1997 March

3rd  For the negotiating rights to Hideki Irabu the Yankees offer the Padres a choice of one from a list of players: Brian Boehringer, David Weather, Chris Cumberland, Andy Fox, and Matt Luke. Also, one player from a list of five minor leaguers, plus $3 million. The Padres are talking to several other teams beside the Yankees.

5th Nellie Fox, Tommy Lasorda, and former Negro Leaguer Willie Wells are elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee.

9th  Angels’ 2B Randy Velarde tears a ligament in his right elbow while throwing from the outfield in pre-game drills. He will undergo surgery and be out for the year.

21st The pitching-poor Detroit Tigers release pitcher Jason Grimsley. Grimsley posted a 5-7 record with a 6.84 ERA with the California Angels last season, but was 0–3 this spring.

In an exhibition game, the White Sox 3B Robin Ventura dislocates his right ankle and suffers a compound fracture in his lower leg. The injury occurs while trying to protect a bruise on his left calf, he slides home and catches the spikes on his right shoe.  He will be out of action until July 24.

22nd  The Mets, loaded with middle infielders, add two more, acquiring SS Manny Alexander and 3B Scott McClain from Baltimore. The Mets give up hard throwing reliever Hector Ramirez in exchange.

Reds catcher Joe Oliver tears a ligament in his thumb making a tag at home plate, and will need surgery to repair it. Oliver will be out of action at least a month.

25th  In a trade reflecting current baseball economics, the Braves send RF David Justice and CF Marquis Grissom to the Indians for CF Kenny Lofton and reliever Alan Embree. The swap of the two Gold Glove center fielders and the veteran Justice reduces the Braves’ payroll by an estimated 6.8 million dollars. Both players have several years left on their contracts, while Lofton, considered the best leadoff hitter in baseball, is in the last year of his.

The Kansas City Royals release Bob Hamelin, the 1994 AL Rookie of the Year. The 29-year-old Hamelin never lived up to his first year, when he smacked 24 homers in a strike-shortened season. The Tigers will sign Hamelin to a minor-league contract.

26th  The Marlins acquire OF Cliff Floyd from the Expos in exchange for P Dustin Hermanson and OF Joe Orsulak.

29th  In the first game at Turner Field, the Braves beat the Yankees in an exhibition game, 2-0. Turner Field is just a block from the old field, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, and was built as a venue for the 1996 Olympics. The seating capacity for Turner Field is 49,586 after the removal of 35,000 seats.

31st The Angels release Jim Abbott, 2-18 last season with a 7.48 ERA. Abbott did not show much this spring and the Angels eat the final two years of his $7.8M contract. He will eventually sign a minor-league contract with the White Sox.