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Spring training roundup

By Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


Daal shines through gloom

CLEARWATER -- The game against the Rays was canceled after rain delays and related electrical problems with the Phillies leading 2-1 with two runners on in the fourth, but manager Larry Bowa liked what he saw.

"We did a couple of good things today," said Bowa, who was pleased by a four-hit, four-inning effort from starter Omar Daal, who gave up a first-inning home run to Russ Johnson.

Daal, who has allowed two earned runs in eight official spring innings, has a team-high seven strikeouts, not counting two Tuesday.

It won't count toward his spring numbers, either, but outfielder Bobby Abreu had a strong game, driving in both runs with a home run to rightfield and a double to left in the fourth.

FIRST STEPS: Right-hander Paul Byrd pitched in a "B" game for his first game action since having arthroscopic surgery in August to repair a lesion in his shoulder.

"The more he threw, the better he got," pitching coach Vern Ruhle said. "He threw 37 pitches, 23 for strikes; his velocity seemed to be improving as the game went on."

Bowa said Byrd likely will pitch against minor-league competition before making appearances in regular games this spring.

NO RELATION: The Phillies have two Brian Hunters fighting for roster spots. Brian L., who led off, Tuesday, looks to be the fourth outfielder, and Brian R. could make the team as a backup first baseman. Both signed as free agents within the past year, and both are trying to play for their sixth major-league team. They celebrated birthdays one day apart last week, though Brian R. is three years older.

Brian R., who broke in with the Braves in 1991, has decent power with 67 career home runs. Brian L. has speed, stealing 74 bases with Detroit in 1997.

TODAY: The Phillies are scheduled to send out right-hander Cliff Politte for his first spring start against the Pirates in Bradenton.

-- GREG AUMAN

No makeup for rainout

DUNEDIN -- The Blue Jays were rained out for the second time this spring, and the home game against the Reds was not rescheduled. The game was called after two innings with the Jays leading 1-0. Roy Halladay gave up two infield singles and struck out two, and Darrin Fletcher hit his first home run of the spring.

INJURY REPORT: Infielder Jeff Frye had arthroscopic surgery to determine the extent of a right knee injury suffered Monday. Playing in his first spring game, Frye injured the knee on the first pitch he saw.

Outfielder Dewayne Wise, nursing a hyperextended right elbow, took batting practice off a tee.

TODAY: Toronto hosts a Cleveland split squad at 1:05 p.m. Left-hander Chris Michalak is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays against Indians right-hander Tim Drew. A seven-inning "B" game will be played against the Phillies at Englebert Complex at 10 a.m.

-- JOHN SCHWARB

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