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Mariners Fire Pitching Coach

From Associated Press

With his team off to a 3-8 start, Seattle Mariner Manager Lou Piniella fired pitching coach Nardi Contreras on Monday and replaced him with Stan Williams.

“I felt it was time to try a different approach,” Piniella said. “Our pitchers have the ability to be successful at this level but we weren’t getting the results we needed. I’ve worked with Stan before and had good success.”

Three relievers have blown saves for the Mariners. The final straw for Contreras came Sunday, when Heathcliff Slocumb allowed the Boston Red Sox to score twice in the ninth inning for an 8-7 victory.

Two days earlier, the Mariner bullpen did not record an out in the ninth inning as the Red Sox scored seven times for a 9-7 victory. Paul Spoljaric blew the save on Friday and Mike Timlin was charged with a blown save earlier this month.

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Seattle does not have a save this season and its team earned-run average is 7.01, the worst in the American League. The Mariners have won only three games even though they have scored less than seven runs only three times this season.

The team blew 27 save opportunities last year, and the bullpen woes prompted the team to trade highly regarded outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. to Toronto last summer for Spoljaric and Timlin.

Williams, 61, spent four seasons as a pitching coach under Piniella--with the New York Yankees in 1987 and 1988 and with the Cincinnati Reds in 1989 and 1990. The Reds won the World Series in 1990. Williams also served as a pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox and spent last season as a scout for the Yankees.

Contreras, 46, was in his second full season as Mariner pitching coach. He has 17 years of coaching experience with several organizations.

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In another move by the Mariners, outfielder Jay Buhner, who missed five games because of with a swollen left knee, was put on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7.

The Mariners recalled Ryan Radmanovich from triple-A Tacoma.

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The St. Louis Cardinals put catcher Tom Pagnozzi on the disabled list because of a sore right shoulder and activated Eli Marrero, who had cancer surgery last month.

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Pagnozzi, who has been bothered by soreness in the shoulder since spring training, was put on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 4.

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Pitcher Steve Cooke was put on the 15-day disabled list by the Cincinnati Reds after the left-hander missed his second scheduled start because of tendinitis in his elbow.

The move was retroactive to April 3, the day after Cooke last pitched for the Reds.

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Four motorists whose vehicles were dented by baseballs flying out of Tucson Electric Park in Arizona during spring training have filed claims with Pima County seeking reimbursement for damages.

The vehicles were struck as they were traveling past the Kino Sports Complex, where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox trained.

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Umpire Bill Hohn injured his neck slightly in a traffic accident en route to Monday night’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

As a result, Hohn, who missed most of last season due to a disk problem, did not work the game.

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Dave Stieb, trying to make a comeback at age 40, won for the first time in five years when the Dunedin Blue Jays beat the Sarasota Red Sox, 5-3, in the Florida State League at Dunedin, Fla.

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