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Rangers reliever sits out

Rangers pitcher Frank Francisco began serving a suspension for throwing a chair at Athletics fans, although he has appealed the ban. Francisco sat out a 2-0 victory over the Angels, one day after Bob Watson, baseball vice president for on-field operations, said the 25-year-old rookie would miss the rest of the regular season or no less than 16 games.

Normally when a major-league player appeals a suspension, the penalty doesn't start until the appeal process in completed. By starting to serve the suspension, Francisco _ who pitched one inning Friday _ is trying to prevent the ban from affecting the Rangers next season if the suspension isn't reduced. His appeal will be heard Sept. 24.

"If the appeal doesn't go favorably, Frankie will have been able to serve X number of days," general manager John Hart said. "He is looking to reduce the time that it potentially could be carried over."

The 25-year-old Francisco threw a folding chair into the stands during a fracas with fans near the Texas bullpen along the right-field line in Oakland.

Francisco was arrested by Oakland police after the game on a felony charge of aggravated battery and was released on bond Tuesday. The case is under investigation by the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

INDIANS: Outfielder Jody Gerut needs surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and could miss the start of next season. Gerut was hurt in Friday's 6-4 loss to Kansas City running down Abraham Nunez's hit into the right-field corner.

"I knew right away that a knee is not supposed to bend sideways the way it did," Gerut said. "I haven't looked at the replay and I probably never will."

Trainer Lonnie Soloff said Gerut will have to let swelling in the knee subside for up to 14 days before he can have surgery.

Gerut missed the entire 2001 season after two operations on his right knee to repair a damaged patella tendon. He finished the 2004 season with a .252 average, 11 homers and 51 RBIs.

MARINERS: Designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who is retiring at the end of the season, fouled a ball off his big right toe in the seventh inning of a 7-4 loss to Oakland. He was unable to bat in the ninth because his toe was swollen and bruised. Manager Bob Melvin said he wouldn't play today. Trainer Rick Griffin said he's not sure when Martinez can play again.

MARLINS: Fading from the wild-card race, Florida has lost five of the past six at Pro Player Stadium and has been outscored 35-13.

ORIOLES: Brian Roberts set the American League record for doubles in a season by a switch-hitter with 47. He also tied Cal Ripken Jr.'s team record from 1983.

PADRES: San Diego activated reliever Jay Witasick from the 15-day disabled list. Witasick had been sidelined for a month with a left side strain.

YANKEES: Designated hitter Jason Giambi, hitless in a career-high 32 at-bats, was benched against the Red Sox and probably won't start today in the series finale. Manager Joe Torre said he will play him again Monday against Toronto.

_ TIMES WIRES

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