PUNCH LINE:

Dodgers C Rick Dempsey was suspended for one game by the NL and fined for fighting. Dempsey and Phillies OF Len Dykstra were ejected in the seventh inning Monday. Dyk-stra came to bat and complained to umpire Ron Barnes about an earlier called strike. Dempsey got involved and punched Dysktra, causing both benches to empty.

Dempsey, who has appealed the suspension, said it wasn't his fault. "Dykstra came up and he was mad about the pitch he was called out on. He said I was buttering up the umpire," Dempsey said. "I asked him what he was talking about. He dropped his bat and took a step toward me. When he did that, I knew he was going to hit me. I hit him with a straight left with my glove."

"It was between me and him, that's all I can say," Dykstra said. "It had nothing to do with the umpire."

BIG STICK:

When Gene Michael showed up for work at Yankee Stadium yesterday, he was the boss. "If there is a decision to be made I'll make it," New York's new general manager said. " . . . We have a lot of work ahead. Starting Monday, we're going to review players we don't think are in our plans for next year."

Michael plans to continue the Yankees' youth movement that has produced such surprises as 1B Kevin Maas, OF Oscar Azocar and 3B Jim Leyritz. "Baltimore and Chicago turned it around fast the last two seasons and I think we have the talent to do the same."

FAST RELIEF:

When Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox saved Sunday's 4-2 win at Texas, he became the 10th pitcher to save 40 games in a season. He also did it in 118 games, the fastest ever. Bruce Sutter of St. Louis reached 40 in 141 games in 1984. Thigpen seems a cinch to break the record of 46 set in 1986 by Dave Righetti of the Yankees.

INS AND OUTS:

A's OF Dave Henderson (sprained knee) goes on the 15-day DL; Darren Lewis comes up from AAA Tacoma. . . . Mets OF Mark Carreon (torn knee ligament) goes on the 15-day DL; OF Chuck Carr comes up from AAA Tidewater. Carreon is expected to miss the rest of the season. . . . Red Sox signed RHP Cecilio Guante to Class AAA contract and assigned him to Pawtucket. He was released by the Indians this month. . . . Padres signed LHP Atlee Hammaker, released by the Giants Aug. 11 with a 4-5 record and 4.28 ERA.