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Schilling quits talks, says he expects trade

RHP Curt Schilling broke off contract talks Monday with the Phillies, prompting the staff's No.

1 starter to predict he will be traded before Opening Day.

With rumors swirling that Cleveland and other contenders want him, Schilling had set a noon meeting with president Bill Giles and GM Lee Thomas as the make-or-break deadline for working out an extension beyond 1997.

But the Phillies refused to budge on Schilling's demand that all $15-million-plus for three years be guaranteed. Instead, they assured him $9-million in base salary and the rest based on how much he plays, a plan Schilling and agent Jeff Borris rejected.

"They wanted me to pitch innings to guarantee the money, and we told them that was not an option," Schilling said. "They knew this was the final day. I'm disappointed it didn't turn out the way I hoped."

Schilling said he did not intend to negotiate again with the Phillies this season and asked them not to approach him with any more offers. He is set to make $3.5-million and is eligible for free agency after the season.

Schilling, however, said he does not expect to be with the Phillies much longer. "I can't imagine they'd let me play out the season and then let me walk," he said.

Schilling said he expected the Phillies would trade him soon and added that he thought he would be gone within two weeks.

Thomas, though, said no team should bother calling about a deal. "Curt has been known to change his mind, and he might this time," Thomas said.

Schilling, 30, was 9-10 with a 3.19 ERA last season. He missed the first six weeks while recovering from shoulder surgery, then came back to lead the NL with eight complete games. He made 26 starts, pitched 183 innings and ranked 10th in the league with 182 strikeouts.

Schilling was limited to 13 starts in 1994 because of an elbow injury and 17 starts in 1995 because of shoulder trouble.

"Last year, we had $19-million on our payroll that hardly played a game," Giles said. "He had told us he was going to share the risk. The last time he pitched a full season was 1993, so I don't think it's asking too much to ask him to show us he's healthy."



Bench players seize starring roles

DUNEDIN _ Bench players hoping to crack the final roster have contributed to a number of Blue Jays wins this spring. Monday's 5-3 victory over Cleveland at Dunedin Stadium was an example.

INF Tilson Brito's two-run double tied the score in the fifth; had the hard liner cleared the leftfield fence, it would have been a grand slam. Brito entered the game in the fifth and was 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored.

The Jays loaded the bases again in the eighth against reliever Mike Jackson, and Robert Perez laid down a perfect suicide squeeze as Brito sprinted home with the winning run. Jackson fielded the bunt, then threw wildly to first, allowing two more runs to score.

Manager Cito Gaston is not surprised by the production.

"No, I'm a tough guy to surprise because I believe to be on this level, you should play to a certain level," Gaston said. "If anything, all you've heard or read about these players is all true."

The Tribe touched starter Pat Hentgen for two runs on Brian Giles' triple and Pat Borders' single, but Hentgen allowed no other runs. He surrendered four hits, walked two and struck out three in five innings, his longest stint. Reliever Paul Quantrill retired six straight batters to preserve the win.

The Yankees visit Dunedin Stadium today at 1:05. RHP Erik Hanson will start for the Jays against RHP Ramiro Mendoza.



Morgan got the message and rejected it

RHP Mike Morgan still has the two-page note that kept him in baseball.

Written by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in August, the note explains why St. Louis let Morgan go. The gist is that he ought to consider another line of work.

"The Cardinals more or less gave up on me," said Morgan, 37. "That right there in itself was what fired me up. I said I'm not going to let somebody tell me my career's over, especially when the phone's ringing (with offers)."

The Reds took a chance on Morgan, and he finished the season with them, going 2-3 with a 2.30 ERA in five starts. Then he agreed to terms for 1997.

OF Deion Sanders appealed his $1,500 fine, imposed by NL president Len Coleman for coming out of the dugout during last week's bean-ball incident with the Cardinals.



Stottlemyre's ERA takes a few hits

BRADENTON _ The fans at McKechnie Field were treated to outstanding starting pitching _ by the home team. Todd Stottlemyre, the Cardinals' starter, didn't fare as well.

Stottlemyre was rocked for eight runs in three innings of a 13-3 loss. Pirates starter Jon Lieber, named to start Opening Day, held the Cards to two runs through six innings.

Stottlemyre, a right-hander, allowed eight hits and two walks, striking out three; two of the runs were unearned. He is 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA in four spring starts.

Second baseman Delino DeShields was among the Cardinals' few highlights. He went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

RHP Terry Mathews appealed his six-game suspension and $2,000 fine for hitting the Reds' Bret Boone with a pitch last week. The suspension, imposed by NL president Len Coleman, was to start April 1; the appeal delays it until after Coleman conducts a hearing.



Yankees salute by running bases, often

GRAMBLING, La. _ Even the opponents high-fived Darryl Strawberry as he circled the bases after hitting a homer.

Homers by Strawberry and Cecil Fielder helped a Yankees split squad rout Grambling 9-0. It was the third time the Yankees have made the trip to the Louisiana school, where they dedicated this game to Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach in college football. Robinson is retiring after this season.

Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden, serving as the DH, hit a run-scoring double in the third.

OF Paul O'Neill said his chronic left hamstring injury has improved so dramatically he is confident he can play an entire season.

The Yankees' B game with the Cardinals today at Legends Field is not open to the public.