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HEARING THEM OUT

"I told him I hadn't played shortstop for 32 years. I'm not going to try it now. He's the shortstop."

_ DON BAYLOR

Rockies manager, who said shortstop Neifi Perez was worried he was being sent to the minors after being called into the office

"I was eating soup three times a day, but it wasn't enough so I ate soup five times a day. And I was still hungry. I was like a zombie after games."

_ OTIS NIXON

Twins outfielder, who had to have surgery on his broken jaw after it slipped out of alignment when he tried eating solid food

"Until I became manager of the Reds, I'd never heard of MRI. Now all I hear is MRI, MRI, MRI. I thought it was a new long-distance carrier, like MCI. Next thing we'll have portable MRI machines in the dugout."

_ JACK McKEON

Reds manager, obviously not enamored with the medical technology available with the magnetic resonance imaging

"So what? I've got 500 more at-bats. Come talk to me when it's over."

_ ROYCE CLAYTON

Cardinals shortstop, in a 6-for-56 funk

AL EAST SPOTLIGHT

BLUE JAYS: After spending most of the off-season promoting Shawn Green as the perfect No.

3 hitter, manager Tim Johnson moved him to No.

2. "I want to get him going," Johnson said. "I did some research and found out that Shawn did quite well in the past hitting second. Plus, this move allows Jose Canseco to move up to No.

3. I like that. It ensures Jose will get an at-bat in the first inning every night."

ORIOLES: During a stretch when the Orioles lost 11 of 14 games, their starting pitchers had an ERA of 8.95. That has to hurt a little more for manager Ray Miller, who spent the bulk of his career as a pitching coach. "The thing that has happened is that our starting pitching has really s----- the last week or so, and that has exposed our middle relief," Miller said. "Pitching sets the tempo for you, and we haven't gotten much of it." The Orioles should get help with Mike Mussina due to come off the disabled list, but Scott Kamieniecki is still on the shelf and Doug Drabek has pitched horribly.

RED SOX: A nasty stomach virus has weakened Pedro Martinez, although the big-money free agent has continued pitching. The NL Cy Young winner in Montreal last season, Martinez gave up four run in successive starts for the first time since 1996. "He's lost 5 pounds, he's had to change his eating habits, he's had to go real bland in his diet, and there are some lingering effects that have sapped him of his strength, but he won't make excuses," Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.

YANKEES: The tabloids are rife with speculation that the Yankees are going to replace Ramiro Mendoza in the rotation with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. El Duque only fueled speculation with 10 strikeouts in five innings in a Triple-A game last week. The Yankees are adamant they will not rush the former Cuban star. "If we needed a starting pitcher right now from the minors, it wouldn't be Orlando Hernandez," GM Brian Cashman said. "It probably would be Mike Jerzembeck. I'd be surprised if we had El Duque up here before the All-Star break."

BY THE NUMBERS

6

Home runs given up by Brewers closer Doug Jones. He gave up four last year.

34

Consecutive innings the Dodgers bullpen has pitched without surrendering a run.

53

Pickoff attempts by Reds pitcher Brett Tomko, the NL leader. Teammates Mike Remlinger (47) and David Weathers (36) are in the top five.

LINESCORE OF THE WEEK

AB R H RBI BB SO

Rico Brogna 4 3 4 3 2 0

The first baseman reached base six straight times, hitting two homers as the Phillies came back from a 5-0 deficit and beat the Reds 11-8.

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