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Baseball springs ahead as training camps open
First manager fired; Kent injury awash in controversy
By Brita Meng Outzen /

The Red Sox named Grady Little as their new manager during a press conference on March 11. (J. Pat Carter/AP)
The exhibition schedule goes into full swing in March as teams prepare for the 2002 regular season, but some of the most interesting action in baseball actually takes place off the field.

There is a mysterious injury to a former MVP and the season's first managerial change. Fans and legislators work to keep baseball in Minnesota, while negotiators for Major League Baseball and the Players' Union work to keep playing baseball.

March 1
A two-run double by Scott Hodges in the sixth helps Montreal to a 5-1 victory over Baltimore, Frank Robinson's first win as manager of the Expos.

March 2
Jason Giambi hits two homers -- one in his first at-bat -- in his Grapefruit League debut for the Yankees.

San Francisco loses Jeff Kent for four to six weeks when the Giants second baseman fractures his wrist "washing his truck."

March 3
Keith Ginter's two-out grand slam in the 10th inning gives the Houston Astros a come-from-behind 12-10 victory over the Yankees.

March 5
Joe Kerrigan becomes the first managerial casualty of 2002 when he is fired by the new owners of the Boston Red Sox immediately after Pedro Martinez's first start of the spring, a game in which the Red Sox ace throws two scoreless innings.

March Multimedia Highlights
March Audio
 March Photos

    Cards photo tops in 2002
A touching moment with Kannon Kile and the St. Louis Cardinals received the honors as the best baseball photo of 2002. View the complete results >
Giambi call garners honors
WCBS announcer John Sterling's description of a mammoth Jason Giambi homer was voted as the best radio call of 2002. See the complete results >

Young Cleveland Indians outfielder Alex Escobar is lost for the 2002 season after an MRI shows he has a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

March 6
Barry Bonds hits his first homer of the spring. The San Francisco slugger also laughs off reports of a feud between him and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, calling it "childish" and "media-manufactured."

Miguel Tejada homers twice as the Oakland Athletics defeat the Diamondbacks, 10-2.

Jim Beattie returns to the Montreal front office as a special assistant to general manager Omar Minaya.

March 7
The "Big Cat" returns to Montreal when the Expos sign Andres Galarraga to a one-year minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Commissioner Bud Selig names Bob DuPuy the president and chief operating officer of Major League Baseball and John McHale, an executive with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the executive vice president of administration.

Major League Baseball asks a Minnesota judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, operators of the Metrodome, that seeks to keep the Minnesota Twins around indefinitely.

March 8
Cubs closer Tom Gordon is sidelined for at least three months after an MRI shows a tear in a muscle behind his right shoulder.

The Seattle Mariners defeat the Giants, 13-8, in a game that features outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and San Francisco outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo, the only two Japan-born position players in Major League Baseball.

March 9
Five players and San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy are ejected after two bench-clearing brawls occur in the first inning of the Padres' 9-4 win over the Anaheim Angels.

March 11
The Red Sox name Indians bench coach Grady Little as the 43rd manager in club history. Listen to the press conference.

The Yankees release outfielder Ruben Rivera amid published reports that Rivera was involved in a clubhouse theft of Derek Jeter's bat and glove, and then sold them for $2,500.

March 12
A Minnesota House committee narrowly approves a stadium bill to pay for a new Twins ballpark with new taxes on newspapers, magazines, bars and restaurants, all subject to state referendum.

The Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds call it a 10-10 tie when both teams run out of pitchers after three hours and nine minutes in the hot Florida sun.

Former Major League outfielder Darryl Strawberry is jailed in Florida for breaking rules at the residential drug treatment center to which he was sentenced for probation violations.

March 13
After more than six hours of debate, the Minnesota State Senate passes a stadium bill backing about $34 million in fees and taxes to pay the yearly mortgage on an outdoor home for the Twins.

The Colorado Rockies sign center fielder Juan Pierre to a four-year, $7.5 million deal.

During a labor contract negotiating session, the players' union rejects a luxury tax proposal made by owners, but continues dialog on other ownership proposals including revenue sharing, competitive balance draft and worldwide amateur draft.

March 14
Kansas City Royals owner David Glass says he is willing to open contract negotiations with first baseman Mike Sweeney without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place.

