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Reds are being investigated for 'blunder' with Atchley

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001

CINCINNATI -- The Reds could be fined for promoting minor-league pitcher Justin Atchley, who is not allowed to play in the majors until May 15.

General manager Jim Bowden said Tueday the team goofed by promoting Atchley from Triple-A Louisville over the weekend. The left-handed reliever spent two days on the team's roster, in violation of baseball rules.

"We just blundered," Bowden said. "We didn't pick it up."

Major League Baseball realized the problem Monday and informed Bowden during the second inning of an 8-2 victory in Pittsburgh.

"I called (manager) Bob Boone in the middle of the game and told him he couldn't use the player," Bowden said.

The Reds sent Atchley back to Louisville on Tuesday, along with utility player Wilton Guerrero. The Reds called up left-handed reliever Hector Mercado and infielder D.T. Cromer to take their spots.

It's not unprecedented for a team to violate baseball's rules regarding roster moves. Baseball could fine the Reds.

"They're looking into what they're going to do," MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney said. "It's just now in the investigative state."

Baseball's rules specify that a player who is released and re-signs with the same team cannot play in the majors until May 15. The Reds released Atchley on Jan. 9 to open a roster spot for backup catcher Kelly Stinnett. They signed Atchley to a minor-league deal 11 days later.

INDIANS: Pitcher Steve Woodard, struck on the right elbow by a line drive Monday night, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Right-hander Jake Westbrook was recalled.

Woodard was drilled by a liner hit by Frank Thomas in the sixth inning of Chicago's 9-2 win at Comiskey Park. He spent several minutes on the ground in pain before the arm was placed in an aircast and he was taken off on a stretcher.

Woodard had only a bruise but was hospitalized overnight as a precaution.

He had swelling in the elbow and complained of numbness in the fingers.

RED SOX: Coach Tommy Harper said he will accept an apology from the manager of a Baltimore hotel where he said he was harassed when the team stayed there on its season-opening road trip.

Harper, 60, was sitting near the team bags in the hotel lobby on Thursday when a Red Sox fan struck up a conversation with him. Harper, who is black, said a hotel security guard came up and began questioning him but not the fan, who was white.

Asked whether he thought he was singled out because he is black, Harper said, "Obviously, yes."

Harper said he had not seen the apology, which was sent to the team by William Walsh, general manager of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Team spokesman Kevin Shea said Walsh apologized for the "unprofessional manner" in which Harper was treated.

Walsh declined to comment Tuesday.

The Red Sox have two more trips scheduled to Baltimore, and they are under contract with the same hotel.

ROCKIES: Shortstop Neifi Perez, who won his first Gold Glove last season, might not need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. After watching him take batting practice and field grounders, general manager Dan O'Dowd said he was "very encouraged" Perez would not need surgery. Perez will be evaluated daily and could return to the lineup in a few weeks.

TIGERS: Right-hander Brian Moehler learned that tests showed nothing seriously wrong with his pitching shoulder. He believes he can rejoin the rotation within a few weeks.

"I'm definitely relieved," Moehler said. "We thought it was tendinitis, but you don't know for sure until they look around. There are no tears in the shoulder."

In other team news, left-handed reliever Heath Murray was promoted from Triple-A Toledo, and infielder Jermaine Clark was removed from the roster to make room.

WHITE SOX: Pitcher Cal Eldred didn't start Tuesday, but he plans to be on the mound today. Eldred skipped his second scheduled start Monday because of a knotted muscle at the base of his neck. He thinks he slept in a bad position early last week and aggravated it by pitching Wednesday, his first start of the season.

YANKEES: Catcher Jorge Posada left Tuesday night's game against Kansas City in the third inning with stiffness in his lower back. He was replaced by Joe Oliver. Also, manager Joe Torre said he hadn't heard from outfielder Bernie Williams, who left the team Monday to join his ailing father in Puerto Rico.

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