Marcus Stroman has first outing with Yankees. Mets' Senga won’t throw for at least 3 weeks

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PHOENIX (AP) — Marcus Stroman threw 2 1/3 innings in his first spring training start with the New York Yankees on Sunday, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two.

The 32-year-old right-hander — who grew up on Long Island about 55 miles from Yankee Stadium — signed a $37 million, two-year deal during the offseason. He said it was “exciting getting the first one under the belt" after throwing 31 of 52 pitches for strikes in a split-squad game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I felt good in spurts today, just wasn’t overall over the 50 pitches,” Stroman said. “I just need to increase my consistency and feeling good in my mechanics more often. I just feel like it was probably maybe around 25 to 30 pitches today out of the 50.”

Stroman went ahead 0-2 in the count on five of his first six batters, but had the count reach 3-2 on four of them.

“As far as throwing strikes and being able to come in the zone with a few of my pitches, I feel like I’m ahead of schedule in that sense,” Stroman said. “But definitely not synched up and where I need to be mechanically heading in a season. But, over the next, you know, two, three, four outings, I see that all coming together.”

Stroman missed six weeks last season because of inflammation in his right hip and then a rib cartilage fracture, and finished with a 3.95 ERA that was his highest since 2018.

Also on Sunday in New York's other split-squad game, slugger Juan Soto connected for his first spring homer in pinstripes, going deep in the fourth inning off Toronto right-hander Trevor Richards.

“You want to be out there, you want to get that feeling of the Yankees fans," Soto said. "You always heard about them (and then) you get to a point where you be like, I want to feel that. I want to see how it’s going to feel to have them ... cheering for me instead of booing me. It’s been pretty good.”

SENGA WON'T THROW FOR AT LEAST 3 WEEKS

New York Mets right-hander Kodai Senga won't throw for about three weeks as the team sees how his ailing shoulder responds to a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza told reporters Sunday that Senga went to New York for the injection a few days ago and is now back in camp in Florida.

“That's what was recommended by the doctor when they took a look at him, and Senga was on board,” Mendoza said. “So we decided to go that route.”

Senga had a stellar rookie season for the Mets in 2023, finishing 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA. The 31-year-old All-Star finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and seventh in the Cy Young Award race.

NOLA THROWS 2 PERFECT INNINGS

Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola worked two perfect innings against the Yankees in his first spring training start since signing a $172 million, seven-year offseason deal to remain with the Phillies.

Nola struck out three during a 33-pitch outing.

“It’s spring training, but obviously you want to really look at it as in really trying to prepare as best as possible for the season,” Nola said. “I have a better beat on that now as I’ve gone through all the spring trainings.”

The 30-year-old is entering his 10th big league season and could become the longest-tenured pitcher in team history, surpassing Steve Carlton’s 15 years.

Nola struggled at times during last year's regular season, finishing 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA. But the righty excelled in the playoffs with a 2.35 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23 innings. He's also durable: His 1,065 1/3 innings since 2018 are second-most behind Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Also on Sunday, manager Rob Thomson said Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are scheduled to make their spring training debuts Wednesday during a home game against the Atlanta Braves.

RODON'S OUTING

Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodón threw 2 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday, giving up just one hit and one run in his first spring training start.

Alejandro Kirk hit a solo homer in the third for Toronto.

Rodón struck out five, walked two and hit a batter during a 48-pitch outing.

“It’s a good first step,” Rodón said. “My goal is to stay on the field and to pitch every five or six days. Good to compete against someone with a different uniform on, and a nice vibe from the crowd in a real game setting.”

After signing a $162 million, six-year contract, Rodón didn’t make his Yankees debut last season until July 7 because of injuries and wound up 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA in 14 starts.

BELLINGER BACK TO CUBS ON 3-YEAR DEAL

Cody Bellinger is going back to the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to an $80 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The slugger can opt out of the deal after each of the first two seasons, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a physical. Bellinger is set to make $30 million this year, and then $30 million in 2025 if he stays with Chicago and $20 million in 2026 if he doesn’t opt out of the contract.

Bellinger was among five significant free agents represented by Scott Boras who went into spring training without agreements. Starting pitchers Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, third baseman Matt Chapman and designated hitter J.D. Martinez remain on the market.

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AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum and Jay Cohen and AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb