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    Notes: Royals cut Penny, lose Hochevar for year

    The Royals cut loose veteran Brad Penny on Friday.
    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press/File
    The Royals cut loose veteran Brad Penny on Friday.

    Pitcher Brad Penny was released from a minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals on Friday following a poor start to spring training.

    The 35-year-old righthander, who pitched for the Red Sox in 2009 and was an All-Star with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, gave up four runs and eight hits in two innings Thursday against the White Sox. He allowed 13 hits in two spring training appearances and had a 15.75 ERA.

    Penny missed last season to rest his right shoulder after going 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA for San Francisco in 2012. He is 119-100 record with a 4.26 ERA in 13 major league seasons.

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    The Royals also announced that righthander Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery that will sideline the pitcher for the season.

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    Hochevar felt a twinge in his elbow on the next-to-last pitch of a scoreless two-inning outing Monday against the White Sox and an MRI revealed a major tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Hochevar missed nearly three months in 2010 with a sprained right elbow, making just 17 starts that season.

    Hochevar went 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA and two saves in 58 relief appearances last season.

    Harper’s all right

    Bryce Harper hit a mammoth first-inning home run in the Nationals’ 8-5 win over the Astros, declaring himself ready to go after undergoing surgery on his left knee in the offseason.

    ‘‘I’ve felt great,’’ Harper said. ‘‘I’ve had zero pain on it. I’ve been able to do everything I’ve wanted to do. It’s felt really good. I’m excited about that.’’

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    That it came against lefthander Brett Oberholtzer is a good sign for the lefty-swinging Harper, who struggled against them last year. He has a career .229 average against left-handers as opposed to a .292 mark against righties.

    ‘‘I hit lefties pretty good,’’ Harper said. ‘‘I always have. Last year, my knee killed me. I couldn’t stay back on lefties. I was killing myself on that. It’s going to be a little bit different this year.’’

    No replay in Sydney

    Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system won’t be expanding to Australia for Opening Day. The new replay format that allows managers to challenge most calls by umpires won’t be available when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks start the regular season with a two-game series on March 22-23 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The technology that MLB will use at other games during the regular season won’t be in place for the opener. Standard replay will be available in Australia for disputed home run and boundary calls under the format in place since 2008 . . . A person familiar with the negotiations said lefthander Oliver Perez and the Diamondbacks have agreed to a $4.25 million, two-year contract. Perez, 32, was 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA last year in his second season with the Mariners after spending 2011 in the minor leagues . . . Carmen Berra, the wife of Yankees great Yogi Berra, died Thursday night in Newark. She was 85. The Berras got married in January 1949 and recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Yogi Berra, 88, was a 10-time World Series champion with the Yankees as a catcher and had two stints as their manager. Obituary, B9 . . . Joe Saunders can earn up to $3.65 million plus award bonuses under his contract with the Rangers and would get the full amount if he pitches 210 innings. Saunders has a $500,000 base salary under the deal finalized Wednesday.

    Jimenez gets started

    Ubaldo Jimenez pitched two perfect innings in his debut with the Orioles in their 15-4 win over the Phillies. Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Orioles on Feb. 19, struck out three. . . . Henderson Alvarez retired all nine batters he faced in his first start since pitching a no-hitter on the final day last season, leading the Marlins to a 7-3 victory over a Cardinals split-squad . . . Scott Kazmir pitched three scoreless innings in his debut for the Athletics in a 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks.