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Martinez-Piazza Feud Heats Up

From Times News Services

When Mike Piazza woke up Saturday, he was still steaming about being hit on the left hand by a Pedro Martinez fastball Friday.

But when he visited children at a hospital, his anger disappeared.

“I walked in there and got some instant perspective,” the New York Met catcher said. Piazza was not in the lineup Saturday, but the swelling in his hand was down. His status is day to day, and he is expected to play tonight against the Boston Red Sox.

As for his feud with Martinez, Piazza backed off his criticism.

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“It’s not nice to get hit, but I’m not a whiner or a complainer,” Piazza said. “It’s part of the game.”

Martinez, a former Dodger, said he has never liked Piazza.

“He was my teammate and an acquaintance,” Martinez said. “But we were definitely not friends.”

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A case of mistaken identity, a clerical error and lax homework ended up in the St. Louis Cardinals drafting the wrong left-handed pitcher in the 11th round last week.

The Cardinals thought they were drafting Rene Vega, a senior left-hander from New York Dominican College, but they actually drafted Joel Vega, a senior left-hander from Ohio Dominican College in Columbus.

Rene Vega was selected by the 31st round by the New York Mets.

The difference?

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Rene Vega was 11-1 for his Dominican College team, with a 2.29 earned-run average, 106 strikeouts and only 22 walks. Joel Vega was 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA for his Dominican College team.

But the Cardinals say they will still try and sign him because, as a junior, he was 8-1 with a 3.11 ERA.

“This is probably the strangest thing I’ve ever seen happen,” said scouting director Ed Creech, in his first year with the Cardinals after more than a dozen with the Montreal Expos. “It really is strange.

“Everybody makes a mistake. There was a little bit of a clerical error. We just didn’t do enough homework on it. I feel sorry for the scout, for the kid we didn’t get, for a lot of people. It’s a little bit embarrassing--no, not a little, a lot embarrassing.”

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Joe Morgan had his No. 8 retired by the Cincinnati Reds and his replica jersey joins those of manager Fred Hutchinson, catcher Johnny Bench and slugger Frank Robinson.

Morgan’s eyes got teary, his lip quivered and he stopped in mid-sentence to pull a handkerchief from his suit coat and dab his eyes as he talked about teammate Pete Rose’s exclusion during a news conference. Baseball’s career hits leader accepted a lifetime ban for gambling.

“I lockered next to him for eight years and I think the one thing that I would say is that I hope that one of these days that Pete will join me in Cooperstown,” said Morgan, who was inducted in 1990. “And I hope that one day he will be honored as I am being honored tonight.”

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David Wells will miss his scheduled start for the New York Yankees today because of tendinitis in his left shoulder.

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The Cleveland Indians’ initial public offering of stock last week was a hit with investors: The 4 million shares sold out within an hour at $15 per share. But the stock languished in a narrow range over its first two days of trading on the Nasdaq market before closing at $14.13 a share Friday.

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