Dock Ellis, the former pitcher best remembered for his flamboyance and social activism as a member of the great Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the 1970s, died yesterday of a liver ailment in California, according to a report on ESPN.com.

Ellis' former agent, Tom Reich, confirmed his death. Ellis was 63.

Ellis spent 12 years in the majors with Pittsburgh, the New York Yankees, Oakland, Texas and the New York Mets. He retired in 1979 with a record of 138-119, but was best known for several colorful incidents on and off the field.

He suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was placed on a list to receive a liver transplant in May.

Noteworthy

* Outfielder Juan Rivera decided to stay with the Los Angeles Angels, agreeing to a $12.75 million, 3-year contract. The Angels are in negotiations to re-sign free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, and might pursue free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez should Teixeira leave.

* Braves president John Schuerholz vowed to never again do business with Rafael Furcal's agents, claiming the Wasserman Media Group took the team's signed terms of agreement sheet to the Dodgers, who then reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday to re-sign the shortstop.

"The Atlanta Braves will no longer do business with that company - ever," Schuerholz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

* Nick Willhite, a hard-throwing lefthander for the Dodgers in the 1960s, died after a battle with cancer. He was 67. *