George Steinbrenner, who earlier this week blasted the Yankees front-office staff for failing to sign No. 1 draft pick Brien Taylor, saying, "If they let him go, they ought to be shot," now is unhappy that New York gave the 19-year-old pitcher a contract worth $1.55 million.
"Never in my wildest dreams would I have paid that kid a million-and-a-half," Steinbrenner said. "I'm getting damned tired of people spending my money like this."
Commissioner Fay Vincent said this week that Steinbrenner probably influenced the negotiations but that the comments were not in violation of Steinbrenner's ban because they came in response to reporters' questions.
Meanwhile general manager Gene Michael blasted chief operating officer Leonard Kleinman to managing general partner Robert Nederlander, a source told the New York Daily News last night.
Michael was incensed that Kleinman had met with captain Don Mattingly without including Michael.
Sources say Nederlander strongly supported Michael's complaints and moved quickly to talk with Kleinman about such future indiscretions.
* ASTROS: John Burke, the sixth pick in the amateur draft, says the club has until this morning to sign him. After that, he says, he's prepared to pitch his junior season for the University of Florida.
* DODGERS: Shortstop Alfredo Griffin was cleared to be activated Sunday or Monday. Griffin, who had a fractured cheekbone, probably will have to wear his plastic face shield the rest of the season.
* REDS: Outfielder Glenn Braggs, who has a torn right hamstring, might miss the remainder of the year.