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Pirates cut ties with Mondesi

wire services
Published May 20, 2004

PITTSBURGH - The Pirates finally ran out of patience with absent outfielder Raul Mondesi, terminating his contract Wednesday when he didn't show up for the start of a three-game series against San Diego.

The Pirates cited breach of contract in ending all dealings with Mondesi, who was hitting .283 with two homers and 14 RBIs when he left May 7 to return to his native Dominican Republic and fight a lawsuit.

Mondesi was not disappointed.

"I feel relieved now," Mondesi said. "I want the best for the Pirates, and considering my situation in the Dominican Republic I wasn't going to be much help to them at this moment."

Car hits Yankee farmhand

TAMPA - Yankees minor-league pitcher Richard Michael Cowan was critically injured when he was hit by a car while trying to cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

Cowan, who turns 21 Monday, was standing on the median with two friends when he attempted to cross against traffic, Tampa Police Lt. Sal Ruggiero said.

Cowan, of Baton Rouge, was struck by a 2004 Chrysler Sebring driven by Mark Burchell of Tampa, who was driving in the center lane and did not see Cowan until it was too late, police said.

Cowan was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with a broken leg, Ruggiero said. He was listed in critical condition.

GOOD SAMARITAN: Danny Graves couldn't believe what showed up in the mail. The Reds closer and Plant City resident lost his wallet at the start of a West Coast trip last week and figured he would never see it again. The wallet contained credit cards, his driver's license, a Reds identification card to get into ballparks and about $1,400 cash.

A man who cleaned the team's bus in San Diego not only returned the wallet and all its contents but took extraordinary precautions to make sure it would be safe during shipping.

"The guy kept the cash and exchanged it for traveler's checks so it wouldn't get stolen through the mail," Graves said. "It was like $1,400 in cash. He did say, "I borrowed $26 to overnight it to you.'

"He sent his name, address and phone number. He said, "All I ask for is could you please sign an autograph for my father.' He's going to get a little more than an autograph."

RECORD STREAK: Cardinals prospect Brad Thompson broke a 97-year-old minor-league record for consecutive scoreless innings, then fell two short of Orel Hershiser's professional mark.

Thompson took a shutout into the sixth in the Tennessee Smokies' 11-2 victory over West Tenn before allowing a run. The right-hander, 22, pitched 57 consecutive scoreless innings dating to last season in Class A.

The minor-league record was 56 straight innings by Birmingham's Irvin Wilhelm in 1907, not 54 by Urban Shocker as previously reported.

EXPOS MOVE: Major League Baseball is moving toward a decision on the future home of the Montreal Expos, and Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia appear to be the leading contenders. Baseball chief operating officer Bob DuPuy said the sport's relocation committee plans to meet with commissioner Bud Selig within a month.

SOSA TO DL: The Cubs placed rightfielder Sammy Sosa on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his lower back caused by two violent sneezes Sunday.

BONDS OUT AGAIN: Barry Bonds' back hurt again, and the Giants star missed the game with the Cubs. An MRI exam showed nothing significant, and Bonds is day to day, trainer Stan Conte said.

BREWERS: Third baseman Wes Helms slipped on wet steps outside the clubhouse and sprained his right knee, forcing him to go home for tests.

INDIANS: Cleveland acquired right-hander Andrew Brown to complete last month's trade that sent centerfielder Milton Bradley to the Dodgers.

PHILLIES: First baseman Jim Thome will sit at least two games with a sprained index finger, and left-hander Randy Wolf is expected to miss one start because of elbow tendinitis.

REDS: Outfielder Austin Kearns finished his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Louisville and was placed on the major-league roster. Outfielder Jason Romano, who was briefly a Devil Ray this season, was sent to Louisville.

WHITE SOX: Rightfielder Magglio Ordonez and second baseman Willie Harris collided while chasing a fly ball and walked off with injuries.

YANKEES: Yankee Stadium is bagging Cracker Jack in favor of Crunch 'n Munch, a competing caramel popcorn, team spokesman Jason Zillo said. He said the change was made in part because Crunch 'n Munch tastes better. ... Right-hander Steve Karsay pitched two innings in a simulated game in Tampa, his first such action since rotator cuff surgery last year.

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