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Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Citing sloppy defense, Tigers cut center fielder Sanchez

March 16, 2005

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The Detroit Tigers cut center fielder Alex Sanchez because they weren't happy with his defense. The Toronto Blue Jays might have a hard time leaving Gabe Gross off the big league roster.

Sanchez was released Tuesday in a surprising move, five days after the speedy leadoff hitter was reunited with his mother for the first time in 11 years.

He has frustrated Detroit with his sloppy play in the field in the past, and did again during spring training.

"There comes a time when you shouldn't have to repeat things as many times as we did," manager Alan Trammell said in Lakeland, Fla.

Craig Monroe now is the front-runner for the everyday job in center, though he has mostly been a corner outfielder in the past. Nook Logan, Dewayne Wise and Alexis Gomez also are candidates.

Last week, Sanchez saw his mother for the first time since 1994.

He left Cuba on a raft 11 years ago, leaving his family behind. Last week, he reunited with his mother and brother in Miami, where he has a house with his wife and twin boys. Sanchez's mother and brother escaped from Cuba by boat and spent time in Mexico and Texas before traveling by bus to Miami.

Sanchez batted .322 last season, but his on-base percentage was just .335 because he walked only seven times. He was limited to 79 games because of leg injuries.

He stole 52 bases in 2003, splitting the season between Milwaukee and Detroit.

"He's in shock about the whole situation because he didn't expect it and I didn't see it coming," Sanchez's agent, Juan Iglesias, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Gross, meanwhile, is shaking out just fine with the Blue Jays. He hit his sixth homer of the spring Tuesday, when Toronto tied the Tigers 2-2 in 10 innings at Lakeland.

Gross, who will probably start the season at Triple-A Syracuse because of the Blue Jays' crowded outfield, is batting .500 with 11 RBIs.

"Coming in there isn't a spot for him right now," manager John Gibbons said. "But he has everybody's attention."

Toronto's first pick in the 2000 draft, Gross played in 44 games for the Blue Jays in 2004 and hit .209 with three homers and 16 RBIs.

Dodgers 3, Braves 3, 10 innings

At Kissimmee, Fla., Horacio Ramirez pitched three strong innings for Atlanta.

Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 5

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Mark Bellhorn hit a pair of RBI doubles and Bronson Arroyo had a solid start for Boston, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

Twins 2, Marlins (ss) 2, 11 innings

At Jupiter, Fla., Ismael Valdez allowed two runs in three innings in his spring training debut. Valdez missed two weeks because of a virus.

Cardinals 5, Orioles 4

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chris Carpenter pitched four shutout innings and St. Louis overcame a poor outing by closer Jason Isringhausen.

Nationals (ss) 4, Indians (ss) 3

At Viera, Fla., Livan Hernandez pitched six innings, allowing one run and three hits to lead the Nationals. Juan Gonzalez returned to the Indians' lineup and hit a double.

Mets 7, Indians (ss) 5

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Carlos Beltran hit his third homer for New York and added a double.

Yankees 11, Marlins (ss) 5

At Tampa, Fla., Derek Jeter had three hits and four RBIs to help New York win its fourth straight. Mike Mussina allowed three runs -- one earned -- and six hits in four innings.

Mariners 11, Athletics 4

At Peoria, Ariz., Jamie Moyer allowed one hit in five innings for Seattle, which roughed up Barry Zito.

Rangers (ss) 1, Rockies 0, 10 innings

At Surprise, Ariz., Ricardo Rodriguez threw 42/3 shutout innings in his third spring start for Texas.

White Sox 8, Angels 5

At Tucson, Ariz., Vladimir Guerrero homered for Los Angeles but Kelvim Escobar struggled in his spring debut.

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