LESS BEEF TO UMPIRE: Veteran NL umpire Eric Gregg made his 1990 debut in last night's Padres-Giants game, weighing in at a svelte 333 pounds. That may seem large, but it's progress. Gregg had been at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center at the urging of his wife and NL President Bill White. Gregg dropped 60 pounds, as the league picked up the tab.

HOWE ILL: Former Dodgers reliever Steve Howe, 32, remained hospitalized because of a blood clot in his lung, but his condition was reported to be improved. He was upgraded to fair and stable condition and transferred from intensive care to the progressive care unit late Monday, said a spokesman at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center in Lancaster, Calif. Howe is with the Salinas Spurs of the Class A California League.

PEREZ IN PAIN: The Yankees received a setback Sunday when Pascual Perez walked off the bullpen mound in Vero Beach, Fla., and refused to start. He said his arm did not feel right. Perez, who signed a three-year, $5.7 million free agent contract, has not pitched since April 2, has been in Florida since May 21 and now will undergo additional tests to determine if he requires shoulder surgery.

LOCAL SIGNING: The Reds have signed their No. 2 draft pick, SS Keith Gordon, from Olney, Md., and Wright State, and assigned him to Billings of the rookie Pioneer League.