Baseball Today March 31

Baseball Today March 31

Associated Press

Gibbons, still owed $11.9 million, is released by Orioles

Jay Gibbons was released Sunday by the Baltimore Orioles, who lost patience waiting for the oft-injured outfielder to regain the form that enabled him to hit 26 home runs in 2005.

In 16 spring-training games, Gibbons batted .189 with no homers and four runs batted in; he played only 84 games last season. Baltimore owes him $11.9 million for the next two seasons as part of a $21.1-million, four-year contract.

"The decision was essentially down to two players, and we made a baseball decision," Orioles President Andy MacPhail said.

Gibbons, 31, was suspended for 15 days Dec. 6 by Commissioner Bud Selig after a media report that Gibbons had received a shipment of human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball.

On Friday, the commissioner's office and the players' union put the penalties on hold for 10 days to allow for further negotiations over Gibbons' drug agreement.

If a deal is struck, the suspension likely would be dropped.

New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte gave up one hit over six scoreless innings in a minor league game at Tampa, Fla.

Pettitte struck out six and walked one. "I threw 77 pitches, and that's what I needed," Pettitte said. "It's exactly what I wanted to do."

Originally slated to start the Yankees' second game of the regular season, Pettitte has been slowed by back spasms and is scheduled to make his first start Saturday against Tampa Bay.

Pettitte was put on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to March 21.

Atlanta Braves right-hander John Smoltz threw 83 pitches over five innings against minor leaguers in Florida and is on track to make his regular-season debut next weekend.

Braves General Manager Frank Wren said before Sunday's season opener against the Washington Nationals that he got a report that Smoltz threw the ball well and felt great.

Smoltz is beginning the season on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder tightness. He's slated to start Sunday against the New York Mets.

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