Skipper doesn't want to distract players

New York Yankees: Joe Torre refuses to get into a war of words with George Steinbrenner.

According to the New York Daily News, Torre said that during the season he won't criticize the Boss, who publicly questioned Torre's decision to use Alan Embree in Tuesday's loss to Chicago. But the skipper plans to speak out once the season ends.

"I'll answer questions about my managing decisions [now], but I'd prefer, because of the distraction it could cause -- and this time of year, we don't want to cause any distractions -- I'd rather defer until after the season to make any comments about Mr. Steinbrenner," Torre told the Daily News.

"When I manage teams, I manage them to try to win, as opposed to worrying about what people are going to say about it," he continued. "I would rather make reference to anything Mr. Steinbrenner says after the season. This time of year, we're at a point where the last thing you want is for something to take away from what we're trying to do. ... Keep a list of all the things you want to ask me, and at the end of the year, I'll come up with answers."

Before the season, Torre signed a contract extension that has two seasons and around $12 million remaining. Although Steinbrenner has criticized Torre before, most of his comments early this season were positive. But the Boss made his displeasure known Tuesday.

"I'm not pleased with the manager," Steinbrenner said. "I don't know about why they left the lefthander in. He had a good inning and they kept him in there. He should never have pitched to [Paul] Konerko -- he's their best hitter."

Steinbrenner declined to comment to the Daily News further, and Torre is trying to keep his players' attention on the playoff chase.

"This is my job," Torre told the Daily News. "The best way to do it is to try and make sure we concentrate all of our efforts on the field, try to keep our focus."

Nomo pitches six innings in third Triple-A start: Hideo Nomo, tuning up for a possible call up
to the Yankees, allowed two runs in six innings in his third start for Triple-A Columbus.

Nomo (1-2) allowed five hits, walked three and struck out five.
He retired the side in order in only the first and third innings,
and took the loss in Toledo's 2-1 win.

Alexis Gomez had both of the Mud Hens' run-scoring hits, a
double in the second and a single in the fourth.

Nomo gave up the same number of runs in as many innings in his
second start on Saturday against Richmond. He failed to make it out
of the third inning in his first start on Aug. 1 at Norfolk.

Nomo went 5-8 with a 7.24 ERA for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who
designated him for assignment July 16 and released him July 25. The
Yankees signed him in an attempt to shore up their injury-plagued
starting rotation. Fourteen pitchers have started games this season
for New York.

Toledo starter Jason Grilli (10-7) outpitched Nomo, allowing an
unearned run on four hits and four walks in seven innings.

Atlanta Braves: Mike Hampton is ready to rejoin the rotation, which means a temporary exile to the bullpen for
Horacio Ramirez.

Hampton, who has been on the disabled list because of a back
injury since July 18, will be activated for Sunday's game against
the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hampton's start will come the day after John Thomson makes his
first appearance in nearly three months. He's been on the DL with
an injured finger.

"When you have Hampton and Thomson, you have to get them in,"
Braves manager Bobby Cox said before Thursday's game against San

While Ramirez is second on the Braves with 10 wins, he's the
fifth starter when everyone is healthy. With off days factored in,
the left-hander is likely to be needed only twice the rest of the

In between those infrequent appearances, Ramirez will probably
get some work in the bullpen.

"Maybe we can slip him in as the fifth starter," Cox said.

With two pitchers set to return, the Braves will likely send a
couple of rookies back to the minors this weekend. Starter Kyle Davies is one obvious candidate, allowing him to get regular work
in Triple A. Macay McBride or Blaine Boyer will probably be the
other pitcher to go down.

Los Angeles Angels: All-Star outfielder Garret Anderson was out of the starting lineup Thursday, the second straight day he was out with a knee injury.

Anderson, the Angels' career leader in hits and RBI, aggravated the tendinitis in his right knee while making a sliding catch Tuesday in the Angels' win over the A's. Manager Mike Scioscia expected him to return to the starting lineup for the series finale but decided to wait another day.

Anderson, who has been on three of the last four AL All-Star teams, is batting .288 with 13 homers and 73 RBI. Chone Figgins replaced him in left field, and Maicer Izturis took over for Figgins at third base.

Chicago Cubs: The team recalled left-handed pitcher John Koronka from Triple-A Iowa and optioned left-hander Rich Hill.

This will be the second stint with the Cubs for Koronka, who was 1-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts in June. Manager Dusty Baker said he will be used in relief.

Hill was 0-2 with an 8.57 ERA in seven appearances -- four starts -- in two stints with the Cubs. He started Wednesday's game against Cincinnati and allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in three-plus innings.

Minnesota Twins: Special assignments
scout Larry Corrigan was in the intensive care unit at
Independence Regional Health Center after suffering a heart attack.

Corrigan, a Twins special assistant to general manager Terry
Ryan, was scouting the Cleveland Indians-Kansas City Royals game
Wednesday when he complained of chest pains before the game and was
taken by ambulance to the hospital.

An angioplasty was performed Thursday and he will have a stent
procedure on Friday.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Outfielder Jody Gerut was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of an irritated tendon in his right knee.

Gerut was hitting .222 with two RBI in four games with the Pirates. He began the season on the DL while recovering from offseason surgery on the same knee.

"This isn't related to any previous injury," manager McClendon said.

To fill Gerut's roster spot, Pittsburgh recalled outfielder Nate McLouth from Triple-A Indianapolis. McLouth was hitting .297 with five home runs and 39 RBI in 109 games with the Indians.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.