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Spring training's attendance rising

©Associated Press
April 18, 2003

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush announced spring training in Florida showed a 5 percent increase in per-game attendance this year. In March, in which 265 games were played, the 17 sites had 5,272 spectators per game. In contrast, the 2002 exhibition season averaged 5,028 in 306 games.

"No one does spring training baseball better than Florida, and these attendance figures exemplify that point," Bush said.

Total attendance this spring reached 1,397,144, according to figures compiled by the Florida Sports Foundation. The training sites statewide supplied the statistics. There were 11 games canceled because of rain.

Four teams surpassed 100,000: Yankees (162,890) Braves (124,000) Red Sox (115,000) and Twins (106,209).

ANGELS: Manager Mike Scioscia was ejected by plate umpire Greg Gibson in the fifth for arguing a called third strike against Tim Salmon. After being tossed for yelling at Gibson from the dugout, Scioscia came out for a face-to-face discussion. "Man, everybody thought it was low," Scioscia said.

D'BACKS: The team doesn't know whether Randy Johnson will be able to make his next scheduled start until at least Saturday.

Johnson was supposed to pitch Wednesday night against Colorado, but was sidelined with swelling under his right kneecap. The problem first bothered Johnson after his start Friday night, then flared up after his regular bullpen session Monday.

It was only the second time in three seasons that Johnson missed a start.

Manager Bob Brenly said Johnson will throw on the side Saturday in St. Louis, and that should determine his status for his next scheduled outing Tuesday in Montreal.

Johnson isn't the only uncertainty in the rotation. Arizona sent John Patterson back to Triple-A Tucson on Wednesday and recalled right-hander Andrew Good.

Brenly said the move had nothing to do with Patterson's rough outing in his first major-league start of the season Tuesday. The team simply needed help in the bullpen, the manager said.

No decision has been made on who will start Sunday in St. Louis. It could be Miguel Batista, who pitched well in Johnson's place Wednesday night against Colorado, but he would be on short rest.

MARINERS: Third basemen Jeff Cirillo left after the fifth inning because of a strain in his right side. He was replaced by Mark McLemore, whose error in the ninth allowed the A's to tie. McLemore got the winning hit in the 10th. ... The retractable roof at Safeco Field was closed in the bottom of the fifth when it began raining.

PADRES: Catcher Gary Bennett (sprained knee) was placed on the 15-day DL, less than a day after he was bowled over at the plate by Los Angeles' Brian Jordan. Catcher Michael Rivera was recalled from Triple-A Portland and will back up Wiki Gonzalez.

RANGERS: Doug Glanville was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring and outfielder Kevin Mench was activated.

Glanville was injured running out a grounder in the seventh inning of Monday's 4-0 win over Anaheim. The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

REDS: Right-hander Jimmy Haynes went on the 15-day DL with a bulging disc and stiffness in his back after giving up 10 runs.

WHITE SOX: Esteban Loaiza's 11 strikeouts were the most on the team since James Baldwin struck out 11 against Milwaukee in July 2000.

YANKEES: Pitchers have allowed just four homers, best in the majors.

LIMA SIGNS: Former major-league pitcher Jose Lima signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Lima made the NL All-Star team in 1999, when he went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA and 187 strikeouts for the Astros.


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