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Torre to Talk to Wells About Use of Ephedra

February 23, 2003|From Associated Press

New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre will talk with David Wells about the pitcher's use of ephedra, the nutritional supplement that might have contributed to the death of Baltimore Oriole pitcher Steve Bechler.

Wells occasionally uses an over-the-counter supplement containing the substance.

"I'm just going to tell him, like we tell all the players, make sure you take care of your body," Torre said Saturday. "That's basically what it's going to be about. He's a grown-up. Especially now with the attention that this has gotten, I think everybody should check their labels."

Torre said the doctor who conducts a player's physical should be aware of any supplement taken.

"I think the trick of this whole thing is, and the false sense of security, that when you buy something over the counter that it's safe," Torre said. "That goes back to abusing something if you're not following directions or it doesn't mix with whatever else is going on in your body. That's what's important. I think the doctor that takes your physical should pretty much know what you're putting in your body to see how it works."

Bechler died Monday, a day after collapsing at spring training because of heatstroke. A Florida medical examiner said the death may have been linked to an ephedra-based diet pill, Xenadrine RFA-1.

"I'm not a daily user at all," Wells said. "I just do if I feel sluggish."

Wells said he has experienced pressure first-hand about his weight.

"They just throw numbers out there," Wells said. "This guy should weigh this. If you don't, your job can be in jeopardy. Or they're going to overlook you. They should be accountable for that. They don't realize what it takes."

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Robert Person agreed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox, two years after winning 15 games for Philadelphia. If he makes the team, he'll provide depth in the bullpen and be an emergency starter.

Person, 33, is 51-42 with a 4.60 earned-run average in parts of eight seasons with the New York Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Closer Ugueth Urbina has not made it into the Texas Rangers' training camp because of travel delays.

Urbina, a two-time All-Star who signed a free-agent contract in December, has been spending the off-season at his home in strife-ridden Venezuela.

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Yankee designated hitter and first baseman Nick Johnson will undergo a bone scan Monday on his ailing left wrist.

Johnson has stopped taking batting practice because of the lingering injury. He did take grounders and threw during a workout Saturday.

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The New York Mets signed left-hander Donovan Osborne to a minor league contract. Osborne has pitched for the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

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