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Blue Jays have rough day

By Times staff writers, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 2, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays shortstop Chris Woodward was a pregame scratch from Saturday's opener against the Rays on a day that turned out to be painful for more than one Toronto player.

Woodward had a tender hamstring and did not make the trip from Dunedin.

Catcher Ken Huckaby left the game in the second inning after he was hit on the right hand by a foul ball off the bat of Ben Grieve. Huckaby said it is not broken, just a contusion with some swelling.

The Jays got through another six innings before the scariest moment occurred when nonroster infielder Mike Moriarty was hit in the head by a fastball from right-hander Seth McClung.

Moriarty was bleeding from the side of his head, but walked off the field.

"Our main concern is that he's going to be okay," Jays manager Carlos Tosca said.

Moriarty, who appeared to take part of the blow on his helmet, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center for observation and was released.

"I didn't mean to hit the guy," McClung said. "He swung at a high and inside fastball, and I just wanted to see how much further he'd go. I didn't mean to get up in the face. It's part of the game and I hope he's okay."

He suffered small fractures to his cheekbone and orbital bone, the team told the Associated Press. He will be re-examined today.

"I hope he's okay, he got hit pretty flush," Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "You don't like to see that happen."

TODAY: Cory Lidle is the scheduled starter for a game against the Phillies in Dunedin at 1:05.


Infielders are healing

TAMPA -- Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Alfonso Soriano took batting practice and could return from minor injuries for today's game against the Rays.

Jeter fouled a ball off his left shin in Thursday's spring opener against Cincinnati and has missed two games. Soriano has not played yet because of right shoulder discomfort.

"Both will be all right," manager Joe Torre said. "If Sori feels tenderness, he won't play. I might DH him."

First baseman Nick Johnson reported improvement with his sore left wrist. He hit 25 balls off a tee and took 27 cuts during a soft toss session.

Johnson visited hand specialist Dr. Joseph Sherrill in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday and was cleared to swing. He had been shut down for more than a week because of the wrist problem.

TODAY: Right-hander Mike Mussina is scheduled to start against the Rays at Legends Field.


Rollins to get 1-year deal

CLEARWATER -- Shortstop Jimmy Rollins rejected a long-term deal earlier this winter and will settle for a one-year deal from the Phillies today, the team's deadline for contract renewals.

Rollins insisted he was not upset about the negotiations.

"Not at all," he said before the 10-5 exhibition loss to the Braves at Jack Russell Stadium. "It's just business. If you take it personal it can be tough. I don't take it personal. I'm young, I'm having fun and I'm going to make money for a number of years."

Rollins, 24, has made the All-Star team twice in as many seasons, but he struggled in the second half last season and batted .245 after hitting .274 as a rookie.

"We're not really sure where Jimmy Rollins is yet," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro said. "We think we know where he's going to be. We think he's going to be great. We'd love to be in a position next year where we pay him a lot of money after a great year. We hope Jimmy is going to be our shortstop for a long time, and we think he will be."

TODAY: Randy Wolf will make his first extended start and will throw three innnings or 50 pitches in Dunedin against the Jays.


* * *

ANGELS: Relievers Ben Weber, Scot Shields and Mark Lukasiewicz agreed to one-year deals.

BRAVES: Leftfielder Chipper Jones is day to day with a sprained left thumb.

CARDINALS: Left-hander Rick Ankiel pitched one inning in a 7-3 loss to the Marlins, throwing 16 pitches but only five strikes. Ankiel, who missed last season with an elbow injury and struggled in the past with wildness, walked two and struck out one.

DODGERS: Left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii will pitch today against Houston for the first time since his season ended Sept. 8 when he was hit in the head by a line drive.

METS: After pitching for 16 seasons with Atlanta, left-hander Tom Glavine made his debut with New York and allowed four runs and six hits in two innings of a 7-6 loss to Baltimore. The two-time Cy Young winner said the day was rather unusual: "For the first time, hearing, 'Pitching for the New York Mets' and then hearing my name, that was a little strange."

PIRATES: Second baseman Pokey Reese will have X-rays on his right index finger Monday, but he expects to be back in the lineup by the middle of the week.

ROCKIES: Shortstop Juan Uribe has a broken foot. It is not clear how long he will be out.


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