Athletics 10, Reds 9

Johnny Cueto insists there’s still enough time to get set for

opening day.

Derek Norris homered as the Oakland Athletics roughed up Cueto

and beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-9 Thursday.

Cueto allowed five runs on five hits and two walks in 1 2-3

inning.

The Reds have not announced their opening day starter, but

Cueto’s turn would come up then. He blamed his mechanics for the

tough outing.

”My fastball was up and out over the plate,” Cueto said. ”I

was flying open. I knew what was happening but couldn’t correct it.

In the bullpen all my pitches were down.”

Cueto said he had no concerns about being ready for the opener

against the Los Angeles Angels on April 1.

”I’m ready,” Cueto said.

Norris added a single to increase his spring average to .379.

Josh Reddick and Chris Young hit doubles in the A’s five-run second

inning. Jed Lowrie had two hits for Oakland.

Mark Prior, trying to make another comeback, pitched a scoreless

inning for the Reds. He struck out one and hit a batter.

”It was good to be out there. It was fun,” Prior said. ”I was

trying to throw strikes. I was a little up, a little rushed.”

”It was the first time doing it in a big league environment in

a couple years. It was good. Two years ago when I was in camp with

the Yankees, I got to face hitters in spring, nine outings that

went pretty good. It was a good test for me to see if I could get

big league hitters out,” he said.

The 32-year-old righty, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since

2006, was in Triple-A for Boston last year.

”After pitching in minor league games in minor league camp and

last year in Pawtucket, you still want to know does your stuff

still play,” Prior said. ”My location wasn’t as good as it’s been

in the minor league camp, but I’m sure it was adrenaline and

anxiety.”

Prior starred in Chicago a decade ago when Dusty Baker was the

manager. Now managing the Reds, Baker helped Prior get this

chance.

”I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this position.

I’m here because of Dusty. Maybe I can surprise some people by

doing something,” Prior said.

Said Baker: ”He’s not far off from where he was before.”

”His fastball had good zip on it. His breaking pitches will

come in time. He hasn’t been here that long. I’m glad for him. It’s

a matter of staying healthy. It was nice for me to shake his hand

when he came off the mound.”

A’s starter Brett Anderson pitched for the first time in a game

since March 10. He had been out with a strained right trapezius.

The left-hander missed most of last season while recovering from

elbow surgery.

Anderson gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2-3

innings. He struck out five.

”The results weren’t awesome but I threw some good pitches,”

Anderson said. ”I threw some not good pitches. I threw a lot of

pitches I wouldn’t throw in a regular season game. A lot of

changeups that got hit. I got some strikeouts on my slider that was

good.”

”The results weren’t very good from the outside looking in, but

I gave up eight hits, four or five were on pitches I wouldn’t throw

in the regular season,” he said.

Todd Frazier and Derrick Robinson homered off Anderson. It was

the third of the spring for Frazier.

Grant Balfour made his first appearance of the spring for

Oakland and pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. The A’s

closer had surgery on his right knee on Feb. 14.

NOTES: Reds OF Shin-Soo Choo put in full workout. He’s missed

five games with back spasms.