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BRIEFS BASEBALL

Complete 1995 American League and National League schedules are published today on Page D4.

Strawberry gets off easy

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Darryl Strawberry got off easy at his sentencing for federal tax evasion, drawing six months of home confinement instead of the three months in prison he agreed to in a plea bargain.

Strawberry was not fined but must pay about $350,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties. He is allowed to play baseball and travel to road games while serving the sentence.

U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker Jr., who disregarded the plea agreement, also sentenced Strawberry to three years' probation, 100 hours of community service and mandatory drug counseling.

Strawberry is not eligible to play until June 24. He was suspended for the first 60 days of the season Feb. 6 after testing positive for cocaine. San Francisco then released him.

Umps reject latest offer

NEW YORK - The umpires union board voted 9-0 to reject the owners' latest offer, making it likely replacements will work tonight's season opener.

Amateur umpires worked spring training and owners are prepared to start the season with them. In 1991, the sides settled just hours before the first pitch and the regular umpires missed most of the openers.

Owners have locked out the umpires since Jan. 1, the day after their four-year agreement expired.

Date set for owners

NEW YORK - Owners received a May 11 hearing date in their attempt to overturn the injunction that caused players to end their 71/2-month strike.

The owners have a slim chance of success before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, given the skepticism expressed by a three-judge panel when the appellate court denied management's attempt to stay the injunction.

The teams claim U.S. District Judge Sonia Sotomayor erred when she issued the injunction March 31.

A's release Welch

PHOENIX - Even after agreeing to a huge pay cut and signing a minor league contract, Bob Welch was unable to stay with the Oakland Athletics.

Welch, 38, who won the 1990 AL Cy Young Award with a 27-6 record, was released late Sunday. The right-hander had a $2.9 million contract in 1994, but agreed to a deal for $225,000 if he made the A's roster.

He was 188-122 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 years with Los Angeles and Oakland.

Hesketh retires

ATLANTA - Left-hander Joe Hesketh retired rather than report to the minors after being cut by the New York Yankees. Hesketh, 36, was 60-47 with a 3.78 ERA in 11 years with Montreal, Atlanta and Boston.

Jays avoid arbitration

TORONTO - Reliever Tony Castillo and Toronto avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a two-year contract worth $1,270,500.