The turmoil ignited by a police investigation of a woman's complaint that she was raped a year ago by three members of the New York Mets escalated esterday when a published report said hat the subjects of the investigation are Dwight Gooden, Vince Coleman and Daryl Boston.
The article, published in yesterday's Miami Herald, attributed its identification of the players to people within the Mets' organization and further entangled a clubhouse already roiling in secrets, uncertainty, speculation and anger.
For Gooden, the latest development rated as an aftershock. Last week, Gooden's agent publicly acknowledged that the star pitcher was a target of the investigation being conducted by the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
Then, on Friday, the house Gooden rented in Port St. Lucie last spring was identified by the police department as he site of the incident that the woman, a New York state resident in her late 20s, said occurred early on the morning of March 30, 1991.
For Coleman and Boston, however, the Herald's article was a fresh jolt, and it left reporters lined up at the players' lockers for comment. Boston, 29, an outfielder, declined to speak other than to dispute the Herald's statement that he had been questioned by police.
Coleman, 30, appearing grim, also chose not to address the situation.
* PHILLIES: No. 1 starter Terry Mulholland gave up six runs in four innings during the Houston Astros' 7-3 victory. Mulholland, who was 16-13 with a 3.61 ERA last season, has given up 11 runs and 22 hits in 10 innings this spring.
But manager Jim Fregosi said he was not concerned.
* DODGERS: Starter Pedro Martinez, 20, named the Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News, was brilliant in four innings against Detroit. Martinez allowed two hits, struck out five and gave up no walks. He is the brother of Ramon Martinez.
Pedro was penciled in to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, but may be forcing the Dodgers to rethink their position.
"If they give me the opportunity to become part of the starting rotation, I would appreciate it very much," the right-hander said. "If I don't make it, I'll go back to Albuquerque and work hard. I'll get my chance."
* REDS: Reggie Sanders is locked in a battle with Dave Martinez for the starting center-field job. So far, manager Lou Piniella likes the way Sanders looks.
"In the outfield, he's going after the ball well," Piniella said. "He's stealing bases. You can't play any better than he's played."
* BRAVES: Outfielder David Justice said he is sorry he was quoted as saying he is a target of racial slurs from teammates.
The Daily News of Duluth quoted Justice in a story published Friday as saying he thinks some of his teammates have used the word "nigger" when referring to him behind his back.
"There are a lot of good guys on this team, but there are a few who I know use the 'N' word when I am not around," Justice was quoted as saying.
Yesterday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Justice, 25, who is black, said his words had been taken out of context.
But yesterday, Daily News sportswriter Bill Zack, who wrote the original story, discussed the dispute with Justice and said Justice told him the quote wasn't wrong.
* DODGERS: Reliever Jay Howell probably will face live hitters today for the first time this spring, having overcome the shoulder soreness that has set him nearly three weeks behind the rest of the pitching staff.
* The city of Winter Haven had a special tent in place, hoping to attract Braves' officials for some hors d'oeuvres and conversation before Friday's game with the Boston Red Sox. The city is looking for a new tenant now that the Red Sox are moving to Fort Myers.
"We're racking our brains trying to find someone here who knows Ted Turner," said Winter Haven city commissioner John Simmonds.