With opening day less than a week way, Mark McGwire left Oakland's spring training camp in Phoenix and flew back home to receive an anti-inflammatory injection in his lower back.
A's officials are hopeful McGwire, whose 52 homers led the major leagues last season, will rejoin the team this weekend. But the persistent nature of the injury raises questions about his status for next Wednesday night's opener against Cleveland."It's a little localized area that's been bothering him," Oakland manager Art Howe said Wednesday."He'll get it looked at and hopefully get it fixed up for this weekend and the season. He's been able to play with it. He just hasn't been able to play free and easy. That's a concern to him and a concern to us."
Meanwhile, Howard Johnson decided he no longer could fight his body and announced his retirement. Johnson, 36, last played in the majors in 1995. He hit just .129 in 31 at-bats this spring with the New York Mets and had one home run and two RBIs.
Todd Van Poppel and Mike Maddux were placed on unconditional release waivers on the last day teams could get rid of players with non-guaranteed contracts and not pay their full salaries.
In Wednesday's games:
Tigers 16, Indians 11
At Lakeland, Fla., David Justice went 1-for-3 with a two-run single in his first game for Cleveland following Tuesday's trade in which Atlanta sent him and Marquis Grissom to the Indians for Kenny Lofton.
Phillies 14, Royals 10
At Haines City, Fla., Wendell Magee hit three home runs and Derrick May hit two. Magee drove in five runs, hitting a three-run homer off Jose Rosado in the second, a solo homer off Rosado in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth off Mitch Williams.
Dodgers 5, Marlins 4
At Vero Beach, Fla., Karim Garcia singled home Tripp Cromer with the winning run in the eighth inning as Los Angeles overcame a 4-0 deficit against Florida.
Red Sox 7, Pirates 2
At Brandenton, Fla., Tim Naehring went 3-for-3 and was credited with a two-run triple when center fielder Jermaine Allensworth slipped chasing his long fly ball.
Twins 16, White Sox 3
At Fort Myers, Fla., Greg Myers hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs as Minnesota had 18 hits. Rookie Todd Walker had four hits, including a solo homer, and Marty Cordova added a two-run drive.
Blue Jays 13, Cardinals 3
At Dunedin, Fla., Shawn Green homered twice and drove in five runs in a 20-hit attack. Green also singled twice and scored four runs.
Orioles 13, Mets 2
At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Willie Otanez hit two home runs and Rafael Palmeiro and newly acquired Tim Laker each hit one. Palmeiro, who added a sacrifice fly, finished with four RBIs.
Yankees 14, Rangers 7
At Port Charlotte, Fla., Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada drove in three runs each. Texas starter Bobby Witt allowed seven runs and six hits in three innings.
Reds 6, Astros 3
At Kissimmee, Fla., Willie Greene went 2-for-5 with a homer. His leadoff drive in the second was followed by RBI singles by Eddie Taubensee and Deion Sanders.
Expos 2, Braves 0
At West Palm Beach, Fla., Atlanta lost its final spring home game in West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium.
Mariners 6, Angels 2
At Peoria, Ariz., Ken Griffey Jr. hit his third home run of the spring and Alex Rodriguez hit his fourth.
Athletics 10, Brewers 1
At Phoenix, Mike Mohler allowed six hits in six shutout innings and Tony Batista went 3-for-3, including a two-run homer.
Padres 14, Rockies 7
At Tucson, Ariz., Wally Joyner and Ken Caminiti each hit two-run homers in the first inning off Roger Bailey.
Cubs 6, Giants 3
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Ozzie Timmons hit a pinch three-run double in the 10th.