Dipoto may miss season

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The Independent Online

Jerry Dipoto began the week as the front-runner to be Colorado's closer. Now he's out at least four weeks and could miss the entire season because of a bulging disc below his neck.

Dipoto, a right-hander, had been pitching with pain in his left shoulder, and Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd sent him to have a magnetic resonance imaging test to determine the cause. The results showed a C-6 bulging disc just below Dipoto's neck.

"I feel terrible for Jerry. I really do," O'Dowd said on Friday. "No one represents the fabric of this club as much as Jerry. At the same time, I'm tremendously excited about the opportunity it presents some of our people if they take advantage of it."

Houston pitcher Shane Reynolds has two bulging discs in his lower back, but the ailments are not expected to affect the Astros pitcher.

Reynolds, who turns 33 next week, has been experiencing lower back pain throughout spring training and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Thursday.

The MRI showed the two bulging discs, one of which Reynolds said he has known about for 10 years.

"These will be treated with medication and rehab," Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said.

Reynolds was 16-14 for Houston last year and has been the Astros' opening-day pitcher the past four years.

Meanwhile, former big league infielders Archi Cianfrocco and Carlos Garcia, who had signed minor league contracts with the Anaheim Angels, were released.

Cianfrocco, 33, hit .217 in nine spring training games, while Garcia, 32, was hitless in 14 at-bats in 10 games.

In Vero Beach, Florida, Carlos Perez finally showed signs of turning his pitching around.

Trying to rebound from a horrendous season and coming off two awful spring outings, Perez pitched four solid innings during the Los Angeles Dodgers' 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Making his first appearance since being arrested last weekend and charged with drunken driving, Perez allowed three runs - two earned - and struck out five before being relieved by Orel Hershiser, who pitched four scoreless innings.

Perez, who entered with a 14.40 spring ERA, blanked the Cardinals for three innings before allowing a two-run homer in the fourth to Ray Lankford.

"I know things are going to change during the year, for sure," he said. "Just wait until April comes. I can't wait. I'm hungry."

Other games:

Braves 9, Yankees 5 At Kissimmee, Florida, Walt Weiss had a two-run double and two-run triple, and Brian Jordan went 2-for-3 with two runs

Indians 10, Phillies 5 At Clearwater, Florida, winner Bartolo Colon allowed his first earned runs of the spring, giving up four runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings. Paul Byrd gave up a grand slam to Mark Whiten and a three-run homer to Jim Thome.

Pirates 2, Twins 1 At Bradenton, Florida, Jason Kendall went 3-for-4 with his first home run of the spring and Pete Schourek gave up one run - unearned - and two hits in four innings.

Royals 1, Astros 0 At Haines City, Florida, Mac Suzuki combined with two relievers on a five-hitter, allowing three hits in 4 1-3 innings. Carlos Febles had an RBI grounder in the third.

Red Sox 6, Reds 3 At Fort Myers, Florida, Brian Daubach went 3-for-3, Trot Nixon hit a two-run triple and Boston scored five runs in five innings off Ron Villone.

Rangers 13, Orioles 8 At Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kelly Dransfeldt hit a grand slam and Texas overcame two homers by Delino DeShields. Baltimore made four errors.

Blue Jays 8, Devil Rays 1 At Dunedin, Florida, rookie Chris Woodward, trying to make Toronto's opening-day roster, went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and a steal.

Tigers 2, Mets 1 At Port St. Lucie, Florida, Hideo Nomo struck out five in five innings, allowing only an unearned run and four hits.

Expos 4, Marlins 1 At Jupiter, Florida, Carl Pavano allowed three hits in five innings and struck out five.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3 At Tucson, Arizona, Omar Daal gave up three hits in five innings, and Damian Miller homered.

Padres 9, Giants 7 At Peoria, Arizona, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a tiebreaking, two-run bloop double in the eighth inning, a ball lost in the sun by shortstop Wilson Delgado and second baseman Felipe Crespo.

Brewers 8, Angels 3 At Phoenix, emergency starter Mike Busby pitched five hitless innings, and Geoff Jenkins hit a run-scoring triple and a solo homer.

White Sox 12, Cubs 3 At Tucson, Arizona, Paul Konerko and Greg Norton hit two home runs each, and Ray Durham went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Mariners 9, Athletics 5 At Phoenix, Willie Bloomquist had three hits and three RBIs, and Jay Buhner drove in two runs to stop Oakland's nine-game spring winning streak.

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