Indians Release Radinsky ... Colon Gives Up Grand Slam In Loss

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Scott Radinsky, hoping to make Cleveland's opening day roster as its second left-handed reliever, was waived Tuesday by the Indians.

Radinsky, 34, struggled all spring and had a 14.29 ERA in eight appearances before the Indians decided they had seen enough. The club had thought about keeping Radinsky as a lefty along with Ricardo Rincon in a set-up role.

Radinsky, who made a successful comeback from Hodgkin's disease while pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 1994, appeared in just two games for Cleveland last season after spending most of the year in the minors.

The Indians also reassigned catcher Chris Coste to the minor league camp.

In addition, the club has decided to keep right-hander Jose Mercedes around for a while. Mercedes signed a minor league deal before camp under the condition that he could leave by March 26 if the club couldn't promise him a spot on the 25-man opening day roster.

Mercedes went back to the Dominican Republic to be with his mother who is ill, but he has agreed to report to Triple-A Buffalo when he returns in five days.

Omar Olivares, who signed a deal similar to the one Mercedes has, is still in camp.

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Dave Mlicki looked sharp for 5 2/3 innings and Lance Berkman hit a grand slam off Bartolo Colon as the Houston Astros won their eighth straight, 5-4 Tuesday over the Cleveland Indians.

Mlicki (3-1) allowed two hits -- one a long homer to Jim Thome -- in his final start in Florida this spring. He walked three, struck out four and got nine of his outs on grounders.

"I felt great," Mlicki said. "My control is bugging me a little bit. I'm just missing, but they aren't fishing for it. I feel like I'm right where I need to be."

Colon (1-1) gave up Berkman's slam in the third inning and was touched for five runs and seven hits in six innings. Despite the so-so outing, Indians manager Charlie Manuel thinks his ace right-hander is set to open the season Sunday night at Anaheim.

"He looked OK," Manuel said. "He was throwing good. He just got the bases full and then he got a ball up."

Manuel also said he's not concerned about Colon's weight. The 28-year-old Colon not only gained two years over the winter when officials found an error in his birth certificate, he also arrived at camp 20 pounds heavier than he was a year ago.

"No, I'm not worried," Manuel said. "He's ready to go."

Eddie Perez, trying to win a spot as the Indians' backup catcher, hit a three-run homer in the ninth off closer Billy Wagner.

Perez was acquired in a trade with Atlanta last week, and the Indians need to quickly decide if they want to keep him or have 24-year-old Josh Bard back up Einar Diaz. Bard has caught only one game above Double-A.

Perez's homer off Wagner didn't hurt his chances.

"Anytime you hit a home run it helps your cause," Manuel said. "I like pitching, but I love three-run homers, too. I'm a home-run manager."

Notes: Astros manager Jimy Williams will leave the team for two days to attend the funeral of a family member in California. He'll rejoin the club on Friday when Houston plays host to the Boston Red Sox, who fired Williams after last season. ... Indians SS John McDonald made two sensational plays, one where he made a diving stop behind second base and threw to first while rolling on his back in the infield dirt. ... Cleveland OF Jolbert Cabrera played three innings in his first appearance with the major league club this spring. Cabrera is recovering from a gunshot wound in his buttocks suffered during a carjacking this winter in Colombia. Cabrera popped up in his only at-bat. "I wanted to see him play," Manuel said. "He looked OK." Cabrera will start the season on the disabled list, but is making steady progress. ... The Indians only had two hits entering the ninth before getting two off Wagner.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)