Cubs 1B Derrek Lee, who leads the majors with a .378 batting average, left last night's game against the Braves with a shoulder injury.

Lee backed out of the batter's box in apparent pain during his first-inning at-bat. He remained in the game and struck out.

After playing two innings, however, Lee left the game.

The Cubs said Lee left with left shoulder irritation. No further information on the injury or Lee's status was available.

Lee is second in the majors with 25 homers and third in the NL with 67 RBI.

Lee started the Cubs' first 82 games at first base.

* BECKETT OUT AGAIN: Marlins RHP Josh Beckett left in the third inning of his start against the Brewers last night in Miami after straining his left oblique muscle.

Beckett threw only 45 pitches, and was charged with six hits and three runs in two-plus innings. After Carlos Lee fouled off Beckett's last pitch, Marlins assistant trainer Mike Kozak visited the mound and was followed out by Manager Jack McKeon.

After a brief delay, Beckett walked slowly from the mound and McKeon summoned left-hander Al Leiter from the bullpen. It was the 31st relief appearance of Leiter's career, and his first since Sept. 15, 1993, for the Blue Jays.

Blister problems have sent Beckett to the disabled list six times in his career, including once this season. The team said Beckett would be reevaluated today.

* LIEBER HURT: Phillies RHP Jon Lieber was struck on the right elbow by a line drive in the first inning last night in Pittsburgh, but X-rays did not show any broken bones.

Lieber did not return to pitch the second inning, with Geoff Geary replacing him. Lieber went to the clubhouse to be evaluated by the team's medical staff, then was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

-- From News Services

Derrek Lee is among the leaders in batting average (.378), homers (25) and RBI (67).