• Kyodo


Right-hander Masao Kida, who signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers last month, has been injured along with his interpreter in a traffic accident, team sources said Sunday.

Kida, who was driving from Orlando, Fla., en route to the team’s spring training site in Vero Beach, sustained injuries late on Saturday to his abdomen, right ankle and lower back in a head-on collision with a vehicle that reportedly crossed the divider.

Kida was scheduled to report to the minor league camp on Sunday, but has been hospitalized and will require at least four weeks to recover.

Teppei Shiokawa, an interpreter for the Dodgers pitching staff who was riding in the passenger’s seat, was critically injured and is in intensive care, the sources said.

Team officials said that Kida was not at fault and that alcohol was not involved.

The 34-year-old Kida, who had stints with both the Yomiuri Giants and the Orix BlueWave, pitched for the Detroit Tigers in 1999 and 2000.

Kida rejoined Orix during the 2000 season but was released by the Pacific League club in the fall of 2001. He tried to revive his career in North America but failed in a Chicago Cubs tryout a year ago.

He began negotiations with other major league clubs but suffered a setback when he was forced to return to Japan to undergo treatment for back pain.

Kida, who was 1-0 with a 6.42 ERA in 51 games with the Tigers, passed a trial to join the Dodgers in January.

Wells in doghouse

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) David Wells could be punished by the New York Yankees for writing an autobiography that general manager Brian Cashman said “tarnishes the Yankees’ image.”

While Wells tried to put the controversy surrounding his upcoming book to rest by addressing the team Sunday, it’s clear the issue won’t be resolved any time soon.

“I can’t rule out the possibility that we will pursue some sort of disciplinary action,” Cashman said. “I’m going to get a copy of the book, read it myself and then determine what course of action, if any, to take.”

If the Yankees decide to punish Wells, Cashman said the pitcher would have representation to counter any charges the team might make.

Wells apologized to Cashman on Saturday and didn’t know whether there would be any discipline.

“That’s up to them,” Wells said. “I have no control over what they do. I hope they don’t do anything.”

Cashman plans to begin reading the book Monday. In galleys of the autobiography, Wells claims he was “half drunk” when he pitched a perfect game in 1998, takes digs at teammates Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina and says drugs are rampant in baseball.

Wells said Saturday that he had a hangover but was not drunk for his perfect game. A day later, he said he stands by everything that will be in the book when it’s released March 14.

But he still felt he needed to address the team.

So at about 10:15 a.m., the Yankees held a team meeting and Wells spoke for about 5-to-7 minutes. A few other players asked questions before the meeting ended.

“I got my point across today,” Wells said. “I feel a lot better. I told them what I needed to say.”

Cashman and manager Joe Torre said that Wells wasn’t ordered to address the team but were pleased he chose to do so.

“It looks like he feels extremely bad about the situation,” Cashman said. “My understanding is that he gathered teammates and huddled them together and is dealing with this problem now. He’s trying to mend fences, do damage control and fix things.”

Winfield returns

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Hall of Fame outfielder and San Diego Padres vice president Dave Winfield returned to the field for the first time as a guest instructor Sunday.

“I think it’s awesome,” Padres center fielder Mark Kotsay said. “I mean, it’s a Hall of Fame player talking about becoming what we strive to be. He knows from experience.”

Winfield, wearing his old No. 31, spent 30 minutes, along with coach Davey Lopes, addressing the outfielders at the start of morning drills. He gave some demonstrations, flashing his old form of charging hard after balls and going into his over-the-top throwing motion that accounted for 166 outfield assists.

“I just have a lot to offer,” he said. “I didn’t come here as a coach or instructor, but we’d be wasting valuable knowledge and experience by not contributing there.”

In 22 seasons with six teams, Winfield batted .283 with 3,110 hits, 465 home runs and 1,833 RBIs. He ranks among San Diego’s top three in career games, hits, homers, RBIs, runs, doubles, triples, walks and slugging percentage.

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