Rehabbing Oakland A's outfielder Jermaine Dye sees game action for the first time since breaking his left leg with a foul ball during the American League Division Series against the Yankees.

March 15
Twins starter Rick Reed decides to stick in Minnesota, rescinding his trade demand just before the deadline date after which he could have become a free agent.

Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura makes his own proposal for a new Twins ballpark.

March 16
Major League Baseball suspends four players and fines three others for their part in two bench-clearing brawls between the Padres and Angels on March 9.

A controversy between Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Pokey Reese and former Reds teammate Ken Griffey Jr. is put to rest when the two embrace in the outfield during pregame warmups. Reese had made remarks regarding Griffey's leadership skills and preferential treatment.

March 17
The Milwaukee Brewers erupt for 23 hits as they defeat the Mariners, 22-5.

March 19
Phillies reliever Turk Wendell is out of action for four to six weeks with tendinitis in his right elbow.

Giants first baseman J.T. Snow homers in his first three at-bats, leading San Francisco to an 11-6 victory over the White Sox.

March 20
A's designated hitter Scott Hatteberg hits a grand slam and has seven RBIs as Oakland defeats a Giants split-squad team, 13-10.

The Atlanta Braves acquire catcher Henry Blanco from the Brewers in exchange for catcher Paul Bako and right-handed reliever Jose Cabrera.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean addresses the growing doubts regarding Jeff Kent's injury story when mounting evidence points to a motorcycle accident as the source of the second baseman's broken wrist -- not a truck washing.

After missing the entire 2001 season with an elbow injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery, Pirates starter Kris Benson made his first start in 12 months, pitching for Pittsburgh's Class-A affiliate in an exhibition game.

Legendary Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck has brain surgery to try and control the tremors and other symptoms associated with Parkinson's Disease.

March 21
D-Backs first baseman Erubiel Durazo has successful surgery on his fractured right hand. Durazo is expected to be out of action for six weeks.

Yankees left-hander Sterling Hitchcock will start the season on the disabled list, suffering from a strained ligament in his lower back.

Major League Baseball suspends Phillies manager Larry Bowa for one game and fines him as a result of an ejection from a March 9 game against Cleveland.

March 22
The Angels sign starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz to a multiyear contract and name him as the club's fifth starter.

Former Cincinnati starting pitcher Jose Rijo makes the Reds Opening Day staff as a reliever after five elbow surgeries and a six-year layoff.

The New York Mets place left-hander John Franco on the DL with tendinitis in his left elbow. Franco will miss Opening Day for the first time in his Major League career.

Dante Bichette retires from baseball despite doubling in three at-bats and scoring a run in the Los Angeles Dodgers' exhibition game against the Expos.

March 25
A pair of youngsters earn Opening Day nods at shortstop when manager Jimy Williams names rookie Adam Everett the Astros' starting shortstop and Dodgers manager Jim Tracy gives Cesar Izturis the start over incumbent Alex Cora.

The St. Louis Cardinals shut down pitcher Rick Ankiel indefinitely after an MRI reveals an elbow strain and tendinitis.

Red Sox starter John Burkett goes on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, forcing him to miss the start of the season.

Baseball fans in Minnesota rejoice as the Twins clear the first major hurdle to a new ballpark when the Minnesota House passes a stadium bill.

March 26
Commissioner Bud Selig and clubs pledge to baseball fans that there will be no player lockout during the 2002 season. He made the announcement at his first-ever town hall meeting.

March 27
The Expos grant Jose Canseco his request for an unconditional release after he was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa.

Texas Rangers starter Chan Ho Park strains a hamstring in his final spring start.

Players Association executive director Donald Fehr reacts with skepticism to the Commissioner and clubs' pledge that they would not call a lockout, declare an impasse or implement new work rules during the 2002 season.

March 28
Barry Bonds hits his first homer at Pacific Bell Park since last Oct. 7, when he hit No. 73, but the Giants lose to the A's, 8-1, in the first game of the Bay Bridge exhibition series. Jeff Kent, determined to be ready for Opening Day, heads to Arizona to play in Triple-A exhibition games as part of the rehabilitation for his healing wrist.

March 31
In the season's first game, Bartolo Colon became the first Indians pitcher to throw an Opening Day shutout since 1968. Cleveland defeated Anaheim, 6-0, at Edison Field.

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