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Cardinals' trip to Spain called off

The St. Louis Cardinals' two-game exhibition series with a Japanese all-star team in Barcelona, Spain, next month was called off Saturday because the Major League Baseball Players Association refused to approve it.

Donald Fehr, executive director, declined to discuss why the union would not go along, saying only, "It just never came together."

"We were flattered to be asked, but we were worried about the hectic schedule," said Cardinals vice president/general manager Dal Maxvill.

"We're not too disappointed," he said.

Third baseman Todd Zeile signed a one-year, $300,000 contract. Zeile led the club with 11 homers and 80 RBI last season.

The club still has 12 players unsigned, including Ray Lankford, Felix Jose, Cris Carpenter and Omar Olivares. Right-hander Fidel Compres reported, completing the roster for pitchers and catchers. First baseman Andres Galarraga returned home to Venezuela to attend his father's funeral.


Daulton's spring priority: hitting

CLEARWATER _ Catcher Darren Daulton will concentrate more on hitting for the next couple of weeks.

Daulton, who underwent two operations on his left knee to remove bone spurs during the off-season, said he is in the best shape of his career.

"I won't do much squatting because I don't need to," said Daulton, who missed 63 games last year. "I'm in a position where they need me to catch, and I don't need to prove anything to them except that I can stay healthy and maybe catch 140 games this year."

Manager Jim Fregosi said Daulton is a "very good RBI guy" and probably will hit seventh in the batting order.

Fregosi said he didn't watch Mitch Williams work out, but he was told that the relief ace had thrown about 120 pitches in eight minutes. "I didn't watch or I would have had my first cigarette this winter," he said. Right-hander Jose DeJesus arrived and began workouts. Left-hander Terry Mulholland is expected to start workouts this morning.


Shortened swing helps Braggs

PLANT CITY _ Cincinnati Reds manager Lou Piniella was impressed with outfielder Glenn Braggs during Saturday's workout.

For the second consecutive day, Braggs drove line drive after line drive over the fence.

The reason: a more compact, efficient swing.

"He's shortened up (on the swing) some, and it's really made a difference," Piniella said. "He's a good player. I talked to him this morning and told him to come on down and win himself an everyday job."

Braggs hit 11 home runs and drove in 39 runs in an injury-shortened 1991 season. He'll compete with Dave Martinez, Billy Hatcher and Bip Roberts for a starting outfield spot.

Joe Oliver might want to add a pair of roller blades to his catching equipment. He was skating Friday night when teammates Norm Charlton and Barry Larkin yelled a warning.

Oliver looked down and saw a foot-long copperhead snake at his feet. The snake had already struck him twice in the foot, but the thick plastic of the skate boots protected him.



TCI West, a cable television company based in Bellevue, Wash., offered to buy a 10.1 percent share in the Mariners, but the $12.6-million offer was rejected by Japanese investors seeking to buy the team. TCI West said its offer could ease baseball's objections to the proposed purchase by reducing the 60 percent Japanese share. However, the Japanese-led group said it "is fully invested at this time." Jose Lind won his arbitration case with the Pirates and will earn $2-million this season. Outfielder Otis Nixon, who has 18 days remaining on his cocaine suspension, reported to the Braves' camp in West Palm Beach. San Diego police said they were continuing to investigate a Friday night barroom brawl involving Mariners outfielder Kevin Mitchell. Mitchell was not arrested.