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One beanball, you're gone

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001


NEW YORK -- "Yer outta here!" could be heard a lot more often at the ballpark this year.

Umpires say baseball officials have told them to eject pitchers who throw deliberately at hitters' heads, not to give them a warning first.

"They've always had that authority," Frank Robinson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, said Wednesday. "We just wanted to reinforce it and make it clear they would have our backing if they took that action."

John Hirschbeck, head of the umpires' union, said under the new interpretation the Yankees' Roger Clemens would have been ejected for nearly hitting Seattle's Alex Rodriguez in the first inning of Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

"There would be no choice in that situation because it was at the head," said Hirschbeck, the crew chief in that game. "I run Clemens in the first inning of a playoff game, there goes my career because I've been in this game long enough to know."

The planned crackdown was first reported Wednesday by the Detroit Free Press.

"The article and the reports are disturbing because they are at odds with, and defeat the purposes of, the memorandum on this subject just sent to umpires," said Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players' association.

"It is the umpire's choice, and no one else's in baseball, to decide whether to warn or eject. If people are verbally advising umpires to ignore what the memorandum clearly says and automatically eject, I'm afraid we are going to have a problem on our hands, because that advice constitutes an unlawful rule change."

WILLIAMS TO BE TRANSFERRED: Hall of Famer Ted Williams, recovering from open-heart surgery, could be moved to a rehabilitation hospital in San Diego as early as this weekend, a Boston television station reported.

WBZ-TV said doctors have approved the Citrus County resident's release and transfer.

According to an administrator at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, Williams still was a patient there. The hospital declined to provide further information.

SIROTKA CONTROVERSY: Mike Sirotka has a partially torn rotator cuff and damaged shoulder, and the Blue Jays will ask the White Sox to rework last month's deal that sent David Wells to Chicago.

A day after examining Sirotka, Dr. James Andrews said Sirotka was injured at the time of the trade and cannot pitch.

Toronto said it will pass on Andrews' diagnosis to the White Sox and seek compensation.

ARBITRATION: Braves closer John Rocker lost his case and will get $1.9-million this season rather than $2.98-million. Reds closer Danny Graves, a former Brandon High star, also lost and will receive $2.1-million rather than $3.075-million. White Sox closer Keith Foulke won his case and was given a raise from $445,000 to $3.1-million. Reds second baseman Pokey Reese, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and Mets left-hander Glendon Rusch agreed to one-year contracts. Owners have a 5-4 lead in arbitration.

ANGELS: Shortstop Gary DiSarcina, who had rotator cuff surgery last year, won't be ready to play until at least May.

DODGERS: The team settled a civil lawsuit with a fan in connection with a brawl in the stands at Wrigley Field in Chicago nine months ago. The team agreed to pay Ronald Camacho of Chicago an undisclosed sum to settle the suit that stemmed from a fight between players and fans.

GIANTS: Former catcher Kirt Manwaring was named minor-league guest instructor for spring training.

ORIOLES: Third baseman Cal Ripken will miss up to a month of spring training because of a hairline fracture in his rib cage. He was hurt while working out at home.

PADRES: Right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez, coming off ligament replacement surgery, agreed to a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training.

YANKEES: Left-hander Allen Watson, who had off-season shoulder surgery, will not be able to pitch in a game until at least May. Watson, who felt shoulder pain while throwing Friday, consulted with Andrews and won't throw for two weeks.

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