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AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE

Wednesday, February 23, 2005; Page D05

Detroit Tigers reliever Ugueth Urbina reported yesterday, less than a week after his kidnapped mother was rescued in Venezuela after five months in captivity. He is expected to speak to reporters today. . . .

Infielder Placido Polanco took part in the Phillies' first workout, but he'd rather be with another team on Opening Day. Polanco had his best season in 2004, hitting .298 with 17 homers and 55 RBI in 126 games, but the Phillies plan to start Chase Utley at second and use Polanco in a reserve role.

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"It's a situation I can't control," Polanco said. "I don't like to be in this situation. I hate to be in this situation, but I have to live with it." . . .

Milton Bradley reported a day early and predicted he'll be the center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I'm starting and I'm playing," Bradley said. "My thoughts are I'm the center fielder."

Manager Jim Tracy said he had a good idea who will be the starter, but declined to elaborate. A lot will depend on where offseason acquisition J.D. Drew ends up. . . .

Faced with a situation many players dread, Florida Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca tries to keep cool while he waits for a pitch he likes: He's house-hunting.

"It's a little scary picking out a house without my wife," said Lo Duca, whose wife, Sonia, and their infant daughter will arrive March 3. He'll surely find something: He has a new three-year, $18 million contract.

-- From News Services


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