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SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 1998 3C THE PALM BEACH POST Baseball llace wins pole at Food City IHlappsf fi sm rdoonairjf he The Associated Press BRISTOL, Tenn. Winston Cup points leader Rusty .Wallace won the pole Friday for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Former Blue Jays slugger Carter happy to be one of the gang on star-studded Orioles. By Paul Pedersen Special to the Palm Beach Post JUPITER The Baltimore Orioles, already loaded with offensive stars such as Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro, Bradv Auto racing It was the first pole of the rejects offer, wants free agency Palm Beach Post Wire Services FORT MYERS Rejecting the latest contract offer from the Red Sox, first baseman Mo Vaughn said Friday for the first time he is planning to file for free' agency after the season. "There will be no deal before open-' ing day," he said after hitting his major league-best 10th homer of the spring." "You owe it to yourself, if it gets to that, to see what's out there. " . The former AL MVP was offered a $20.4 million, two-year extension Friday and immediately rejected the proposal.! Vaughn said there will be no more dia-! logue with Boston until after the season.; "Everybody knows that Mo pre-' ferred to stay," said his agent Tom Re-; ich. "It's safe to say that there's no basis whatsoever to find a common ground af this point." Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez, who' was given a $75 million, six-year deal in the off-season, said the team would suf year for Wallace, who is the f 'W . 1 Y ( ? L ionly driver on the circuit with !top-five finishes in the first five races and is the only one to 'complete every possible lap. J "I feel good about it. Let's jrock and roll," said Wallace, who has six career victories on Bristol's .533-mile, high-jbanked oval. I Wallace turned a fast lap of ,124.275 mph, giving Ford's !new Taurus its fourth pole of the year. Hendrick Motor-Isports teammates Jeff Gordon jand Terry Labonte, both driv-ing Monte Carlos, were 'second- and third-fastest Gor-Idon turned a 123.762 and La-Ibonte had a 123.539. Dale Earnhardt failed to make the field for Sunday's race. McLarens cruise in Brazilian GP practice: McLaren drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard had the two fastest times in practice in Sao Paulo. Hakkinen covered one Pap around the 2.687-mile Jose jCarlos Pace at an average speed of 119.96 mph. The Finnish was 0.226 seconds Anderson and Sandy Alomar, picked up another in December when they signed veteran Joe Carter. They welcomed me with open arms," said Carter, who played the previous seven seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. The first day I walked into camp, the only thing different was the color of the uniform. It definitely hasn't been difficult getting acclimated to this ball club because I've played against these guys for 13-plus years and with them in numerous All-Star games and different other events in the offseason." The Baltimore pitching staff was especially pleased with the acquisition because Carter leads all active players in home runs (33) against the Orioles. Despite two World Series championship rings (1992, '93), Carter was brought to Baltimore for his production, not necessarily his experience. This team has its leader (Ripken) already," said Carter, who went l-for-4 with a double in the Orioles' 4-0 loss to the Montreal Expos on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium. "Mainly, they needed to address hitting against left-handers. Hopefully, I can add to some of that." Carter, Toronto's all-time home-run leader, is just the 12th player to have 12 consecutive 20-plus home run seasons. His 378 career home runs are second among active players to Mark McGwire's 387. He is third among active players, behind teammates Ripken and Harold Baines, with 1,382 career RBI. Carter has 2,083 hits in 2,063 games during his 15-year major-league career. The 38-year-old Carter will be mostly a designated hitter this year. "Before, I didn't want to DH. But I can't play the field every day anymore," Carter said. "I know that, teams know that, so I've come to accept it There will be times I play JENNIFER PODISStaff Photographer First-year Oriole Joe Carter singles in Friday's game vs. Montreal. aster than Coulthard. Budweiser 500 qualifying fer without him. "I don't think Mo's going anywhere. He's got to be here," Martinez said. "He-loves this town. He's a diehard Boston Red Sox. I don't see him leaving. I hope he stays here at least through the end of his career." U Chicago White Sox: The team was-still uncertain when Wilfredo Cordero would report to their minor-league spring training complex, after his estranged wife gave birth to a baby boy. Cordero's wife gave birth to the couple's son on Thursday in Puerto Rico. There: was a problem with one of the infant's hands that required minor surgery. - - New York Yankees: Hideki Irabu had a problem-free 15-minute workout in the bullpen and was cleared to start an exhibition game next week. League news: Teams notified players Friday this may be the final year of the designated hitter, prompting an angry response from the players' association. Management negotiator Randy Levine emphasized owners have not made a decision on the DH, which has been used by the American League since 1973. Levine said owners sent the notification Friday only because baseball's labor agreement requires one year's advance notice for a unilateral change to the playing rules. The fate of the DH is tied to the future of inter-league play. Under the current labor agreement, interleague play ends after this season, but owners want to extend it rained out: Jimmy Vasser took was his scheduled off day. Noteworthy: Expos outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who left Thursday's game with a strained left hamstring, is day to day. . . . Carlos Perez will be the Expos' opening day starter Wednesday. He will face Pittsburgh right-hander Francisco Cordova. first base, left or right field (as he did on Friday) against certain pitchers. But most of the time I'll be DHing and that's just something I'll have to get used to." Anderson OK: Anderson, who injured his hand in Thursday's game against the Marlins, was examined and cleared to play. He was not in the lineup Friday because it the pole position for the inau-jgural race in Motegi, Japan, without even turning a quali-Jfying lap. Qualifying for today's )312-mile (500-kilometer) race was canceled because of rain, forcing CART officials to use Thursday's practice times to ;set the 30-car starting lineup. ! Earnhardt Jr. gets first pole: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was credited with his first career Busch Grand National pole after officials ruled he had edged but Buckshot Jones for the top 'starting spot in the Moore's Snacks 250 in Bristol, Tenn. Earnhardt won with a lap of 122.217 mph Ripken regrets losing cool over heckler The Associated Press JUPITER Cal Ripken yelled at a heckler Friday after the fan complained that the Baltimore Orioles' star didn't sign an autograph for his 5-year-old son. The man, who was seated behind home plate at a game between the Orioles and Montreal Expos, shouted at Ripken when the third baseman stepped to the plate in the second inning. Ripken stepped out "What he said was wrong and I didn't handle it the way I wanted to handle it, so I was wrong. I learned a lesson," Ripken said shortly after he signed autographs for 75 minutes after the game. of the batter's box and yelled right back at him. 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