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Infielder returning to Boston from San Diego

Boston Red Sox: Utility infielder Lou Merloni returned to the Red Sox on Thursday in a trade that sent minor league
pitcher Rene Miniel to the San Diego Padres.

Merloni, who moved back and forth between Boston and Triple-A
Pawtucket the last five seasons, had been claimed on waivers by the
Padres on March 25.

Merloni goes from a team with the NL's worst record to a club
entering a key three-game series Friday night with the New York
Yankees, who lead Boston by 4¼ games in the AL East.

"I'm excited about it. With San Diego, we were close to losing
100 games," Merloni said.

With the Padres, he hit .272 with 41 hits in 151 at-bats, one
homer and 17 RBIs. In his career with Boston, he hit .271.

"He was a great teammate and a good utility guy who served a
purpose here and helped us win some games," Padres general manager
Kevin Towers said.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein wanted to get Merloni
before midnight Sunday, the deadline for players to be eligible for
the playoffs.

"He does fill a void on this team," Epstein said., "We wanted
to add some depth to our infield and Lou can play all over. He can
give Billy Mueller a rest at third. ... He's a perfect fit."

Epstein said utility infielder Damian Jackson won't be affected
by the trade and indicated the Red Sox would remove a pitcher from
the active roster to make room for Merloni.

The Red Sox have carried 12 pitchers and 13 position players all
season. To make room on the 40-man roster, Boston moved pitcher
Robert Person from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

"I've followed them all year long," said Merloni, who heard
that the Yankees also were interested in him. The Red Sox "really
came through with some really big wins and we're really in a good
position."

Merloni, 32, is a native of Framingham, Mass. Except for playing
part of the 2000 season in Japan, he had played his entire career
in the Red Sox organization. He hit .247 in 84 games last season
with Boston.

Miniel, a 24-year-old right-hander, split time between Single-A
Sarasota and Double-A Portland this season. He went 3-4 with a 3.34
ERA in 19 games (seven starts) for Sarasota. At Portland, he went
0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 relief appearances.

Pittsburgh Pirates: A 6-year-old boy was recovering from a
broken jaw after being hit by a foul ball at a Pirates game.

Logan Nawrocki was sitting with his father and twin brothers
about 12 rows behind the visiting dugout Tuesday night when a ball
hit by Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson in the seventh inning struck
him in the jaw.

Nawrocki's father rushed him to a first aid station and the boy
was taken to Allegheny General Hospital for X-rays and a CT scan.

Doctors told Nawrocki his son's jaw was broken in two places.
Surgeons are recommending it be allowed to heal on its own, and
Logan -- who enters second grade Tuesday -- will not have his jaw
wired shut, Nawrocki said.

For now, the boy's face is swollen and bruised, and he can
barely open his mouth, Nawrocki said. The Pirates offered the Nawrocki family tickets for Sept. 14, and Logan will get to meet
Wilson.

Kansas City Royals: Royals right-hander Runelvys Hernandez will undergo "Tommy John" surgery on his right elbow to replace a torn ligament, according to the team.

The Royals have transferred him from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list and he will miss the remainder of the 2003 season.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves placed Kevin Gryboski on the 15-day injured list Thursday because of a sore right shoulder and called up reliever Joe Dawley from Triple-A Richmond, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Gryboski struggled Wednesday night in a brief appearance against the New York Mets, walking one batter and hitting two. In 61 games he is 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA.

Gryboski is the fourth Braves reliever to be put on the disabled list recently, joining John Smoltz, Roberto Hernandez and Darren Holmes.

Dawley, who pitched briefly with the Braves earlier this season, led Richmond with 23 saves.

Florida Marlins: Marlins reliever Armando Almanza had successful arthroscopic surgery Thursday to remove a bone spur in
his left elbow and will miss the rest of the season.

Almanza, 30, also had scar tissue removed during the procedure,
performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Almanza was
placed on the disabled list Aug. 21 with left shoulder tendinitis.

In his fifth season with the Marlins, the left-hander was 4-5
with a 6.08 ERA in 51 games this season. He had 49 strikeouts and
25 walks in 50 1-3 innings.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have placed OF Dave Dellucci on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Jeff Weaver from Tampa of the Single-A Florida State League.