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Baseball: NL playoffs

Clemens gets the call for Game 4

By wire services
Published October 9, 2004

HOUSTON - Roger Clemens will pitch on short rest for the first time this season when the Astros face the Braves in Game 4 Sunday.

"Roger feels he can come back," manager Phil Garner said. "He's preparing to come back on Sunday and I will plan to use him."

In Houston's 9-3 win over Atlanta in Game 1 Wednesday, Clemens showed the effects of a stomach virus that kept him from making his last start of the regular season.

He walked six - all in the first four innings and his most since 1998. But Clemens went seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out six.

At 42, Clemens has looked nothing like a guy who retired for 78 days last winter: His winning percentage of .818 led the majors, he tied for second in the NL with 18 wins and was fifth with a 2.98 ERA.

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox wasn't surprised when told that Clemens would start.

"He's done that numerous times in his career," Cox said. "He's a horse and he's accustomed to it. No reason not to."

Cox apparently doesn't feel the same way about his Game 1 starter, Jaret Wright. The Braves will go with right-hander Russ Ortiz Sunday.

"Wright has been banged up twice - once on the ankle and once on the shin," Cox said. "He's never pitched on three days' rest in his entire life."

NO PUNISHMENT FOR BRADLEY: Los Angeles outfielder Milton Bradley won't be disciplined by the Dodgers for a clubhouse confrontation with a reporter he called an "Uncle Tom." Club spokesman Gary Miereanu said the matter was closed.

"My initial reaction is that this does not rise to the level of disciplining Milton," owner Frank McCourt said. "Having said that, I don't condone him or anybody being disrespectful to somebody else by name-calling of any kind."

Jason Reid of the Los Angeles Times asked Bradley about his treatment by St. Louis fans, who booed him.

According to eyewitnesses and Reid's tape, Bradley said, "You're an Uncle Tom. You're a sellout."

NOT EXACTLY ROLEN ALONG: Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen is 0-for-6 in the postseason and has only three hits in his last 24 at-bats.

"Not too good," he said. "I was out for 16 days, I missed a lot of time, missed a lot of at-bats. I'm a high-maintenance hitter."

Rolen has been back just more than a week after recovering from a strained left calf.

Having said that, Rolen insisted, "I feel fine. I'm seeing the ball all right. I feel like I've taken some good swings and hit a couple of balls hard."

[Last modified October 9, 2004, 01:03:23]


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