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Piazza healing but uncertain of return date

By Compiled from Times wires
Published June 17, 2003

MIAMI - Mets catcher Mike Piazza is making progress in his rehabilitation from a severely strained groin but gave no timetable Monday for his return.

"Without putting a timeline, I feel I'm ahead of schedule, personally," Piazza said. "It's responding well and I'm encouraged."

Piazza was with the Mets for their four-game series at Florida and said he's going through an "arduous process" as he tries to return to the lineup this season.

He said he won't risk any setbacks by rushing his return from the injury that happened when he tried to avoid an inside pitch from San Francisco's Jason Schmidt on May 16.

"I want to make sure it's never an issue again," he said.

SOSA SWINGS: Sammy Sosa rejoined the Cubs and put on a fan-pleasing show during batting practice, scattering long drives to all parts of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Sosa has two games left on a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat. He said he used the bat to put on a show for fans in batting practice and mistakenly used it in a game.

Meanwhile, a man was awarded $475,000 in damages from the Cubs for a lawsuit stemming from a melee that broke out in the Wrigley Field stands over three years ago. Ronald Camacho filed the suit about 10 months after he was mobbed by visiting Dodgers players and arrested for disorderly conduct.

UMPS START OVER: Former big-league umpires Bob Davidson and Tom Hallion will return to work this week in the low minors, more than 31/2 years after losing their jobs in the majors.

Davidson and Hallion were among the 22 umps who took part in a failed mass resignation plan in September 1999. Court battles ensued and several umpires were rehired by the majors, some retired and others were caught in limbo.

Davidson will resume his career Wednesday in the Class A Northwest League, calling his first game when Vancouver visits Everett. Hallion will be in the Class A New York-Penn, which opens its season today.

A'S: Shortstop Miguel Tejada is scheduled to play in his 500th consecutive game today, the longest active streak in the majors. He will become the 34th player to reach the mark.

EXPOS: Baseball officials plan to meet separately Friday with groups in Washington and northern Virginia that are interested in luring the team. Last week baseball general counsel Tom Ostertag, executive vice president for administration John McHale and chief financial officer Jonathan Mariner met with the group in Portland, Ore.

Meanwhile, Montreal announced it is bringing back the Pearson Cup, a trophy established in 1978 as a fundraiser for amateur baseball in Canada and awarded to the winner of a midseason exhibition against the Blue Jays until 1986. The trophy will go to the winner of this season's six-game interleague series. If the teams split, the trophy will be shared.

INDIANS: First-round pick Michael Aubrey, a first baseman from Tulane regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the draft, signed. Terms were not announced.

MARINERS: Left-hander Ryan Anderson, a first-round pick in 1997 who hasn't pitched since 2000, is scheduled for exploratory left shoulder surgery Wednesday, his third operation on the shoulder. ... First baseman John Olerud homered in the fourth for his 2,000th career hit.

WHITE SOX: Catcher Sandy Alomar, out since May 31 with a strained right hip muscle, went to Triple-A Charlotte on a rehabilitation assignment.

YANKEES: Centerfielder Bernie Williams played catch for 10 minutes and swung a bat as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery.

[Last modified June 17, 2003, 01:48:03]

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