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Around The Area Camps

Rocket sterling in Legends debut


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 12, 1999

TAMPA -- It turns out Roger Clemens was saving his best for the home crowd.

In his first start since a three-run, seven-hit outing in Haines City, Clemens pitched four innings of no-hit ball, striking out three and walking one in his Legends Field debut Thursday. The Yankees beat the Rangers 6-0. "My location was better tonight. I think that was one of the reasons the results were so good," Clemens said.

Another reason was the sterling play of SS Derek Jeter and 1B Tino Martinez in the third inning.

Jeter made a nice short-hop scoop to get the first out, and Martinez made a diving snare of a one-hopper that he flipped to Clemens to end the inning. The play even had Clemens applauding as he headed to the dugout.

"I've always said that when your defense is outstanding, it makes you look good," Clemens said. "That was the case tonight. I get as excited as anybody when I see a good play out there."

NAULTY'S JOB?: With the assignments of LHPs Ed Yarnall and David Carroll to the minor-league camp, it appears as though New York is leaning toward RHP Dan Naulty to replace Graeme Lloyd, the lefty reliever who was traded to Toronto in the Clemens deal.

The Yankees were expected to keep a lefty in the bullpen, but Naulty has put up decent numbers -- three hits over three innings with a run, a walk and five strikeouts -- and struck out lefty OF PaulO'Neill looking in an intrasquad game.

Also headed to the minor-league camp are RHP Katsuhiro Maeda, Cs Victor Valencia and Michel Hernandez and OF Bubba Carpenter. OF Donzell McDonald was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. STOPPING IN: A day after manager Joe Torre left the team because of prostate cancer, his brother Frank showed up at camp.

TODAY: Jeff Juden makes his first start at 7:15 tonight when the Yankees host the Kansas City Royals.

-- Rolen nicked by foul ball

CLEARWATER -- Scott Rolen, who had 31 home runs and 110 RBI last season and became the first Phillie since Mike Schmidt to win a Gold Glove, already has solid footing at third base

But on Thursday he had to vacate his position as he walked gingerly off the field at Jack Russell Stadium. He left for precautionary reasons after a foul ball hit awkwardly off his foot.

"I think the diagnosis is I'm a big wuss," Rolen said.

Rolen, who is batting a team-high .545 this spring, shouldn't miss any games.

"It was something that just bothered me a little bit," Rolen said. "I banged my foot and it hit me in a strange spot, a soft spot."

REASSIGNMENTS: General manager Ed Wade said seven pitchers -- Rob Burger, Dave Coggin, Sean Fesh, Tony Fiore, Steve Schrenk, Anthony Shumaker and Randy Wolf -- were reassigned to minor-league camp. That leaves 51 players in major-league camp.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Heading into Thursday's game, Ron Gant had five hits, four for extra bases (three doubles, one triple). He continued that trend in a 6-3 win over the Tigers with his first home run, a shot to leftfield in the second inning.

UNION MEETING: Union executive director Don Fehr will meet with the Phillies players at 9 a.m. March 26 in the Jack Russell Stadium clubhouse.

UP NEXT: RHP Curt Schilling starts today against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Cora, in fight for job, retires

* * *

DUNEDIN -- 2B Joey Cora, who signed with Toronto as a free agent in January, said he is retiring.

Cora, 33, hit .276 for Seattle and Cleveland last season with six homers, 32 RBI and 15 steals in his 11th season. He had made four errors this spring.

Cora was fighting Homer Bush, acquired from the Yankees in the Clemens trade, and Craig Grebeck for a roster spot.

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