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Sexson reports early to Mariners

Player has pleaded not guilty to citation for suspicion of DUI

Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2005

Richie Sexson checked into the Seattle Mariners' spring training camp two days early Saturday, knowing he'd have to explain a Feb. 5 drunken driving citation.

''It's an unfortunate situation,'' said Sexson, who has pleaded not guilty. ''I'm disappointed, No. 1 in myself. You want to apologize to every fan you've ever had, every fan you're going to have or fans you're going to lose.''

Sexson, who signed a $50 million, four-year contract, was stopped a quarter-mile from his home near Vancouver, Wash. That day, he had been at his brother's home, where he had two beers with a chicken dinner.

Returning home, however, a Clark County sheriff's deputy stopped Sexson after estimating his speed at 50 mph in a 35-mph zone, though Sexson ultimately wasn't cited for speeding.

The deputy smelled a ''strong odor of intoxicants,'' according to a sheriff's report, and noticed empty beer bottles in the vehicle. Sexson said the bottles were left a week earlier after another visit to his brother's home.

He received a citation for suspicion of DUI, Sexson said, because he refused to take a portable breath test at the scene.

''If you refuse a Breathalyzer (test) in the field, automatically they can charge you with driving under the influence,'' Sexson said.

Sexson said he was transported to the sheriff's office, taking two breath tests about 45 minutes later. Both tests registered under Washington's legal threshold for intoxication.

At Fort Myers, Fla., Edgar Renteria spent his first day at Boston's camp. The new Red Sox shortstop made the last out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, when he grounded to pitcher Keith Foulke and ended Boston's four-game sweep.

Renteria, who replaced Orlando Cabrera, plans to be on hand when his new teammates get their championship rings.

''I'm going to go through the line for mine, too, and then I'll say, 'Where's my ring?''' Renteria said, apparently joking.

At Vero Beach, Fla., pitcher Brad Penny didn't throw during the Los Angeles Dodgers' first workout. Penny, sustained a rare nerve injury to his right biceps that sidelined him late last season, met with team staff to plan his schedule.

''We are shooting for a bullpen session for Brad sometime early to midweek,'' manager Jim Tracy said.

Penny probably would have been ready to throw off the mound had he not spent the last two weeks fighting the flu.

''I'll be ready for the season by April,'' he said. ''I'm excited about it.''

At Jupiter, Fla., Florida Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett was about to begin his first bullpen session of spring training when he shouted a friendly warning to fans standing behind the 8-foot-high backstop.

''Heads up,'' he said. ''Last year I nearly crushed somebody. You guys look out.''

Unlike a year ago, when Burnett hit a female spectator on the shoulder with an errant practice pitch, he threw for 10 minutes without sailing a single fastball over the fence.

Manager Jack McKeon emerged from the clubhouse in the morning to begin his 57th year in professional baseball and was greeted by a phalanx of photographers.

''Get my good side, please,'' he said.

Right-hander Juan Cruz didn't report to the Athletics on Saturday with the rest of the pitchers and catchers. The team said he was taking a few extra days in his native Dominican Republic and would be in camp Monday.

Cruz lost to the A's in salary arbitration Tuesday. He will get $600,000 instead of the $860,000 he had requested. Acquired from Atlanta in the Tim Hudson trade in December, Cruz was 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 50 relief outings last season, when he made $370,000.

About a half dozen Japanese reporters showed up in Phoenix to speak to new Oakland pitcher Keiichi Yabu, but Yabu wasn't due to arrive in Arizona until late Saturday.

In Tampa, Fla., Hideki Matsui took batting practice a day after arriving for spring training and said he wouldn't mind wrapping up a contract extension with the New York Yankees before opening day.

''I'd like to stay a Yankee as long as possible. That's my desire right now,'' Matsui said through a translator at New York's minor league complex.

In Fort Myers, Fla., Boston reliever Mike Timlin understands why Yankees manager Joe Torre won't bring a lot of regulars for the March 7 split-squad game at the Red Sox.

''It's not a rivalry thing. He's not dishing us by any means,'' Timlin said. ''Joe's not that way. He's building the best team that he possibly can with what he has.''

At Bradenton, Fla., Pittsburgh left-hander Oliver Perez has not pitched during the first two days of workouts because of stiffness in his throwing shoulder. The shoulder tightened from sleeping the wrong way Thursday night.

''Everything is fine,'' Perez said. ''I'm just a little tired in the shoulder.''

At Tucson, Ariz., Colorado pitcher Shawn Chacon worked out, happy to be back in the starting rotation after becoming the first pitcher in major league history with 20 saves and an ERA over 7.00

''I don't regret the decision to switch last year,'' said Chacon, who had went 1-9 with a 7.11 ERA and nine blown saves. ''I tried it, did it, and it didn't work out for either side. I'm excited to get back to something I'm familiar with, something I established myself at.''



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