02 Mar

back with a bang

Anthony Alford, Brent Rooker and Bobby Bradley, each making a comeback of sorts, belted home runs in their spring training debuts on Monday. Alford, the former Petal High star, and Mississippi State product Rooker went yard in their first at-bat, while ex-Harrison Central standout Bradley waited until his second. Alford, whose 2020 season was ended by a broken elbow, was in Pittsburgh’s lineup as the DH and took Toronto’s Robbie Ray deep. Alford, expected to be the Pirates’ center fielder, reportedly is still building strength in his throwing arm. He played in just five games for the Bucs last summer after they claimed him on waivers from the Blue Jays. Rooker debuted in 2020 with Minnesota but played in only seven games (.316, one homer) before suffering a broken forearm when hit by a pitch. The big outfielder homered Monday off Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow (on a 98-mph pitch) and later added a sac fly. Rooker is trying to make the Twins’ roster as a reserve. Bradley, who made his MLB debut in 2019, did not play in 2020 and wasn’t at Cleveland’s alternate site for the summer. Contending for the Indians’ first base job, the lefty-swinging slugger mashed a homer off Kansas City’s Jake Kalish.