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Mitchell hit, but he's okay

Kevin Mitchell was walking across first base during practice Saturday when he was hit with a line drive off the bat of rookie outfielder Keith Gordon.

The ball struck Mitchell on the left foot, where he had surgery Sept.

20 to remove a broken sesamoid bone that he had hurt during spring training last year. Mitchell was on the ground for a short time as a trainer examined the foot, then got up and headed for the batting cage.

"It hit me right on the stitch," he said, referring to a stitch that had been infected. "But I ain't going to lose my turn to hit because of it."

_ AP

Holifield likes

bunting, naturally

DUNEDIN _ Rick Holifield discovered a new weapon last season _ the bunt.

"I suddenly discovered, after not bunting at all, that I could move the second baseman around more if I faked the bunt," Holifield said. "He was out of position just enough that my speed got me more hits." Holifield's average went from .199 with 56 hits at Myrtle Beach to .275 and 112 hits at Dunedin last season.

Saturday, Holifield placed a dozen bunts down the third-base line. Batting coach Larry Hisle: "He's a natural."

_ PHIL GULICK

Zeile working

on defense

ST. PETERSBURG _ Third baseman Todd Zeile came through last season with numbers the Cardinals knew he was capable of, 17 homers and a team-leading 103 RBI. After a disappointing 1992 (7 HR, 48 RBI), Zeile hit 16 homers and had 60 RBI after the All-Star break.

Zeile must now concentrate on defense and try to improve on his 33 errors. He will work in one-on-one drills with senior field coordinator George Kissell.

Catcher Terry McGriff, a non-roster invitee, is day-to-day after being hit on his right forearm Friday. X-rays were negative.

_ NANCY TAPPER-SISON

West's knee

improving

CLEARWATER _ David West, whose left knee was bruised Thursday when he was struck by a ball thrown by a pitching machine, is scheduled to throw batting practice today. "He's much better," manager Jim Fregosi said. "He threw on the side without any problems and he's walking much better."

Kim Batiste, Ben Rivera, Kevin Stocker and Mike Williams agreed to one-year contracts, leaving only Jeff Juden and Bobby Munoz unsigned.

_ AP

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