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The A Train: Dontrelle Willis sent to Class A

After watching yet another wild show on the mound, the Detroit Tigers sent Dontrelle Willis down to Class A yesterday in hopes the struggling lefty can find his control.

After watching yet another wild show on the mound, the Detroit Tigers sent Dontrelle Willis down to Class A yesterday in hopes the struggling lefty can find his control.

The Tigers optioned Willis to Lakeland, of the Florida State League - and home to the Tigers' spring training camp - a day after he matched a career high by giving up eight earned runs on five walks and three hits in 1 1/3 innings against Cleveland.

Willis (0-1) has walked 21 batters in 11 1/3 innings. The 8-2 loss to the Indians came in his second start since going on the disabled list with a hyperextended right knee.

"Our objective is to get Dontrelle back to being Dontrelle," Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

Detroit signed Willis to a $29 million, 3-year deal after getting him in a trade last winter with the Florida Marlins.

"We knew his walks were up last year, but not anywhere near the extent of this," Dombrowski said. "We studied it very thoroughly. We knew he hadn't pitched as well the last couple of years but we didn't see this command situation."

Dombrowski also said no decision will be made immediately about who will replace Willis in the starting rotation.

The Tigers also recently placed righthanded starter Jeremy Bonderman on the disabled list with a blood clot in his shoulder.


* Jose Canseco's former attorney is suing the retired baseball slugger, saying he is owed more than $500,000 for 5 years of legal work in and out of the courtroom, including his appearance before Congress in 2005.

Robert Saunooke, who also helped negotiate contracts and book deals, said Canseco, an admitted steroids user, set up "fraudulent corporations in Florida and California to hide his assets."

* University of California first baseman David Cooper, the 17th overall pick, became the first player picked in the first round of last week's amateur draft to agree to a contract, getting a $1.5 million signing bonus from the Toronto Blue Jays.

* Steve Trachsel was designated for assignment by Baltimore, which couldn't count on the righthander in the bullpen after he struggled as a starter. Trachsel, 37, was 2-5 with an 8.39 ERA in 10 games this season, including eight starts. After losing his spot in the starting rotation, he yielded six runs in two relief appearances totaling six innings.

In games last night:

* At Cleveland, C.C. Sabathia (4-8) pitched a five-hitter for his seventh career shutout as the Indians defeated Minnesota, 1-0, extending the Twins' season-high losing streak to six games.

* At Boston, Aubrey Huff matched his career high with four hits, including a tying two-run single, and the Baltimore Orioles came from behind twice to hand the Red Sox a rare home loss, 10-6. Boston is 26-7 at home this season.

* At Detroit, Miguel Cabrera's go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning helped the Tigers snap the Chicago White Sox' seven-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory.

* At Anaheim, Vlad Guerrero and Garret Anderson each hit two-run homers, with Maicer Izturis on base each time, as the Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-1.

* At Oakland, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi drove in first-inning runs and Melky Cabrera added a ninth-inning homer as the New York Yankees defeated the Athletics, 3-1.

* At Kansas City, Ian Kinsler scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers rallied from four down with five unearned runs to beat the Royals, 6-5.

* At Toronto, Dustin McGowan (5-4) pitched his third career complete game, and Vernon Wells and Brad Wilkerson each homered to lead the Blue Jays, 3-1, over the Seattle Mariners. The game took 2 hours, 2 minutes. *