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Williams, Justice sit; Knoblauch out until September

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Latest: Tuesday August 22, 2000 09:46 PM

  Chuck Knoblauch The Yankees will likely send Knoblauch on a rehabilitation assignment to regain his timing. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yankees outfielders Bernie Williams and David Justice sat out again Tuesday night with minor injuries, and second baseman Chuck Knoblauch probably won't return to New York's lineup until September.

Knoblauch, out since Aug. 3 because of tendinitis in his right elbow, is feeling better but still can't throw without pain.

"He still feels it," manager Joe Torre said before the Yankees played the Texas Rangers. "I don't know what the next step is."

Tests have shown no structural damage in the arm, and Torre speculated that Knoblauch, who is rehabbing at the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., might be able to play through the pain or with a cortisone shot.

The Yankees likely will want Knoblauch to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment to regain his timing at the plate and won't recall him until after active rosters expand to 40 on Sept. 1.

"He's still eligible for the postseason, so I don't think it is necessarily important for him to be back before then unless he is 100 percent," Torre said.

The Yankees want Knoblauch to be able to play the field when he returns, despite his 15 errors and well-chronicled throwing problems. With Glenallen Hill and Jose Canseco now on the team, there is little playing time available at designated hitter.

"He's an outstanding hitter and a good leadoff man," Torre said of Knoblauch. "Depending on the matchups, he could DH at times. Average-wise, he's the best hitter of the DHs. But obviously he doesn't pack the same wallop as the other guys do."

Knoblauch is hitting .291 with five homers and 60 runs scored.

Williams missed his fourth straight game since feeling a twinge in his rib cage before batting practice Saturday. He stretched and played catch Tuesday, but probably won't be back until the Yankees head to the West Coast on Friday.

"It feels better, but it depends on how it goes today," Williams said.

Justice tweaked his neck while sleeping Sunday night and missed his second straight game. He took batting practice Tuesday and Torre said he will probably miss another day.

Also, Ramiro Mendoza threw on the side in Tampa on Monday and there is no word on his possible return.

Minor leaguers Adrian "El Duquecito" Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher, and Wily Mo Pena, an outfielder, have begun rehabbing from knee injuries.

Helton will get little rest in .400 chase

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado Rockies manager Buddy Bell will give Todd Helton every opportunity in his quest to hit .400.

Bell said Tuesday that Helton probably will get only one or two days off in Colorado's final 36 games of the season.

"I wouldn't expect him to be happy if I decided he wasn't going to play because he didn't hit this guy or that guy very good. He's hit everybody," Bell said. "I think he has a better chance to hit .400 playing every day. Every time he goes up there he has a chance to get a hit."

Helton, who has missed just two games this year, entered Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves hitting .398. He is seeking to become the first player to break the .400 barrier since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

Williams had 185 hits in 456 at-bats when he accomplished the feat. Helton began the night with 178 hits in 447 at-bats and already had enough plate appearances (534) to qualify for the batting title.

Anaheim gets RHP Karl from Rockies

BOSTON (AP) -- The Anaheim Angels acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Karl from the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday and assigned him to their Class A affiliate in the California League.

Anaheim will also receive cash in exchange for a player to be named.

"I didn't promise him anything, but we're definitely looking at him as a candidate" for the starting rotation," general manager Bill Stoneman said before the Angels' game against the Boston Red Sox.

Stoneman said Karl is expected to start for Lake Elsinore on Thursday.

Karl won 10 or more games in each season for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1996-99. He was traded to Colorado after the 1999 season and went 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA in nine starts for the Rockies.

After a stint on the disabled list, he made one relief appearance with the Rockies before he was designated for assignment.

Wood activated to face Astros

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs activated pitcher Kerry Wood from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night and started him against the Houston Astros.

Wood had been out since July 30 with a strained muscle in his left rib cage. He missed the 1999 season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.

Wood was 6-6 with a 5.16 ERA this season.

Cubs manager Don Baylor planned to carefully watch the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year.

"If he gets six innings, that's good," Baylor said. "I'd say 100 pitches is his cutoff."

The Cubs optioned infielder Jose Nieves to Triple-A Iowa. He was hitting .215 in 67 games with Chicago.

Wood has pitched well against the Astros in the past.

In his fifth major league start May 6, 1998, Wood struck a major league record-tying 20 and pitched a one-hitter to beat Houston 2-0.

Wood returned from the disabled list this year on May 2 against the Astros and beat them 11-1, allowing three hits and one run over six innings.

