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Gaston communicates

Juan Guzman gets an occasional visit on the mound from manager Cito Gaston, and it's not a social call.

Guzman starts today's exhibition opener against the Orioles at Dunedin Stadium.

"Juan is a marquee pitcher in the major leagues, and he's always striving for excellence," Gaston said. "He's a very conscientious worker, and sometimes he tries too hard. I often have to go out there and tell him to concentrate more on his pitching than on his mechanics."

Said Guzman: "It depends on the situation in the game. Every time he comes out there, he explains to me something I'm doing wrong, or maybe we've got something going on, a situation. When I'm in trouble, he says, "You know what to do.'


Their collaboration was successful last season. Guzman was 14-3, his second-best season, with a 3.99 ERA and two league championship series wins.


A dry run

CLEARWATER _ After two days of rain, the Phillies were able to play their first intrasquad game.

"Overall I thought it was a good exercise," manager Jim Fregosi said. Gusts made every pop-up and fly ball an adventure in the Phillies' 8-1 victory over their minor-league players.

Outfielder Tony Longmire, the only player with more than one hit, went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three runs scored.

Fregosi singled out both starting pitchers for their performances.

"I thought Ben Rivera threw the ball real good, and I was impressed with Mike Dunne," he said. Rivera gave up one hit in his two innings of work, striking out three. Dunne, who is coming back from arm injuries and was a late invite to Philadelphia's minor-league camp, struck out three in two innings.

"He's had a few times to work out this spring, and I like what I saw today," Fregosi said.

The Phillies face the Pittsburgh Pirates in their spring opener at Jack Russell Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Curt Schilling will start for the Phils, followed by Bobby Munoz, Ricky Bottalico, David West and Larry Andersen. Randy Tomlin is expected to start for the Pirates.