By Times staff writers, Associated Press
Published February 27, 2004
TAMPA - Bernie Williams had his appendix removed Thursday, and Yankees manager Joe Torre said the centerfielder likely will miss opening day.
"I'm very sorry for Bernie because he came in such great shape and worked so hard," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said. "I know Bernie. He'll fight through it and be back quicker than everybody thinks."
Williams, New York's regular centerfielder since 1992, felt discomfort Wednesday night, Torre said.
Kenny Lofton, signed as a free agent, takes over in centerfield.
BYE-BYE BOONE: The Yankees released third baseman Aaron Boone nearly six weeks after he hurt his knee in a pickup basketball game. The injury, which could sideline him for the season, set the stage for the Yankees to acquire Alex Rodriguez from Texas last week.
LIEBER HEALING: Right-hander Jon Lieber might resume throwing off a mound Monday. The projected fifth starter cut short a bullpen session Monday after feeling tightness in his right groin.
- ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jays' Walker heads to Japan
DUNEDIN - They begged him to stay, but for pitcher Pete Walker, the lure of a guaranteed starting job and hefty pay raise were just too much.
Walker, who has started and relieved in two seasons with the Blue Jays, was sold Thursday to the Yokohama BayStars of the Japanese League.
Walker will more than double his 2003 salary of $375,000, and the Jays will receive more than $200,000 in transfer fees.
"It's difficult because my heart is here," said Walker, who added the decision this winter to take him off the 40-man roster put him on the path to Japan. "I think that is what got the ball rolling," he said.
ONE TOUGH CATCHER: Guillermo Quiroz may be a season away from the majors, but no one in the organization is doubting his perseverance.
Not after what the 22-year-old catcher went through in August.
Quiroz, one of the team's top prospects, was discovered to have a collapsed lung just before Double-A New Haven began its postseason.
A cold that got continuously worse brought on major coughing fits. Doctors assume one of those fits collapsed his right lung.
The problem, though, was not discovered right away, and doctors think he played an entire week with the collapsed lung before it was discovered by an X-ray.
Doctors cut a 2-inch incision in his side and stuck a tube through his ribs to the lung to re-inflate it. The tube stayed in for two weeks; once it was out Quiroz was in the lineup for the Ravens' last three games of the final.
- MIKE GANTER
Bad rep upsets Bowa
CLEARWATER - Phillies manager Larry Bowa is tired of people thinking he can't control his emotions and is disliked by his players.
"Why do I have to prove to people that I'm a human being and not some (jerk) who goes away with a whip and slashes people around the neck every day?" Bowa said. "I don't understand that. But yet it feels like if you don't get mad, something is wrong with you, and if you do get mad, it's the same old Larry. After a while, that gets tiresome."
Bowa joked that he should be the subject for a sequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a 1975 movie staring Jack Nicholson.
"I'm going to get all the information from the people who covered us in Philly," Bowa said. "If everything comes true that's been alleged, it'll be a great movie."
PHILLERS: As advertised, Bowa arrived at practice in one of his new hip-hop-style outfits provided by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Bowa opted for a tan outfit over a green one and bypassed a headband. "The pants were big," Bowa said. "Jimmy said you've got to get used to it." ... The Phillies will play an intrasquad game 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bright House Networks Field.