Originally created 03/10/99

Baseball roundup



Mark Wohlers wasn't "Wild Thing" on Tuesday, which was great news for the Atlanta Braves.

Their former closer, who couldn't find the plate in the majors or minors last season, showed a glimpse of his old form by retiring three of four batters as he pitched a scoreless inning in a 9-3 loss to a New York Mets split squad at Kissimmee, Fla.

Wohlers entered in the third inning and gave up a single to right field by Mike Piazza, then retired John Olerud and Craig Paquette on grounders and Robin Ventura on a flyout. Wohlers threw 11 fastballs and one slider.

"The only thing today was I didn't get ahead," Wohlers said. "I got behind a couple of hitters and I was able to come back and throw some fastballs. I think Piazza's ball would have been a home run if the wind wasn't blowing in so hard. That's all right. A little luck now and then doesn't hurt."

Willie Blair, another pitcher on an odyssey, was back in a Detroit uniform, allowing three hits in three innings as the Tigers lost to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-5 at Lakeland, Fla.

He was 16-8 for the Tigers in 1997, then signed an $11 million, three-year contract with Arizona and struggled. He was traded to the Mets in July and wound up a combined 5-16.

"It's been tough," said Blair, who gave up a two-run homer to Paul Sorrento. "I never wanted to leave here. But I felt it was probably the only time in my career I was going to sign a big contract and set up my family."

At Fort Myers, Fla., the focus was on hitting, not pitching. Jose Offerman got his third home run of the spring, going 3-for-4 as the Boston Red Sox lost to the Montreal Expos 6-5 on Tomas De La Rosa's 10th-inning homer.

Offerman, who signed a $26 million, four-year contract after Mo Vaughn left the Red Sox to sign with Anaheim, said it would be unfair to expect him to replace Vaughn's production.

"I don't have those kinds of numbers," said Offerman, who has never hit more than seven homers in a season during his seven years in the major leagues. "There's no reason for people to expect those kinds of numbers from me. I've just been making good contact."

A more consistent power source, Sammy Sosa, hit his second home run of the spring, a towering two-run, 460-foot drive to left-center that helped lead the Chicago Cubs over a Chicago White Sox split squad 13-2 at Mesa, Ariz.

"I got lucky," Sosa said. "I struck out with the bases loaded (in the third inning), and my teammates picked me up. But I'm feeling very good."

In other games:

Royals 5, Indians 3

At Haines City, Fla., Dave Swartzbaugh pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, and Kansas City took advantage of four errors. Jaret Wright was tagged for four runs and five hits in three innings.

Blue Jays 6, Twins 4

At Dunedin, Fla., Chris Carpenter allowed one run in four innings, and Shannon Stewart and Alex Gonzalez hit run-scoring singles.

Orioles 8, Cardinals 5

At Jupiter, Fla., backup infielder David Howard, who has 10 homers in 1,501 career at-bats during the regular season, hit two in his first two at-bats.

Yankees 5, Astros 4

At Kissimmee, Fla., Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez struck out five in four innings, and Jerome Walton's two-run single completed a four-run rally.

Phillies 11, Pirates 2

At Clearwater, Fla., Wendell Magee hit two homers and Scott Rolen was 3-for-3 with a homer.

Dodgers (ss) 5, Marlins 3

At Melbourne, Fla., Tripp Cromer hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs. Former-Marlin Devon White was 3-for-3.

Dodgers (ss) 11, Mets (ss) 4

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Eric Karros paced the Dodgers with a first-inning grand slam and drove in five runs. Todd Hollandsworth, who also homered, went 3-for-5 as the Dodgers pounded Masato Yoshii for eight runs and six hits in two innings.

Mariners 6, Giants 2

At Peoria, Ariz., Ken Griffey Jr. hit his second home run in three games and Dan Wilson drove in three runs. Seattle, which entered with a spring-best .386 team batting average, has scored 42 runs on 79 hits in five games.

Rockies (ss) 12, Brewers 7

At Phoenix, Dante Bichette hit a two-run homer, Vinny Castilla added a solo shot and Larry Walker was 3-for-5 with two triples. All four of Rockies pitchers -- Mark Brownstein, Lariel Gonzalez, Mike Porzio and Dave Wainhouse -- gave up home runs. Jeromy Burnitz and rookie Kevin Barker hit two-run homers, and Marquis Grissom and Geoff Jenkins hit solo shots.

White Sox (ss) 6, Rockies 0 (ss)

At Tucson, Ariz., Paul Konerko went 3-for-3 and drove in five runs off Bobby Jones, who allowed eight hits and all six runs. Jaime Navarro allowed two hits in three innings, and four relievers combined to complete the six-hitter.

Padres 7, Athletics 6

At Phoenix, John Vander Wal was 2-for-4 with a two-run double, and winner Sterling Hitchcock allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in three innings.

Diamondbacks 5, Angels 4

At Tempe, Ariz., Kelly Stinnett hit a two-run triple in a three-run sixth inning as Arizona win its sixth straight.