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Right-hander shows best stuff yet as D-Back

Arizona Diamondbacks: Javier Vazquez retired his first 16 batters as a Diamondbacks split squad tied the Mariners 7-7 Sunday in Tucscon, Ariz.

Greg Dobbs hit a grand slam for Seattle. The game was called after nine innings because Arizona was out of pitchers.

Vazquez, Arizona's Opening Day starter, didn't allow a
baserunner until a line-drive single to left by Pokey Reese with
one out in the sixth.

"I felt great," Vazquez said. "When you're in a rhythm like
that you feel good all around. All my pitches were working and my
fastball was good. So far, that's the best I've felt."

The right-hander stayed in to pitch the seventh and gave up a
leadoff single to Jeremy Reed and an RBI double down the left-field
line by Adrian Beltre.

"Finishing the sixth I was a little tired, and then in the
seventh I know I'm tired because I'm pushing the ball," Vazquez
said, "but I got my pitch count up, so that's good."

Vazquez allowed three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.

New York Mets: Hoping to spend this season with the Mets for a shot at career home run No. 400, 43-year-old Andres Galarraga homered to help a Mets split squad defeat Baltimore 5-1.

Galarraga, one home run shy of 400, hopes to spend his 20th major league season with the Mets. New York would be his eighth big league club.

"I started a little slow, but I'm hitting the ball well now," said Galarraga, who has homered on consecutive days and has three this spring. "I'm very positive."

Galarraga hit a two-run shot off starter Rodrigo Lopez in a three-run first.

Pedro strong in split-squad game: Pedro Martinez pitched five sharp innings and Eric Valent hit a three-run homer in the ninth to give the Mets a 10-9 victory over the Dodgers in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The Mets held a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth, but closer Braden Looper failed to finish off the Dodgers. Shortstop Jose Reyes committed his second error of the inning on a potential double-play ball, throwing it into the Los Angeles bullpen to make it 7-6.

Mets left-fielder Cliff Floyd, expected to return to spring training over the weekend following the birth of his son in Toronto, called manager Willie Randolph and said he needed a few more days to attend to a personal matter. Floyd is expected back in camp Tuesday or Wednesday.

Detroit Tigers: All-Star shortstop Carlos Guillen and second baseman Omar Infante both played defense for the first time this spring as the Tigers beat the Cardinals 8-4 in a split-squad game.

Guillen has been held back after having surgery on his right
knee last September. Infante reported to camp with a sore throwing
shoulder, an injury he sustained while playing winter ball in
Venezuela. Both have appeared in games as a DH this spring, but it
was the first playing time for both in the field.

"I'm feeling better every day. I want to have my confidence
back. That's the key," Guillen said.

Tigers manager Alan Trammell said he'll decide each day how much Guillen and Infante will play during the final two weeks of spring training.

Cleveland Indians: Outfielder Jody Gerut was placed on the 15-day disabled list and is not expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment until late May or early June.

Gerut led the Indians with 22 home runs and 75 RBI in 2003 as a rookie, but he struggled last season before tearing a ligament in his right knee Sept. 17. He needed reconstructive surgery and continues to recover.

Cleveland optioned right-handers Fernando Cabrera, Francisco
Cruceta and Kyle Denney to Triple-A Buffalo. The Indians also assigned catcher Ryan Garko, right-handers Kenny Rayborn and Jake
Robbins and outfielder Ernie Young to minor league camp. Garko was Cleveland's minor league player of the year last season.

Last September, Denney was hit in the right calf by a bullet that came through the team bus. The bullet caused only a flesh wound, probably because of the knee-high go-go boots he was wearing -- along with a cheerleader outfit -- as part of a rookie hazing ritual.

The Indians have 41 players remaining in camp.

New York Yankees: Shortstop Derek Jeter missed the game against Tampa Bay with a bruised left foot and will be out for the next few days.

Jeter got hurt when he fouled a ball of his foot Saturday. He
was sore when he arrived for treatment Sunday and was sent to the
hospital for X-rays, which were negative.

"The good news is the X-ray didn't show anything," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I think it's a couple days."

Torre didn't rule out Jeter returning Tuesday. "For him to say it's sore, it's sore," he said.

Center fielder Bernie Williams also missed the game after straining his upper back during batting practice. Williams, through a team spokesman, said he felt "discomfort" while swinging right-handed and decided to shut it down to prevent additional problems.

Torre said should Williams be sidelined for an extended period during the regular season, Hideki Matsui would shift over from left. "For some reason in April we need a center
fielder, he's the one I want," Torre said.

Philadelphia Phillies: Outfielder Marlon Byrd dislocated his right ring finger in the first inning against the Indians.

