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Big wins and washouts

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Opening day – version No. 3 – was a soggy affair for much of the country.

Yankee Stadium’s 84th and final home opener was rained out Monday, as was the Cardinals’ opener in St. Louis.

There were a pair of delays at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs began their 100th season since winning the World Series the same way so many of their seasons have ended – with a loss.

But there was plenty of baseball, too, with Joe Torre winning his first game as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Johan Santana getting the victory in his debut with the New York Mets.

Santana struck out eight and allowed three hits in seven dominant innings.

Detroit’s $138 million Tigers opened with a thud, losing 5-4 to visiting Kansas City in 11 innings.

Banks honored by Cubs

Ernie Banks couldn’t believe what he saw when he yanked away the blue tarp.

“Is that me?” he kept asking. “Is that me?”

There was No. 14 in his batting stance, clutching a Louisville Slugger and wearing a grin similar to the one visible on the face of the real Mr. Cub during Monday’s ceremony.

The Cubs unveiled a statue outside Wrigley Field in Chicago, and on a rainy day in which they would be lucky to play one, let alone two, Banks saw nothing but sunshine. And who could blame him?

This was his day.

“It’s the best,” Banks told reporters. “This is the epitome of American life to be able to have this honor bestowed upon me, think about that. Just me. And when I’m no longer here, I’ll still be here. It’s amazing. This is amazing to me.”

Clearing the bases

Indians All-Star catcher Victor Martinez was taken for an MRI on his injured left hamstring, which he hurt while running the bases in the second inning of Cleveland’s win over Chicago. … Kansas City Royals center fielder David DeJesus aggravated his sprained right ankle and left the game against the Detroit Tigers. He is day to day. … The Toronto Blue Jays and outfielder Alex Rios are ironing out the final details of a six-year contract extension through 2014 that would guarantee him about $64 million. … Scott Spiezio agreed to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.

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