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AROUND THE AL

ANGELS: Anaheim released RHP Todd Van Poppel, the third time the pitcher has been placed on waivers since Aug.

6. He gave up six runs and didn't get an out in Tuesday's 16-1 loss to San Francisco. Van Poppel, 25, had surgery to remove a bulging disc in January. This spring, he was 0-0 with a 15.00 ERA in eight appearances and nine innings.

ATHLETICS: 1B Mark McGwire was sent home to the San Francisco Bay area to have his sore back examined. Team officials said McGwire, who has missed six games this spring, was expected to receive a cortisone injection and could rejoin the club by this weekend. Dave Magadan would start if McGwire could not play on Opening Day.

INDIANS: IF Herbert Perry is scheduled for surgery on his right knee today in Cleveland and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Perry suffered torn cartilage in the knee during Monday's exhibition game against the Yankees. The team didn't speculate on when he would return.

MARINERS: Seattle told John Marzano he will be the backup to C Dan Wilson for the second straight season. The club told non-roster invitee Brent Mayne, who is on the Triple-A Tacoma roster, that he has not made the big league team. Manager Lou Piniella, who had rectal surgery Monday, watched part of the team's 6-2 win over the Angels in a box with GM Woody Woodward.

ORIOLES: So far there is no clear winner in the competition to land the job as backup outfielder. If manager Davey Johnson begins the season with 13 pitchers, as promised, there will be room for only one extra outfielder. OF Pete Incaviglia is expected to open the season on the 15-day disabled list, leaving a spot for either Jeffrey Hammonds, Tony Tarasco or Jerome Walton to fill. Not coincidentally, they comprised Baltimore's outfield in a 13-2 win over the Mets. Tarasco went 1-for-5 and is batting .286 with two homers and a team-high 15 RBI. Walton, 1-for-3 with a two-run triple, is at .300. Hammonds was 2-for-5 and is hitting .297 with a team-high four home runs and 14 RBI.

RANGERS: Texas is running out of outfielders. Cleanup hitter Juan Gonzalez will miss Opening Day with a thumb injury and the Western Division champions suffered another blow Tuesday in Sarasota when Rusty Greer ran into a wall trying to catch a foul ball against the White Sox. Greer stretched a nerve in his shoulder blade area. Doctors said it was similar to a football injury called a "stinger." The Rangers said Greer could miss several days. The Rangers open the regular season Tuesday against Milwaukee.

RED SOX: Boston cut RHP Mike Maddux and INF Chris Donnels on the last day teams could get rid of players with nonguaranteed contracts and not pay their full salaries. Maddux, brother of Atlanta pitcher Greg Maddux, will get $149,171 rather than $600,000, and Donnels will receive $93,729 rather than $377,000.

TWINS: Slowed by injuries since moving from closer to starter last season, RHP Rick Aguilera likely is headed back to his familiar role in the bullpen. Minnesota optioned RHPs Dave Stevens and LaTroy Hawkins to Triple-A Salt Lake City. IF Mitch Simons and C Damian Miller were sent to minor-league camp, but agreed to stay with the big club until the end of spring training to help out.

_ TIMES WIRES

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