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Schmidt to rejoin club

Mike Schmidt is coming back.

The Hall of Fame third baseman, who spent 11 days with the Phillies as a special hitting coach this spring, is returning to the team Monday.

Schmidt will serve as a hitting instructor until the end of spring training and will join the team about three to five times for a total of 12 to 15 games during the season. He'll spend time with the team at home and on the road and will work with former teammate Greg Gross, Philadelphia's hitting coach.

"We were pleased with the contributions Mike made earlier this spring," general manager Ed Wade said Thursday. "Mike was very receptive to working for the organization and we are happy we were able to work out this arrangement."

BOWA SUSPENDED: Phillies manager Larry Bowa was suspended for one game and fined as a result of his ejection during the first inning March 9.

Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of discipline, cited Bowa for "his inappropriate conduct toward the umpires before and after his ejection."

Bowa will be allowed to manage Philadelphia's opener at Atlanta on April 1, then will be suspended for the next game at Turner Field on April 3.

Bowa plans to appeal.

"I'll get my say," Bowa said after the Phillies lost to Pittsburgh 5-4.

Bowa said he didn't know the amount of the fine. He declined to comment further.

THE GAME: Starting pitcher Brandon Duckworth struggled, giving up four runs on nine hits over five innings, walking one and striking out five. Doug Glanville and John Mabry homered for Philadelphia, and Mike Lieberthal and Marlon Anderson added two hits each.

_ TIMES WIRES

Hitchcock won't go north

DAVENPORT _ Yankees left-hander Sterling Hitchcock will start the season on the disabled list after being shut down for 7-10 days with a strained ligament in his lower back.

General manager Brian Cashman said Hitchcock probably would throw for two weeks before rejoining the team.

"He will make minor-league rehab starts," Cashman said.

Hitchcock had tests on his injured back Wednesday and received the diagnosis Thursday.

"There are no long-term concerns," Cashman said. "He'll be ready sometime in mid April."

Hitchcock was hoping to win a spot in New York's rotation. He is 2-1 with a 7.30 ERA in four exhibition games.

"No question it puts him behind the 8 ball because of the time left," manager Joe Torre said.

Hitchcock first felt back stiffness during a start March 5. The problems cleared up but came back after his start Saturday.

The Yankees have two open rotation spots. They likely will be filled by David Wells and Orlando Hernandez.

STILL ACHING: Outfielder Rondell White is progressing slowly and might not be ready for opening day.

White is scheduled to take batting practice for the first time today since straining his left rib cage Feb. 25. He reported no problems Thursday after flip drills in the batting cage and running sprints.

"Tomorrow is a big test," White said.

Manager Joe Torre said White could start playing in minor-league games Monday or Tuesday.

"We know the player we signed," Torre said. "It's matter of how much baseball he can get in."

BLEACHER BUM: David Cone plans to be at Yankee Stadium for the home opener April 5.

Not in the dugout or mound, but in the bleachers.

"I've never watched a major-league game from the bleachers," the right-hander said. "The bleacher creatures, they're the best fans."

STILL STREAKING: Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada each had three hits as the Yankees beat the Royals 7-4 for their ninth straight win. Hernandez improved to 4-0 but struggled, giving up four runs on six hits, walking two and striking out five in five innings.

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Carpenter guts one out

KISSIMMEE _ Right-hander Chris Carpenter worked into the seventh inning of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Braves. He gave up seven hits and three earned runs.

"He didn't have great stuff but he battled," Toronto manager Buck Martinez said. "He kept us in the ballgame when he wasn't throwing great."

INJURY REPORT: Right-hander Estaban Loaiza threw off a mound for the first time this spring at Toronto's spring training home in Dunedin. He tossed 20 pitches at about half speed, reporting no problems. Loaiza was shut down Feb. 20 after the team doctor found a problem in his labrum.

First baseman Carlos Delgado missed his third game because of a stiff neck, and Raul Mondesi didn't make the trip because of a sore arm. Both are day to day.

_ TIMES WIRES

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