Schilling to miss opening day; Alomar retires

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005

Curt Schilling will miss Boston's season opener at Yankee Stadium, and Roberto Alomar's career is over.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Saturday that Schilling might sit out the first two weeks as he works his way back from offseason ankle surgery, setting up David Wells to start April 3 against his former team.

''I'm sure he'll rise to the occasion,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ''He loves that type of stage, and we just have to go out there and do the best we can and hope that we're better. It doesn't surprise me. He's got the experience.''

New ace Randy Johnson is scheduled to pitch for New York.

Schilling will make his first start of spring training in a minor league game on Monday, and there was no word on when he would pitch against a major league opponent.

There is even a possibility Schilling will open the season on the disabled list because the Red Sox have three days off early on and won't need a fifth starter until their 13th game, at home against Toronto on April 18.

''We're going to have a four-man rotation through the 18th,'' Francona said in Fort Myers, Fla.

Schilling has said his ankle and arm aren't bothering him. But his mechanics aren't back to their pre-surgery level.

Alomar announced his retirement in St. Petersburg, Fla., ending a career in which he became one of baseball's best second basemen and, for a time, its most scorned player.

The 12-time All-Star called it quits with Tampa Bay, finishing just 276 hits shy of 3,000. He led Toronto to consecutive World Series titles in 1992-93 and was considered by many a lock for the Hall of Fame until a swift decline the last three seasons as he drifted from team to team.

Alomar's legacy was tarnished, however, when he spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck in 1996 while with Baltimore. The messy confrontation made front-page news all over the country and turned Alomar into a target for angry fans throughout the majors.

He made matters worse afterward by saying he thought Hirschbeck was under stress because his 8-year-old son, John Drew, had died of a rare brain disease three years earlier, prompting the umpire to charge into the Orioles' clubhouse looking for Alomar.

Yet soon, the two became friends, and even worked together to raise money to fight that brain disease. And now Alomar deeply regrets losing his temper during a heated argument over balls and strikes.

''I wish it never happened,'' he said, ''and I hope that's not how people remember me.''

Alomar's announcement came one day after he committed two errors in one inning of a spring training game with the Devil Rays, who signed him to a $600,000, one-year contract in January.

Tampa Bay was attractive to Alomar because he wanted another chance to play every day, but the 37-year-old switch-hitter has been bothered by back and vision problems in recent weeks.

''I played a lot of games and I said I would never embarrass myself on the field,'' Alomar said. ''I had a long career, but I can't play at the level I want to play, so it's time to retire.''

Devil Rays outfielder Danny Bautista also retired, but Tampa Bay got some help by signing speedy outfielder Alex Sanchez, who was released by Detroit on Tuesday.

At Kissimmee, Fla., slugger Lance Berkman finalized an $85 million, six-year contract with Houston, keeping the three-time All-Star from becoming a free agent after the 2005 season.

''I'm just thrilled to make this type of commitment to the team,'' Berkman said. ''I want to play every game of my career in an Astros uniform.''

In spring training games:

Orioles 8, Red Sox 0

At Fort Myers, Fla., Daniel Cabrera allowed one hit in five innings for Baltimore.

Tigers 10, Braves (ss) 7

At Lakeland, Fla., Andruw Jones homered twice and made two flashy plays in center field. Jones, who drove in five runs, has six homers and 14 RBIs in only 26 at-bats this spring.

Devil Rays 6, Phillies (ss) 4

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Hideo Nomo pitched four innings without allowing an earned run.

Yankees (ss) 8, Indians (ss) 5

At Winter Haven, Fla., sore-armed Hideki Matsui hit two long home runs for New York.

Phillies (ss) 4, Braves (ss) 3

At Kissimmee, Atlanta starter John Thomson gave up one run and four hits in four innings.

Reds 4, Twins 1

At Sarasota, Fla., Ken Griffey Jr. made his first appearance on defense this year, playing center field for the first five innings.

Blue Jays 7, Astros 4

At Kissimmee, rookie starter Gustavo Chacin pitched four solid innings and Toronto took advantage of six Houston errors.

Nationals 8, Indians (ss) 2

At Viera, Fla., Tomo Ohka pitched five strong innings and Cristian Guzman had another good day at the plate for Washington.

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 2

At Jupiter, Fla., Albert Pujols hit his fourth home run, and Larry Walker also connected for his first hit in 12 at-bats this spring. He later added a single.

Mets 6, Marlins 0

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Andres Galarraga boosted his bid to win a backup job with the Mets, hitting a two-run homer and driving in three runs.

Pirates 5, Yankees (ss) 3

At Tampa, Fla., Jason Giambi made a diving play in his initial start at first base this spring. He also hit an RBI double.

White Sox 3, Royals 2

At Tucson, Ariz., Mark Buehrle struck out seven in six perfect innings for Chicago.

Athletics 11, Cubs (ss) 4

At Phoenix, Bobby Kielty homered and drove in five runs. Kielty has missed most of the spring with a strained calf but has four hits in eight at-bats.

Diamondbacks 7, Mariners 5

At Peoria, Ariz., Aaron Sele threw one-hit ball for five innings. Arizona's Sergio Santos hit a three-run homer.

Angels 5, Rangers 3

At Surprise, Ariz., Chan Ho Park put together his third straight solid start, allowing three runs — one earned — in 4 2-3 innings for Texas.

Cubs (ss) 4, Brewers 2

At Mesa, Ariz., Carlos Zambrano struck out nine in six scoreless innings. He has worked 15 shutout innings this spring.

Rockies 4, Athletics (ss) 3

At Tucson, Ariz., Charles Johnson hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning.

Padres (ss) 6, Giants 4

At Scottsdale, Ariz., San Francisco's Jerome Williams pitched for the first time in two weeks and didn't make it out of the third inning. He has missed much of the spring to be with his ailing father in Hawaii.

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