Elia, 70, back on big-league bench

If the octogenarian Joe Paterno can get down in a three-point stance to show linemen how it's done, then 70-year-old Philly native and former Phillies manager Lee Elia should have no problem showing the woeful Seattle Mariners how to hit.

The Mariners yesterday dismissed hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replaced him with Elia, who was serving as special assistant to manager John McLaren. The Mariners' .305 on-base percentage is worst in the majors.

In his 47th year in baseball, Elia, raised near Broad and Girard, is probably best known for one of the wildest, most profane tirades in the game's history. At the time - April 29, 1983 - he was the Cubs' manager.

For those of you too young to remember but old enough to handle X-rated language, check out Elia's rant on YouTube.com. Basically, he said 85 percent of the world has jobs, the other 15 percent goes to Cubs games.

Wrong, Lee: The other 15 percent plays fantasy baseball.

Anyway, the incident has haunted Elia, and he has since expressed his regret. Elia said some fans got into a verbal spat with catcher Keith Moreland that nearly became physical after a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

"I was referring to those 15 people who were giving Moreland a hard time," Elia recalled. "It was terrible. It was immature of me."

Future duelers

If the Yankees are to break out of mediocrity and track down the Red Sox, they'll probably need highly touted 22-year-old righthander Joba Chamberlain to show signs of the stardom that is expected from him by midseason.

In recent years, though, the Red Sox seem to have a countermove to everything the Yankees do. This is where their young righthander, 23-year-old Justin Masterson, comes in.

The two prospects couldn't be more different. Chamberlain is raw power, with a fastball that approaches 100 m.p.h. and a paralyzing slider. Masterson, who stands 6-foot-6, is a sidearmer who relies on sinkers and is trying to master a change-up.

They're also on different paths. Chamberlain made 20 relief appearances, notching a 2.28 ERA, before moving into the starting rotation last Tuesday.

In his second season, Masterson has been called up from the minors three times. He's 3-0 after Sunday's win and has won all four starts at Fenway Park, the first Boston pitcher to do so.

"He's got a unique delivery with good action on the ball and a good mound presence," catcher Jason Varitek said.

Masterson, who has eased the loss of injured Daisuke Matsuzaka, will get his first road test Friday at Cincinnati. Chamberlain's next start is likely Friday in Houston. If all goes well for both, they may become a crucial part of Yankees-Red Sox lore.


An all-time Phillies fan favorite, J.D. Drew, batted .519 (14 for 27) with four homers in his last eight games for the Red Sox. . . . The Angels are the only team among the three AL division leaders playing better than .500 on the road.