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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Selig Will Look Into Irabu Charges

May 24, 1997

With the Yankees on the verge of signing Hideki Irabu, acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the major leagues will investigate whether New York tampered with the pitcher before it owned his rights.

"It is incumbent on major league baseball, by virtue of its treaty with Japanese baseball, to ascertain that all dealings with Mr. Irabu were conducted fairly and within the rules of the agreement," Selig said Friday.

Irabu and the Yankees were said to be close to an agreement on a four-year contract worth about $13 million. The deal would include a signing bonus of about $7.5 million, but Irabu's 1997 salary would be at or near the major league minimum of $150,000.

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Ruben Sierra, released earlier this month by the Cincinnati Reds, was brought up from the minors by the Toronto Blue Jays and played against the Angels on Friday.

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Wade Boggs, a five-time AL batting champion but stuck in a three-week slump, was benched for at least a week in favor of Charlie Hayes at third base by New York Manager Joe Torre.

"When you're stinking up the joint, you should sit," said Boggs, who has only one hit in his last 14 at-bats. "When you go into a slump and you're not hitting the ball well, then changes have to be made, and this is one of the changes."

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Detroit right-hander Willie Blair, who suffered a broken jaw when he was hit in the face by a Julio Franco liner May 4 at Cleveland, began a rehab stint Friday at Class A West Michigan. . . . Texas pitcher Ken Hill, on the disabled list since May 3 because of a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to be activated and start tonight against Detroit.

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