2003 March

10thThe Yankees fine P David Wells $100,000 for comments in his autobiography that the team feels tarnishes the club’s image.

Sixteen members of the White Sox want to refuse to take steroid test, but are talked out of it by a few veteran players. By refusing they would register as failing and the players wanted to try to inflate the failure rate. If at least 5% of the players test positive, mandatory testing will continue through 2005.

Damian Costantino of Division III Salve Regina singles against Mount Union to extend his hitting streak to an NCAA-record 59 games. Robin Ventura held the old mark of 58 games in a row.

11thMajor league baseball announces that approximately 1,000 games will be broadcast on the Internet this season.

13thThe Twins sign free agent P Kenny Rogers to a contract.

Former major league C Bob Uecker is picked for the Ford C. Frick Award, and will be inducted into the announcer’s wing of the Hall of Fame in July.

14thThe Pirates sign free agent OF Kenny Lofton to a contract.

18thCommissioner Bud Selig announces that major league baseball will cancel its season-opening series March 25-26 at the Tokyo Dome between the Mariners and A’s because of the war with Iraq. “Given the uncertainty that now exists throughout the world, we believe the safest course of action for the players involved and the many staff personnel who must work the games is to reschedule the opening series,” Selig said. “It would be unfair and terribly unsettling for them to be half a world away.” The games are rescheduled for April 3 and June 30 in Oakland.

19thThe Yankees trade OF Rondell White to the Padres in exchange for OF Bubba Trammell and P Mark Phillips.

21stThe Baltimore Orioles trade 1B Chris Richard to the Colorado Rockies for OF Jack Cust.

24thThe Devil Rays send OF Jason Conti to the Brewers for switch-hitting C Javier Valentin.

The Expos obtain minor leaguer Edwards Guzman and P Livan Hernandez and from the Giants in exchange for P Jim Brower and a player to be named. The trade reunites Livan with his older brother, Orlando, otherwise known as “El Duque.” The brothers last played together on the Cuban National team. A week from now, assault charges against Livan for an incident in Miami where he swung golf clubs at a 65-year-old man will be dropped. He will attend anger management classes and perform community service.

27thOn Ebay, the online auction house, a 1976 World Series ring, given to Reds pitcher Will McEnaney, is sold for $6500.01. It is believed to be the first sale on Ebay of a non-replica WS ring.

28thThe Tigers release 2B Damion Easley, setting a major league record for the most expensive player to be released. He has $14.3 million left on his contract and he breaks the record set earlier in the month by Greg Vaughn, he has $9.3 million left on his deal. Easley will ink a deal in 5 days to play for the Marlins.

The Orioles claim INF Jose Morban off waivers from the Twins and release INFs Jeff Reboulet and John Valentin.

30thThe Texas Rangers, powered by 3 HRs, defeat the World Champion Anaheim Angels, 6-3, to open the 2003 season. Michael Young’s 3-run blast in the 4th inning is the big blow, as Ismael Valdes picks up the win.

31stThe Pirates stroke 3 homers in a 6-run 2nd inning on their way to a 10-1 victory over the Reds in the Opener at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Reggie Sanders, Kenny Lofton, and Jason Kendall homer in the frame for Pittsburgh. Ken Griffey Jr.’s first inning double is the first hit in the new ballpark.

The Cubs pound out 16 hits in defeating the Mets, 15-2, for the most lopsided opening day win since 1951. Corey Patterson has 4 hits, including a pair of HRs, and 7 RBIs to lead the way for Chicago.

The Royals defeat the White Sox, 3-0, as Runelvys Hernandez combines with 2 relievers on the 3-hit shutout. KC manager Tony Pena had flipped a coin to see whether Hernandez or Jeremy Affeldt would receive the honor of making the opening day start.

The Devil Rays score 5 runs in the bottom half of the 9th inning to defeat the Red Sox, 6-4. Carl Crawford’s 2-out, 3-run blast gives manager Lou Piniella a win in his debut as Tampa Bay’s manager. Rocco Baldelli debuts with a single and will run off a batting streak of 13 games, 4 short of the record to start a ML career.

At the SkyDome, Alfonso Soriano pounds a 6th-inning grand slam, off Roy Halladay, as the Yankees defeat the Blue Jays, 8-4, in the Opener. Roger Clemens allows no runs in 6 innings for New York. But it is a costly win for the Bombers as they lose Derek Jeter for 6 weeks after the star is injured in the 3rdinning. Jeter draws a walk and when the Jays overshift for Giambi, Jeter tries to take an extra base on an infield out. He slides into 3B just as catcher Ken Huckaby arrives. Huckaby takes a high throw from 1B Carlos Delgado and when he lands his knee and shin guard hit Jeter’s right shoulder, separating it.  Jeter will miss 39 games.

Runelvys Hernandez wins a coin flip over Jeremy Affeldt to be the Opening Day pitcher for the Royals. Hernandez pitches 6 innings as Kansas City beats the White Sox, 3–0.

At Camden Yards, Ellis Burks’s 3rdinning fly ball gets lost in a snow squall and lands near Oriole RF Jay Gibbons for an RBI single. Omar Vizquel scores from second base for the Indians. Play is stopped for 13 minutes as Orioles manager Mike Hargrove argues unsuccessfully that the run should not count. Both teams score in the 12thinning before the Orioles win it, 6-5, in the 13th.

Hideo Nomo stops Arizona on 4 hits and the Dodgers win, 8-0. Arizona’s Oscar Villarreal makes his ML debut entering the game midbatter in the 8th after Brett Prinz hurts his groin. Villarreal throws one strike to get the strikeout and gets lifted the next inning.