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AROUND THE MAJORS

Rangers Decide They Need Rocker Again

June 10, 2002|From Associated Press

John Rocker was called up from the minor leagues by the Texas Rangers and was in uniform for Sunday night's game against his former team, the Atlanta Braves. However, he was not used in the Rangers' 9-3 loss.

Rocker was promoted a day after Ranger closer Hideki Irabu gave up Andruw Jones' three-run home run in the 10th inning of a 6-3 loss. Irabu has yielded seven homers in his last four games.

"I was pretty mad when they told me to go down to work on some stuff," Rocker said. "Looking back, it was probably the best thing that could happen. Gradually over a two-week period, I was able to piece it back together, a 180-degree turnaround. My confidence is as high as it's ever been."

Rocker was 0-1 with a 7.53 earned-run average and one save in 17 relief appearances with the Rangers before he was sent to triple-A Oklahoma for the second time this season May 21. While there, he was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 8 2/3 innings, striking out 14 and walking two.

Texas Manager Jerry Narron didn't declare Rocker the closer, saying instead he planned a bullpen-by-committee approach based on matchups.

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The New York Yankees put rookie outfielder Juan Rivera, who has a fractured right kneecap, on the 15-day disabled list and said that closer Mariano Rivera could follow in the next few days because of a strained right groin.

The All-Star reliever was not available to pitch Sunday, and Steve Karsay saved the 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Yankee Manager Joe Torre said Mariano Rivera, who is not related to Juan, will sit out a three-game series against Arizona that starts tonight. But Torre wasn't sure if his closer would be put on the disabled list.

"Right now I think we're going to give it three or four days and see what happens," Torre said.

Juan Rivera ran into a golf cart while shagging flies during batting practice Saturday.

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The Chicago Cubs traded catcher Robert Machado to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league outfielder Jackson Melian. The Cubs announced the deal after a 5-1 victory at Seattle. Machado did not play in the game. He hit .276 with one home run and five runs batted in in 58 at-bats this season. He also threw out nine of 18 runners who tried to steal against him.

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Right-hander Luke Prokopec of the Toronto Blue Jays will skip his next start because of a sore right elbow. Right-hander Brandon Lyon will replace Prokopec in Tuesday's game against San Francisco. Prokopec, acquired in the off-season from the Dodgers for reliever Paul Quantrill and infielder Cesar Izturis, is 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA.

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