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ONE FINAL ALL-STAR GAME FOR CAL IS SET

Cal Ripken will be an All-Star one final time.

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, who will be the American League skipper in next month's All-Star Game, said the Baltimore Orioles third baseman will be on the team whether or not he is voted onto the squad.

"I did talk to the league office, and we're going to take Ripken as a representative however the voting ends," Torre said. "He's a pro. He's a class act. He should be on the team, especially since he announced his retirement."

Ripken announced his retirement earlier this month.

"He does deserve to be there because of what he's done for the game of baseball," Torre said. "It's a nice way of having everybody say goodbye to him."

Reds release Deion Sanders

HOUSTON -- The Cincinnati Reds placed Deion Sanders on unconditional release waivers, at least temporarily ending an attempt to revive his baseball career.

Sanders had been designated for assignment by the Reds last Friday when the team activated Ken Griffey Jr. off the disabled list. The two-sport star, who is still on the roster of the NFL's Washington Redskins, was hitting .173.

Because Sanders was released by the Reds before July 29, the cornerback is contractually obligated to show up for the Redskins' training camp or risk losing part of his $8 million signing bonus.

Veteran ump fired

NEW YORK -- Veteran umpire Al Clark said he's been fired by Major League Baseball for unauthorized use of an MLB credit card to buy a plane ticket for his wife.

Clark, 53, said he received formal notice that he's been terminated for "misconduct" after 26 seasons as a big-league umpire.

He said his dismissal was unrelated to an incident in 1998, in which MLB investigated his possible involvement in the sale of autographed baseballs purportedly used by pitcher David Wells in a perfect game with the New York Yankees.

'The Butcher' recovering

Donald "The Butcher" Palmer, who served as the Buffalo Bisons' popular and flamboyant batboy from 1979-91, is home and on the road to recovery from a heart attack. The 34-year-old city sanitation department employee, who lives on the West Side of Buffalo, suffered the attack on June 10.

Around the horn

Dwight Evans is back with the Boston Red Sox, the team where he spent 19 of his 20 seasons as a player. The Red Sox added the former outfielder as a player development consultant to work with minor leaguers. Evans, whose career spanned from 1972-1990, played 2,505 games with Boston, second only to Carl Yastrzemski. He was a three-time All-Star, an eight-time Gold Glove winner and finished with 385 home runs. Between 1981 and 1990 he hit more home runs than any other American League player.

The San Diego Padres waived shortstop Chris Gomez and activated infielder Damian Jackson from the 15-day disabled list. Gomez, 30, was hitting .188 with seven RBIs for the Padres this season. He has played just 149 games over the past three seasons because of injuries to both knees. Jackson, 27, has been on the disabled list since May 12, when he was hit by a pitch and broke his right thumb. He was hitting .261 with 11 RBIs.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays placed closer Esteban Yan on the 15-day disabled list and recalled left-hander Jeff Wallace from Triple-A Durham. Yan (2-3) left Thursday's night 7-4 loss against Boston in the ninth inning with right shoulder inflammation.

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