The Chicago Cubs fired pitching coach Dick Pole yesterday after their 12th loss in 13 games, a 14-6 rout by the St. Louis Cardinals in which Cubs pitchers allowed 21 hits.
He was replaced by Billy Connors, who was Chicago's pitching coach from 1982-86. Pole, 40, was in his fourth season with the Cubs, and his departure comes a little more than five weeks after manager Don Zimmer was fired.
"Sometimes, a fresh look helps," manager Jim Essian said.
* EXPANSION: Major-league owners will meet by conference call Friday to vote on final approval of Denver and Miami as the National League's expansion cities.
The vote had been delayed because of the restructuring of the expansion draft. But the leagues agreed on a new structure this week and the Major League Baseball Players Association said yesterday it would recommend that players approve the necessary amendment to the collective bargaining agreement.
* METS: Left-hander Sid Fernandez, out since March after breaking his left arm, continued his rehabilitation assignment with his second start in the minors.
Fernandez threw 76 pitches in 3 2/3 innings for the Class AAA Tidewater Tides on Thursday night. He struck out six, walked two and allowed two runs on four hits.
* GIANTS: Starting pitcher John Burkett was scratched from last night's game because of back spasms. Don Robinson took his place.
* JOE JACKSON: The Chicago City Council moved Thursday toward throwing its influence toward restoring the reputation of former White Sox star "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, who was barred from baseball for allegedly helping fix games in the 1919 World Series.
Sponsored by Alderman Eugene Schulter (47th), a lifetime North Side resident but a longtime White Sox fan, a resolution approved unanimously by the City Council Parks and Recreation committee urged the commissioner of baseball to reinstate Jackson as a member in good standing of organized baseball.