National League umpire Gary Darling and his union filed a $5 million defamation suit against Lou Piniella yesterday because the Cincinnati manager said Darling was biased against the Reds.
The suit, filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, alleges that Darling's reputation was "severely damaged" by Piniella's remarks made after the Reds' 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Piniella met with NL president Bill White in Cincinnati yesterday and issued a conciliatory statement, only to be informed after that meeting that the suit had been filed. Neither ,, had any comment.
Piniella's statement said: "Major-league umpires have a very difficult job and sometimes managers and players disagree with their calls or decisions. I overreacted in anger and frustration, but have discussed the situation with Bill White and we both now consider the matter closed."
* REDS: Reliever Rob Dibble received an undisclosed fine but no suspension from the National League for hitting Cubs base-runner Doug Dascenzo with a thrown ball.
Dibble has served two suspensions totaling seven games this season for throwing behind Houston's Eric Yelding and for flinging a baseball into the stands at Riverfront Stadium, injuring a grade-school teacher.
In this incident, Dibble fielded a suicide squeeze bunt by Dascenzo, ran behind him and threw the ball at his legs.
Dascenzo said: "It's not my decision to make. When there is a situation like that and officials make a ruling, you abide by those rules. Whatever Bill White says is OK with me. It happened. Hopefully, something like that won't happen again and you won't have to go to league officials to determine the results."
* ANGELS: Mike Marshall, who signed less than two weeks ago, was granted his release after going 0-for-7 in two games.
Marshall had met Tuesday night with manager Doug Rader and senior vice president Dan O'Brien to ask for his release, after realizing he was not going to be anything more than a part-time player.