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Pitcher accused of hitting girlfriend

Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson was charged Monday with assaulting his girlfriend after she confronted him about whether he was cheating on her, police said.

Erickson and Lisa Ortiz had a "heated argument" that ended with Erickson throwing her to the floor of an elevator in the building where they live, according to a police report.

The right-hander told police Ortiz bit him on his right arm, causing a bruise and swelling. Police also said Erickson's right foot was bleeding and they found blood stains leading from the couple's condominium to the elevator.

Erickson and Ortiz told police they did not require medical attention.

"It's nothing. It's just a bad break," Erickson said before the game against Toronto at Camden Yards.

"Nothing happened. It was pretty much a situation where they had to do something and it just got blown out of proportion. No harm done.

Erickson, who did not have any visible injuries, added "everything will be dropped."

However, a prosecutor said the state's attorney's office will decide whether to pursue the case.

NEGRO LEAGUE PENSIONS: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, reported progress in efforts to persuade Major League Baseball to include more players from the Negro Leagues in a pension plan established five years ago. Nelson has been assisting the players for months in hopes of resolving their complaint about being denied benefits because they didn't play before 1947.

Bob Mitchell, a Tampa resident who pitched for the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1950s, estimates there are about 145 men who were denied benefits in 1997 when baseball agreed to a $10,000-a-year pension for some former Negro Leagues players.

STEROID DEBATE: Saying tolerance of steroid use is sending a dangerous message to children, the House urged baseball and its players to start a mandatory steroid testing program. "Failure to test and reports of abuse tell young people that drug use is not only permissible but desirable," said Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., sponsor of the resolution. "That's exactly the wrong message to send to our children."

ROGERS STILL UNDECIDED: Left-hander Kenny Rogers talked to Reds general manager Jim Bowden but hadn't decided whether to approve a trade to Cincinnati for three minor-leaguers. The Rangers pitcher has a no-trade clause in his contract and could veto the tentative deal reached over the weekend.

BRAVES: Rightfielder Gary Sheffield reached base for the 48th consecutive game, tying Dale Murphy's club record set in 1987.

GIANTS: Leftfielder Barry Bonds had an MRI exam on his strained right hamstring. The results will be analyzed by several doctors.

MARLINS: Second baseman Luis Castillo was out with a sore left ankle. Manager Jeff Torborg expected him to return today.

PHILLIES: Right-hander Robert Person will return to Philadelphia for an MRI exam on his right shoulder and elbow.

TIGERS: President Dave Dombrowski apologized for comments he made at a private luncheon that later were broadcast by a sports radio station. Dombrowski, who tallied the salaries of several players and said no team would accept them in a trade, apologized "to any player that may have been hurt by the comments," team spokesman Jim Anderson said.

WHITE SOX: Pitching coach Nardi Contreras was fired and replaced by Don Cooper. The team has a 4.77 ERA in 704 games under Contreras, a former Tampa Catholic High standout in the late '60s.

YANKEES: An MRI exam on closer Mariano Rivera's right shoulder revealed a slight muscle strain. The right-hander is day to day.Right-hander Roger Clemens, sidelined by a groin strain, could make a minor-league rehabilitation start for Tampa on Saturday. Left-hander Sterling Hitchcock, out with a lower back injury, could begin a rehabilitation assignment Thursday.