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Royals told to improve stadium

While assuring Kansas City that the Royals are in no danger of contraction, commissioner Bud Selig warned that improvements to Kauffman Stadium "have to be addressed."

In an informal meeting with reporters Saturday, Selig stopped short of saying that a proposed $125-million in stadium improvements are necessary for owner David Glass to keep the franchise in Kansas City.

"I'm going to let David make that observation," Selig said. "But there is no question that the stadium issue has to be addressed for Kansas City to keep up with Detroit and the clubs in their own division.

"I'm sure it will all be worked out. But they are going to have to be worked out. If your stadium does not produce enough revenue, you're at an immediate disadvantage."

As for contraction, Selig said there is "no truth _ absolutely none" to occasional reports that the Royals are on a short list.

"There hasn't been any discussion about Kansas City relative to contraction at all," Selig said. "Frankly, I have read a little bit here and there. It's just not true."

The Royals, with declining revenues and dwindling attendance, are usually listed among small-market clubs whose future could be cloudy without revenue sharing and other innovations to close the financial gap with richer clubs.

MARINERS: Seattle gave up Alex Sanchez's inside-the-park homer in amusing fashion. Scott Podsednik was chasing the ball in leftfield when he hit a fence, flipped over it and fell into the bullpen. By the time Podsednik climbed back over the fence and retrieved the ball, Sanchez scored. Manager Lou Piniella returned after tending to his ill father and announced the rotation for the start of the season: Freddy Garcia will start the opener April 1, followed by Jamie Moyer, Paul Abbott and James Baldwin.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Calvin Maduro went on the disabled list, but the team's fifth starter won't miss his first turn in the rotation during the regular season.

RANGERS: Starter Kenny Rogers gave up 10 hits and four runs in five innings. Rogers, who hadn't issued a walk in his first 14 innings this spring, walked three and struck out four. Carl Everett, playing the outfield for the first time this spring, and Alex Rodriguez homered on consecutive pitches in the first inning. Jeff Zimmerman threw 25 pitches off a mound for the second straight day and had no problems with his right elbow.

RED SOX: Pedro Martinez will cut back his pitch total in his next spring start as a precaution, manager Grady Little said. Little indicated Martinez is working through discomfort as he returns from a shoulder injury. Martinez is scheduled to throw 55 to 60 pitches in his start Wednesday, Little said.

WHITE SOX: Todd Ritchie got the win, pitching 6 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits with no walks and four strikeouts. "He's one of our horses, we have to keep him going," manager Jerry Manuel said. "He's progressing with his pitch count."

_ TIMES WIRES

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