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Hurt finger will sideline Cordero

Indians leftfielder Wil Cordero, acquired in July for the playoff drive, broke his right pinky when he was hit by a pitch Saturday and could be out for the rest of the season.

Cordero was struck in the third inning while trying to check his swing on an inside pitch from White Sox reliever Kevin Beirne.

"I would say more than likely Wil is down for the year," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "We'll have to call somebody up."

Cordero, who played in just 59 games last year after breaking his left hand, was batting .264 with 11 doubles and 17 RBI since coming to the Indians in a July 28 trade that sent outfielder Alex Ramirez and utilityman Enrique Wilson to Pittsburgh.

ANGELS: Anaheim came to terms Friday with 6-foot-5 right-hander Chris Bootcheck, its second pick in the June draft and the 20th overall. The signing bonus was for $1.8-million. Bootcheck, who was 8-1 with a 3.60 ERA in his junior season at Auburn, will report to the Angels' Instructional League in Mesa, Ariz., on Sept. 17.

CUBS: Pitcher Kerry Wood called his three-game suspension for throwing at a batter a joke, and said, "I didn't even hit the guy." Wood on Friday was suspended for three games and Ismael Valdes of the Los Angeles Dodgers drew a six-game suspension for hitting a batter in a game between the two teams Aug. 27 at Wrigley Field. Each was fined $1,000. Wood, who will not miss a start because of the suspension, did not appeal.

DIAMONDBACKS: Pitcher Todd Stottlemyre will receive the 2000 Branch Rickey Award for community service. Stottlemyre was selected for his fund-raising work for leukemia research and treatment, for the Make a Wish Foundation and for his alma mater, UNLV.

ORIOLES: Ace Mike Mussina has rejected a six-year, $72-million contract offer from the Orioles and negotiations have been halted until the end of the season, according to published reports Saturday. Mussina and the team have "agreed to pick it back up once the season is over," Arn Tellem, Mussina's agent, told the Washington Post. At that point, Mussina will be a free agent and a number of teams are expected to try to lure him from Baltimore.

RED SOX: Boston, facing three doubleheaders in six days, recalled right-hander Paxton Crawford from Pawtucket of the International League.

WHITE SOX: James Baldwin missed two starts last month with a tired arm. And now the 14-game winner is still hurting as Chicago shoots for the playoffs, the latest in a line of pitching problems for the AL Central leaders. Baldwin, rocked for four runs and eight hits in 4 innings Friday night against Cleveland, returned to Chicago on Saturday to have his shoulder examined by team physician Dr. James Boscardin. Baldwin, diagnosed with tendinitis, hopes to throw on the side Wednesday.

_ TIMES WIRES

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