Originally created 05/26/98

Baseball notes: Pirates pitcher breaks jaw in fight

Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jeff Tabakasustained a fractured jaw and likely will go on the disabled list after being punched during a hotel lobby fight, apparently in a dispute over a card game.

Eyewitnesses traveling with the Pirates said Tabaka and reliever Marc Wilkins, who played with the Augusta Pirates (now GreenJackets) during the 1993 season, scuffled in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee after the team arrived Sunday night from a weekend series in Miami.

Before the players could be separated, Tabaka was struck in the jaw. He required surgery on Monday and will be out indefinitely.

The Pirates were off Monday, but Tabaka is expected to go on the 15-day disabled list before tonight game against the Brewers. He would be the third Pirates' player to go on the DL in the last week, joining Wilkins and infielder Lou Collier.

The argument apparently began during a card game on the Pirates' flight from Miami to Milwaukee and carried over to the hotel. Tabaka and Wilkins share an apartment in suburban Pittsburgh during the season.

Tabaka, a left-hander, is 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 14 appearances. The right-hander Wilkins, the Pirates' top setup man in the bullpen, is 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 appearances despite twice going on the disabled list with injuries.

The fight came after the Pirates lost two of three to the last-place Florida Marlins, giving them 15 losses in their last 21 road games.


An MRI taken Monday on Tino Martinez's sore right shoulder was negative and the first baseman might be ready to play in a couple of days.

"The MRI proved to be what the doctor thought: There was some puffiness in there. It's day-to-day, a situation on how he feels," Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Monday night's game against the Chicago White Sox. "Tino understands where we are in the standings and it would be crazy to rush him."

Martinez initially hurt the shoulder when he was hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Armando Benitez last Tuesday, precipitating a brawl between the teams.

Martinez missed two games, returned to get two hits Friday against Boston, then hurt the shoulder again while sliding. After sitting out Monday's game against the White Sox, he's missed three straight.

Martinez is hitting .331 with six homers and 38 RBI.


The Philadelphia Phillies, who gambled they could sign outfielder J.D. Drew when they drafted him second overall in last year's draft, appeared unable to sign him before Monday's midnight deadline.

Less than five hours before the team was to lose Drew's rights, general manager Ed Wade said the Phillies were "unwilling and unprepared" to meet Drew's demands and were unlikely to reach an agreement.

Scott Boras, Drew's agent, did not return telephone calls to his home or office seeking comment. The Phillies had until 12:01 a.m. today to sign Drew, or forfeit his rights baseball's rules.

Wade said Boras' last proposal called for Drew to get a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $10 million, including a $5 million signing bonus.


Gary Sheffield homered leading off the 10th inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros after wasting a three-run lead.

Sheffield, who connected off Bob Scanlan (0-1), is 15-for-32 (.469) with two homers and nine RBI since the Dodgers acquired him from Florida as part of the Mike Piazza trade on May 15.

Jim Bruske (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning, and Scott Radinsky got three outs for his ninth save in 11 chances.


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