CLEMENS READY: After a one-hour exam at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, the Red Sox' Roger Clemens got the go-ahead to pitch Sunday against the Yankees. He also spent an hour lifting weights and running.

REDS READY TOO: The Reds will begin selling World Series tickets Saturday morning. Only phone orders will be taken. NLCS tickets are already gone.

PURGE: The Padres have decided to fire "Trader Jack" McKeon, their top baseball man, but won't announce it until finding a replacement, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"I'm okay; I can handle this," McKeon said, "but it's been tough on my friends and family. They take it a little harder than I do."

AL'S NL LEADER: The NL's top hitter, Willie McGee at .335, plays in the AL.

McGee, who had enough at-bats with the Cardinals to qualify for the race, has the lead because Philadelphia's Len Dystra has slipped to .331.

"Lenny is in a tough situation," McGee said. "But Lenny is a tough little player and he's got a lot to look forward to with all he's got going for him. I wish him the best of luck."

THANK YOU, GEORGE: The Pirates' Doug Drabek, the NL's first 20-game winner, owes some of his success to the Yankees.

"The big break in my career came when the Yankees traded me to the Pirates," he said. "The Pirates were rebuilding with a lot of young guys and I had a chance to learn and gain experience in the big leagues. I guess it was being in the right place at the right time."

FOR SALE-MAYBE: The owners of the Astros say they will sell the team if Major League Baseball forbids them from also running dog and horse racing tracks.

Robert Harter, president of the Houston Sports Association, told a Texas Racing Commission examiner in Austin that he is confident Commissioner Fay Vincent will allow the association to keep the team, despite any track licenses HSA might win.

RADER SIGNS: Manager Doug Rader, 46, signed a two-year contract extension with the Angels. He'll use his new security to make some major changes, he said.

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Pitcher Dave Righetti, who can become a free agent next month, rejected the Yankees' first contract proposal.

Meantime, the team said starter Tim Leary (9-19, 4.11) is done for the season. He's healthy, but was in danger of becoming the first 20-game loser in the major leagues in 10 years. Leary, 31, will be eligible for free agency too.

"I was a little surprised at first, but I'm not going to make any waves," he said. "It's been a mentally frustrating year anyway. There's a stigma to losing 20 games."

Brian Kingman was the last to do it, in 1980 with Oakland. Jose DeLeon went 2-19 with Pittsburgh in 1985 and was pulled from his final few starts so he wouldn't be embarrassed.

The last Yankee to do it was Mel Stottlemyre, who went 12-20 in 1966.

The Yankees will go with younger players the rest of the season. Dave Eiland and Steve Adkins already have replaced Andy Hawkins and Dave LaPoint in the rotation.

STATS: Oakland's Terry Steinbach is 11 for 18 with one grand slam, three doubles and 23 RBI this season with the bases loaded.