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Myers solidifies spot in rotation

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2003

FORT MYERS -- The Phillies' starting rotation appeared to come into focus Saturday based on the news out of Clearwater and the performance by Brett Myers at City of Palms Park.

The news was that right-hander Brandon Duckworth will not pitch today against Boston at Jack Russell Stadium. Duckworth, out since March 9 with a mild case of elbow tendinitis, was examined by team physician Michael Ciccotti, who said the pitcher was making progress.

The Phillies, however, will proceed cautiously and have him throw off a mound for a second time before letting him pitch in a game. With only seven innings this spring, it's unlikely he'll be ready by opening day.

"If he's not stretched out enough, we'll keep him down here and let him get stretched out," manager Larry Bowa said.

Myers gave his best performance of the spring, holding the Red Sox to one run on four hits in five innings. That eased some concerns about the 22-year-old right-hander, who was rocked by the Yankees in his last outing.

Should Duckworth go on the disabled list, the rotation would be: Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, Myers and Joe Roa.

BELL POWER: Third baseman David Bell became the second Phillie this spring to homer three times in a game in the 11-6 victory against the Red Sox. He homered off Casey Fossum in the first and third and right-hander Brandon Lyon in the seventh. Ricky Ledee did it March 13 against Toronto.

"I do that all the time," Bell said, joking. "Actually, I've never done it. I'd have remembered if I did."

Bell is hitting .375 with four homers and 10 RBIs this spring.

Pettitte goes six

TAMPA -- Yankees No. 3 starter Andy Pettitte turned in his longest outing of the spring, reaching the sixth and throwing 84 pitches against Minnesota. The left-hander, who got a no-decision in the Yankees' 4-3 loss, struck out four and walked one but threw two wild pitches.

He stranded runners in scoring position in the second and fifth and picked Michael Cuddyer off first to end the fourth. "I don't really want to use (the pickoff move) too much down here because I don't want guys to see it," Pettitte said. "I was really just giving him a token move over there and got him."

CLEMENS GETS NOD: Roger Clemens was named the starter for opening day at Toronto on March 31. It will be his third consecutive opening-day start, fourth in five seasons with the Yankees and 13th overall.

WELLS SAYS NO: David Wells opted out of a Sports Illustrated pregame photo shoot depicting the starting pitchers and owner George Steinbrenner.

"He had a problem, I guess, with Sports Illustrated," said Pettitte, who was part of the picture. "Sometimes, if you feel like you've been wronged, you don't want to do stuff."

A 2000 magazine feature on Wells started, "David Wells is fat."

A DAY TO FORGET: Rightfielder Chris Latham, one of six outfielders on the roster, had plenty of opportunities against his former team to make a case for a spot on the Yankees roster.

But Latham, who spent last year with the Mets' Triple-A club, was wide to second trying to throw out Doug Mientkiewicz after a double, grounded into an inning-ending double play and made a three-base error on Dustin Mohr's fly to the wall.

Ex-Ray pitches extra

DUNEDIN -- Toronto's Cory Lidle, formerly of the Devil Rays, allowed one run and two hits in six innings, throwing 62 pitches in a 4-1 victory against the Reds.

"I was actually supposed to only go five innings," Lidle said. "But my pitch count was so low. I'm ready to go now. My arm strength is there."

INJURIES: Outfielder Frank Catalanotto (lower back spasms) will have today off, but the Blue Jays plan to start him Monday. ... Carlos Delgado worked out on a stationary bike a day after his right knee was examined. "He's feeling okay," manager Carlos Tosca said. "But he won't be available for a couple of days." ... X-rays were negative on second baseman Orlando Hudson (right wrist).

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