Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez and Red Sox C Jason Varitek were suspended yesterday for four games each and fined $2,000 for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl between New York and Boston.

Bob Watson, MLB's vice president of on-field operations, punished six other players for the fight. They include Yankees RHP Tanyon Sturtze and Red Sox OFs Gabe Kapler and Trot Nixon, who were suspended for three games and fined $1,000.

Yankees OF Kenny Lofton, Red Sox RHP Curt Schilling and Red Sox DH David Ortiz were fined $500 each.

Rodriguez and Sturtze are appealing their suspensions. Varitek, Kapler and Nixon also plan to appeal, Red Sox spokesman Glenn Geffner said.

"I thought it was too much, four games," Rodriguez said. "I was surprised it was that harsh."

The fight broke out after RHP Bronson Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch in the top of the third of the AL East rivals' game at Fenway Park on Saturday.

* HEALTH CONCERNS: New York City health officials are questioning doctors for the Yankees about an intestinal parasite that may have sickened three players and at least one family member.

1B Jason Giambi has said he is being tested for the parasite after being plagued by symptoms for the last couple of months and being out of the lineup for almost a week. Giambi's wife, Kristian, and Yankees RHP Kevin Brown also have been diagnosed with the parasitic illness, according to Giambi.

A third player, RF Gary Sheffield, was stricken in June with intestinal symptoms that at the time were attributed to "stomach flu."

New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene officials said their contact with the team's physician is not an investigation. They said they had been in touch with the team doctor earlier and are attempting to follow up with him.

Meatime, Giambi will stay home until the team receives test results that show why he's felt so weak for so long, GM Brian Cashman said.

* INJURY REPORT: Diamondbacks OF Luis Gonzalez will have season-ending right elbow ligament replacement surgery on Monday, but expects to return by spring. . . .

Astros LHP Andy Pettitte worked out his ailing left elbow in a bullpen session, but was still uncertain if he could start tomorrow against Cincinnati.

* STAYING, GOING: The Rangers signed closer Francisco Cordero to a two-year, $8 million extension. . . .

The Athletics released 1B Eric Karros, two days after designating him for assignment.

-- From News Services