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Garcia becomes free agent after charges

NEW YORK -- Karim Garcia was cut loose Friday by the New York Yankees, a day after he was charged with assault and battery
for brawling in the bullpen during a playoff game in Boston.

New York also cut David Dellucci and agreed to a $900,000,
one-year contract with infielder Miguel Cairo. In addition,
left-hander Gabe White accepted the Yankees' offer of salary
arbitration, making him a signed player.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Garcia and Dellucci
will not be offered 2004 contracts by the Saturday deadline, making
them free agents.

With the signing of Gary Sheffield to play right field and the
imminent deal for Kenny Lofton, who will compete with Bernie Williams in center, Garcia and Dellucci became superfluous. New
York also has Ruben Sierra as an emergency backup.

In addition, the Yankees ran out of room on their 40-man roster.
Right-hander Eddi Canderlario was sent outright to Triple-A
Columbus on Friday, clearing space for White, and Lofton still
hasn't been officially added.

"They were grinders," Cashman said. "But with where we were
on the 40, these were the only practical choices I could make."

Garcia hit .305 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 151 at-bats for
the Yankees, who acquired him from Cleveland on June 25.

Garcia and reliever Jeff Nelson, who became a free agent after the World Series, were charged Thursday in Boston for their actions
in Game 3 of the AL championship series along with Paul Williams, a
part-time Fenway Park groundskeeper.

Clerk Magistrate Michael Neighbors called the case against
Nelson and Garcia "weak."

Dellucci, obtained from Arizona on July 29, batted .176 with one
homer and four RBIs in 51 at-bats, missing a month after badly
spraining his left ankle on Aug. 28.

Cairo, 29, hit .245 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 92 games and
261 at-bats for St. Louis last season. He had 33 starts at second,
15 in the outfield, four at shortstop and two at third.

White, acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 31, was 2-1 with a 4.38
ERA in 12 1-3 innings for the Yankees and will join Felix Heredia
as the left-handed setup men for closer Mariano Rivera. His agent
Bo McKinnis, informed Cashman of the arbitration acceptance Friday.

"We had a good visit and will continue working toward a
multiyear deal," McKinnis said.

Also Friday, the Yankees' Triple-A Columbus farm team said Bucky Dent will return as manager but former Ohio State football great
Hopalong Cassady will not return as a coach.

Cassady, a Heisman Trophy winner with the Buckeyes, will work as
a special assistant to the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., the Clippers
said.