Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Jeter, A-Rod have repaired relationship


Stars admit friendship had cooled

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Derek Jeter wants to make this clear: He and Alex Rodriguez are just fine.

"We don't have problems," Jeter insisted Monday. "Let's get that out there."

Hoping to end any trace of a feud, Jeter interrupted his workout at the New York Yankees' minor league complex and did what team captains do - he took a tricky issue and tried to defuse it.

"I'd say let it go," he said. "It's over with."

A day earlier, Rodriguez admitted their close friendship took a hit in early 2001 after he made critical remarks about Jeter. Even after A-Rod was traded from Texas to the Yankees this month, there seemed to be a coolness there.

By the end of the afternoon, Jeter and Rodriguez had used the exact same word to describe each other.

"If you have a brother, you have disagreements," Jeter said. "You don't always like what they say, you get over it."

Said Rodriguez: "I consider Derek my brother. It's all over with."

Their first workout together will be today at Legends Field, with Jeter at shortstop and Rodriguez over at third base.

ASTROS: The team keeps adding famous pitchers.

After signing hometown stars Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens during the offseason, Houston has agreed to a five-year personal services contract with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

Ryan's deal is to be announced at a news conference today, a baseball official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Ryan began negotiating with the Astros after his personal services deal with the Texas Rangers expired earlier this month.

WHITE SOX: Esteban Loaiza passed on the chance to start the season opener to repay a favor to Mark Buehrle, who gave up his final start last season for Loaiza.

Buehrle, who will start his third straight opener, gave up his final turn last year so Loaiza could bid to join Fernando Valenzuela as the only Mexican-born pitchers to win 21 games. Buehrle gave up a chance to reach 15 wins for the third straight season.

"I think it was real class and real unselfish," new White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Monday. "They treat each other like professionals."

INDIANS: Outfielder Grady Sizemore, Cleveland's minor league player of the year last season, signed a one-year contract.

Sizemore is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo, but if he produces like he did a year ago, the 21-year-old may not be there for long.

Last year, he batted .304 with 13 homers and 78 RBI at Double-A Akron.

PIRATES: Raul Mondesi passed his physical Monday, and the team finalized its contract with the free-agent outfielder.

Mondesi, 33, hit .272 with 24 homers, 71 RBI and 22 steals in 143 games with the New York Yankees and Arizona last year.

"I told my agent I want to sign with a National League team," said Mondesi, who hasn't played a full season in the NL since 1999. "The Pirates wanted to sign me and I want to play for them, especially because (Roberto) Clemente played many years for the Pirates."

BRAVES: El Marrero agreed to a contract extension through the 2005 season.

The catcher/outfielder, obtained from St. Louis in December, makes $3 million this year and would have been eligible for free agency after the season.

"We are excited to have a player of Eli's ability and versatility on our roster," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Marrero, 30, played 41 games in the last year, a season shortened due to a severe right ankle injury sustained in May.

He had the best season of his career in 2002, when he hit .262 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs, both career highs.




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Jeter, A-Rod have repaired relationship

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