The city gave the Chicago Cubs the go-ahead to play ball at Wrigley Field last night after the stadium passed another round of inspections of repair work done on its crumbling upper deck.

Chunks of concrete have fallen from the deck of the 90-year-old ballpark on at least three occasions since June, forcing officials to install protective nets and inspect the upper deck and mezzanine levels.

"I can say at this point we found no evidence of shoddy repairs and the Cubs can play tonight's game," buildings commissioner Stan Kaderbek said.

Kaderbek threatened last week to cancel the game if the ballpark did not pass new inspections. The team faced a similar situation last month, but the city deemed the park safe after the nets were put up. . . .

Cubs SS Nomar Garciaparra missed last night's game against the Brewers because of a strained left wrist and his status is day-to-day.

* VARITEK DROPS APPEAL: Red Sox C Jason Varitek dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for his part in a bench-clearing brawl with the Yankees last month and began serving his suspension by sitting out last night's game against the Blue Jays.

* DEVIL RAYS CALL UP KAZMIR: Tampa Bay called up highly touted LHP Scott Kazmir from Class AA Montgomery (Ala.) in time for him to make his first major league start last night.

Kazmir was traded by the Mets on July 30 for RHPs Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato. Kazmir was New York's first-round pick in the 2002 draft. He had struck out 259 batters in 2031/3 innings in his minor league career before the deal.

-- From News Services