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Around The Area Camps

Torre expected to meet team, discuss situation

By Times staff, wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 15, 1999

TAMPA -- Manager Joe Torre is expected to meet his players today, the New York Times reported. It will be the first time he will speak to the team collectively since last week, when he learned he has prostate cancer. Others in the organization said he will give the players details of his treatment and an estimate of how long he will be away.

Yankees officials have protected Torre's privacy, at his request, and most who were asked about whether Torre would appear -- including coach Don Zimmer and GM Brian Cashman -- either declined to answer or responded coyly. A sign was posted on a clubhouse wall, however, noting that players are required to be dressed in uniform and in the clubhouse at 2:15 p.m. today, unusually early for a night game. Cashman said, "If he is planning on being there, he could always change his mind."

Said Zimmer, "This is Joe's team and he's going to do what he wants to do."

PETTITTE RECOVERY: Left-hander Andy Pettitte, who is resting his sore left elbow, is expected to play catch today. "It feels fine," Pettitte said. "I haven't felt anything for a week. But I think I have to throw for it to hurt. I'm ready to go."

There is no timetable for his return, but Pettitte told pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre he wants to pitch in a game Friday. Stottlemyre laughed and said a more realistic schedule would be two days of catch followed by a day on the mound before reevaluating.

Burrell's short stay ends

CLEARWATER -- Several players were reassigned to minor-league camp, most notably Pat Burrell, a former Miami All-American and No. 1 overall pick in June. Others were C Andy Dominique, C Kirk Pierce, SS Carlos Duncan, INF Lou Lucca and OFs Steve Carver and Reggie Taylor. They will report to the Carpenter Complex today.

Burrell, who hit .303 with seven homers and 30 RBI in 37 games at Class A Clearwater last season, was 1-for-8 with one RBI in five spring games. He has not been assigned to a minor-league team.

"I was very impressed with him," manager Terry Francona said. "He's got a quick bat. I think he's a better athlete than we gave him credit for when he came in."

Burrell said he didn't expect to make the big-league club this spring.

"It was just important for me to get the experience," Burrell said. "I didn't do as well as I liked, but I learned a lot about how things are done around here."

RESCHEDULE: Rain washed out Sunday's game against Minnesota. RHP Mike Grace will pitch today against Texas in Port Charlotte. There is a possibility today's game will be a doubleheader. In that case, LHP Paul Spoljaric also will start one of the seven-inning games.

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