In a season already gone bad, Astros rookie C Mitch Meluskey punched teammate Matt Mieske during batting practice yesterday.

Mieske was cut over his left eye. The fight happened about an hour before the Astros' latest defeat, a 4-1 loss to the Padres. Some Astros veterans clearly were unhappy about the fight.

According to witnesses, Meluskey was late for his turn in the batting cage and he jumped in ahead of Mieske. The two exchanged words and Meluskey hit Mieske when the two were outside the cage. Meluskey was hustled away and Mieske was treated on the ground.

"It's something I feel bad about," Meluskey said after the game. "There's nothing I can do about it. I'm going to sit down and talk to him about it. It's between teammates."

Mieske refused to comment, telling reporters: "I don't think it's any of your business."

YANKEES SIGN GOODEN: RHP Dwight Gooden has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.

"We still feel like he has something left in his arm," Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. Stottlemyre coached Gooden with the Mets and the Yankees. Gooden, 35, was released by the Devil Rays two weeks ago.

SECOND TRANSPLANT: Lori Gardner, wife of Giants P Mark Gardner, has had her second liver transplant. Lori Gardner had the 20-hour operation at a Bay Area hospital Friday. She had a liver transplant in February 1998, but needed a second operation after complications from radiation.