Jack McDowell has never batted in a regular-season major-league game. Monday, the Chicago White Sox Cy Young Award-winner got a spring training hit that left Michael Jordan in awe.
McDowell, batting because the designated hitter is not used in National League parks, slugged a run-scoring double in the fourth inning against Scott Scudder of the Pittsburgh Pirates. "That's pretty good," Jordan told McDowell. "You just get in the batter's box and hit a double."
Jordan reached first base against left-hander Zane Smith in the first inning when second baseman Carlos Garcia dropped his one-bouncer for an error.
Jordan took a strike in the fourth, hit a weak bouncer to shortstop in the sixth and grounded to third base in the eighth.
There were boos. "I'm pretty much used to it," Jordan said. "I've dealt with it in my sport."
Jordan has failed to hit safely in eight times at bat. Statistically, he trails the Michael Jordan who played for the Pirates in 1890. He had 12 hits in 125 times at bat for a .096 average.
CALIFORNIA: First baseman Eduardo Perez was scratched from a loss to the Rockies because of a tight throwing elbow.
CLEVELAND: Catcher Joel Skinner's surgically repaired shoulder was pain free as he went 0-for-3 and threw out a runner in a "B" game Sunday against Detroit, his first major-league game since Sept. 22, 1991. "This could be my last shot," Skinner said. "Mentally I've got to approach it that way."
DETROIT: Mark Leiter's son, Ryan Alexander, is dying of spinal muscular atrophy, also called Werdnig-Hoffman disease. Leiter, who is fighting for a starting pitching spot, said, "In the past it would've upset me not to have an automatic spot . . . I pitched in a game the other day and actually thought of Ryan and how lucky I am to be here doing this. You realize that baseball is not that important. Each day with Ryan is."
KANSAS CITY: Terry Shumpert and Greg Gagne doubled in runs during a three-run second to help beat Detroit 14-0. Tom Gordon, slated to be the Royals' No. 3 starter, gained the victory, allowing three hits and striking out three in three innings.
MINNESOTA: Starting shortstop Pat Meares homered in the team's first spring training win, 7-2 over Montreal. "Last year it was tough to feel comfortable around guys like (Kirby) Puckett and (Dave) Winfield because I was in awe of them," Meares said. "This year, I just feel a lot more comfortable." Todd Ritchie, the Twins' top draft pick in 1990, threw three scoreless innings in a 4-3 "B" game win over Boston.
NEW YORK: Utilityman Jim Leyritz says he's giving up the excessive nightlife, thanks to reflection prompted by a pending divorce _ and a raise from $152,000 to $742,500. "There are a lot of things I did over the past three years, and I know I wasn't brought up that way," Leyritz said. "I am a lot more focused on what's important in life." . . . The bat Babe Ruth used to hit his 56th home run in 1921 will be auctioned April 9 by Sotheby's.
TEXAS: Pitcher Kenny Rogers of Plant City says he can do better than 16-10, his '93 record after a midseason slump. "I didn't do very well physically because I was tired," he said. "Last year was another step in learning how to pitch . . . this year the goal is getting to another level."
_ TIMES WIRES