The regular season hasn't even started, but the San Francisco Giants' medical staff is already busy.
The Giants broke camp Thursday and headed home for the Bay Bridge Series with Oakland, but not before putting shortstop Jose Uribe and pitcher Kelly Downs on the 15-day disabled list.Uribe, who was being pushed by rookie Mike Benjamin for the starting shortstop job, has a sore right heel. Downs, a right-hander who was battling for a spot in the starting rotation, has an infected blister on his right foot.
"He feels that if he played on it every day, he could aggravate it and he might be out more than 15 or 20 days," Craig said of Uribe's injury. "With Kelly, he's got a big bruise, there's some infection in there, and (doctors) said he'd be out at least a week."
Craig said he had remained undecided about his starting shortstop until Uribe's injury made his mind up for him.
"Benjamin will be the shortstop. The pitchers - there's still a couple of things I've got to decide on that," he said.
Benjamin finished the spring hitting .308 in 15 exhibition games. Uribe, 31, batted only .143 in 16 games.
Downs, Rick Reuschel, Don Robinson and Mike LaCoss were competing for the two remaining spots in the pitching rotation.
With opening day set for Monday, teams continued paring their rosters to the 25-man limit.
Cleveland claimed catcher Eddie Taubensee off waivers from the Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia optioned second baseman Mickey Morandini to Scranton-Wilkes-Barre of the International League.
Pittsburgh sent pitcher Mark Huismann and first baseman-outfielder Orlando Merced to Buffalo of the American Association and released pitchers Doug Bair, Joel Davis, Joe Lazor and Joe Pacholec; catcher Tom Nieto and first basemen Jeff Osborne and Junior Vizcaino.
The New York Yankees sent left-hander Steve Howe, attempting a comeback after several bouts with substance abuse and injuries, to Columbus of the Class AAA International League. But manager Stump Merrill indicated Howe, 33, could be back in the Bronx soon.
Sixteen players passed unclaimed through unconditional release waivers and became free agents. Among them were Mike Aldrete, Steve Balboni, Stan Jefferson, Terry Puhl, Calvin Schiraldi and Andres Thomas.
Montreal lost newly acquired outfielder Darren Reed, who broke his left forearm when hit by a pitch from Mets reliever Alejandro Pena in a game that was later rained out. The Mets traded Reed, 25, to the Expos on Tuesday for two minor leaguers. He had hit .300 for New York this spring, but the Mets did not have room for him on their roster.
In other developments:
Indians 11, Brewers 7
At Chandler, Ariz., Albert Belle hit his ninth and 10th homers of the spring as Cleveland pounded Milwaukee in their Arizona exhibition finale. Belle's two-run homer in the fourth followed a run-scoring triple by Carlos Baerga. Belle hit a solo homer in the eighth off Julio Machado.
Twins 10, Rangers 3
At Fort Myers, Fla., Jack Morris pitched seven strong innings in his final start before opening day as Minnesota defeated Texas. Morris allowed two runs on six hits - four of them singles - and struck out six to finish the spring 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA.
Pirates 2, Red Sox 1
At Bradenton, Fla., Bob Walk and three relievers held Boston to two hits and Gary Varsho drove in both Pittsburgh runs.
Astros 5, Reds 4
At Plant City, Fla., Javier Ortiz and Mark Davidson each had a pair of hits and drove in a run as Houston beat Cincinnati. Jimmy Jones (3-0), a non-roster player who has earned a spot as a fifth starter, got the win and lowered his spring ERA to 0.93.
Blue Jays 2, Royals 1
At Haines City, Fla., rookie Mark Whiten singled home John Olerud with the winning run in the top of the ninth for Toronto, snapping Kansas City's six-game winning streak.
White Sox 4, Cardinals 2
At St. Petersburg, Fla., St. Louis center fielder Ray Lankford sprained his wrist in the Cardinals' 4-2 loss to the White Sox.
Phillies 11, Tigers 7
At Clearwater, Fla., Chuck McElroy and Wes Chamberlain doubled to key a six-run sixth inning for Philadelphia. Travis Fryman had four hits for the Tigers.
Orioles 3, Yankees 2
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Craig Worthington drove in all three runs to support a strong seven-inning effort by Jose Mesa as Baltimore edged New York. Worthington had a two-run homer and a run-scoring groundout.
Mariners 7, Cubs 2
At Mesa, Ariz., Randy Johnson pitched six solid innings in his final spring tuneup for Seattle. With a sellout crowd of 8,973, the Cubs broke their own major league record for spring training attendance with a total of 131,841 fans. They had set the mark in 1988 with 130,584.