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Yanks to try Knoblauch in left

Chuck Knoblauch will get a chance in leftfield.

Manager Joe Torre, after the Yankees' game Monday against Detroit was called because of rain, said the struggling second baseman will get a look in the outfield this week.

"It's going to happen," Torre said. "I said the best way we can do it is just try it. If it's something you don't like what you see, you can try something else.

"I think he trusts me; at least, I hope he does. My concern is his well-being."

An upbeat Knoblauch said he was willing to make the shift, even joking that he would have to scratch out 2B in the media guide and add "not 2B."

"I don't have any regrets," said Knoblauch, who reported a month early to work on his defense. "I've done all I can."

Torre did not rule out Knoblauch returning to second base.

Knoblauch has six errors this spring, five on throws.

INJURY REPORT: A CT scan on Orlando Hernandez's ailing right forearm/elbow was negative.

Hernandez has not pitched since March 9.

"I'm not happy, but I'm not frustrated," he said. "I feel pain and bothered, and as long as I have that I'm not going to pitch."

It's not clear if he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Mike Mussina (bruise inside the left knee) threw off a mound for 10 minutes and should start Wednesday night against the Devil Rays at Legends Field.

ETC.: Shortstop Derek Jeter (right quadriceps) had his batting practice session postponed by the weather, but he should return this week. Jeter's Mercedes was rear-ended by Hernandez's semitruck in the parking lot Sunday night and sustained "significant" damage, Jeter said. "I'll inflate it a little," he joked. Fifth starter candidate Christian Parker had his start pushed back and will face Houston, weather permitting, today at Legends Field.

_ MARK DIDTLER, TIMES WIRES

Mesa peeved at weather

CLEARWATER _ Monday's thunderstorms washed away the Phillies' game against Cincinnati, as well as another chance for reliever Jose Mesa to shine.

The 34-year-old right-hander, signed as a free agent in November, was scheduled to pitch behind starter Robert Person and several others.

Mesa, who has a 1.29 ERA and one save in seven innings, feels he is having his best spring training since 1995. That season as Cleveland's closer, Mesa led the American League and set an Indians record with 46 saves.

"I've been throwing a lot of strikes and the hitters have been getting themselves out," said Mesa, who is battling former Phillie Ricky Bottalico (1-1, one save, 10.80 ERA) for the role vacated by Jeff Brantley.

Mesa expressed his disdain for rainouts in the clubhouse after the game was canceled at 1:10 p.m.

"It screws up my schedule," Mesa said.

Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal noted that pitchers cannot afford to miss time on the mound.

"They need to get their work in," the two-time All-Star said. "Spring training's not long enough for pitchers."

RANGERS IN TOWN: Philadelphia's Bruce Chen and the Rangers' Darren Oliver start today's game at 1:05 p.m. at Jack Russell Stadium, but all eyes will be on $252-million man Alex Rodriguez. Upper reserved seats, which go for $10, are $6 for seniors today.

_ STEVE LEE

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