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Cubs send Wilkins to Astros for 2

The Astros acquired catcher Rick Wilkins from the Cubs on Wednesday for outfielder Luis Gonzalez and catcher Scott Servais.

Wilkins hit 30 homers in 1993 but was batting .191 with 6 homers and 14 RBI this season.

"I was shocked," Wilkins said. "I would have expected to go down to Triple-A before I would have been expected to be traded."

Gonzalez, a 27-year-old Tampa native, was batting .258 with six homers and 35 RBI. He is a .268 lifetime hitter with 52 home runs _ .351 with 10 homers against Chicago. He likely will start in left, joining Brian McRae and Sammy Sosa.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Cubs general manager Ed Lynch said. "He sees the ball well here and he's been very productive here."

Mantle heads home from hospital

DALLAS _ Mickey Mantle was discharged from the hospital after showing significant improvement from his June 8 liver transplant.

"He was doing very, very well," Dr. Robert Goldstein said.

Goldstein said Mantle, 63, has been spending 15 to 20 minutes a day on an exercise bicycle and walked out of the hospital about 1:30 p.m.

Goldstein said Mantle's body is accepting the liver and "there are no apparent complications."

Strawberry update: Federal agents on Tuesday arrested Judith Lee, 50, of Cathedral City, Calif., for allegedly trying to extort $300,000 from Darryl Strawberry, signed by the Yankees last week. Prosecutors who said she threatened to peddle a story to a tabloid television show.

Strawberry's agent, Bill Goodstein, declined to say what the woman threatened to tell and said the outfielder did not know her when she called June 22. Goodstein was instructed to call the woman back the next day, and federal agents recorded that call. The agents told Goodstein to ask Lee to travel to New York to pick up the money. She was arrested in his office, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Lee was released on $20,000 bond.

Strawberry went 3-for-6 with two doubles in a doubleheader for the Yankees' Tampa rookie-league team Wednesday.

Pirates: Cable TV magnate John J. Rigas' $85-million bid to buy the team still is being considered but has not been submitted for approval by Major League Baseball, team chairman Vincent Sarni said. "In no way have we rejected the Rigas family as a potential buyer of the Pirates," NL president Leonard Coleman said.

Royals: The union filed a grievance against Kansas City for keeping second baseman Jose Lind on the disqualified list since June 2, when he left the team without permission after his wife served him with divorce papers.

Marlins: Florida's Triple-A Charlotte (N.C.) Knights signed former Braves closer Alejandro Pena, waived by Boston on June 10.

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