After leading off with a single, Byrd got hurt while diving headfirst back into first base on a pickoff attempt by pitcher Jake Westbrook.

Byrd was taken to the Phillies' complex in Clearwater and was
scheduled to have X-rays to determine the extent of the injury.

Byrd will probably miss the rest of spring training. He was
hitting .390 with 10 RBI and was nearly a lock to earn a spot on
the Opening Day roster.

Atlanta Braves: Right fielder Raul Mondesi injured his hamstring while running to second base on a sixth-inning double in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis. Mondesi is expected to
miss at least a few games.

"The doctor says one week at the most," Mondesi said, adding he doesn't expect the injury to prevent him from being ready on Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Braves catcher Johnny Estrada, a switch-hitter, had a swelling-reducing patch on his left elbow after he was hit by a ball Saturday. Estrada did not play and took
batting practice Sunday from the left side only, saying he didn't have enough strength in the left arm to swing right-handed.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Oliver Perez needed to do only one thing to convince the Pirates he was their Opening Day starter: return to the mound.

Perez, slowed earlier in camp by shoulder stiffness, lasted four innings in his second spring training start to beat the Red Sox 5-3, then was told he would start the April 4 opener against Milwaukee.

Perez had pitched only one inning against major league hitters
this spring before giving up three runs and three hits, including
Adam Hyzdu's three-run homer in the second.

The left-hander was in control for most of his outing, only to
walk Doug Mirabelli with two outs and give up Kevin Youkalis'
double ahead of Hyzdu's drive with the Pirates leading 5-0.

"He was a little boneheaded at times with his pitch selection,
but he's still my man," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He overthrew at times
but, other than that, he was fine."

Texas Rangers: Closer Francisco Cordero threw 20 pitches in a minor league game, and the next step likely will be pitching for the Rangers in an 'A' game this week.

The Rangers have been careful with the record-setting closer
since he reported to training camp last month with a sore shoulder.
He threw 15 of his 20 pitches for strikes to five batters in a game
against Seattle's Double-A team.

It was only the second time this spring Cordero threw in a live
game, and the right-hander struck out two while allowing a solo
homer and a single in his one inning. He retired six of seven
batters he faced in a minor league intrasquad game in the Rangers
camp Thursday.

"I'm finally feeling comfortable. It has been a long time," said Cordero, who had a team-record 49 saves last season. "I had my fastball, my slider, everything was there. I didn't feel any pain. Everything felt normal. That's exactly what I have been looking for."

Milwaukee Brewers: Ben Sheets allowed three runs in three innings during his third outing of the spring, and the Brewers rallied for an 8-5 victory over the Rangers in Phoenix.

Sheets is being brought along slowly following offseason back
surgery. He gave up six hits, two walks and struck out four before
he was lifted after 65 pitches.

"He feels strong. We're not worried about results. We just want
to get him ready for the start of the season," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Florida Marlins: After missing the first two weeks of spring training with a virus, right-hander Ismael Valdez plans to be ready for the start of the season. But he struggled when he tried to go an extra inning in Florida's 6-3 loss to the Astros.

Valdez allowed two runs over the first four innings before giving up four more in the fifth. He gave up nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"He ran out of gas after the fourth inning," Marlins manager
Jack McKeon said. "We've got to stretch him out sooner or later.
We can't have four-inning pitchers. It's going to take time."

Valdez, projected as Florida's No. 5 starter, still has time.
The Marlins think he will be ready for his first start on April 9
against the Nationals.

If he's not, right-hander Brian Moehler is a candidate to make a spot start. Moehler, a non-roster invitee, allowed two hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He has a 2.07 ERA in four games and could win a bullpen spot.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals optioned reliever
D.J. Carrasco to Triple-A Omaha.

Carrasco, who had made the team out of spring training the past
two years, had a 5.14 ERA in five appearances this spring. In seven
innings, he walked four, struck out two and allowed nine hits.

The right-hander was 2-2 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 relief appearances last season with the Royals. In two seasons with Kansas City, he is 8-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 80 games, including two starts in 2003.

"The main thing he needs to do is go down and pound the strike
zone," Royals general manager Allard Baird said. "He's got good
enough stuff, but he just needs to get ahead of hitters."

Oakland Athletics: On the bus ride back from Tucson on Saturday, manager Ken Macha had the driver pull into a Dairy Queen, where he paid for the team's treats.

"We all went in uniform and people looked at us like maybe we were a softball team," Macha said. "I went to the counter and said, 'I'm the coach of this team, please total
everything up and give me the bill.' It was a little over $50.

"When I was 8, cones were 10 cents, so for 13 players it was $1.30."

Outfielder Nick Swisher said he ordered "the biggest Blizzard I could get, with chocolate chip cookie dough."