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SPRING TRAINING Sexson explains citation for DUI at camp opener



Published: Sat, February 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Mariners' star pleaded not-guilty to the charge near his hometown.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Richie Sexson checked into the Seattle Mariners' spring training camp two days early Saturday, knowing he'd have to explain a Feb. 5 drunken driving citation.

"It's an unfortunate situation," said Sexson, who has pleaded not guilty. "I'm disappointed, No. 1 in myself. You want to apologize to every fan you've ever had, every fan you're going to have or fans you're going to lose."

Sexson, who signed a $50 million, four-year contract, was stopped a quarter-mile from his home near Vancouver, Wash. That day, he had been at his brother's home, where he had two beers with a chicken dinner.

Returning home, however, a Clark County sheriff's deputy stopped Sexson after estimating his speed at 50 mph in a 35-mph zone, though Sexson ultimately wasn't cited for speeding.

The deputy smelled a "strong odor of intoxicants," according to a sheriff's report, and noticed empty beer bottles in the vehicle. Sexson said the bottles were left a week earlier after another visit to his brother's home.

He received a citation for suspicion of DUI, Sexson said, because he refused to take a portable breath test at the scene.

"If you refuse a Breathalyzer [test] in the field, automatically they can charge you with driving under the influence," Sexson said.

Sexson said he was transported to the sheriff's office, taking two breath tests about 45 minutes later. Both tests registered under Washington's legal threshold for intoxication.

Renteria in camp

At Fort Myers, Fla., Edgar Renteria spent his first day at Boston's camp. The new Red Sox shortstop made the last out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, when he grounded to pitcher Keith Foulke and ended Boston's four-game sweep.

Renteria, who replaced Orlando Cabrera, plans to be on hand when his new teammates get their championship rings.

"I'm going to go through the line for mine, too, and then I'll say, 'Where's my ring?' " Renteria said, apparently joking.

Not throwing yet

At Vero Beach, Fla., pitcher Brad Penny didn't throw during the Los Angeles Dodgers' first workout. Penny, sustained a rare nerve injury to his right biceps that sidelined him late last season, met with team staff to plan his schedule.

"We are shooting for a bullpen session for Brad sometime early to midweek," manager Jim Tracy said.

Penny probably would have been ready to throw off the mound had he not spent the last two weeks fighting the flu.

"I'll be ready for the season by April," he said. "I'm excited about it."

Burnett warns fans

At Jupiter, Fla., Florida Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett was about to begin his first bullpen session of spring training when he shouted a friendly warning to fans standing behind the 8-foot-high backstop.

"Heads up," he said. "Last year I nearly crushed somebody. You guys look out."

Unlike a year ago, when Burnett hit a female spectator on the shoulder with an errant practice pitch, he threw for 10 minutes without sailing a single fastball over the fence.

Manager Jack McKeon emerged from the clubhouse in the morning to begin his 57th year in professional baseball and was greeted by a phalanx of photographers.

"Get my good side, please," he said.

Right-hander Juan Cruz didn't report to the Athletics on Saturday with the rest of the pitchers and catchers. The team said he was taking a few extra days in his native Dominican Republic and would be in camp Monday.




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