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Looper pitch catches Biggio, but X-rays negative

Houston Astros: Second baseman Craig Biggio was
hit by a pitch from Braden Looper in the right forearm leading off the
ninth inning Wednesday night and had to leave for a defensive
replacement in the bottom half.

X-rays were negative, and Biggio, wearing a large ice wrap on
the forearm, said he was day to day.

Biggio stayed in to run but was replaced in the field in the
bottom of the inning.

While on first, Biggio flexed his hand repeatedly, then made a
headfirst slide into second on a grounder by Jeff Bagwell.

Biggio was 1-for-3 with a double.

Minnesota Twins: Right-hander Carlos Silva received another
encouraging diagnosis of his injured right knee, and the Twins plan to activate him from the 15-day disabled list when he's
eligible April 22.

An MRI revealed a lateral meniscus tear in the knee, and
intially the team believed he would be out until at least after the
All-Star break -- if not the entire year.

But examinations by two more doctors suggested he could pitch
through the injury and delay surgery until after the season. Silva
was in Houston on Wednesday to visit Dr. David Lintner, medical
director for the Astros, and he agreed that surgery could wait.

Meanwhile, first baseman Justin Morneau's condition improved
enough to shag flies and take grounders during batting practice. On
the disabled list for dizziness and headaches stemming from a pitch
that hit him in the head a week ago, Morneau will likely be sent to
Florida to play in some extended spring training games before he's
eligible to be activated on April 22.

Texas Rangers: The team placed right-hander
R.A. Dickey on the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday night's
game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Dickey felt right triceps inflammation while pitching on Tuesday
night against Anaheim.

An MRI exam on Wednesday morning by team physician Dr. Keith
Meister revealed no structural damage to Dickey's arm. Dickey said
he experienced momentary paralysis after throwing a ninth-inning
pitch to Garret Anderson, dropping to his knee in pain after
releasing the pitch.

Dickey is not expected to throw for at least a week, until pain
and swelling subside.

Right-hander Nick Regilio was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma to
take Dickey's roster spot.

Los Angeles Angels: Although Kendry Morales has cashed his $3 million bonus, he might not play for the Angels for some time, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The 21-year-old Cuban defected to the Domincan Republic in August but can't travel to the United States without a passport.

It could take him a year to become a Dominican citizen and obtain the documentation, general manager Bill Stoneman told the paper.

Alay Soler, a pitcher who defected in 2003 and signed with the Mets, is still awaiting a passport.

Kansas City Royals:
The Royals placed third baseman Mark Teahen on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and purchased the contract of infielder Joe McEwing from Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League.

Teahen, the key piece of the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to Houston last year, left Monday's home opener with a lower back strain.

McEwing, 32, was signed to a minor league contract on March 22. He has a .253 career average in 664 major league games with St. Louis and the New York Mets, who released him during spring training.

San Francisco Giants: Former Giants infielder Don
Blasingame, who also managed two of Japan's professional baseball
teams, has died of heart failure in Arizona, a Japanese club
official said Thursday. He was 73.

Blasingame died Wednesday at his home in Fountain Hills, said
Hanshin Tigers spokesman Toru Miyake, quoting Blasingame's son,
Kent, who notified the club of the death by phone.

Blasingame played 12 years in the major leagues beginning in
1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He also was with the Giants,
Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators and Kansas City Athletics.

He joined Japan's now defunct Nankai Hawks in 1967, playing as a
second baseman for three years until 1969, when he joined the
team's coaching staff. He stayed there through 1977.

Blasingame then moved to the Hiroshima Carp for a one-year stint
as manager in 1978.

In 1979 and 1980, Blasingame led the Hanshin Tigers, a popular
club based in Nishinomiya in western Japan as manager. Blasingame
then returned to the Carp from 1981 to 1982.

As manager for the two teams, he had a record of 180-208-28.
Ties are played in Japanese baseball.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.