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ROCKER SEALS THE DEAL; PEDRO HEADED TO DL

John Rocker ran in from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium and shut down New York. Pedro Martinez walked off the mound at Fenway Park and may be shut down.

Martinez was pulled in the fifth inning with pain in his right shoulder Tuesday night in Boston's 7-6 win over Tampa Bay. The three-time Cy Young winner is likely headed to the disabled list.

"We haven't done it yet officially, but there's a pretty good chance," Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said.

Martinez was to undergo tests today. Earlier this month, he missed a start because of shoulder soreness.

"We did everything in our power to keep this from happening again," pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.

Rocker closed out Cleveland's 5-3 victory over New York. He sprinted in for the ninth inning -- to loud boos -- and struck out Chuck Knoblauch and Derek Jeter before getting Bernie Williams on a fly ball.

Rocker did not have much to say after earning his second save with the Indians.

"Sorry guys, I've got important stuff to do," said the reliever, who muttered a curse toward the media as he walked away from his locker.

The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay for the 11th straight time despite Martinez's early exit.

Martinez gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings. Rolando Arrojo relieved and promptly served up a grand slam to Greg Vaughn.

The injury overshadowed a comeback win that saw Scott Hatteberg drive in the go-ahead run when Victor Zambrano walked him on four pitches in the eighth inning.

Shea Hillenbrand singled with one out and scored the tying run on Brian Daubach's triple.

Zambrano (0-1) then walked Lou Merloni, Chris Stynes and Hatteberg.

Trot Nixon hit a grand slam for Boston in the seventh.

Einar Diaz and Roberto Alomar hit two-run homers and Kenny Lofton added a solo shot to lift Cleveland.

Charles Nagy beat the Yankees for the second time this season. Jeter went 1-for-5 on his 27th birthday.

The Red Sox offered 31-year-old left-hander Bryce Florie a 19-day rehabilitation assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. The pitcher said he'd probably reject the stint.

"It's something I think would be a great thing, to come back here and pitch in Boston," Florie added. "It doesn't look like it's going to happen."

Florie has been undergoing rehabilitation since being hit in the right eye Sept. 8 by a liner from Ryan Thompson of the New York Yankees.

Florie had surgery to repair broken facial bones and got contact lenses to correct his vision, which was impaired after the injury.

Earlier Tuesday, Florie was cleared to play by doctors.

If Florie refuses the rehab assignment it would force the Red Sox to either activate him or place him on waivers.

Cashman nixes deal

NEW YORK -- Despite the enormous behind-the-scenes pressure George Steinbrenner is exerting on his front office to deliver another pennant, general manager Brian Cashman proved again that he cares about the Yankees' future -- and is willing to stand up to The Boss.

The Record of Hackensack quotes an American League source as saying Cashman turned down the Royals' offer of Jermaine Dye for Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees would've had the right fielder they needed but such a deal would create a ripple effect that would be felt in 2002 and beyond.

The franchise's real future begins next summer, when Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, David Justice and maybe Chuck Knoblauch are gone. The curtain is almost ready to rise on the next Yankees' nucleus: Soriano, Johnson, Drew Henson, and Derek Jeter in the infield, Jorge Posada behind the plate, Marino Rivera in the bullpen, and a starting rotation of Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Ted Lilly, and Randy Keisler.

It's the younger players who'll lead the new-millennium Yankees, which is why Cashman backed away from Dye and the Royals -- despite being summoned to Tampa, Fla., last weekend. Cashman told Steinbrenner that Johnson must remain in pinstripes.

Around the horn

Former Blue Jay Tony Batista's apparent single up the middle was turned into a double play that snuffed out a Baltimore threat in the seventh inning in a 3-1 victory over the Orioles. Jose Cruz Jr. hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Blue Jays the go-ahead runs. The Blue Jays employed a shift for Batista, so his hard-hit grounder went right to second baseman Jeff Frye, who stepped on second and threw to first to kill a two-on, one-out rally. Deion Sanders signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays and will be sent to Syracuse. . . . Brent Mayne went 3 for 4 and tied a career high with four RBIs to help lead the Royals to a 12-5 victory over the Tigers. . . . Pinch hitter Denny Hocking's two-out, two-run triple capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning that sent the Twins over the White Sox, 7-6. Jose Canseco hit his first homer -- the 447th of his carrer -- for Chicago. . . . Mike Cameron broke open a close game with a three-run homer in the sixth inning as the Mariners beat the Athletics, 7-3. . . . Pinch-hitter Andres Galarraga sparked a seven-run rally in the 11th inning with an RBI single as the Rangers beat the Angels, 8-1.

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