LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Kevin Millwood's second start Saturday afternoon wasn't much of an improvement over his first one, but he says he's making progress.
Facing the Tigers, he reached his 50-pitch limit in 2 1/2 innings, having allowed three hits, all doubles, and a pair of first-inning runs in the Braves' 6-5 win in 11 innings.
"The main thing is I've got to get my command a little better and then I'll be fine," he said. "All my pitches are working fine."
Millwood, who endured a seven-hit, five-run bombardment by the Yankees last Monday, experiences the same control problem every spring. He needs a half-dozen innings under his belt before he shakes off the rust.
Making his second appearance, John Rocker was cuffed around in the ninth inning and blew a save opportunity. The Tigers rallied from a 5-4 deficit to tie the game with three hits and a pair of stolen bases, while Dusty Allen barely missed a three-run homer down the left field line that would have given the Tigers a lead.
John Smoltz will make his second start this afternoon against the Florida Marlins at Viera. He was scheduled to work two innings last Tuesday, but made 25 pitches in the first inning against the Dodgers and came out. He'll be limited to 50 pitches today.
At Kissimmee, Fla.
Detroit 200 001 011 00-5 16 2
Atlanta 000 021 200 01 6 11 2
Holt, Runyan (5), Cornejo (6), Maroth (7), Patterson (8), Perisho (9), M.Johnson (11) and Cardona, Mendez (6); Millwood, Lewis (3), Whiteside (5), Abreu (6), Robbins (7), Remlinger (8), Rocker (9), McClendon (10), Parra (11) and Lopez, Norris (5). W-Parra, 1-0. L-M.Johnson, 0-2. HRs-Detroit, McMillon (2). Atlanta, Jordan (1).
Junior Brignac singled in the winning run off Mark Johnson in the 11th inning for Atlanta.
YANKEES: Derek Jeter has a viral throat infection, forcing him to miss what would have been his first exhibition game of spring training.
"It's frustrating," Jeter said. "I'm finally ready to play with my shoulder and this comes up."
Jeter missed the first eight exhibition games because of an inflamed right shoulder. After full workouts the previous three days, he was to start Saturday against Philadelphia.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Jeter probably will be sidelined a couple days. The Yankees originally said Jeter had tonsillitis.
FENCE COLLAPSES: Fans attempting to get an autograph from Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez tumbled onto the field Saturday at Charlotte County Stadium in Port Charlotte, Fla., when an 8-feet long, 2-feet wide chain-link fence broke off its moorings.
About a dozen fans fell 3 feet onto the field next to the Texas dugout, eight minutes prior to the start of the game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Seven fans who sustained cuts and abrasions were treated by the stadium nurse.
Rodriguez, who signed a record $252 million, 10-year contract with the Rangers during the off-season, was not injured.
A snow fence replaced the chain-link fence, delaying the game a couple of minutes at the start.
The chain-link fence at Charlotte County Stadium is expected to be repaired in time for the Rangers' game on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
DODGERS: Gary Sheffield abruptly dropped his trade request Saturday, adding yet another twist to his strange spring with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Gary no longer wants to be traded. He has rescinded that," agent Jim Neader said. "He says he will honor the terms of his contract and just go out and play."
Sheffield left the team's training complex before his latest stance became known. The disgruntled slugger did not play in a 5-3 win over Kansas City, leaving him at 0-for-9 in exhibition games.
The star outfielder "thought about it, talked to his teammates and came to this decision," Neader said.
Asked whether he had informed the Dodgers' front office of Sheffield's newest position, Neader said, "I told Kevin Malone."
But Malone, the Dodgers' general manager, said he had not yet spoken to Neader.
"All I'm hearing is secondhand that Gary has rescinded his trade demand," Malone said. "I haven't heard it myself."
"We're going to keep all our options open," he said. "But I think all along Gary wanted to be a lifetime Dodger."
Sheffield hit .325 with 43 home runs and 109 RBI last season.
Before the start of spring training, Sheffield asked for either a contract extension or a trade. He is owed a total of $30 million in the next three years, with a club option for 2004 at $11 million.
When the Dodgers said they would not extend his deal, Sheffield said he wanted to be traded.
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