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PINIELLA BLASTS SCHILLING

A day after Boston pitcher Curt Schilling used the word "idiot" in criticizing Lou Piniella, the Tampa Bay manager held a team meeting and fired back.

The Red Sox and Devil Rays tangled Sunday, with scuffles and six ejections.

"The problem is when you're playing a team with a manager who somehow forgot how the game is played, there's problems," Schilling said on a Boston radio station Tuesday. "This should have been over a little bit ago. Lou's trying to make his team be a bunch of tough guys, and the telling sign is when the players on that team are saying, 'This is why we lose 100 games a year, because this idiot makes us do stuff like this.' (Rays players) said that on the field."

Piniella called a team meeting before Wednesday night's game at Toronto and issued a statement ripping Schilling.

"Forget how the game is played? I have forgotten more baseball than this guy knows," Piniella said.

"On the idiot subject, I'm appalled he would actually say something like that. I had a meeting with my team and to a man they denied it. He's questioning my character and integrity and that is wrong. He's never played for me, never really spoken to me, so he really doesn't know what I stand for.

"I'll tell you I've always admired his pitching ability and competitiveness, but I can honestly tell you I've lost a lot of respect for him. I'm looking forward to talking to Curt myself and get this matter cleared up," he said.

The Red Sox said Schilling will go on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise on his surgically repaired right ankle.

The Boston-Baltimore game was postponed by rain and will be made up June 2.

Sabathia gets new deal

CLEVELAND -- C.C. Sabathia signed a two-year, $17.75 million contract extension with the Cleveland Indians that could keep the left-hander with the club through 2008.

Sabathia's extension includes the Indians picking up their $7 million club option for 2006. Sabathia will make $8.75 million in 2007 and $9 million in 2008.

Meanwhile, 34-year-old reliever Paul Shuey retired, ending his comeback with the Indians.

Bad day for relievers

Three teams find themselves short in the bullpen after a series of injuries that range from short-term to season ending.

San Francisco closer Armando Benitez will be sidelined for at least four months because of a torn right hamstring.

Club officials announced that an MRI exam showed Benitez will require potential season-ending surgery. The MRI exam revealed that two of the three tendons that attach to the pelvis were completely torn. Benitez is facing at least four months of rehabilitation, trainer Stan Conte said.

Texas reliever Frank Francisco is scheduled to have ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow Friday and is expected to miss the entire season.

He began this season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his elbow. He was on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues when he felt more discomfort after pitching Saturday at went for an MRI.

St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right abdominal muscle. He had made a full recovery from offseason hip surgery, an injury that hindered him much of last season even though he tied for the NL lead with a franchise record-tying 47 saves.

Isringhausen thought he'd need only a handful of days to recuperate but trainer Barry Weinberg disagreed and recommended a more cautious approach.