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Boot saves player from major injury

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cleveland Indians pitcher Kyle Denney was hit in the leg by a bullet that pierced the team's bus Wednesday night, but he was not seriously hurt, perhaps thanks to white cheerleading boots he was wearing as part of a hazing ritual.

Team trainers were able to remove the bullet from Denney's right calf. He stayed overnight at a Kansas City hotel after being treated at a hospital, team spokesman Bart Swain said.

The rest of the team was unharmed. The shooting occurred as the team rode to Kansas City International Airport after a game with the Kansas City Royals.

Swain said the shot was fired into the side of one of the Indians' two buses while it was on a ramp between Interstate 435 and I-70. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was hit by debris when the bullet entered the bus.

As part of a rookie hazing ritual, Denney was wearing a USC cheerleader's outfit, including the high white boots, on the trip to the airport.

"Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," Swain said.

Police said Thursday they have no solid suspects in the case.

"It's disturbing," Royals general manager Allard Baird said. "Whether it's a bus full of major league baseball players and their staff members or one person driving down the road, it's very disturbing that something like this could happen. Why anybody would just take a random shot like that is amazing to me. Thank heavens no one was hurt seriously."

The Indians arrived safely at the airport and boarded a plane bound for Minneapolis early Thursday.

Denney, who started Wednesday night's 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, was expected to rejoin the Indians on Thursday in Minnesota, where Cleveland begins its final series of the season Friday.

After getting called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Sept. 14, the 27-year-old Denney is 1-2 with a 9.56 ERA in four starts with Cleveland. He beat Kansas City 8-3 on Sept. 19 for his first major league win.

STRIKEOUT RECORD: Cincinnati Reds slugger Adam Dunn set the major league record for strikeouts in one season with 190, when he fanned in his first two at-bats Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.

Dunn struck out against Chicago starter Mark Prior in the second and fourth innings, breaking the previous mark for whiffs of 189 set by Bobby Bonds in 1970.

METS GET NEW GM: Omar Minaya rejoined the New York Mets as their general manager on Thursday, charged with turning around a team that has finished last or next-to-last in the NL East each of the past three seasons.

Minaya, also given the title of executive vice president of baseball operations, spent the last three years as GM of the Montreal Expos, who are moving next season to Washington, D.C. Before that, he was the Mets' senior assistant general manager for three seasons.

He is the first Hispanic general manager in the major leagues.

DURAZO INJURED: Designated hitter Erubiel Durazo was held out of the Oakland Athletics' starting lineup Thursday with a sore left wrist.

Durazo consulted a hand specialist about the injury, which occurred early in the A's 4-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night. He's batting a team-best .323 with 22 homers and 88 RBIs this season.

Oakland also was without catcher Damian Miller, who missed his second straight start with a thumb injury.