The San Diego Padres put third baseman Craig Worthington, who lost his shot at a starting job when Gary Sheffield was obtained from the Milwaukee Brewers last week, on unconditional release waivers yesterday.
Worthington, obtained in an off-season trade with the Orioles for pitcher Jim Lewis and outfielder Steve Martin, was signed for $235,000. San Diego will instead give him $58,104 in termination pay, if he is not claimed by Friday.
Since the acquisition of Sheffield, general manager Joe McIlvaine had tried to trade Worthington.
Worthington hit .247 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI in his rookie season, but fell off in seven offensive categories in 1990 and was hampered by injuries in 1991.
He struggled at the plate this spring, hitting .219 in 14 games with one homer and four RBI.
* PIRATES: If he keeps pitching the way he did yesterday, Denny Neagle, a graduate of Arundel High, is on the fast track toward joining the starting rotation.
Neagle, a left-hander acquired from the Twins in the John Smiley trade last month, enjoyed his most effective start with Pittsburgh by allowing one earned run over five innings in a 9-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
Pitching coach Ray Miller said of Neagle: "He can start up here right now and be successful."
Neagle will begin the season in the bullpen, but probably will move into the starting rotation April 21, when the Pirates go to a five-man rotation.
* METS: The woman accusing three players of raping her a year ago spent nearly seven hours at the Port St. Lucie, Fla., police department talking with investigators. Police last week said the Manhattan woman, 31, would return to Port St. Lucie to go over minor discrepancies in her case. She filed a complaint March 3 against three players identified by their attorneys as pitcher Dwight Gooden and outfielders Daryl Boston and Vince Coleman.