said he never had a day like this in his professional career.
“Not even in a week,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez left spring training Thursday, returning to Texas for tests on his stiff left shoulder.
Rodriguez complained of stiffness and fatigue in the shoulder after playing the past two days. He was scheduled for a day off Thursday and went back to Dallas for additional tests after an examination by team physician Dr. Drew Dosett.
Rodriguez was expected to return to spring training in Arizona on Thursday night or Friday.
In Bradenton, Fla., Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dennys Reyes laughed about taking a liner off the top of his head Wednesday. He was struck by a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff.
“My head is sore and I have a small lump, but I’m fine other than that,” Reyes said. “It was scary and it could have been a really horrible thing. I feel I am very fortunate that nothing happened.”
At Fort Myers, Fla., Red Sox pitching coach Tony Cloninger returned to Boston’s spring training camp, two days after tests showed he may have bladder cancer.
“People have always asked me when am I going to retire, and I always say when they tear the uniform off me, and that’s how I feel right now,” Cloninger said. “I’m going to work, and I feel that I will be able to work and do my job through all of this. I may have to miss a day here and there but I don’t foresee any length of time.”
Also in Fort Myers, Kenny Rogers passed his physical, and Minnesota finalized his $2 million, one-year contract.
Rogers threw in the bullpen to All-Star catcher A.J. Pierzynski and got his new uniform dirty while taking fielding practice before Minnesota’s split-squad game against Detroit.
“I’m glad to be in a uniform,” the 38-year-old left-hander said. “I’m just ready to get to work. I’d like to have a little more time than I’ve got, so I’ll just squeeze as much as I can into these next couple of weeks.”
In Phoenix, AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito was picked to start Oakland’s season opener in Japan.
“It’s something that he deserves, and I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to it,” manager Ken Macha said.
In other games:
Astros 8, Pirates 7
At Bradenton, Fla., Shane Reynolds gave up five homers and nearly touched off a fight by brushing back Brian Giles. Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon yelled at Gregg Zaun in the fifth after the Houston catcher stared angrily at reliever Duaner Sanchez for hitting him with a pitch. Zaun, who doubled and homered in his first two at-bats, looked as if he might charge the mound, but instead glared at Sanchez before throwing his bat hard toward his own dugout. That led Reynolds to throw behind Giles in the bottom of the inning. Plate umpire Tim Welke then warned both dugouts.
Expos 5, Indians 2
At Viera, Fla., Orlando Hernandez allowed two hits in four shutout innings. El Duque also reached on an error and stole a base.
Orioles 8, Reds 7, 10 innings
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Melvin Mora had four hits, including a bases-loaded single in the 10th inning.
Twins (ss) 6, Tigers 2
At Fort Myers, Jacque Jones had three hits and Cristian Guzman had two hits and two RBIs. Jones in hitting .500 (14-for-28) this spring with seven RBIs.
Red Sox (ss) 8, Twins (ss) 4
At Fort Myers, Julio Zuleta had three hits and five RBIs, and Manny Ramirez went 2-for-2 to raise his average to .565 (13-for-23).
Cardinals (ss) 6, Dodgers 5
At Vero Beach, Fla., Albert Pujols hit his fifth homer and drove in two runs — extending his team record for spring training to 18 RBIs.
Rangers 12, Brewers 8, 10 innings
At Phoenix, Mark Teixeira homered twice and drove in five runs in the 10-inning game as he made his case for jumping from Double-A to the majors.
Padres 3, Angels 2
At Tempe, Ariz., Oliver Perez allowed two runs over four innings in his third start of the spring, and Charles Nagy gave up three hits in four scoreless innings.
Rockies (ss) 4, Mariners 1
At Peoria, Ariz., Joel Pineiro retired his first 10 batters and 15 of 18. Ben Petrick hit a solo homer off Pineiro in the fifth to break a 1-all tie.
Giants 8, Royals 3
At Surprise, Ariz., left-hander Rick DeHart, out of the major leagues since he played for Montreal in 1999, retired all four left-handed hitters he faced.
White Sox (ss) 13, Rockies (ss) 6
At Tucson, Ariz., Jamie Burke, Joe Crede and Carlos Lee each had three of Chicago’s 18 hits.
Diamondbacks 11, White Sox 1
At Tucson, Ariz., Elmer Dessens pitched four more scoreless innings and Luis Terrero went 3-for-4 with a triple and a homer to lead Arizona.
Yankees 6, Red Sox (ss) 3
At Tampa, Fla., Andy Pettitte allowed two hits in four scoreless innings and Hideki Matsui hit an RBI triple for New York.
Braves 10, Devil Rays 7
At Kissimmee, Fla., Rafael Furcal, playing for the first time in 11 days since he injured his left ankle, went 1-for-3 and scored a run for Atlanta. Chipper Jones went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and two runs scored.