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Baseball Highlights : Oakland Suspends Norris After Arrest

April 09, 1985

Oakland A's pitcher Mike Norris, who was arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence, will be barred from the team "until the current situation is resolved," the club said Monday.

Norris, who was in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program before joining the A's for spring training, was arrested early Sunday by University of California police.

The veteran pitcher was booked on a misdemeanor of suspicion of driving under the influence and released. Determination of formal charges would be made by the Alameda County district attorney, according to university spokesman Tom Debley.

After learning that Norris had been arrested for "driving under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance . . . the A's have decided that pending ambiguities cannot be resolved in Norris' favor," Sandy Alderson, the A's vice president of baseball operations, said in a statement.

Norris, not a member of the A's 25-man roster, has been directed to resume a drug and alcohol treatment program starting today in addition to the follow-up program he had been enrolled in, Alderson said.

Joe Sambito, probably the top relief pitcher in Houston Astros' history, was given his unconditional release after he declined to accept a move to the National League club's Triple-A affiliate at Tucson.

Sambito, 32, attempting a comeback from a series of elbow operations, was told last Friday that he had failed to make the Astros' pitching staff.

Astro General Manager Al Rosen said Sambito elected to take his release rather than the demotion.

Sambito was among the top relief pitchers in the National League in 1982 when he started experiencing elbow problems that led to surgery. He missed the entire 1983 season. He returned to the Astros roster last season but was not used in game situations.

Sambito finished his Astros' career with a 33-32 record, 2.42 earned-run average and 72 saves. Sambito's ERA is a club record for pitchers with more than 400 innings. He was second on the team in all time saves behind Fred Gladding's 74 saves.

A sky diver fractured his ankle in pregame ceremonies at Royals Stadium in Kansas City before the season opener between the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals.

Gene Riddle of Kansas City, one of four members of Leap Ltd., a precision parachuting team, landed hard when he hit the ground in right field. A physician said Riddle suffered a fractured left ankle and possible ligament damage.

The Baltimore Orioles optioned veteran outfielder John Shelby to Rochester of the International League, reducing their roster to the 25-man opening day limit.

The Orioles also purchased the contract of third baseman Fritz Connally from Rochester.

The New York Mets finalized their 25-man roster by placing pitcher Brent Gaff on the 21-day disabled list and purchasing Clint Hurdle's contract from Tidewater.

Gaff was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 3 with a right shoulder ailment. .

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