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A sober Allison rejoins Marlins

Peabody pitcher gets last chance

JEFF ALLISON Last pitched in 2005 JEFF ALLISON Last pitched in 2005
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Wire Services / March 7, 2008

Florida Marlins pitching prospect Jeff Allison of Peabody says he has been clean for 15 months in his struggle with substance abuse, and he realizes he is down to his last chance.

"This is it," said Allison, the Marlins' top draft pick in 2003, as he reported to the Marlins' minor league camp in Jupiter, Fla. "It's time to grow up, and that's how they put it. It was plain and simple: 'You're a grown man. If you want to play baseball, then do your thing.' "

Allison, 23, is serving three years' probation after pleading guilty to four felonies and four misdemeanors last October in Greensboro, N.C., including heroin possession and two counts of possessing a stolen vehicle.

The Marlins placed him on the restricted list last July. He was assigned No. 93 yesterday.

"Going in my locker and seeing my name on the uniform, they could have given me No. 100 and I wouldn't have given a damn," Allison said. "To see my name on that jersey, to get out there and do what I was meant to do, it was a weird feeling, but it was a good feeling at the same time.

"I'm here, I've been sober for 15 months, and it's a great feeling. There are a lot of people behind me."

Allison was the 16th pick in 2003 out of high school. He last pitched in 2005, when he was 5-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 17 starts for Double A Greensboro. Since signing with the Marlins, he has missed three full seasons and pitched in 17 minor league games.

"I still have a long ways to go, but I have a lot more motivation now," Allison said.

Wang tagged

Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam and a two-run single, and the Cincinnati Reds roughed up Chien-Ming Wang on their way to a 12-8 victory over the New York Yankees in Sarasota, Fla. Wang, a 19-game winner the last two years, failed to make it through the first inning. The Reds got six runs on six hits, and Wang left after retiring only two of the 10 batters he faced . . . The New York Times reported that IRS agents have contacted a former employee of the Shaun Kelley Weight Control fitness center in Houston as part of an effort to determine whether Roger Clemens obtained steroids or human growth hormone in the area where he lives, the former employee said. Clemens is being investigated for perjury after telling Congress under oath that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.

Ryan pushed back

Toronto Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan's spring debut is being delayed. He will pitch one inning in a simulated game tomorrow and another Tuesday. Ryan had season-ending left elbow surgery in May . . . C.C. Sabathia threw three perfect innings, needing only 28 pitches to get through nine batters as the Cleveland Indians beat the Astros, 11-5, at Kissimmee, Fla. . . . Seattle Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre left the Mariners' 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Phoenix and got ice after taking a ground ball off his thumb. Manager John McLaren didn't think it was serious, but Beltre will be reevaluated today.

Surgery for Lowry

San Francisco Giants pitcher Noah Lowry needs surgery after a recent bout of wildness and is probably out until the end of April. The Giants said Lowry, the club's leading winner last season (14-8), was diagnosed with exertional compartment syndrome . . . Philadelphia starter Adam Eaton failed to overcome back problems as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Phillies, 6-4, in a rain-shortened, five-inning game at Clearwater, Fla. Eaton gave up four runs and five hits in two innings . . . Dontrelle Willis pitched three innings and allowed two hits, lowering his spring ERA to 1.80, in the Detroit Tigers' 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Lakeland, Fla.

Lackey lacking work

Los Angeles Angels righthander John Lackey, who missed the early part of the spring with a sore throwing shoulder, threw in the bullpen at Tempe, Ariz. The LA ace said he would be able to make four spring starts and be ready by Opening Day, but manager Mike Scioscia said four starts would not be enough . . . Kevin Frandsen is out as the Giants' shortstop. The 25-year-old infielder has been replaced by Brian Bocock while the Giants continue to search for a temporary replacement for Omar Vizquel, sidelined until April by a knee injury.

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