THOME ON DL: Cleveland's Jim Thome was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a broken bone in his right hand that's expected to sideline the All-Star first baseman four to six weeks.

Thome, who was batting .303 with 29 homers and 82 RBIs, was hit by a pitch thrown by Tampa Bay's Wilson Alvarez in the seventh inning of an Indians victory Friday night.

GAETTI ALL BUT GONE: The St. Louis Cardinals designated third-baseman Gary Gaetti for assignment Saturday.

The move means that after 10 days, if the Cardinals haven't traded him, Gaetti will be free to sign with any team.

Gaetti, 39, in his third season with the Cardinals, was hitting .265 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs. The Cardinals acquired third-baseman Fernando Tatis from Texas in a July 31 trade, making Gaetti expendable.

YANKEES WORKER SUES: A former New York Yankees clubhouse worker claims he was the victim of gay-bashing by players and maintains he was fired because he has the AIDS virus.

Paul Priore filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in the Bronx on July 29, contending that Yankees relief pitchers Mariano Rivera and Jeff Nelson and former reliever Bob Wickman made anti-gay remarks and played cruel pranks on him.

The 34-year-old former equipment man said the players threatened "to perform assaultive and sexual acts" on him between April and July 1996. At one point, Nelson and Wickman waved a baseball bat at Priore and threatened him, the lawsuit charged.


PHILLY'S POSITION ALL BUT DUNN: An injury to tight end Jason Dunn has complicated a position the Philadelphia Eagles thought was heading in the right direction.

Dunn will be out six to eight weeks after injuring his left knee in the 29-15 exhibition loss to the New York Jets on Thursday. Dunn went down during the second play of the game. He was diagnosed with a second-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament, a partially-torn posterior cruciate ligament and a bone bruise.

Among Dunn's replacements is Chad Lewis, who caught 12 passes and scored four touchdowns as a rookie last season. Lewis missed Thursday's game with a twisted neck but is expected to start Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Veterans Stadium.

"I'm always ready to play," said Lewis, who caught 111 passes for 1,376 yards and 10 touchdowns at Brigham Young University. "I know how important the tight end is in this offense. I'm just going to do the best job I can do to make good things happen."

Under new offensive coordinator Dana Bible, the Eagles are expected to make the tight end position more involved in the West Coast Offense's passing game. With Jon Gruden running the offense last season, the Eagles completed just 33 passes to tight ends - Lewis caught 12, Dunn seven, and veteran Jimmie Johnson 14.

OSU 'BACKER PASSING THE GRADE? Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer, last year's Butkus Award winner, must pass a summer-school class to be eligible this season, coach John Cooper said.

"Obviously, he is in danger of not being eligible if he is in summer school," Cooper said. "We think he is going to be OK, but until the grades come in, we don't know."


LINDROS WANTS TO STAY WITH FLYERS: Eric Lindros said he wants to stay with the Philadelphia Flyers amid speculation that team officials are looking to trade him.

With Lindros' contract talks to begin Thursday, general manager Bob Clarke has publicly criticized the Flyers' franchise player and team captain for disappointing play.

"This is my hockey home, and I want to keep it that way," Lindros responded at a Friday news conference. "Ideally, yes, I would finish my career here."

Clarke told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month that Lindros must start performing if he wants to be the league's highest-paid player.

"He's 25 years old, and he's been in the league six years. It's time," Clarke said. He added that if the team could not sign Lindros to a contract, he would be traded.


UTAH DEFENDS NATIONAL TITLE: The Utah men's 23-under fastpitch softball team captured the ASA National Championship last Sunday by defeating Ohio 8-2. Twenty-four teams competed in the competition held in Lake Town, S.D.

Utah won the tourney for the second straight season after winning all six of its games. Clint Wallace drove in five runs and recorded the victory in the championship and was named the MVP.

Track and field

HERCULIS GOLDEN LEAGUE: Ato Boldon got revenge against Olympic champion Donovan Bailey in the men's 100 meters, and Marion Jones posted another fast time in the women's 100 Saturday at the Herculis Golden League track and field meet in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Boldon was timed in 9.92 seconds in beating Bailey, second at 9.96. Third was Frankie Fredericks in 10.02.

A $1 million bonus will be shared among the athletes who remain unbeaten through the six Golden League meets and the Grand Prix final at Moscow Sept. 5.

Jones, Haile Gebrselassie, Charity Opara, Bryan Bronson and Hicham El Guerrouj are still alive for the bonus.

Jones stayed unbeaten in the women's 100, winning in 10.72, only .01 second off her season's world best.


CANADA WANTS SMITH'S GOLDS STRIPPED: Canadian swimming authorities will seek to have Michelle Smith stripped of the three gold medals she won at the Atlanta Olympics.

If that happens, Canadians Marianne Limpert and Joanne Malar would move up to first and third in the 200-meter individual medley at the 1996 games.

Smith was suspended for four years by swimming's international governing body (FINA) for tampering with an out-of-competition drug test urinalysis in January. The Irish swimmer has vowed to fight the sanction and sue the swimming federation for damages.

Horse racing

HASKELL INVITATIONAL: It's time for Coronado's Quest to prove he can hit the curve.

Trainer Shug McGaughey used a baseball analogy to explain the status of his temperamental but talented colt going into Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

"We've been sort of in the minor leagues and now we're going into the major leagues," McGaughey said of Coronado's Quest bid for his first victory in a Grade I stakes.

The figurative opposing pitcher in the Haskell will be Victory Gallop, runner-up to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and Real Quiet's conqueror in the Belmont Stakes. All are Grade I races.

Real Quiet will miss the Haskell because of a minor injury to his right hind leg.

HAMBLETONIAN: Muscles Yankee gave John Campbell a record fifth driving win in the Ham-ble-ton-ian and led a 1-2 finish by trainer Chuck Sylvester in trotting's biggest race of the year Saturday in East Rutherford, N.J.

A heavy favorite in the race for 3-year-olds, Muscles Yankee trotted the mile in 1:52 2-5 in beating David Raymond by three lengths.

The time was only one-fifth of a second off the stakes record set by Continentalvictory in 1996.

TRAINER AILING: Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens was recovering in a Florida convalescent center Saturday after being hospitalized with complications related to chronic emphysema.

"I'm in trouble, I'm not feeling too good," Stephens said from his bed at Heartland Health Care Center.


WEST JORDAN TRYOUT: Tryouts for the West Jordan High girls volleyball team will be held Monday from 9-11 a.m. at the school's gym. The tryout is open to girls grades ninth through 12th. For more information, call 256-5600.