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IRABU SENT TO YANKEES' PEN TO RIGHT HIMSELF

Hideki Irabu's next outing for the New York Yankees will come out of the bullpen.

Irabu, hit hard in his last three games, was scheduled to start again Thursday. But that's an off-day and manager Joe Torre said he would move Irabu into a relief role rather than push back the rest of the rotation.

"He's not going to start," Torre said Sunday. "He'll be in the bullpen on Tuesday.

"He's too cluttered up with being too perfect right now. I could have started him Friday, but that is Andy Pettitte's normal day to pitch, so we'll let him go. He understands the situation."

Irabu has a 7.97 ERA after being tagged by Cleveland, Milwaukee and the Mariners in his last three outings.

Around the horn

Mark McGwire had said he would resist a trade to a National League team for a number of reasons, including the fact that he would have to learn a new league and new pitchers in the heat of a pennant race. But he has changed his mind. After the A's 4-2 loss to Cleveland on Sunday, McGwire said he would go to St. Louis if the Cardinals work out a deal with the A's before the trade deadline Thursday. With four days to work trades, St. Louis and Cleveland are the only teams seriously pursuing McGwire. . . . Phillies general manager Lee Thomas says he has taken pitcher Curt Schilling off the trade block. Dave Burba had to leave his start Sunday for the Cincinnati Reds because of stiffness in his back after throwing only 28 pitches. . . . Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall, the second Pirates regular to reach terms on a new contract this month, will make $7.2 million during a four-year agreement that begins next season. . . . The Colorado Rockies acquired reliever Mark Hutton from the Florida Marlins for utility infielder Craig Counsell. The 27-year-old right-hander was 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 47 2/3 innings over 32 appearances.

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