Alex Rodriguez is so sick with the flu that he dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension and started serving the penalty when the Yankees beat the Mariners, 6-4, yesterday.

"I talked to A-Rod and we didn't feel he was going to be available tomorrow," Manager Joe Torre said after the game. "So we figured we'd cut our losses."

To add infield depth, the Yankees recalled IF Andy Phillips from Class AAA Columbus and optioned RHP Bret Prinz to the International League farm team. New York had been carrying 12 pitchers on its 25-man roster.

Rodriguez, who missed Friday's game because of the flu, is eligible to return Thursday night against the Twins. He was among five players suspended after a fight between the Yankees and the Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 24. The brawl started after Bronson Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch and Rodriguez and Boston C Jason Varitek scuffled.

The reigning AL MVP didn't accompany the team to Safeco Field yesterday.

* THOME OUT: Phillies slugger Jim Thome is day-to-day with a right shoulder injury. Thome was out of the lineup yesterday after injuring himself the night before in a loss to San Francisco. X-rays were negative, and the all-star first baseman has a bruised joint in his right shoulder.

* SIDELINED: The Reds placed RHP Paul Wilson on the 15-day disabled list with lower back soreness. . . . The Devil Rays placed OF Rocco Baldelli on the 15-day DL with a strained right quadriceps.

-- From News Services