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Baseball notes

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD and Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 2, 2001


Clemens might miss turn at Shea

NEW YORK -- Mets' fans can stop salivating: Roger Clemens is likely to skip the Yankees' series at Shea Stadium later this month.

The Mets have been angry with Clemens since he beaned catcher Mike Piazza July 8 at Yankee Stadium. Clemens, in a bizarre action, threw part of a broken bat near Piazza in Game 2 of the World Series, earning a $50,000 fine.

In the Yankees' current rotation, Clemens is to start Saturday against Cleveland, Thursday against Baltimore, June 12 against Montreal and the finale of the Yankees' three-game series at Shea on June 17.

Because the game is in the NL ballpark and there won't be a designated hitter, Clemens would have to bat -- and possibly deal with pitches in the vicinity of his head.

That's why Yankees manager Joe Torre is leaning toward revamping his rotation in the next two weeks in an effort to avoid starting the five-time Cy Young Award winner at Shea.

"They'd be putting wanted signs up the two weeks before the game, promoting World War III," Torre said. "As long as we have somebody ready to pitch -- I wouldn't want to disrupt everything for it not to happen. But you don't know what's going to happen between now and then weather-wise, so I can't say no he won't."

Also, pitcher Orlando Hernandez missed his scheduled start against Cleveland because of an irritated toe and was placed on the disabled list.

Judge delays ruling for Cuban player

TAMPA -- After listening to two hours of arguments Friday from lawyers representing Major League Baseball and a Cuban pitcher fighting for free-agent status, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore said he will decide Monday whether to bar the league from placing the player in next week's draft.

The player, 27-year-old Rolando Viera, left Cuba in April. Under baseball rules, Cubans are subject to the draft just as U.S. and Canadian players, though other foreign players are not.

Viera's lawyer claims the league's policy discriminates against Cubans, curtailing their earning potential. The league claims the draft is necessary to ensure a fair distribution of talent among teams.

The draft begins Tuesday.

ANGELS: Glenallen Hill, a disappointment as designated hitter, was waived after batting .136 with one home run and two RBI in 16 games. The 36-year-old Hill, acquired from the Yankees on March 28, was on the disabled list from April 21 to Tuesday because of a strained rib cage muscle. He went 9-for-66, struck out 20 times and did not draw a walk.

CUBS: The team signed Jae Kuk Ryu, a high school pitcher from South Korea, the third Korean prospect to join the organization in the past three years.

DIAMONDBACKS: Third baseman Matt Williams still is experiencing pain when running and it's uncertain whether he will come off the disabled list when he becomes eligible today. Williams has been on the disabled list since May 18 with a strained left hamstring and sore left hip flexor.

DODGERS: Dave Wallace will remain as general manager through the end of the season, the team said. Wallace was named interim general manager on April 19, after the resignation of Kevin Malone. No other teams have been contacted regarding possible replacements, chairman Bob Daly said.

Also, the team received minor-league pitcher Rudy Lugo from Milwaukee to complete the Marquis Grissom for Devon White deal.

INDIANS: The team activated pitcher Charles Nagy and outfielder Kenny Lofton from the disabled list, but starter Chuck Finley seems headed there now. Finley, scratched from his scheduled start against the Yankees on Friday because of a stiff neck, probably will miss his next two turns in the rotation. "This has been bothering him," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We need to find out exactly what's wrong with Finley. I don't want him to keep pitching and go down for a long time."

MARLINS: Manager Tony Perez isn't sure when right-hander Dan Miceli will be available to pitch again. Miceli, whose comments sparked the firing of John Boles last week, wasn't mentally ready to return to the mound with all the criticism he has received, according to Perez. "Here's still not here yet," Perez said. "I used him on the road the other day and he wasn't there." The team also is trying to trade the reliever. "It's high on my list," general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "It's very high on my list and being actively pursued."

PADRES: Jim Leyritz signed a minor-league contract. The well-traveled utility player had been playing for the independent minor-league Newark Bears.

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