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Oates checking early warnings

The Orioles dropped their third straight, and while it is still early manager Johnny Oates said he is not ignoring the team's play.

"Right now we're giving up a little over eight runs a game and somebody has to take the bull by the horns," Oates said. "We're three games into spring training and it's nothing to get too excited about, but I am watching."

Through their past two games, the Orioles have 24 hits. Their pitchers have given up 19 runs.

In Saturday's game, centerfielder Brady Anderson wore uniform number 40 in honor of former teammate Rick Sutcliffe. Running sprints in the outfield after he pitched, Sutcliffe thanked Anderson.

"I told him my wife cried when they announced him (Anderson)," Sutcliffe said. "I didn't know what to expect. I was honored. I didn't know what to say or do when they announced him. It was nice. He knew the two years I played with him there was nothing I wouldn't do for him."

The Orioles, with Ben McDonald making his first start, travel to Clearwater today to face the Phillies, who will start Ben Rivera.


Emotional time

ST. PETERSBURG _ It was an emotional two days for Sutcliffe. First seeing the Orioles, his former team, Saturday and then starting against them Sunday.

Sutcliffe received the win in the 8-3 victory despite giving up three runs in the first inning. He settled down in the second and third innings, allowing one hit.

"It was tough to pitch against them. I'm glad I'm in the other league," Sutcliffe said. "Normally, I don't have a problem coming in on people, but it was tough today.

"I felt good, but I was probably a little bit anxious the first inning. I can't wait until Thursday when I can work on coming in."

Leftfielder Brian Jordan, who had two hits including a run-scoring double, has a slight groin pull and is listed as day-to-day. Left-hander Paul Kilgus has not pitched because of a sore shoulder and is scheduled for an MRI today.

The Cardinals host the Blue Jays today at 1:05 p.m. with Bob Tewksbury scheduled to start against Todd Stottlemyre..


Holman, Schott return

PLANT CITY _ Right-hander Brian Holman, out for two seasons following rotator cuff surgery, hopes his two perfect innings in the Reds' 6-4 win over the Pirates will help him shed the "rehabilitating" tag.

"I'm throwing without pain for the first time in a long time," he said. "And, the more I throw, the stronger I get."

When Jerome Walton pinch-hit for Holman in the fifth, manager Davey Johnson obliged Holman's request for extra work by sending him to the bullpen to "throw a few more fastballs."

Leftfielder Kevin Mitchell missed work for the second consecutive day with back spasms. His status is day-to-day. Shortstop Kurt Stillwell, out with a sprained groin, won't be re-evaluated until Wednesday.

Tony Fernandez, once one of baseball's top shortstops but now trying to land a job, met with general manager Jim Bowden. The Reds don't need a shortstop _ Barry Larkin has recovered from a torn ligament in his left thumb _ but are unsettled at third base. Bowden and Fernandez declined to comment about the meeting.

Reds owner Marge Schott, who arrived in a stretch limo with her Saint Bernard Schottzie 02, made her first spring appearance since 1992. She was suspended by Major League Baseball from day-to-day operation of the club last season.

Schott, suspended last March for using racial and ethnic slurs, had a pregame birthday party on the field for her dog. She scooped some icing off the cake with her finger, let the dog lick it, then stuck the finger in her mouth and licked the rest.


Juden, Green debut

CLEARWATER _ Jeff Juden and Tyler Green, vying for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, made their first appearances in the Phillies' 8-7 win over Toronto.

"I'm working on new stuff (mechanics and arm motion) that I walked four is irrelevant," Juden said.

Juden walked four and gave up one run in two innings. Green, a No.

1 draft pick in 1991, gave up four earned runs on six hits in his two innings.

"I don't think I started bad at all," Green said. "My objective was to throw strikes and hit my spots, and that's what I did. There's nothing you can do about where the ground balls go."


Bullpen fails again

CLEARWATER _ Although it's only three games into spring training, the bullpen has already proved a sore spot. For the second straight day, Philadelphia feasted on Toronto's relief pitching and came from behind for an 8-7 win in the bottom of the ninth, its seventh straight Grapefruit League win over the defending World Series champs.

Aaron Small allowed three runs, including Kim Batiste's homer in the seventh, on six hits in two innings. Lee Daniels gave up a ground-rule double to Kevin Jordan, walked Gene Schall on four pitches, then gave up a two-run single to Tony Longmire for the winning runs.