St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa expressed outrage yesterday at the $10,000 fine levied by Major League Baseball against reliever Julian Tavarez for allegedly throwing at Jeff Bagwell's head in the seventh inning of Game 4.

"So when a ball is thrown in [the head] area, or gets away, [it's] $10,000 from now on?" La Russa said. "I mean, that is so ridiculous. . . . The guy didn't even get warned [by the umpires]. He didn't get ejected, did he?"

Tavarez has indicated he will appeal the fine.

About two hours before Game 6, La Russa confronted MLB discipline czar Bob Watson behind the batting cage and initiated an animated discussion. At one point, La Russa spun and walked away, then returned a few moments later to continue the discussion. Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty joined the discussion for a time.

It is not the first time La Russa and Watson have clashed over an issue involving Tavarez. Two months ago, Watson suspended Tavarez for 10 games after the reliever was ejected from an Aug. 20 game for allegedly wearing a cap loaded with pine tar. The suspension was later reduced to eight games. Watson declined to address reporters' questions, saying only that Tavarez had been fined "for intentionally throwing at the head of Jeff Bagwell."

Olerud Cleared to Play

New York Yankees first baseman John Olerud, who missed the past three games with a bruised left instep, took batting practice and ground balls before the game and was deemed available for Game 7.

"He got much better overnight," Yankees Manager Joe Torre said before the game. Olerud pinch-hit for Tony Clark in the seventh inning.

Clark has struggled as Olerud's replacement, striking out nine times in four games, but he started again last night.

Olerud was examined by team doctor Stuart Hershon prior to the game and diagnosed with nothing more than a bruise. Because Olerud had previously suffered a cerebral aneurysm, Hershon could not perform an MRI exam.

The Yankees made another change in the lineup, replacing designated hitter Ruben Sierra with Kenny Lofton. Sierra, prior to Game 7, had struck out five of his last six plate appearances.

"Kenny gives you a little more versatility as far as speed and contact," Torre said. "We just chose to have Ruben available as a pinch hitter and then use Kenny and hopefully try to force some things to happen." . . .

Mark Bellhorn, hitting just .174 prior to Game 7, earned the good graces of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona with a three-run home run on Tuesday. Bellhorn was back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup last night and homered in the eighth. . . .

Torre refused to get into a verbal back and forth with Boston players, who had been critical of Alex Rodriguez's attempt to dislodge the ball from Bronson Arroyo in the eighth inning of Game 6. . . . University of Massachusetts police arrested 35 people after the Red Sox won Game 6.

Sheinin reported from St. Louis, Arangure from New York. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez was fined $10,000 by Major League Baseball for allegedly throwing at Jeff Bagwell's head in Game 4.