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Orioles' Fox jumps into spring home run lead

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jake Fox wants to do more than just hit his way onto the Baltimore Orioles' roster. He wants to be in the everyday lineup.

On Thursday, Fox launched a pair of two-run homers as Baltimore beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 13-3.

Fox has eight homers, the most in the majors in spring training. He's homered four times in his past three starts.

"I'm trying to leave no doubt that I should be a daily part of this team," Fox said. "Coming into spring training, that's the biggest thing I wanted to prove. I know what I'm capable of doing, but I don't think they do. I want to show them exactly what I can bring to this lineup. From there, it's out of my control."

The 28-year-old Fox is out of minor league options, but has a good chance to be one of manager Buck Showalter's picks for the bench. Fox can play first base, catcher, left field and third base, and would be valuable insurance if Derrek Lee, who's out with a sore back, starts the season on the disabled list.

"Buck knows I want to play every day, but right now, I know that's not where I fit in with this team," Fox said.


Around the horn

Alex Rodriguez homered in his third consecutive game and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2, on Thursday night. Rodriguez hit his fourth home run overall, a solo shot in the second. He has an RBI in five straight games.

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre has been invited to Old-Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium. "I'm planning on going," said Torre, now the executive vice president of operations for Major League Baseball. He was at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the first time since the fall of 2007, when contract issues ended his tenure as Yankees' manager.

John Lackey pitched into the sixth inning, leading the Boston Red Sox to an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets in Fort Myers, Fla. The right-hander gave up a run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Earlier in the day, manager Terry Francona revealed Boston's pitching rotation. Lackey comes after Jon Lester, followed by Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Milwaukee right-hander Shawn Marcum left his start after three innings because of tightness in his right shoulder. Marcum, acquired from Toronto in the offseason, said if it was the regular season he would have continued pitching.

Phillies starter Cliff Lee gave up home runs to Juan Rivera and Edwin Encarnacion in a five-run fourth inning, and Philadelphia lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-6.

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