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Pirates Pitchers Get in Fight

May 25, 1998 GMT

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jeff Tabaka sustained a fractured jaw and likely will go on the disabled list after being punched during a hotel lobby fight, apparently in a dispute over a card game.

Eyewitnesses traveling with the Pirates said Tabaka and reliever Marc Wilkins scuffled in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee after the team arrived Sunday night from a weekend series in Miami.

Before the players could be separated, Tabaka was struck in the jaw. He required surgery on Monday and will be out indefinitely.

The Pirates were off Monday, but Tabaka is expected to go on the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers. He would be the third Pirates’ player to go on the DL in the last week, joining Wilkins and infielder Lou Collier.

The argument apparently began during a card game on the Pirates’ flight from Miami to Milwaukee and carried over to the hotel. Tabaka and Wilkins share an apartment in suburban Pittsburgh during the season.

Tabaka, a left-hander, is 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 14 appearances. The right-hander Wilkins, the Pirates’ top setup man in the bullpen, is 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 appearances despite twice going on the disabled list with injuries.

The fight came after the Pirates lost two of three to the last-place Florida Marlins, giving them 15 losses in their last 21 road games.