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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Virdon to Fill In for Dierker

May 24, 1997

Houston Manager Larry Dierker left the team Friday following the death of his father, and bench coach Bill Virdon took over for the three-game week series against the Colorado Rockies.

Dierker was in Los Angeles when his father died Friday.

Virdon, 65, is the winningest manager in Astros' history, leading Houston to a 544-522 record in seven seasons. He also managed the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Montreal Expos, compiling a 995-921 record.

Virdon, who had not managed in the majors since 1984, joined the Astros in the off-season following a season as a roving minor-league outfield instructor in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization.

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Cincinnati's Reggie Sanders severely sprained his right ankle while trying to break up a game-ending double play and was taken from the field on a stretcher following the Chicago Cubs' 3-1 victory.

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Pittsburgh right-hand pitcher John Ericks had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck and was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

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Philadelphia pitcher Mike Grace, on the disabled list since the start of the season with a right arm injury, threw four innings in a simulated game without any problems. Grace will throw on the side Sunday, then probably make two rehabilitation starts.

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Chicago called up outfielder Brant Brown from triple-A Iowa to take the spot of Brooks Kieschnick, who was optioned to Iowa.

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Cincinnati called up pitcher Brett Tomko from triple-A Indianapolis. He takes the place of closer Jeff Brantley, who went on the disabled list Tuesday.

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Colorado sold the contract of Darnell Coles to the Hanshin Tigers of the Central League in Japan.

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