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Thursday, October 07, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Major League Baseball
Notebook: Furcal cleared for rest of the postseason

By The Associated Press

Rafael Furcal will soon spend 21 days in jail.
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MARIETTA, Ga. — Atlanta Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal was cleared yesterday to play in the postseason despite a probation violation on a drunken-driving charge.

The ruling came hours before the Braves opened their playoff series with the Houston Astros. Furcal tripled in Atlanta's 9-3 loss.

Furcal must remain in home confinement for the rest of the season. He has to return to a hotel if on the road, Judge David Darden said.

Darden sentenced Furcal to 21 days in jail to be followed by a 28-day in-house treatment program. The judge delayed the start of the sentence until the day after the Braves' season ends.

Furcal, 26, seemed surprised by the length of the sentence.

"That's a lot of days," he said during batting practice before Game 1. "It's bad for me. I've never been in jail that long."

The judge also ruled Furcal may not drink alcohol or participate in postgame celebrations.

Furcal must blow into a portable breath-testing machine when called by a monitoring service affiliated with the probation department. The machine, hooked up to a cellphone and video camera, will relay the test results to officials.

"Don't take it lightly," Darden said. "The court is concerned a second violation might indicate he has a problem with judgment with regard to alcohol."

Dodgers' Bradley allegedly hurls insult at reporter
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley allegedly called a reporter an "Uncle Tom" after the outfielder was asked how he was treated by St. Louis fans following his season-ending suspension for throwing a bottle into the stands.

The confrontation occurred in the clubhouse at Busch Stadium after batting practice during an off day in the Los Angeles-St. Louis playoff series. Bradley fielded a question from Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Reid regarding fans during the Cardinals' 8-3 win in Game 1.

Bill Dwyre, sports editor for the Times, said that various reporters who were in the Dodgers clubhouse said that Bradley didn't like Reid's question. According to eyewitnesses and Reid's tape, Bradley said, "You're an Uncle Tom. You're a sellout."

Reid, who is black, took offense at the insult and began yelling at Bradley, who also is black, Dwyre said.

Bradley claimed Reid kept pushing the issue and wouldn't leave him alone.

"He was just one of those guys who wants to keep harping on it," Bradley told KCBS-TV. "I told him what I felt about the situation and I told him how I felt about how he was choosing to handle it. ... He took offense to that and ... started getting physical with me. He had to be restrained by several people in the clubhouse as, you know, I was walking away to leave the situation alone."

The Dodgers investigated, speaking with people in the clubhouse at the time, said Lon Rosen, the team's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

"Ultimately this is an issue that needs to be settled between the two individuals, and we will work with them toward that end," Rosen said in a statement.

Major-league officials planned to review the confrontation to determine if an investigation would be required.


• RHP Kevin Brown was picked over RHPs Orlando Hernandez and Javier Vazquez to start for the New York Yankees in tomorrow's Game 3 of their first-round American League playoff series against Minnesota.

Frank Thomas had surgery on his left ankle and might not be ready for spring training. Thomas, who played in only 74 games this season with the Chicago White Sox, will be in a cast for at least eight weeks and his recovery will take from 4-1/2 to six months.

• Cleveland Indians DH Travis Hafner had surgery on his right elbow and is expected to be ready for spring training.

• ESPN's regular-season baseball audience was up 7 percent from last season and the highest it's been since 2001.

• The Chicago Cubs paid a $6,725 penalty for renovating landmark Wrigley Field without the required city permits for such work. The Cubs also paid $36,010 to obtain the two permits, which the city issued retroactively.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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