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Baseball

Wells is staying, but discipline likely

By Times staff and wire reports
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 9, 2003

David Wells refused to comment on his situation.

TAMPA -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday he read an advance copy of pitcher David Wells' controversial autobiography, Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches & Baseball, and he was checking with team officials on what disciplinary action might be appropriate.

Cashman said Wells will not be traded or released, but there ought to be a punishment for having "tarnished the Yankees" image.

"There's a lot of issues to go through and determine what we believe, in our opinion, are our rights," Cashman said. "There's a lot of stuff certainly that concerns me."

Team president Randy Levine talked with Gene Orza of the players association, Rob Manfred of the commissioner's office and Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton, to discuss what penalty, if any, would be assessed.

Wells declined comment.

PETTITTE TIRES IN WIN: The Yankees won for the first time in four games, as Enrique Wilson, Robin Ventura and Chris Latham each homered in a 7-4 victory against the Pirates.

However, starter Andy Pettitte said he "ran out of gas" in his first extensive work of the spring. After pitching two scoreless innings, Pettitte walked three in the third, allowed two earned runs, and saw the bases loaded before Mariano Rivera came in and struck out Pokey Reese.

"I don't know if (the Yankees staff was) trying to stretch me out or what," Pettitte said. "I was done. My legs were drained. My arm was tired. I figured it was ugly enough, and sooner or later they'd come out and get me."

ADVENTURE FOR VENTURA: Ventura had a rough first two innings as he picked up errors on two booted grounders and was jeered by fans.

He atoned by hitting a two-run home run off Brian Meadows in the sixth.

"Sometimes it's good to make mistakes in spring training," Ventura said. "It makes you rethink things. Go over them in your head. Get a better jump. I always try to take something positive out of it."

SORIANO BACK: Alfonso Soriano is expected to rejoin the team today after flying home to the Dominican Republic to be with his family after the death of his grandfather. Soriano is unlikely to play for a few days because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

MATSUI UPDATE: Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui hit cleanup, getting a run-scoring single in the sixth, and he had his first strikeout.

Matsui told reporters he was still trying to figure out how umpires call the strike zone.

"He's still going with his own strike zone," Torre said. "He'll learn theirs. He's got great knowledge of the game. A great feel for the fundamentals. I've been impressed with the number of times he's swung and made contact. He's very confident."

-- JEREMY RASMUSSEN, TIMES WIRES

Phillies salute Thome

WINTER HAVEN -- Jim Thome's teammates paid tribute to him and the Phillies newest slugger saluted his former teammates and fans. At the urging of leftfielder Pat Burrell, the Phillies, including manager Larry Bowa and his coaching staff, wore their socks in the same high style that is Thome's signature look on the field.

It was their way of telling Thome they were happy to have him on their side on a day when the slugger made a return trip to Chain of Lakes Park, home of his former team, the Indians. "Pat told me on the bus that he got everybody to pull their socks up," Thome said. "They wanted to let me know that they were going to be there with me. That meant a lot to me."

Thome was DH and was greeted by a loud ovation that included a smattering of boos from the crowd of 5,522. Before his first at-bat, he stepped out of the box and gave a fist pump to the home dugout and the fans.

Thome finished the day with two walks and a strikeout.

-- BOB BROOKOVER

Jays' Miller to make first appearance

DUNEDIN -- Right-hander Justin Miller threw an "outstanding" batting practice according to manager Carlos Tosca and is expected to make his first spring appearance early this week.

Miller was shut down for two weeks after injuring his shoulder lifting weights.

"He's a guy who has not lifted a lot of weights in his life and he likes to push himself," Tosca said. "He overdid it a bit."

Miller won nine for the Jays in his rookie season last season. Even if he doesn't break camp with the Jays, he could be called up when the Jays go to a five-man rotation a few weeks into the season.

The Jays will not need a fifth starter until April 14 in New York. Tosca implied he would rather have someone who had been starting the first two weeks in the minors take that start than move someone who had been working in the bullpen into the rotation.

SIGN 'EM UP: The Blue Jays took care of 15 players with one-year contracts. Among the 15 were starting second baseman Orlando Hudson, catcher Ken Huckaby and lefty Mark Hendrickson, who is expected to start the season in the rotation. Also signed and expected to be with the major-league club were catcher Tom Wilson and Rule 5 right-hander Aquilino Lopez.

SEND 'EM OUT: After the 6-2 win against the Rays, lefty Scott Wiggins, and right-handers Scott Cassidy and Mike Smith were reassigned to minor-league camp.

-- MIKE GANTER

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