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It was Saturday night at the fights for A's, La Russa

A shouting match between Oakland manager Tony La Russa and a reporter broke out after Saturday night's game in which Athletics catcher Terry Steinbach was hit on the helmet by a pitch and removed from the field on a stretcher. Steinbach was hit on the left ear flap by Chicago reliever Bobby Thigpen with two outs in the ninth inning of Oakland's 7-4 victory.

There was pushing and shoving and a pileup near first base, but no punches were thrown. La Russa, who shouted face-to-face with Chicago catcher Carlton Fisk, was ejected.

Steinbach was in fair condition in a Chicago hospital. The nature and extent of his injuries hadn't been determined, nor had doctors estimated how long Steinbach would be hospitalized, said Joan Hession.

"There's nothing broken or anything around the skull or internally," Steinbach, a Minnesota native, told a Minneapolis radio station.

Outside La Russa's office after the game, Associated Press correspondent Bob Glass referred to the beaning by saying: "That had to be a very scary moment."

"I don't want to talk about that," La Russa answered, raising his voice.

"Okay, but don't yell at me," Glass replied.

"I'll yell if I want to," La Russa screamed before ending the group interview and ordering the reporter out of the room.

"Don't pull that. Be a man," Glass shouted.

La Russa turned back toward the reporter and was visibly upset.

"Be a man, my player is on the ground. That guy has about as much sense as a buzzard," he said, referring to Glass.

At that point, Glass was escorted out as players shouted at him to leave the locker room and not return.

Mariners, Valle were fuming, fighting too

ARLINGTON, Texas _ As far as Seattle manager Jim Lefebvre was concerned, everything came out fine in the end _ even if he wasn't around to see it.

"It was the wildest game I've ever seen in my life. The big thing is that we won it and that's all that counts," Lefebvre said after a 12-8 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night that featured a triple play, a bench-clearing brawl and his own ejection.

"It was a full-moon game," said Rangers manager Bobby Valentine.

The bench-clearing brawl came in the third inning after Kevin Brown hit Seattle catcher Dave Valle with a pitch. Valle rushed Valentine as both dugouts emptied. Only Valle was ejected.

Bad feelings had been building since Thursday's series opener when Rangers reliever Mike Jeffcoat plunked Valle, causing Valle to miss Friday's game.

"One of their players told me before the game that Bobby Valentine called the pitch that hit Dave (Valle) two days ago," Lefebvre said.

Lefebvre was ejected in the fourth for running onto the field and backing his pitcher, Randy Johnson, who had questioned a ball-strike decision.

Seattle turned the fourth triple play in team history in the second inning.

Around the bases . . .

Giants leftfielder Kevin Mitchell will have exploratory arthroscopic surgery today on his left knee and be placed on the disabled list.

"I tested it (the knee) the last few days to see how it felt, and it's gotten worse," said Mitchell of what had been diagnosed as a strained ligament.

Reds shortstop Barry Larkin and second baseman Bill Doran will be activated from the 15-day disabled in time for Tuesday night's game against the Mets.

Frankie Rodriguez, Boston's first pick in the 1990 amateur draft, signed a one-year contract on Sunday, a day before the Red Sox would have lost his rights.

Padres right-hander Ed Whitson (tendinitis, right elbow) will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

The A's placed pitcher Curt Young on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring. Catcher Troy Afenir was recalled from Class AAA Tacoma.

Rob Dibble has now converted all 13 of his save opportunities. He struck out Darryl Strawberry with two outs and two on in the 10th Saturday night to preserve the Reds' 6-5 victory over the Dodgers.

The three left-handed pitchers in the Pirates rotation, John Smiley, Zane Smith and Randy Tomlin, are a combined 18-4 with an ERA of 2.57.

Official scorer Jack Herman changed Ozzie Smith's 10th-inning error Saturday night to an infield hit for Vince Coleman, restoring Smith's 54-game streak without an error.

_ Compiled from Associated Press reports.