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Friday, April 12, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Major League Baseball

NL notebook: Gonzalez closes the door on Gumgate

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Weary of the monthlong saga, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez chewed gum in front of television cameras yesterday in Denver, then put the gum in a bottle for mailing to an Arizona radio station.

The public chewing was intended to end any dispute over the authenticity of another piece of Gonzo-chewed gum being sold at auction on the Internet.

Before last night's Arizona-Colorado game, Gonzalez chewed gum near the dugout at Coors Field while the media watched and cameras whirred. He placed the gum in an empty plastic water bottle, which was tagged with the date, 4-11-02. It was then to be sent to Tucson radio station KRQ.

KRQ disc jockey Johnjay Van Es said the station will hold the gum until the auction wraps up Monday evening. The original gum is still in the hands of Wood Lake, Minn., memorabilia store owner Jason Gabbert, who said he collected it at a spring-training game in Tucson.

"Fans at every ballpark I've gone to lately have asked me to throw my gum toward them," Gonzalez said. "It used to be a wristband, a batting glove a bat or a ball and now it is bubble gum. I've never done tobacco. At least it is gum."

The proceeds from the auction will be collected by the Tucson station and then sent to Lakeside, Minn., High School. The station will deliver the gum to the person with the winning bid.

Atlanta: Greg Maddux, on the disabled list because of an inflamed nerve in his lower back, is scheduled to make his first start today in Florida.

Chicago: The Cubs called up RHP Carlos Zambrano from Class AAA Iowa to take the roster spot of RHP Kyle Farnsworth, who broke a bone in his foot warming up in the bullpen. Farnsworth, on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 10, is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

Cincinnati: Reds reliever Luis Pineda was suspended for three games for hitting the Cubs' Todd Hundley with a pitch last week. ... The Reds placed C Kelly Stinnett on the 15-day DL with a sore right elbow.

Colorado: RHP Jason Jennings left last night's game in the third inning after being struck on his pitching elbow by a line drive off the bat of Arizona's Steve Finley. The team's medical staff said Jennings bruised his elbow.

Florida: Marlins Manager Jeff Torborg was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for excessive arguing during the Marlins' home opener. RHP Kevin Olsen also was suspended three games and fined for intentionally throwing at and hitting Philadelphia's Marlon Anderson last Friday. The suspensions were scheduled to begin today. Olsen said he will appeal. Torborg said managers have no appeal option, but he planned to talk to Watson again this morning in hopes of reducing the suspension.

Los Angeles: Forty years ago yesterday, the Dodgers got their first win ever at Dodger Stadium. They beat Cincinnati 6-2 with 35,296 looking on.

Milwaukee: RHP Jamey Wright was placed on the 15-day DL with rotator cuff tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Montreal: Manager Frank Robinson sat hot-hitting catcher Michael Barrett in the series finale against Florida. Barrett has nine hits, four home runs and 13 runs batted in in five games against the Marlins this season. "It's not hard at all," Robinson said of the decision. "He's nicked up. It's the right the thing to do."

New York: Armando Benitez's save Wednesday was the 108th as a Met, pushing him ahead of Jesse Orosco for second place on the team's career list. John Franco is first with 272.

Philadelphia: RF Bobby Abreu, who left Wednesday night's game in the third inning with a strained left hamstring, is day-to-day.

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are waiting for IF Pat Meares to decide if he will undergo surgery that might give him more mobility in his injured left hand. Meares has been fighting the hand problem since 1999, when he was struck on the left wrist by a pitch late in spring training.

San Francisco: The Giants were again without All-Star SS Rich Aurilia, who has a strained left groin.

St. Louis: Mike Matheny hit his first homer this season. His only homer in spring training was wiped out by a lineup card error.

— Times news services

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