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A’s Name Heredia To Start Opener

March 31, 1999

PHOENIX (AP) _ Gil Heredia was picked today to start the Oakland Athletic’s season opener Monday night against five-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and the New York Yankees.

Heredia, who began the spring as the team’s No. 4 starter, replaces Kenny Rogers, who said he wasn’t in shape yet.

``It was the best fit for us going into the season,″ manager Art Howe said. ``He’s going to give us a good outing. He’s capable of beating anybody.″

Heredia was chosen over Tom Candiotti, who would have pitched on three days’ rest, and Jimmy Haynes, scheduled to pitch Friday against the San Francisco Giants.

``If I look shaken up or confused, it’s because it’s obviously a surprise,″ Heredia said. ``It’s an honor, a prestige thing.″

Heredia was signed to a minor league contract by the A’s in 1998 and spent most of the season at Triple-A Edmonton. He was recalled on Aug. 22 and went 3-3 with an ERA of 2.74.

``He’s been around long enough to handle the situation,″ Howe said. ``When we told him, he was all pumped up.″

Heredia has pitched for the Giants, Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers in a major league career that began in 1991. He has a 22-24 career record.

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