Originally created 04/02/00

Lofton likely will be in center field



Kenny Lofton returned to the field Saturday, less than four months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder, starting in center field in Cleveland's final exhibition game against the Braves in Atlanta.

The Indians also said it was likely Lofton would start in Monday's opener at Baltimore, but a final decision on the former Brave's availability would not be made until today.

Prior to Saturday, Lofton had appeared in three exhibition games, all as a designated hitter, before Saturday. He is 6-for-12 with a home run and two stolen bases.

Lofton hit .301 with 110 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 120 regular season games last year before tearing the rotator cuff in his left shoulder sliding headfirst into first base of Game 5 of AL playoffs against Boston. He had surgery Dec. 15 and was expected to be out until the All-Star break.

DIAMONDBACKS:

All-Star third baseman Matt Williams had surgery to insert a metal plate in his broken right foot.

Doctors say they found more damage during the operation and that Williams will be out for eight to 10 weeks, two to four weeks longer than originally estimated.

Williams broke the second metatarsal when he fouled a pitch off the foot Wednesday in an exhibition game against Seattle.

Williams broke the same bone in 1995 and had two pins inserted during surgery then to keep the bone together.

PIRATES:

Second baseman Warren Morris probably will miss Pittsburgh's home opener against Houston with an infected left shin.

Doctors told Morris not to play until Thursday, and either Mike Benjamin or Luis Sojo will take his place in the starting lineup.

YANKEES:

Outfielder Lance Johnson made his case to become a late addition to New York's roster, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base in a Triple-A game.

The Yankees are considering Johnson, who was cut by the Indians Thursday, as a base stealing threat off the bench.

Johnson, 36, hit .281 with two RBI in 21 games this spring while with Cleveland. Last year, he hit .260 for the Cubs with one homer, 21 RBI and 13 steals in 95 games.

DEVIL RAYS:

Tampa Bay placed third baseman Vinny Castilla, outfielder Jose Guillen and right-hander Bryan Rekar on the disabled list.

Castilla was put on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 25 with a strained muscle in his rib cage.

Guillen was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 28 with right shoulder tendinitis. Rekar has a strained groin.

DODGERS:

Shawn Green, acquired from the Blue Jays for Raul Mondesi in the off-season, homered and had an RBI double as the Dodgers won at Toronto 2-1.

Green asked out of Toronto so he could play in his home town. The Dodgers signed him to a six-year, $84 million contract.

Los Angeles traded reserve infielder Juan Castro to the Reds for a player to be named later. In parts of five seasons with the Dodgers, Castro hit .188 with two home runs and 23 RBI. He hit .274 with seven homers and 51 RBI for Class AAA Albuquerque in 1999.

RED SOX:

Promising young right-hander Juan Pena was lost for the season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his elbow.

Pena was sent to Boston from Florida after experiencing pain in the elbow while throwing. Team physician William Morgan confirmed the torn MCL and said surgery would be required.

CARDINALS:

Mark McGwire sat out St. Louis' final exhibition game with a bad back as the Cardinals lost to their Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Redbirds, in Memphis, Tenn.