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Rocker tagged for four runs in exhibition game

Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2002

John Rocker might not be up to replacing the injured Jeff Zimmerman as Texas' closer.

Rocker allowed four runs in one inning during an 11-8 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday after Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow.

''I need to make a few more quality pitches. I did some good things, and I'm trying to focus on them,'' Rocker said.

Zimmerman, who hasn't pitched since March 6, is expected to miss at least one month. The news was better on Rangers starter Ismael Valdes, who returned to Florida on Tuesday night after tests showed no ligament damage in his right elbow.

Elsewhere, Moises Alou played for the first time in more than a week, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Chicago Cubs' 13-11 loss to Oakland in Mesa, Ariz. Alou had been sidelined for much of the spring with a strained muscle on his left side.

''I'm feeling OK,'' he said. ''I think I'm going to be all right. Just get in these final three or four games, and tune up for the opening of the season.''

Miguel Tejada's two-run homer capped a seven-run Oakland rally in the eighth inning. Sammy Sosa, Chris Stynes and Joe Girardi homered for the Cubs.

Marlins catcher Charles Johnson returned to limited action, catching and hitting for the first time in three weeks. But the two-time All-Star likely won't be ready for the season opener.

Johnson sprained his left thumb March 5 when he ran into Montreal first baseman Joe Vitiello. He wore a cast for two weeks, allowing swelling and soreness to subside, then regained strength and flexibility during the past week.

Johnson eased back into baseball activities Tuesday, catching soft toss and hitting off a tee.

''It's an injury that I have to be concerned about,'' Johnson said. ''I can't rush it because it's my thumb. With me being a catcher, I'm dealing with this thumb every pitch, every time a guy throws a baseball and every time I swing a bat. I have to be very careful.''

In other games:

Yankees 11, Pirates 5

At Tampa, Fla., Todd Greene homered twice and drove in six runs before getting released by New York. Greene, who also made three errors, lost the reserve spot he held last season to Alberto Castillo.

Dodgers 7, Mets 1

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Omar Daal pitched like a starter one day after being sent to the bullpen, allowing one hit in six scoreless innings for Los Angeles.

Braves 5, Royals 1

At Kissimmee, Fla., Andruw Jones and Mark DeRosa homered and Albie Lopez allowed one run in six innings for Atlanta.

Astros 5, Indians 4

At Kissimmee, Fla., Dave Mlicki looked sharp for 5 2-3 innings and Lance Berkman hit a grand slam off Bartolo Colon for Houston.

Devil Rays 3, Blue Jays 3, 10 innings, tie

At Dunedin, Fla., Chris Carpenter allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings in his final tuneup for opening day as Toronto tied Tampa Bay.

Marlins 12, Cardinals 4

At Jupiter, Fla., Kevin Millar went 4-for-5 with a grand slam off Bud Smith to lead Florida.

Orioles 10, Expos 5

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Marty Cordova hit a grand slam and David Segui had two hits in his return to the Baltimore lineup. Melvin Mora hit his fifth homer in six games and Tony Batista had three hits for the Orioles, who have won 16 of 18.

Twins 12, Reds 9

At Sarasota, Fla., Ken Griffey Jr. hit his first spring homer, but Minnesota beat Cincinnati behind Dustan Mohr's grand slam and two homers by Michael Cuddyer. Aaron Boone homered twice for the Reds.

Phillies 11, Tigers 3

At Lakeland, Fla., Todd Pratt had two doubles and three RBIs and Mike Lieberthal homered and drove in two runs for Philadelphia.

Mariners 10, Angels 6

At Tempe, Ariz., Charles Gipson, Carlos Guillen and Bret Boone each homered off Lou Pote in the sixth inning to lead Seattle.

Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 2

At Tucson, Ariz., Rick Helling allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings and Chris Donnels hit a three-run double for Arizona.

Giants 7, Padres 2

At Peoria, Ariz., San Francisco rookie right-hander Kurt Ainsworth left in the third inning with a strained groin and the Giants beat San Diego. Ainsworth allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in 2 2-3 innings before leaving because of tightness in his right groin muscle.

''It's not that serious an injury that it should cost me anything,'' Ainsworth said.

Rockies 10, White Sox 9

At Tucson, Ariz., Juan Uribe went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as Colorado overcame Denny Neagle's worst outing of the spring. Neagle gave up eight runs and 11 hits in five innings.



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