Smarting Nomar surprised he's still a Red Sox

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 25 2004 12:00 a.m. MST

"I hate steroids. I knew Lyle Alzado," the Chicago Cubs manager said Tuesday, referring to the NFL star who died of cancer after admitting to several years of steroid use.

While Baker said, "I've got my own ideas about guys around the league," he said all players are being tainted.

"It's like McCarthyism or something. They're looking to see who looks like a communist," he said.

Ordonez reported to the White Sox in Tucson, Ariz., and was more worried about batting practice than trade rumors. He is entering the final season of a $29.5 million, three-year deal that will pay him $14 million.

"I was relaxing and waiting for something, but nothing happened," he said of the talk of a deal to Boston. "They trade me, I'll go somewhere else and play hard and do my job. If I stay in Chicago, I got to do the same thing. I'm still here."

Kansas City's Carlos Beltran, also eligible for free agency after this season, reported for what could be his final year with the Royals.

"What is going to influence me coming back is the owner talking to my agent," said Beltran, who will make $9 million this season. "Everything depends on the owner and what he wants to do with the club."

Owner David Glass said he leaves contract negotiations to his son, team president Dan Glass, and general manager Allard Baird.

"If you have a $40 million payroll, you can't have too many $15 million players or you can't have anybody with them," David Glass said.

In other news, Philadelphia closer Billy Wagner will be sidelined for a week with an inflamed left middle finger that caused pain during a workout Tuesday.

Seattle reliever Rafael Soriano will be sidelined for three to four weeks after an MRI exam revealed a strained interior oblique muscle on his left side. Yankees right-hander Jon Lieber will not throw off a mound for at least five to seven days because of an injured right groin.

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