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BASEBALL PLUS | CHATTER

Pedro's Hit-and-Run Play Angers Indians

May 07, 2000|TIM BROWN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Cleveland Indians aren't so enamored of Pedro Martinez, who they accused this week of throwing at Einar Diaz's head, intentionally hitting Roberto Alomar in the thigh and then hiding in the dugout behind Boston hitting coach Jim Rice when the benches emptied.

Rice is so big he could put Pedro in his change pocket and still have room for a couple of nickels.

"I just wondered why there were only 49 players on the field," Cleveland pitcher Scott Kamieniecki told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I didn't want us to have an advantage. That's why I was yelling for Pedro to come out of the dugout."

Indian shortstop Omar Vizquel ripped Martinez with the full menagerie, calling his actions--and then inaction--everything from "horse . . . " to "bull . . . " to "chicken . . . ."

The commissioner's office hit Martinez with a five-game suspension, but even that didn't pacify the Indians.

"At least he stayed in the dugout," Kamieniecki said. "Last year in Baltimore [after hitting Brady Anderson], he ran into the clubhouse."

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High-ball hitter: With baseball increasingly becoming a hitter's world, with andro and body armor and strike zones the size of cocktail napkins, a pitching ace like Martinez is a rare antidote.

Martinez is 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 44 innings. He has won 47 of 59 decisions in two-plus seasons with the Red Sox.

Hitters have learned that it is best to swing hard and simply deal with the consequences, dreary as they may be.

Asked about his strategy, Angel slugger Mo Vaughn said, "You go out and have a drink."

That would be after the game, right Mo? Not before?

"Both," he said.

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He ought to be sacked, too: As part of a charity event, Philadelphia Manager Terry Francona was bagging groceries at a local supermarket when a shopper shouted from the back of the line, "You ought to do this for a living!"

Outer Limits: Seattle Manager Lou Piniella recently accused Kansas City reliever Jose Santiago of scuffing the baseball, a charge Santiago and Royal Manager Tony Muser denied.

Muser's defense of Santiago, however, seemed, well, out there.

"If you shook hands with him, you'd think you were shaking hands with E.T.," Muser said. "They're extremely small. Those hands and his arm angle produce the great sinker that he has."

Actually, Santiago is from Puerto Rico.

"Lou asked the umpires if I had something in my pants. I asked them if they wanted to check me," Santiago said. "They said no."

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O, [How He Insults] Canada!: The fight is getting to Jeffrey Loria.

Chairman of the Expos for nearly five months, Loria has no new ballpark, no English-language television, no English-language radio, and no French-language television.

Despite a respectable start by the club and a phenomenal one by Vladimir Guerrero, local interest in the Expos has dried faster than the ink on Carlos Perez's contract.

So maybe that's why Loria became agitated on a recent flight from Montreal to New York when he was asked to turn off his cellular phone during takeoff.

"It's not surprising that everybody wants to leave Canada," the New York-born, Yale-educated Loria snapped in an exchange witnessed by a reporter from the Canadian newspaper La Presse.

When the request was repeated, Loria spat, "Things like this only happen in Canada."

Or anywhere rich, spoiled Americans go to visit.

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Pacing himself: Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez was the first overall selection in the 1993 draft.

Twin second baseman Jason Maxwell was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the same draft, 73 rounds and 1,666 picks later.

They played in opposing lineups this week in Minnesota.

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Extra punctuation: Memo to the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Mariners, etc.:

Scott Boras, Rodriguez' agent, told the Seattle Times: "There will be things in Alex's [next] contract that have never been in anyone's contract before."

More zeros and commas?

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Ramblin' man: Former Angel catcher Chris Turner is on his fourth big-league team in four years, and he's had five minor-league stops in between. When Turner arrived this season to back up Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, reporter Jon Heyman of Newsday observed that Turner had bounced around some.

Responded Turner: "That's what happens when you're not very good."

Turner spent parts of five seasons with the Angels, then played four games in 1998 with Kansas City, 12 games in 1999 with Cleveland and, Tuesday, in his first game for the Yankees.

"You've never heard of me," Turner explained, "because I've never done anything noteworthy."

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Lonely hearts, crowded basepaths: When the Rockies beat the Expos on Wednesday with 24 hits--but only four for extra bases--reporter Mike Klis of the Denver Post noted, "A geek convention doesn't have this many singles."

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