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BASEBALL BRIEFS

Back woes for Gonzalez

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Texas Rangers didn't just sign Billy Hatcher for depth. They may need him on the opening day roster if Juan Gonzalez's back keeps acting up.

Gonzalez went to the plate only four times this spring before having to return to Texas on Monday to be checked out by team doctors. Rangers general manager Doug Melvin said Gonzalez will not be going back to Florida.

All-Star managers named

DALLAS - The managers of the teams with the best records in the National and American leagues last year will be the managers in this summer's All-Star Game.

Felipe Alou of Montreal and Buck Showalter of the New York Yankees have been chosen by major league officials, The Dallas Morning News reported in today's editions.

The game traditionally uses the managers of the previous year's World Series, but because the strike wiped out last year's Fall Classic, major league officials were left with the choice.

Umps, owners still apart

NEW YORK - Umpires made a new proposal, but management negotiator Robert Kheel said there was little chance for a deal by opening day.

Umpires, who make from $60,000 to $175,000 per season, asked for a 40 percent raise, down from 53 percent in their previous proposal and 60 percent in their initial plan.

Owners, who have locked out the umpires since Jan. 1, offered a 10 percent increase Thursday, up from a cost-of-living increase in their previous proposal. Owners have been using replacement umpires during spring training and intend to use them during the regular season if there isn't an agreement.

Reds sign Santiago

PLANT CITY, Fla. - Free agent catcher Beninto Santiago agreed to a one-year contract with Cincinnati. Santiago, 30, who made $3.8 million last year with Florida, agreed to a $550,000 base salary and incentives that could roughly double his 1995 pay. He hit .273 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs last year with a league-high 66 assists.

Maddux may be available

ATLANTA - Three-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux, who has been under quarantine with chicken pox, may be available after all for the Atlanta Braves' opener April 26 against San Francisco.

Maddux threw on one of the back fields at the club's spring training camp at West Palm Beach on Monday in a 15-minute workout.