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Padres ship Reed to Detroit

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The San Diego Padres made their decision about second base on Saturday by trading incumbent Jody Reed to the Detroit Tigers. That assures that newcomer Quilvio Veras will be the starter.

Reed, the Padres' starting second baseman the last two seasons, is 34 and Veras, obtained from the Florida Marlins, is 25. Reed had a good spring, hitting .323 with two home runs in 31 at-bats, but was still dealt for two minor leaguers."Obviously, this isn't the scenario I'd prefer, but baseball's a game where things change and you've got to go with it," said Reed, who will back up Damion Easley in Detroit.

A 10-year veteran, Reed hit .244 in 146 games last season.

The Padres received 21-year-old Class A outfielder Mike Darr and 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Matt Skrmetta from the Tigers. Both will be sent to the minors.

The New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles also made a deal, the Mets obtaining shortstop Manny Alexander because they're concerned about incumbent Rey Ordonez' sore shoulder.

The backup last year to ironman Cal Ripken Jr., Alexander batted only .103 in 54 games but is considered a strong defensive shortstop. The Mets also obtained infielder Scott McClain in the deal that sent minor-league pitcher Hector Ramirez to Baltimore.

When the Orioles decided to move Ripken to third base last July, Alexander had a one-week trial as the starting shortstop. In six games, he struck out 10 times and made two errors. The experiment ended.

This year, the Orioles signed free agent shortstop Mike Bordick and moved Ripken back to third.

McClain and Alexander join an already crowded Mets infield, which includes Butch Huskey and Edgardo Alfonzo, battling for third base, and backups Tim Bogar and Alvaro Espinoza.

Reds

Catcher Joe Oliver sprained his left thumb while making a tag Saturday during Cincinnati's 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Yankees

Manager Joe Torre selected Wade Boggs as his starting third baseman over Charlie Hayes after the five-time American League batting champion hit .421 with two homers and eight RBIs this string.

Hayes is hitting .226.

Torre could announce his starting left-fielder as soon as Sunday. Darryl Strawberry and Tim Raines are battling for the spot.

Phillies

Less than a week after negotiations on a contract extension seemingly broke down, the Philadelphia Phillies still are trying to sign ace right-hander Curt Schilling.

The key now is whether an insurance company will fully cover Schilling, who had major right shoulder surgery in August 1995.