St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Torre: As usual, pitching is the key

By Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001


TAMPA -- One thing hasn't changed as manager Joe Torre starts his sixth season. Torre said the Yankees will be as good as their pitching.

"I think our pitching looks pretty good with the four starters we can throw out there and the guy we can close games with," Torre said. "We need to continue to work hard."

Starters Roger Clemens, Orlando Hernandez, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina had no problems after throwing 13 minutes of batting practice.

Closer Mariano Rivera, who had food poisoning, is scheduled to throw batting practice today.

STARTING COMPETITION: Two candidates for the fifth starter spot, Adrian "El Duquecito" Hernandez and Randy Keisler, are scheduled to start in an intrasquad game Monday and work two innings. Others slated to pitch include Ryan Bradley, David Walling, Craig Dingman and Edison Reynoso. The game is scheduled for eight innings. A second intrasquad contest will be Tuesday.

NOTES: Backup infielder Luis Sojo likely will be sidelined a few days because of a back injury. ... Leftfielder Shane Spencer, who is working out with a brace on his surgically-repaired knee, should play in early spring games. ... First baseman Nick Johnson (chicken pox) could be cleared Monday to work out.

-- MARK DIDTLER

Bowa likes Glanville at leadoff

CLEARWATER -- Larry Bowa has no problem with Doug Glanville leading off, even though the centerfielder had a .307 on-base percentage last year and Bowa plans to experiment with that spot during spring training.

"If I was to open the season tomorrow, Glanville would be my leadoff hitter," the new manager said. "I'm not trying to defend anybody, but when he got (204 hits in 1999) nobody said anything."

Last season, Glanville had 175 hits and batted .275. The Phillies believe he struggled because he was worried about his father, Cecil, who suffered a mild stroke two days before regular season.

"I had a lot of stress personally," Glanville said. "I don't think there are too many people who would envy somebody who has a family member who is sick and they can't be with them."

NOTES: The Phillies will play a simulated game this morning at the Carpenter Complex. Scheduled to throw are Randy Wolf, Chris Brock, Ricky Bottalico, Clint Sodowsky, Cliff Politte, Ed Vosberg and Thomas Jacquez. ... Right-hander Paul Byrd, coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and left-hander Rheal Cormier (back spasms) did not throw. ... Bowa was not pleased with rundown drills.

-- PAUL HAGEN

Break is over for hitters

DUNEDIN -- Pitchers had their first batting practice session at the Englebert Complex. Manager Buck Martinez waited six days to have pitchers throw to hitters.

"The batters appreciate that," Martinez said of the tendency for hitters to be behind the pitchers early in spring training. "It helps the pitchers too because it has given them some additional time to get their arms ready."

HENKE IN CAMP: Former Jays closer Tom Henke is a guest instructor and will work with current closer Billy Koch. "His stuff is as good as anyone in baseball," Henke said. Koch has 64 saves in two seasons, trailing Henke (217 from 1985-92) and Duane Ward (121) in team history.

-- TONY MARASCHIELLO

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.