AL president, chief ump see Clemens tape


American League president Bobby Brown and umpires chief Marty Springstead viewed about 35 minutes of videotape Monday that, according to the players' association, proves that umpire Terry Cooney lied about what Roger Clemens said to him before the pitcher was ejected during Game 4 of the playoffs.

Brown declined to say whether he was persuaded by the evidence or whether it would result in a reduction of Clemens' five-day suspension and $10,000 fine. The final evidence on rTC Clemens' appeal, a brief that summarizes the pitcher's case, will be filed by the union by March 22, attorney Gene Orza said.

The footage shows Clemens from the start of the incident up to his ejection, said Orza, the union's associate general counsel. When shown in slow motion, he said, the apparent dialogue matches up, "exactly, word for word," with accounts of the incident given by Clemens and catcher Tony Pena.

Cooney has testified that Clemens sandwiched the word "gutless" between two expletives, leading to the ejection. Clemens has testified that he said only, "I'm not talking to you, keep your [expletive] mask on and get back behind the plate."

Orza also said that Clemens, who was suspended in part because he remained on the Boston bench after being ejected, was told to stay there by stadium security guards.

* PHILLIES: Len Dykstra portrayed himself as an amateur poker player who lost some big-stakes hands and ended up owing $78,000 to a man charged with running an illegal gambling establishment.

The outfielder took time out from spring training to testify for approximately 45 minutes in U.S. District Court in the trial of Herbert Kelso of Ridgeland, Miss.

The government contends that Kelso ran a betting parlor in Indianola, Miss. Testifying for the government, Dykstra admitted that in February 1990 he wrote two checks -- one for $29,000 and the other for $21,000 -- to cover his losses while playing poker after the 1988, 1989 and 1990 seasons in Indianola and Jackson.

* REDS: Pitcher Jack Armstrong returned to spring training after a one-week contract protest that cost him $2,500 in fines.

Armstrong, who started the All-Star Game for the National League last season, walked out March 5, a day after the Reds renewed his contract for $215,000. The team had fined him $500 a day since last Thursday.

* METS: Sid Fernandez's absence for three months could be Wally Whitehurst's big chance.

Last season, Whitehurst came to spring training a starter looking to land a spot in the bullpen. Now he finds himself a reliever contending for a spot in the starting rotation.

Fernandez, the Mets' No. 4 starter, broke a bone in his left arm Monday when struck by a hard grounder. He'll be in a cast for six weeks.

Whitehurst, 26, says he was not thinking about the possibility of becoming a starter when he took the mound against the Atlanta Braves yesterday.

"I just have to go out and continue to pitch well," Whitehurst said after three scoreless innings.

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