- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

From combined dispatches

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — For years, anticipation has been a significant part of Chris Gomez’s on-field preparation as a shortstop or second baseman.

This spring, in hopes of winning a role as a reserve infielder with the Baltimore Orioles, Gomez is focusing on reaction.

That’s the difference between playing middle infield and learning how to handle third base, said Gomez, who got a double in his only at-bat in the Orioles’ 5-4 loss to St. Louis yesterday.

“With short and second there are similar perspectives — tracking the ball into the hitting zone and being able to react to the ball before it’s hit,” Gomez explained. “At third, it’s just reaction. You can’t really position yourself too much. You always anticipate, but you can’t move.”

There’s a reason third base is called the hot corner.

“You may not get a ball hit to you for five or six innings, then here comes a one-hop shot,” said Gomez, who played second base yesterday. “You always have to anticipate the ball being hit to you. If you get caught on your heels or daydreaming for even a second, you can get burned.”

Gomez, who has played mostly shortstop during his 12-year major league career, has been a willing student for Orioles bench coach Sam Perlozzo, who works with the team’s infielders.

“He’s an athletic kid, so he can make that transition,” Perlozzo said.

Tigers release Sanchez

DETROIT — Alex Sanchez was released by the Detroit Tigers, five days after the center fielder was reunited with his mother for the first time in 11 years.

Sanchez has frustrated Detroit with his sloppy play in the field in the past, and did again during spring training.

“We’ve had a chance to watch him this spring and his defense was just not up to the level we like,” Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said at spring training in Lakeland, Fla.

Detroit hopes either Craig Monroe or Nook Logan will emerge as its top center fielder.

Last week, Sanchez saw his mother for the first time since 1994. He left Cuba on a raft 11 years ago, leaving his family behind. Last week, Sanchez reunited with his mother and brother in Miami, where he has a house with his wife and twin boys.

Wood, Prior set to throw

MESA, Ariz. — Injured pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior are scheduled to throw today at Chicago Cubs camp.

Wood, who has not pitched since March 9 because of bursitis in his right shoulder and irritation around the rotator-cuff muscles, will throw 20 to 30 pitches from the mound. Prior, sidelined by inflammation around the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, will play catch on flat ground.

Wood is scheduled to start Opening Day April 4 at Arizona. Prior is slated to follow the next day.

Sweeney close to return

MESA, Ariz. — Kansas City slugger Mike Sweeney will rejoin the Royals’ lineup after the first baseman and designated hitter missed five spring training games with a sore back.

“Sweeney’s ready to go,” manager Tony Pena said after the Royals’ 6-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. “We just decided to give him one more day. That way everybody would feel comfortable. But he’s ready to go, and he will be playing [today].”

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