* SETBACKS: Sandy Alomar Jr. seemed on his way to fulfilling his potential when he was selected American League rookie of the year in 1990, but he was on the disabled list twice in '91 with hip and shoulder injuries, twice more in '92 with hand and knee injuries, and he is back on it with a bulging back disk that may require surgery.

"People got to be sick of it and I'm sick of it, too," the Cleveland Indian catcher said of his injuries. "I have a mixture of emotions, but I won't give up."

Said Manager Mike Hargrove: "I've seen Sandy go through this for two years, and this could be a third. When that happens, you start wondering if the player will ever make it back."

* BURNOUT? The San Francisco Giants have received surprisingly effective pitching in their rise to the National League West lead, but . . .

They had yet to get a complete game through Thursday, were using an average of three relievers a game, and closer Rod Beck, while emerging as one of the National League's best, was on a pace to make a withering 92 appearances, 27 more than his career-high 65 of last year.

* RELIEF: The Atlanta Braves may still decide to go after Florida Marlin closer Bryan Harvey, but Mike Stanton has dispelled what was expected to be the Braves' biggest problem by converting all 10 of his save opportunities.

Atlanta's biggest problem may be Terry Pendleton's belt size. The Braves would be happy if the third baseman were merely hitting his listed weight of 195, but he was at .164 through Thursday, with five hits in his last 41 at-bats.

* ADD HARVEY: No expansion reliever has ever saved more than 16 games, but Harvey has half that total already. His projected counterpart with the Colorado Rockies, Darren Holmes, was optioned to triple A the other day, having given up 15 hits and nine walks in 7 1/3 innings.

Holmes, the only one of the Rockies with a two-year contract, took it well, saying he needed the opportunity to work out his problems at another level and almost asking to be sent out.

"I've struggled the whole year," he said. "They've stuck by me and given me every chance, but there's only so much you can take."

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