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Mendoza Not Horsing Around

From Associated Press

Ramiro Mendoza was troubled more by Real Quiet and Victory Gallop than by “El Duque.”

Mendoza, in jeopardy of losing his spot in the starting rotation to Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, allowed only three hits in 7 1/3 innings on Saturday at at New York as the Yankees defeated Florida, 4-2--the Marlins’ 10th consecutive loss.

“I have nothing against El Duque,” said Mendoza, who was warming up in the sixth inning when the game was halted while the Belmont Stakes was shown in its entirety on the center-field scoreboard.

“It really distracted me a little bit because I was already warmed up and I had to wait about three minutes,” Mendoza said through an interpreter.

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“That’s the reason I told [catcher Jorge] Posada to go back there so I could throw a few more balls. I broke my rhythm a little bit because I was pitching fast. It bothered me.”

Mendoza’s spot in the rotation appears secure at least for the time being since David Wells will not make his scheduled start Sunday due to a twinge in his left shoulder.

“He’s not being removed,” Yankees Manager Joe Torre said of Mendoza’s place in the rotation. But Torre then announced that right-hander David Cone will pitch in Wells’ spot with Hernandez taking Cone’s place temporarily.

Bernie Williams’ eighth homer, a three-run shot, completed the Yankees’ four-run fourth that gave Mendoza and the Yankees bullpen all the runs needed.

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Williams, who didn’t homer until May 12, has hit eight in his last 25 games.


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