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Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page D05

Alex Sanchez was released yesterday 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.

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Entering his fourth full season in the majors, the Houston Astros' Roy Oswalt has quietly emerged as one of the best pitchers in the majors. Despite pitching in the shadow of RogerClemens, Oswalt, 27, has maintained his role as the Astros' Opening Day ace for a third straight year.

He's gone 63-27 with a 3.11 ERA since moving up to the majors in May 2001.

"He's a horse," said Astros' Andy Pettitte.

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"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 GM Dave Dombrowski said at spring training in Lakeland, Fla.

Detroit hopes Craig Monroe or Nook Logan will emerge as its top center fielder. Tigers Manager Alan Trammell said Dewayne Wise and Alexis Gomez were also candidates to win the job.

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. . . .

New York Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill will be sidelined for at least a few days because of soreness in his left ribcage.

Meantime, Derek Jeter had three hits and four RBI, leading the Yankees past a Florida Marlins split squad, 11-5.

Tony Womack had two hits in three at-bats and drove in three runs as the Yankees won their fourth straight.

"We've been swinging the bats all right," Manager Joe Torre said. "We've been getting good at-bats."

-- From News Services

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