Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Baseball Notebook

Mesa vows to hit Vizquel

The Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Philadelphia Phillies closer Jose Mesa is angry at former Cleveland teammate Omar Vizquel.

"If I face him, I'll hit him," Mesa said for a story published in Tuesday's edition of the Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times. "I won't try to hit him in the head, but I'll hit him. And if he charges me, I'll kill him."

The two were teammates on the Indians from 1992-98 and Tuesday were on the same field for the first time in 2003. Their teams are not scheduled to play in the regular season,

Phillies general manager Ed Wade discussed the issue with Mesa but did not issue disciplinary action. Mesa refused comment Tuesday.

Mesa pitched to Vizquel once in June and hit him in the middle of the back during a game in Cleveland, earning a $500 fine. He also hit Vizquel while pitching for Seattle in 1999.

Last year Vizquel criticized Mesa in his autobiography, saying the reliever blew Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

"I didn't mean to do anything bad," Vizquel said. "I just wanted to let the fans know a little about what's going on out on the field."

ORIOLES: The widow of pitcher Steve Bechler will be paid $450,000 in life insurance, Major League Baseball's pension committee decided. Bechler died Feb. 17 from heatstroke, a day after collapsing during a workout at training camp, and his death has been linked to use of the diet supplement ephedra.

YANKEES: Second baseman Alfonso Soriano, sidelined by tendinitis in his right shoulder, resumed batting practice and might play Thursday or Friday.

• Left fielder Hideki Matsui didn't play Tuesday against Detroit because of a stiff neck. He is scheduled to make the trip for today's game against Cincinnati.

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