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Injury won't drive out Charlton

Norm Charlton isn't ready to retire, even though he won't be able to play this season.

"If I can pitch, I'll pitch," he said Wednesday. "If I can't, I can't."

Charlton, who helped Seattle win an AL-record 116 games last season, had surgery Jan. 28 to repair a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum, part of the left shoulder joint. The 38-year-old left-hander arrived in camp Tuesday night.

"This is what I do for a living," he said. "This is what I've always done for a living. It will be hard to do at 39. We'll see what happens."

Charlton began his career in 1988 and doesn't want an injury to force his decision. He pointed to outfielder Jay Buhner, a former teammate who retired in December.

"Jay could probably have played this year if he'd have wanted to, but he decided enough was enough and he wanted to spend more time with his family," Charlton said. "He walked away on his own terms. That's not the situation with me."

Charlton plans to rehabilitate his shoulder at spring training until March 28, then go to Seattle. He hurt his shoulder in early January while long tossing.

"Is this one I can overcome?" he asked. "I don't know. I'll tell you at the end of the year."

Meanwhile, Mariners manager Lou Piniella remained in Tampa with his ailing father, Louis, 83, who is hospitalized with pneumonia. The Mariners are not sure when he will rejoin the team.

A'S: Oakland's game against the Giants was delayed for several minutes in the top of the first when the appearance of boxing legend Muhammad Ali prompted a standing ovation. "I had a great day, but this beats it," said catcher Scott Hatteberg, who hit a grand slam. "It's fine Ali takes the spotlight. I'm a big fan of his and of boxing."

INDIANS: Jeff Datz was hired as bench coach to replace Grady Little, who left to manage the Red Sox. Datz, 42, had been the club's field coordinator, overseeing minor-league operations during spring training and the regular season, since 1999. Right-hander Jaret Wright, who left camp Tuesday after feeling tightness in his right shoulder during a minor-league start, still was waiting to see Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. Wright has 16 major-league starts the past two seasons after two shoulder surgeries.

OBITUARY: Steve Gromek, a right-handed pitcher who won 123 games in a 17-year career and helped the Indians win the 1948 World Series, died March 12 in Cleveland. He was 82 and suffered from complications from diabetes, a stroke and pneumonia.

_ TIMES WIRES

SHAGGING FOR GLORY: Some people will do anything for a major-league baseball, including "Babe Ruth of ball shagging" Moe Mullins of Chicago, left, who emerges from a pond behind the Port Charlotte ballpark where the Rangers play their spring games. Mullins, who has been shagging flies for more than 40 years, often battles other fans for balls hit in the pond, some of which dry in the sun after being fished out, below.

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