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Baseball office wants a word with Wells -- in person

David Wells is scheduled to meet with Major League Baseball officials today in New York to discuss comments he directed at commissioner Bud Selig Monday after learning that his six-game suspension was upheld.

The officials Wells will meet with could include executive director of labor relations Rob Manfred and perhaps Selig himself. Wells is expected to be accompanied by a representative of the Players Association as well as his agent, Gregg Clifton.

Wells criticized Selig on a few fronts, including his handling of the Rafael Palmeiro steroid finding, and in the case of his own suspension, Wells theorized that Selig was trying to ''stick it to me" because of the poor relationship he has had with the commissioner.

Wells's suspension stemmed from a July 2 incident in which he was ejected; last night, he served the second game of the six-game ban.

According to manager Terry Francona, Wells arrived at Fenway early yesterday afternoon, did his normal work, and left before the media were allowed into the clubhouse. He is not eligible to pitch until Sunday against the Orioles.

''He was under control," Francona said. ''He was just bitter, but he'll get through it."

On Monday night, Wells's comments prompted a response from Manfred, who said in a statement, ''David Wells has once again created a distraction with a series of ill-informed and ill-conceived comments. With respect to Rafael Palmeiro, Mr. Wells has absolutely no accurate information concerning the processing of the Palmeiro case. As the Players Association has stated publicly, the Palmeiro case was processed in strict compliance with the Basic Agreement and the discipline was announced as soon as the appeal was completed. Mr. Wells's statement that the discipline was delayed is pure fiction. Mr. Wells's dissatisfaction with his appeal says more about his poor behavior than it does about the quality of the appeal process."

In his remarks, Wells claimed that Selig delayed the announcement of Palmeiro's positive steroid test until after this summer's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. He also criticized Selig's handling of the 2001 All-Star Game, which ended in a tie.

Late Monday night, at the behest of the major league offices, the Red Sox issued a statement apologizing for Wells's comments.

Sox chairman Tom Werner said on NESN's pregame show last night that Wells's comments were out of line, and he added that the apology issued Monday night was based on what the organization thought of Wells's comments.

According to a major league source, Wells is not pleased about the meeting today, nor is he pleased that the Red Sox issued a statement apologizing to Selig. The source said Major League Baseball is trying to educate Wells on the sensitive nature of the steroids issue at this time.

Patrick Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said he was not at liberty to comment on the meeting.

The Red Sox did not announce a starter for what would have been Wells's turn Friday. Lefthander Lenny DiNardo is a possibility. Wells is expected to make his start Sunday, according to Francona.

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