Around The Majors -- Bagwell Breaks Hand Again, Probably Will Miss 3-4 Weeks

SAN DIEGO - The disconsolate look on Jeff Bagwell's face said it all as he sat in his locker, cradling his broken left hand.

Bagwell, the unanimous National League MVP in 1994, broke the fourth metacarpal bone when he was hit by a pitch from former teammate Brian Williams in the fourth inning of Houston's 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres yesterday. He's expected to miss three to four weeks.

Not only was it the third straight season that Bagwell has had his left hand broken, but it was the second time in less than a year that the same bone was fractured by a pitch from a San Diego player.

"I can't tell you how sad I am about this right now because we're 3 1/2 games behind the Reds and we're playing great baseball," Bagwell said. "We've still got a great team and everything, but I know that my production was helping, at least."

Bagwell, replaced at first base by Dave Magadan yesterday, has a .283 batting average, 66 RBI and a team-high 16 homers.


BALTIMORE - John Kruk quit baseball after getting a first-inning single for the Chicago White Sox in their game against the Baltimore Orioles. There was no fanfare; in fact, the announcement wasn't made until after Chicago's 8-3 loss.

"The desire to compete at this level is gone. When that happens, it's time to go," Kruk, 34, said in a statement released after the game.

By the time the statement was distributed to the media, Kruk was long gone.

It was not a rash decision. Kruk made up his mind Friday and shared the news with teammates Saturday, telling them he would retire after his next base hit.

"He wanted to talk to everybody and make sure nobody thought he was a quitter," Chicago shortstop Ozzie Guillen said. "He just wanted to make sure everybody understands he can't play anymore."

Kruk has battled aching knees all season.


-- Chili Davis of the California Angels poked a spectator in the face during a game in Milwaukee. Davis was charged with disorderly conduct but was not taken into police custody, and was given a citation that carries a $287 fine.

The incident happened during the fourth inning of the Angels' 8-3 victory over the Brewers. Davis was being taunted as he stood in the on-deck circle. Witnesses said the designated hitter walked to the first row of box seats on the third-base side and had words with a 26-year-old fan identified as Andy Johannsen. However, the fan who was struck was not heckling Davis, witnesses told a sheriff. The actual hecklers were nearby.

-- The Montreal Expos traded outfielder Lou Frazier to the Texas Rangers for a player to be determined. Frazier, a key utility player in 1994, was ineffective in that role this season and had been playing at Class AAA Ottawa.

-- Searching for offense missing from third base since Dean Palmer's season-ending injury, Texas released veteran Steve Buechele and gave Luis Ortiz a second chance. Ortiz will be the full-time starter until Mike Pagliarulo returns from an injury to share the job.

-- The Kansas City Royals sent Bob Hamelin, the 1994 American League rookie of the year, to the minors for the second time this year. His spot on the roster was taken by pitcher Scott Anderson, a replacement player who beat Detroit yesterday.