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AROUND THE NL

DODGERS: CF Roger Cedeno, scheduled to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, asked to be traded. "I just don't fit in here," he said. "I feel I'm ready for the major leagues, but they keep having me waiting, and I hate it." Fred Claire, executive vice president, declined to comment.

CF Brett Butler, who had four singles and a stolen base against the Reds, appears just about certain to return for another season. "This morning when I got up, I don't know if it was the day off, but I felt like I had a little bounce in my walk," he said. "I didn't feel as fatigued."

Butler, who had surgery last season for tonsil cancer, said he may have to take days off during the regular season.

EXPOS: Career saves leader Lee Smith, trying to win a bullpen job, allowed one run and two hits in one inning of a 5-4 loss to the Marlins. "Smith was the same _ his fastball still hasn't reached 90 miles per hour," manager Felipe Alou said.

OF Cliff Floyd said he has heard the rumor that he will be traded to the Blue Jays soon. "It makes sense," he said. "If what I've heard is true, that the Blue Jays are looking for a left-handed hitter who can strike fear into the hearts of pitchers, I'm their guy."

At 24, Floyd has become expendable because of the meteoric rise of 22-year-old Vladimir Guerrero, now considered the game's top prospect.

METS: Though Jason Isringhausen and Bill Pulsipher will begin the season pitching on rehab, the team is delighted with their progress. As recently as January, the Mets thought each might need to throw as many as 80 innings at Triple A to be ready to return to the majors; now the team thinks each may need fewer than 40 innings.

PADRES: RHP Joey Hamilton was named to start Opening Day against the Mets on April 1. Hamilton, 26, will be making his third Opening Day start. He was 15-9 with a 4.17 ERA last season. Utility INF Craig Shipley will miss 2-3 months because of a torn left hamstring.

PIRATES: Pittsburgh cut its once-huge pitching staff to 15 by reassigning eight players to minor-league camp: Ps Chris Peters, Ramon Morel, Jose Silva, Keith Shepherd, Joe Boever and Ken Greer, C Tim Marx and OF Manny Martinez. Pitchers competing for the final three spots on the staff are Jason Christiansen, who has a 42.00 ERA; Elmer Dessens; Rich Loiselle; Matt Ruebel; ex-Tiger Clint Sadowsky; Dave Wainhouse; and non-roster LHP Ricardo Rincon.

_ TIMES WIRES

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