BENITEZ APOLOGIZES: Armando Benitez apologized to his Baltimore teammates and sent an apology to New York first baseman Tino Martinez, the player Benitez hit with a pitch earlier this week that triggered an ugly brawl between the Orioles and Yankees.

Hispanic groups, meanwhile, are calling for an apology from Orioles general manager Pat Gillick for saying Latin Americans are more emotional than North Americans. Gillick made the comments to a reporter while discussing the beanball incident.The American League suspended Benitez for eight games for throwing at Martinez and suspended four others for their involvement in Tuesday's benches-clearing fight. Benitez continues to insist Martinez was hit accidentally.

Nevertheless, Benitez addressed his teammates in the clubhouse prior to Friday night's game at Oakland, telling them he felt he had disappointed them and he was sorry.

"I feel like it's all my fault," Benitez told reporters. "I appreciate all the guys talking to me, saying, `It's not your fault. There's nothing you can do about it. You've got to forget this and help the team."'

HATFIELD DIES AT 74: Fred Hatfield, a former major leaguer who coached baseball at Florida State in the 1960s, has died of cancer. He was 74.

Hatfield, an infielder who played for five major league teams from 1950-58, died Friday. He had a career batting average of .242.

"Fred was a great baseball man, and he was a fun guy to be around," said Dave Miller, director of minor league operations for the Detroit Tigers. "He had a full life, you can bet."

After his playing career ended, Hatfield coached in the big leagues for more than 25 years and also served as a minor league manager and scout.

He was head coach at Florida State from 1964 to 1968.

"He was a player's manager," said Jeff Hogan, who played for Hatfield at FSU and in the Tigers' minor league organization. "I thought he was just awesome."

Hatfield's former players plan to erect a plaque in his honor at FSU's Dick Howser stadium. His funeral is scheduled for Sunday at Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley, of Tallahassee, four sons, four grandsons and three granddaughters.