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Piazza's appeal means he may play in opener

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets catcher Mike Piazza had the players' association appeal his five-game suspension Friday, a move that likely makes him available for New York's opener against the Chicago Cubs on March 31.

Because of the appeal, no discipline can be imposed until after a hearing before Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

"Because of the schedules of the participants in the hearing, it's already clear that it can't be before opening day," said Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official.

Piazza charged the mound March 12 after he was hit by a pitch from the Los Angeles Dodgers' Guillermo Mota. Piazza later went into the Dodgers' clubhouse in search of Mota.

Chicago Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca will miss the first month of the season after injuring a hamstring this week.

Alfonseca has a moderate-to-severe strain of his right hamstring, an injury sustained Tuesday when he slipped and fell while fielding a ground ball off the bat of Seattle's Randy Winn.

"Nobody can predict whether it's the first week of May or the second, but it looks like it's going to be probably at least five, six weeks before he can be in a game," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday in Mesa, Ariz.

In games Friday:

PIRATES 6, YANKEES 4: At Bradenton, Fla., Roger Clemens allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking none. Clemens came back after a third-inning rain delay and in the fifth gave up Pokey Reese's two-run homer and Craig Wilson's two-run double.

EXPOS 7, MARLINS 4: At Jupiter, Fla., Brad Penny gave up five runs and 11 hits in five innings. Penny was suspended for five games for his part in a brawl March 10 that began when he hit Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero. The Expos' outfielder didn't make the trip for Friday's game. Montreal ace Javier Vasquez allowed two runs and two hits, leaving after the third because of soreness in his right leg.

ASTROS 3, METS 1: At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Tim Redding allowed one hit — an infield single by Mike Piazza — in five shutout innings. In the first, Redding escaped a jam by striking out Piazza and Mo Vaughn after four-pitch walks to Timo Perez and Cliff Floyd. Tom Glavine, who gave up 10 runs Sunday in Mexico City, allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

ORIOLES 4, DEVIL RAYS 2: At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Steve Parris earned a spot in Tampa Bay's starting rotation, giving up four hits in five scoreless innings. Parris left with a 1-0 lead, but Geronimo Gil and B.J. Surhoff hit solo homers off Gerardo Garcia in the sixth. After the Devil Rays drew even on an RBI groundout by Jorge Fabregas in the seventh, Deivi Cruz hit a two-run shot off Garcia in the bottom half.

CARDINALS 4, DODGERS 4: At Vero Beach, Fla., Matt Morris allowed three runs in six innings, and hit an RBI single off Hideo Nomo in the 10-inning tie. Nomo gave up two runs in five innings a day after being selected to start the Dodgers' season opener March 31 at Arizona. Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer and Fred McGriff added a solo shot against Morris, who gave up five hits. Nomo allowed seven hits.

TWINS 4, BLUE JAYS 3: At Dunedin, Fla., Brad Radke allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. Toronto's Doug Linton allowed one hit in four shutout innings with three strikeouts. In his last three appearances, Linton has allowed three runs in 10 innings.

RANGERS 9, BREWERS 6: At Phoenix, Mark Teixeira went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer off Ben Sheets. It was Teixeira's sixth home run of spring training. Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, recovering from a herniated small disc in his neck, took part in limited drills. He ran, fielded groundballs and hit off a tee.

CUBS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 1: At Tucson, Ariz., Mark Bellhorn hit a three-run homer off Randy Johnson, and Shawn Estes held Arizona to three hits over six innings. Johnson struck out seven in six innings.

MARINERS 7, PADRES 5: At Peoria, Ariz., Rafael Soriano, competing for a spot in Seattle's bullpen, allowed Sean Burroughs' two-run single and RBI singles by Xavier Nady and Gary Bennett in the first, then pitched four scoreless innings. Seattle broke out of a 5-5 tie in the eighth on Rob Gandolfo's RBI single and Adrian Myers' sacrifice fly off Brandon Villafuerte, the leading candidate to be San Diego's closer in the absence of injured Trevor Hoffman.

GIANTS 6, ROCKIES 3: At Tucson, Jason Schmidt took a no-hitter into the fifth, and Pedro Feliz homered and drove in three runs. Schmidt didn't allow a hit until Jose Hernandez led off the fifth with a bloop double. Colorado's Jason Jennings allowed two runs in the second on consecutive singles by Feliz and Yorvit Torrealba, then didn't give up another hit until he was chased in the sixth by Jason Ellison's run-scoring double.

WHITE SOX 5, ANGELS 0: At Tempe, Ariz., Josh Stewart, competing for a spot in the starting rotation, allowed five hits in five innings. Chris Bootcheck allowed eight hits and all five runs in 3 1/3innings.

ROYALS 7, ATHLETICS 0: At Surprise, Ariz., Kris Wilson allowed four hits over three innings in his first start of spring training. Rookie Ken Harvey hit a two-run homer in the fourth off loser John Halama. Jarrod Patterson, trying to win a spot as a reserve infielder, hit a pinch homer in the seventh off Ricardo Rincon.

TIGERS 4, BRAVES 2: At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta ace Greg Maddux gave up seven hits and four runs in five innings. Brandon Inge drove in two runs for the Tigers with a single in the second.