Originally created 03/20/00

Brooks ends Mets stint without a hit



MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Garth Brooks ended his New York Mets career without a hit. Joe McEwing began his with one.

McEwing, acquired Saturday from St. Louis for Jesse Orosco, led off the game with a single scored on Benny Agbayani's hit as the Mets beat the Marlins 3-2 Sunday.

Starter Bobby J. Jones held Florida to three hits in six shutout innings, and the Marlins didn't get any hits after that until a three-hit ninth that included Mark Smith's homer.

Smith, fighting for a roster spot, is batting .500 with 17 hits in 34 at-bats. A 1991 Baltimore Orioles draft pick, he played in Japan last year.

"Mark's doing an outstanding job at the plate for us," Marlins manager John Boles said. "You'd have to be crazy not to see that. The way he's swinging the bat right now, he's going to help us when the season starts."

Brooks, who was scheduled to return to Nashville, Tenn., after the game, finished spring training 0-for-17, leaving him with an .026 career spring average. Brooks was 1-for-22 (.045) last spring with the San Diego Padres.

Brooks, who joined the Mets to raise money for his Touch 'em All Foundation that gave $1.8 million to children's charities in 1999, drew a walk on four pitches against Antonio Alfonseca in the sixth inning.

He drew the loudest and longest ovation of the game.

Alfonseca is believed to have spread a mumps-like virus to Marlins teammates Alex Fernandez, Dan Miceli, Armando Almanza and Brant Brown.

The four players remained quarantined Sunday, and no one else has shown symptoms of having contracted the virus since the players were sent home for at least two days on Saturday.

White Sox 16, Angels 3

Greg Norton was 4-for-6 with a homer, double and four RBIs, and Paul Konerko was 2-for-3 with a home run Sunday as the Chicago White Sox routed the Anaheim Angels.

Konerko is hitting .583 (14-for-24) in his last seven games with three homers and eight RBI.

Norton's three-run homer in the first off loser Ken Hill gave him an 11-game hitting streak. Norton is batting .550 during the streak with three homers and seven doubles.

Konerko hit a solo homer in the fifth off Steve Mintz, a drive that carried over the 420-foot mark in center field.

Royals 10, Indians 9

For a spring training game, the Kansas City Royals' win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday was filled with plenty of news.

Mark Langston announced his retirement following an ineffective relief appearance for the Indians, Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. was hit in the head by Carlos Beltran's backswing and Kansas City outfielder Todd Dunwoody badly sprained his right ankle.

If that wasn't enough, Mike Sweeney homered twice and drove in five runs for Kansas City, but and also committed a pair of first-inning errors at first base.

Langston, a 39-year-old left-hander, pitched the seventh inning and allowed four runs, four hits and one walk. The big blow was Sweeney's three-run homer.

"It's a relief from the standpoint I know I gave it my all, but the sadness is leaving what you love," Langston said. "I love going out and competing. Physically, I feel good. I pushed it all the way to the end. It just didn't work out between the white lines."

Alomar, a six-time All-Star, was struck on the top of the head by Beltran's backswing in the fifth.

Alomar was able to walk off the field with the help of Indians trainer Paul Spicuzza, and appeared to sustain only a cut.

Dunwoody turned his ankle while trying for a diving catch of Roberto Alomar's fly to shallow center in the fifth. Dunwoody was carried off the field and taken to Winter Haven Hospital for X-rays.

Athletics 4, Brewers 1

John Jaha homered and drove in three runs as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jason Giambi hit his first home run of the spring as the A's improved to a major-league best 13-3, winning 11 of their last 13 games.

Kevin Appier, 3-0 this spring, allowed three hits in five scoreless innings, striking out four and walking one. Appier has allowed one run in 12 spring innings.

Geoff Jenkins had two hits for the Brewers.

CUBS:

Even the Chicago Cubs team doctor was thrilled with Kerry Wood's first start.

Dr. Michael Schafer examined the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year on Sunday and said his reconstructed elbow is fine.

"He said keep going in the right direction," Wood said. "It was a very short meeting. He checked me out and said everything looks great."

Wood started Saturday for the first time since reconstructive elbow surgery last April, giving up one hit in one inning against a Chicago White Sox split squad. He threw 15 pitches, 10 for strikes, and his velocity ranged from 93-97 mph.

The arm felt fine during the game, and Wood said he woke up this morning without soreness or stiffness.

"Very, very pleased with his exam today. Those were the words of Dr. Schafer," general manager Ed Lynch said. "We will go day-to-day here. He passed the test yesterday, felt outstanding today and we'll just take it on a daily basis from here. But all indications are it was a success."

Wood is scheduled to pitch again Thursday, but he'll throw in a minor-league game down the street at the Cubs' minor league facility.

"They've got some guys they want to look at," Wood said. "No big deal. I'll just go down there and pitch."

Added Lynch, "We want to put him in a more controlled environment, and we have pitchers who are going to open the season with us who need the work. We want them to pitch here Thursday against Seattle and get their innings."

Wood will skip the team's trip to Japan and will probably start the season the disabled list.

Wood, who tied a major league record in just his fifth career start, striking out 20 in a nine-inning game, has made swift progress since he had ligament replacement surgery on April 8, 1999. While it takes most pitchers who have reconstructive surgery 18 months to recover, he began throwing off the mound during the winter and was throwing to hitters by the end of February.

He started throwing curveballs last week and made his first start Saturday -- one year and five days after tearing elbow ligaments in his only spring training appearance last year.