Langston decides to retire after bad outing

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The Independent Online

Mark Langston had a bad game for the final time.

The four-time All-Star allowed four runs in the seventh inning of the Cleveland Indians' 10-9 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, giving up a three-run homer to Mike Sweeney.

Langston then borrowed a cell phone from teammate Chuck Finley and called his wife to tell her he is retiring after 16 seasons in the major leagues.

"It's a relief from the standpoint I know I gave it my all, but the sadness is leaving what you love," said Langston, who allowed 12 earned runs in nine innings during six appearances this spring.

"I love going out and competing. Physically, I feel good. I pushed it all the way to the end. It just didn't work out between the white lines."

A seven-time Gold Glove, Langston finished with a 179-158 record and 3.97 ERA in 16 seasons with Seattle, Montreal, California-Anaheim, San Diego and Cleveland.

If that wasn't enough, Mike Sweeney homered twice and drove in five runs for Kansas City, but also committed a pair of first-inning errors at first base in the game at Winter Haven, Florida.

Sandy Alomar, a six-time All-Star, was struck on the top of the head by Carlos Beltran's backswing in the fifth, but sustained only a cut.

Kansas City outfielder Todd Dunwoody badly sprained his right ankle while trying for a diving catch of Roberto Alomar's fly to shallow center in the fifth.

In Caracas, Venezuela, John Rocker was booed when he waved his cap to the crowd before the Atlanta Braves' 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay in the finale of a two-game series.

"I don't blame them," the controversial reliever said. "I said many foolish things, and it is fair that a lot of people are mad at me."

Rocker, suspended for the first two weeks of the season for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in a magazine interview, was visibly affected by the crowd's disdain.

When the crowd booed, he lowered his gaze and put his cap back on. Still, he was taking the reaction in stride.

When four enthusiastic children approached him requesting autographs on their baseballs, Rocker said, "Things like this encourage me."

Rocker said his performance Saturday, when he allowed five of six batters to reach base and allowed three of Tampa Bay's five runs, was not caused by the booing. He said he is having trouble with his grip two outings into the spring.

In Mesa, Arizona, Kerry Wood's reconstructed right elbow was given an OK by Dr. Michael Schafer. On Saturday, Wood started for the first time since reconstructive elbow surgery last April, giving up one hit in one inning against a Chicago White Sox split squad.

"He said keep going in the right direction," Wood said.

In other games:

Mets 3, Marlins 2 At Melbourne, Florida, Joe McEwing, acquired Saturday from St. Louis for Jesse Orosco, led off the game with a single and later scored on Benny Agbayani's hit. Garth Brooks finished spring training 0-for-17, leaving him with an .026 career spring average. Brooks was 1-for-22 (.045) last spring with the San Diego Padres.

Cardinals 2, Astros 1 At Jupiter, Florida, Rick Ankiel struck out five - three looking - while allowing two hits in five shutout innings of a game shortened to six innings by rain.

Phillies 5, Rangers 4 At Clearwater, Flordia, Randy Wolf allowed one run and one hit in 5 2-3 innings. David Segui, acquired from Toronto last week, was 0-for-3 in his first game with Texas.

Tigers 5, Pirates 4 At Bradenton, Florida, C.J. Nitkowski allowed one hit in five scoreless innings, and Tilson Brito hit a two-run homer for Detroit.

Blue Jays 3, Twins 2 At Fort Myers, Florida, Brad Fullmer had a go-ahead, two-run single - his first hit for Toronto since the three-way trade with Texas and Montreal. Corey Koskieed to 5 1/2 innings because of rain.

Reds 3, Yankees 1 At Tampa, Florida, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his fifth homer and Pete Harnisch allowed one run in six innings as New York lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Expos 9, Dodgers 5 At Vero Beach, Florida, Charlie O'Brien hit a three-run homer in a game played in steady rain.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants (ss) 4 At Tucson, Arizona, Lenny Harris threw out the potential go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, then singled and scored the winning run in the bottom half.

Giants (ss) 6, Mariners (ss) 5 At Peoria, Arizona, Mike Cameron robbed J.T. Snow of a possible double in the third inning and saved a run when he made a leaping catch against the fence while fully extended.

Padres (ss) 8, Mariners (ss) 7 At Yuma, Arizona, Ruben Rivera was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Sean Burroughs doubled twice.

Cubs 8, Rockies 6 At Mesa, Glenallen Hill scored one of Chicago's three runs in the eighth inning.

Athletics 4, Brewers 1 At Phoenix, John Jaha homered and drove in three runs, and Jason Giambi hit his first home run of the spring as the A's improved to a major league best 13-3, winning 11 of their last 13 games.

White Sox 16, Angels 3 At Tempe, Arizona, Greg Norton was 4-for-6 with a homer, double and four RBIs, and Paul Konerko was 2-for-3 with a home run.

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