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Reds close door on reliever Graves

Closer Danny Graves was let go by the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, a day after he made an obscene hand gesture at a fan taunting him over his latest poor performance.

The club's career saves leader was shocked by the decision to designate him for assignment, a move that ended his eight-year career in Cincinnati. The Reds have 10 days to trade him or put him on waivers.

Graves gave up five ninth-inning runs in Cleveland's 9-2 victory Sunday at Great American Ball Park, then was booed and taunted by fans as he left the field.

Graves spoke by telephone yesterday with general manager Dan O'Brien, who was out of town preparing for the amateur draft.

Graves's latest tough outing raised his ERA to 7.76. He was 1-1 and had 10 saves in 12 chances.

'Can' earns a spot

Dennis ''Oil Can" Boyd earned a roster spot with the Brockton Rox and signed with the minor league team, preserving the 45-year-old former Red Sox righthander's attempt for a big league comeback 14 years after he left the majors . . . The Los Angeles Angels put closer Francisco Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right forearm . . . The Texas Rangers traded righthanded pitcher Vladimir Nunez to St. Louis for a player to be named.

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