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Canada plays the United States on Saturday and beat the New York Yankees 6-0 in exhibition.


Canadians silence potent Yankees bats

Diamond tosses 2 shutout innings in World Baseball Classic tuneup


Last Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2009 | 8:48 PM ET


The Canadian Press


Atlanta Braves prospect Scott Diamond, about to face big-league hitters for the first time, was warming up in the Canada bullpen when he heard the New York Yankees lineup announced to the Legends Field crowd in Florida.


Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, Xavier Nady ...

"I was thinking to myself. 'This is going to be a little bit of an adventure,'" said the 22-year-old from Guelph, Ont. "I'm really happy with the way it turned out."


And so he should be.


The left-hander, hoping to make the jump to double-A this spring, threw two scoreless innings, striking out two in Canada's 6-0 exhibition victory over the Yankees on Thursday afternoon in Tampa Bay.


It was the national team's final warmup contest before opening at the World Baseball Classic versus the United States in Toronto on Saturday. The Canadians looked sharp against a Yankees team internalizing the latest Alex Rodriguez drama, this time to do with his injured right hip.


"We're pretty anxious to get up there and get this thing started," said first baseman Justin Morneau. "I feel pretty good. Obviously not mid-season form, but once you get in that game situation, the adrenaline takes over."


Chamberlain has rough outing


The Canadian offence certainly did its part to help ease Diamond's frayed nerves, taking advantage of a wild Joba Chamberlain for a six-spot in the first that pretty much decided things.


"Just sitting on the bench, relaxing a little bit, I think it helped me put my shoes up a little bit," said Diamond. "Having that big lead was really what helped me settle down.


"I felt like I was able to settle really quickly, which I was surprised with. I didn't expect to. I'm really happy with how it came out and how I handled it."


The powers that be with the Braves will no doubt be especially pleased with how he handled Mark Teixeira, who was traded from Atlanta to the Angels last July.


The slugging first baseman, who signed a $180-million-US contract with the Yankees as a free agent, struck out against the lefty, who also got Angel Berroa looking.


"I think the [braves] are going to be happy with the way it came out and how I handled Tex," said Diamond.


The Canadians used three hits, five walks and a sacrifice fly to build the 6-0 lead in the first. Morneau and Jason Bay each worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 2-0 before a two-run double by Matt Stairs doubled the lead.


Mark Teahen followed with a sacrifice fly before Luke Carlin's RBI single made it 6-0, to cap a result built around the lineup's discipline at the plate.


"We have to be [disciplined] if we don't hit any homers," quipped Morneau. "There's definitely power in our lineup but to get good pitches to hit you have to take the bad ones and work the pitcher a bit, try and get him tired, and that's when they start making mistakes.


"We took advantage of that in the first. We haven't hit any home runs yet, but we definitely have the potential to do that. We don't have a lot of speed, so we're definitely going to have to drive the ball around a little bit to score runs."


The official announcement comes Friday, but pitcher Mike Johnson will start for Canada against the United States. Jake Peavy is expected to get the call for the Americans.


Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt said Russ Martin's foot injury is progressing well and he expects the catcher to start Saturday.


Jesse Crain, Steve Green, Dave Davidson and T.J. Burton provided 4 2/3 shutout innings of relief for Canada before non-roster players Mike McDonald and Adrian Martin recorded the final six outs.

© The Canadian Press, 2009



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