Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2002

Two more Japanese players likely in majors

NEW YORK -- Two more Japanese players are headed to the major leagues, following the successful path of American League MVP Ichiro Suzuki.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the rights to Kazuhisa Ishii, outbidding four other major league teams with an offer of about $11,264,055 that was accepted Wednesday by the Yakult Swallows, the pitcher's team in Japan's Central League.

Free agent outfielder So Taguchi agreed to a three-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals worth about $3 million.

Among other free agents, the New York Yankees finally announced their $7 million, two-year contract with left-hander David Wells, a deal agreed to on Christmas. Reliever Mark Wohlers left the Yankees, agreeing to a $4 million, two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians.

Among players eligible for salary arbitration, closer Billy Wagner agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract with Houston, and infielder Craig Counsell agreed to a $7.25 million, three-year contract with Arizona.

All-Americans Williams, Fonoti leaving for NFL

Rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma were the latest schools to lose All-Americans a year early to the NFL.

Nebraska left guard Toniu Fonoti and Oklahoma safety Roy Williams made it official Wednesday, announcing they are passing up a final season of eligibility for the NFL draft.

Boston College's William Green, the nation's second leading rusher, also said he's leaving for the NFL. Green ran for 1,559 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, leading the Eagles to an 8-4 record, including a 20-16 win over Georgia in the Music City Bowl.

Teammates eager for Forsberg's return

DENVER -- Peter Forsberg's return to the Colorado Avalanche after nearly a four-month absence would be met with enthusiastic acceptance by his once-jilted teammates.

Forsberg, who took an unexpected leave of absence from the team on Sept. 15 because of injuries, told Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix he would fly to Denver this week from his home in Sweden to announce his plans.

He is expected to rejoin the team in a matter of days and then play for Sweden next month in the Olympics.

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