A's place younger Giambi on 15-day DL

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Outfielder Jeremy Giambi, bothered by a strained oblique muscle, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday by the Oakland Athletics, who recalled Eric Byrnes from Triple-A Sacramento.

Giambi, who has gone 66 at-bats without an extra-base hit, was forced to leave Monday night's game in Detroit after seven innings.

He was batting .233 with eight homers and 40 RBIs, but was just 5-for-46 (.109) in his last 22 games.

Byrnes, who began the season at Double-A Midland, made his major league debut Tuesday night at DH as the A's began an important three-game series against the Indians.

"Hopefully, he's just what the doctor ordered," said A's manager Art Howe, whose team had scored just 10 runs in its previous four games.

Byrnes was batting .346 with nine homers and 43 RBIs at Sacramento, and has 14 homers, 80 RBIs and 31 steals overall this season.

"He plays with his hair on fire," said Howe, who first met Byrnes when the 24-year-old roomed with Howe's son, Matthew, in the Arizona instructional league.

Stottlemyre returns to Yankees, for now

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre returned from cancer treatment to join the New York Yankees on Tuesday, but probably won't finish the season with the team.

"I feel good or I wouldn't be here today. I'm here with the doctor's blessings," said Stottlemyre, who left the team two weeks ago to undergo the first step of a stem-cell transplant to treat his multiple myeloma.

Stottlemyre, who came back once during his absence to watch pupil David Cone pitch, plans to stay with the team through the upcoming road trip to Oakland and Seattle. But he expects to miss more time when the treatment is concluded.

"I don't think I'll make it through the season," he said. "The quicker I get it done, the quicker I can recover afterward."

Former pitching coach Billy Connors, a vice president and director of player personnel for the team, will travel with the Yankees for the rest of the season to help Stottlemyre.

"Billy will stay with us and fill in whenever Mel can't do it," manager Joe Torre said. "It will just help with continuity."

Stottlemyre, the Yankees pitching coach for five years, has watched most of the games on television while he has been gone and kept in touch with the team over the phone.

"There's nothing you can do when you're not in the dugout and confined to TV," he said. "There are some pluses in that you can see the replays and see what umpires are calling balls and strikes.'

Torre has talked to Stottlemyre often during his absence and Connors has kept Stottlemyre's books and charts updated.

"I know he's going stir crazy at home," Torre said. "This is helpful for him to be out here."

Stottlemyre, a three-time 20-game winner for the Yankees, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year ago during spring training.

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are crucial to the immune system, but when they are produced at an abnormal rate they can cause tumors, anemia and fatigue. Roger Neilson, former coach of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, underwent treatment for the same disease.

Stottlemyre is undergoing a stem-cell transplant, a procedure in which certain blood cells critical to healthy bone marrow are harvested from the patient's blood, then reintroduced after the chemotherapy has destroyed most of the cancerous plasma cells.

The cells have been removed, and there is no date on when they will be reintroduced to the body.

Seattle puts Buhner on DL

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners placed right fielder Jay Buhner on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained right wrist.

Buhner was injured in a collision with second baseman Mark McLemore against Detroit in the ninth inning last Wednesday. Buhner, who has 22 homers and 73 RBIs in 93 games this season, was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 17.

To replace Buhner, infielder-outfielder Raul Ibanez was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Tacoma and activated Ibanez from the 15-day DL.

Arbitrator to hear Beltran case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Arbitrator Shaym Das will hear arguments starting Wednesday on a grievance filed by the players' association over the suspension of Kansas City Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran.

The union filed a grievance Aug. 11, a day after Beltran was suspended without pay for refusing to report to the Royals' Florida training complex for rehabilitation.

Kansas City, which insists it has the right to tell players where to rehabilitate, said the suspension would last for 30 days or until he reports, whichever is shorter.

Beltran makes $350,000 this season, and each day of the suspension would cost him $1,923 if Das upholds it. The team originally withheld Beltran's pay for the period of the suspension, but the union filed a default notice, and the Royals said they would continue to pay the outfielder rather than risk Beltran becoming a free agent if Das ruled in his favor.

Kansas City said it has the right to decide Beltran's medical treatment, citing a provision in each player's contract. The union, citing provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, said he can't be sent to the minor leagues for rehabilitation without his consent.

Beltran, 23, has been on the disabled list with a bruised right knee since July 5. The Royals have set a team policy that players on the DL should rehabilitate at Haines City, Fla.

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