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Around The Area Camps

Carpenter mows down Twins


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 1999

DUNEDIN -- Pitching for the first since the spring opener, Chris Carpenter allowed one run in four innings as the Jays beat the Twins 6-4 on Tuesday.

Carpenter, who turns 24 in April, has moved up in the rotation rapidly the past three seasons. His numbers reflect his rise. In 1997, Carpenter had a shaky start (3-7 with a 5.09 earn-run average). But in the second half his ERA was a respectable 3.86, and he went 2-1 in his final five starts with a 1.87 ERA.

That trend continued last season. Carpenter was 12-7 and saved his best for last. In five September starts, he went 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA.

This spring, Carpenter has picked up where he left off and has been valuable to the staff with David Wells still nursing a strained back.

CHANGE OF PACE: SS Alex Gonzalez, a defensive specialist who has been disappointing on offense, hit a run-scoring single.

-- Phillies turn up the power

CLEARWATER -- After roughing up David Cone for five runs Monday night at Legends Field, the Phillies continued their offensive output Tuesday. They had 17 hits, including four home runs, and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-2

Before the game, 3B Scott Rolen said he was not feeling comfortable at the plate, then he went 3-for-3 with a homer, a triple, a single and three RBI.

"I felt a lot better today," he joked after the game. "I'm seeing the ball better, feeling good right now, but it's still very, very early."

The Phillies got two homers from Wendell Magee and one from Bobby Abreu. First-round draft pick Pat Burrell, who played for the University of Miami last year, was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored.

GETTING THERE: Making his second start, RHP Carlton Loewer (1-0) had another solid outing as he tries to solidify the No. 3 spot in the rotation. Loewer gave up two earned runs in the first but then retired the next nine batters. In the fourth he got out of the inning on six pitches. "I don't consider myself a real power pitcher, but I throw hard enough to get away with a mistake," Loewer said. "It's about using your pitches."

TODAY'S PITCHERS: RHP Mike Grace is scheduled to start against the Indians in Winter Haven. Paul Byrd is scheduled to start against the Devil Rays in a B game at Jack Russell Stadium.

Strawberry ready for spring debut against Red Sox

KISSIMMEE -- For the first time since Sept. 27, the day the Yankees captured their AL-record 114th victory on the final Sunday of the 1998 regular season, Darryl Strawberry's name will be on a lineup card.

Who says split-squad games are meaningless?

"It'll probably be a long night sleeping knowing it's my first day back," Strawberry said in anticipation of today's appearance, his first since October colon cancer surgery, when the Yankees face the Red Sox in Fort Myers. "There's no question about it, I'm excited I'm able to get back on the field.

"Especially after missing the whole playoffs and the World Series and missing the beginning of spring training when the games start. I gotta get out there. That's the only way I'm going to get it done."

Though Strawberry reiterated "there's no doubt in my mind" he'll be ready by Opening Day, he acknowledged he has several hurdles to clear before proving he is worthy of inclusion on the 25-man roster.

But he is enthusiastic about this being the next "step on the ladder," as the DH against Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez.

"That's a good way to start it up. I'm not afraid," Strawberry said. "I'll probably feel a little rusty, but that's okay. I feel confident, and that's the key. It's knowing that you're not afraid."

Strawberry, 36, will resume weekly chemotherapy sessions March 19 after a two-week hiatus. Still, he said he could not remember the last time he felt as healthy as he does now.

EL DUQUE DELIVERS Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez struck out five in four innings, and Jerome Walton's two-run single completed a four-run rally that led the Yankees over the Houston Astros 5-4. Hernandez allowed two runs and four hits as New York sent Houston to its first loss in four spring games.

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