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  March 31: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter suffers a shoulder injury on Opening Day. (AP Photo)

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March: Play ball
As the weather warmed and players worked themselves into better shape in Florida and Arizona, the smell of another baseball season was getting stronger. March is always the month when there are last-minute trades before rosters are set, where a player pops off about his current or former organization or other players are felled with injuries. Here's a day-by-day look at March's highlights:
Team Stories & Headlines

By Gary Washburn /

March 1
David Wells the pitcher became David Wells the author as his book became the talk of Yankees' Spring Training. His book criticized several former teammates, a few current ones and angered Yankees officials.

March 2
Barry Bonds hit his second homer in three days, but the A's won the first Bay Area battle of the spring, 10-5.

Sights and Sounds
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March 3
In perhaps a prelude to his and his club's season, Anaheim ace left-hander Jarrod Washburn injured his pitching shoulder in a freak accident. Washburn and the Angels would not defend their World Series title.

March 4
Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon announced that his club will play a Spring Training game in Brooklyn, the first Major League game in the New York borough in 46 years.

March 5
Roy Halladay offered a hint of what he had in store for fans in 2003 by tossing three scoreless innings for Toronto against Cincinnati.

March 7
The Padres were not a favorite to win the National League West, but any chances they had of competing with the Giants and Dodgers were deflated when left fielder Phil Nevin dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball during a game with the White Sox.

March 8
The defending AL Central champion Minnesota Twins were dealt a serious blow when left-hander Eric Milton was diagnosed with a damaged left knee. He would miss the first five months of the season.

March 9
Maybe these guys should also get World Series rings. The Marlins said goodbye to two Korean standouts who trained with the club for the first two weeks of Spring Training.

March 10
Montreal slugger Vladimir Guerrero got into an altercation with Brad Penny after being hit with a pitch during a Spring Training game. It was rather heated for a Spring Training brawl and caused Guerrero, Penny and Montreal's Jose Macias to receive suspensions.
March 11
It had been six years since the Cleveland Indians lost in seven games to the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series, but apparently two members of that Indians team had not forgotten the pain of defeat. In his autobiography, Omar Vizquel criticized Jose Mesa for his performance in the series, prompting a not-so-nice response from Mesa.

March 12
To shore up their starting rotation with Milton injured, the Twins signed veteran lefty Kenny Rogers to a contract.

March 13
Keeping with the altercation theme, the Mets and Dodgers had an ugly melee after Los Angeles pitcher Guillermo Mota hit Mike Piazza with a pitch.

March 14
For his actions in the bench-clearing melee on March 10, Florida right-hander Penny got suspended five games.

March 15
The low-budget A's decided they couldn't afford to make potential free agent shortstop Miguel Tejada a contract offer, thus allowing him to leave at season's end.

March 16
Former Phillies reliever Tug McGraw underwent the first of his surgeries for cancer. McGraw would make several heartwarming appearances during the 2003 season.

March 17
Looking as if he could fire a few more screeching fastballs, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan paid a visit to Rangers camp, to the delight of the players.
March 18
Because of the looming war in Iraq and tenuous international conditions, Major League Baseball decided to cancel the three-game series between the A's and Mariners in Tokyo, Japan.

March 19
The Yankees shipped Rondell White to the Padres to clear their crowded outfield. New York got Bubba Trammell in return.

March 21
Atlanta starter Paul Byrd tested his right elbow, a prelude to his injury-plagued first season with the Braves.

March 22
MLB remembered the 10th anniversary of the deaths of Cleveland pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin in a boating accident in Spring Training. In other news, it began as elbow soreness but this was the first sign that Florida's A.J. Burnett's injury could be significant. He was placed on the DL and eventually would require Tommy John surgery. The Devil Rays parted with slugger Greg Vaughn, eating the $9.25 million remaining on his contract, a move showing the Devil Rays were truly ready for a youth movement.

March 23
The Braves faced the Mets, and starter Tom Glavine wore a uniform that didn't say "Atlanta" on the front for the first time in his Major League career.

March 24
The Giants made room in their starting rotation by dealing Livan Hernandez to the Expos for reliever Jim Brower. Arizona left-hander Randy Johnson inked a contract that keeps him as a Diamondback for two more years.

March 25
Cleveland proceeded to batter Atlanta pitching in a 22-0 Spring win that looked more like a Browns win over the Falcons.

March 29
Mike Hampton got off to a slow start by straining his right calf and starting the year on the disabled list.

March 30

The 2003 season began with the world champion Anaheim Angels playing host to the Texas Rangers. The Angels lost, 6-3. The Rangers hit three home runs.
March 31

Opening Day was highlighted by cold weather, and there was no better example than Baltimore, where the Orioles and Indians played an opener delayed by snow flurries.

Gary Washburn is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.