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Pirates Release Lopez

Thursday, March 24, 2005; Page D04

Right-hander Albie Lopez pulled out of the running for a spot on Pittsburgh's pitching staff by leaving camp in Bradenton, Fla., yesterday and was subsequently released.

Lopez allowed one run and six hits in seven innings in three exhibition games, but hadn't pitched since March 11 because of a right calf injury.

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Luke Scott homered and had four RBI, and Houston had 17 hits, including Jeff Bagwell's first homer, in a 14-8 win over Philadelphia. The Astros struggled to score earlier this spring, but have 29 hits and 22 runs the past two games.

"We've been begging for some offense like this, so ask and ye shall receive," Manager Phil Garner said. "It's really good to see us get the bats going like this."

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Manager Lloyd McClendon said earlier this week that Lopez, 33, was out of the running for the No. 5 spot in the rotation because of his inactivity. Lopez told the Pirates he wasn't interested in going to Class AAA Indianapolis. . . .

Eric Gagne looked more comfortable in his second outing of the spring, giving up one hit and striking out two in one scoreless inning of Los Angeles' 3-2 win over Tampa Bay in Vero Beach, Fla. "It was a lot better. I found my comfort zone. I landed more correctly," Gagne said.

On Monday, Gagne showed obvious discomfort in his left knee, which he sprained on Feb. 24. The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner did not limp or hop at the end of his delivery in his second outing. Gagne said there is no question he will be ready for the season opener April 5 in San Francisco. . . .

Terry Mulholland's first outing of spring training went better than expected. The 42-year-old left-hander threw one scoreless inning in relief of Kyle Lohse in Minnesota's 2-0, rain-shortened victory over Toronto in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mulholland has been slow in his recovery from offseason elbow surgery and had been limited to bullpen sessions and one live batting practice prior to yesterday.

-- From News Services


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