Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2003

Whalers wrestling club schedules sign-ups

The season for the Soldotna Whalers Wrestling Club is slated to start Feb. 17, and the first sign-up session for the team is slated for Saturday at the Kenai Middle School commons from 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Billyjo Goracke at 262-3448.

KPHA Squirts win, lose and draw

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association Squirt B team played four games last weekend, notching a pair of wins, a tie and a loss.

The KPHA squad opened the weekend with a 5-5 tie against the Anchorage North Stars, then came back to beat the North Stars 4-1.

KPHA then split with the previously undefeated Anchorage All Stars, dropping the first game 6-3 but bouncing back to beat the All Stars by the same score.

Tway, Ames share first-round lead

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Bob Tway, polishing some rust off his game after a long layoff, eagled his second hole and went on to shoot a 9-under-par 63 Wednesday to share the Bob Hope Classic lead with Stephen Ames.

Two-time Hope champion John Cook and Chris DiMarco were one stroke behind the leaders. David Duval, playing his first tournament of the year, was in a group another shot back at 65.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson had a 70.

Jazz coach suspended for seven games

NEW YORK -- Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was suspended seven games Wednesday by the NBA for shoving an official, a steep penalty that will keep him off the sidelines until the middle of February.

Sloan pushed referee Courtney Kirkland in the chest and was ejected during the first quarter of Utah's 102-92 victory at Sacramento on Tuesday night.

''Obviously his behavior was out of line, and the message is clear that that type of behavior cannot be tolerated,'' NBA vice president Stu Jackson said.

''The level of the suspension is in line with the behavior,'' Jackson said.

The suspension was one of the longest in recent years, including penalties against players who physically confronted referees.

Artest suspended four games without pay

NEW YORK -- Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest was suspended for four games Wednesday for his run-in with Heat coach Pat Riley and flashing an obscene gesture toward the crowd.

Artest also committed a flagrant foul on Heat guard Caron Butler by pushing him into the stands in Monday night's game in Miami.

The suspension, announced by Stu Jackson, NBA senior vice president of basketball operations, will cost Artest about $84,000 in pay. It started with Wednesday night's home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

''I'm very disappointed with the league's ruling,'' Artest said in a statement.

''I don't think the suspension comes close to going with my actions. I thought I might get a fine, but not a game. I don't think four games is fair at all,'' he said.

Judge: Rose should be in Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- The federal judge who sent Pete Rose to prison thinks the banned former star belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Rose was sentenced in 1990 to five months in prison, three months in a halfway house and 1,000 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel following a guilty please to two felony counts of failure to report income.

The career hits leader is in tax trouble again. Rose owes $151,689 in federal taxes from 1998, according to the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office. The Internal Revenue Service has filed a lien on a home he owns in suburban Los Angeles, property tax records show.

''I have no knowledge about his current issues other than what I read in the papers,'' Spiegel said Wednesday during a telephone interview from his office in Cincinnati. ''But I think he should be in the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on the ballfield.''

Cone likely to retire

TAMPA, Fla. -- David Cone could be ready to call it a career.

Cone, who did not pitch last season but kept open the possibility of coming back, may be ready for retirement.

''My gut feeling is that I'll probably retire at this point,'' the 40-year-old Cone said Wednesday while visiting the New York Yankees' minor league complex.

''In the next few weeks I'm going to have to make a decision one way or another. I imagine during spring training I'll probably say something officially,'' he said.

Cone is 193-123 with a 3.44 ERA in 16 seasons. He was 9-7 with a 4.31 ERA for Boston in 2001, and made his last start in Cal Ripken's final game.

Team might talk to Martinez about contract

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox may make an exception to their policy of no in-season contract negotiations for Pedro Martinez.

Martinez is signed through the 2003 season with a club option for 2004 but has said he would become a free agent after that if the team doesn't exercise the option before spring training starting next month.

''We have a policy of trying to avoid negotiations during the season,'' Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Wednesday, ''but if you're talking about our exceptional players, they call for exceptional treatment.''

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, is under contract for $15 million in 2003, and the team holds a $17.5 million option for 2004. Last season, he led the AL with a 2.26 ERA and 239 strikeouts and was 20-4.

Martinez took his stand on the option late last season, but general manager Theo Epstein said Wednesday he hasn't told that directly to the club.

''He's very honest and says what's on his mind,'' Epstein said. ''We look forward to an open, honest exchange with him. We're not afraid of the situation. He's going to know exactly where we stand and how we feel and it's nice to know exactly where he stands.

''We've had a very productive player-club relationship and I see that lasting well into the future.''

The Red Sox also have control of shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, a two-time AL batting champion, for the next two years. His contract expires at the end of the 2004 season.

Epstein said club officials probably would talk with Martinez and Garciaparra in the near future.

''If contractual status becomes a concern for them (and) they want to express it to us, we'll always listen, tell them exactly how we feel,'' Epstein said.

The current Red Sox roster is essentially the one that will go to spring training, although Epstein said, ''we're still doing some tweaking on the bench.''

He had no new information on Kevin Millar, who signed a contract with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Central League. The Red Sox, who then claimed him off waivers, believe they still can get him if his contract with Chunichi wasn't properly executed.

The outfielder-first baseman, who played with Florida last year, has said he wants to play for Boston. But the Red Sox must wait to see if he can get out of his contract.

Although Epstein missed out on Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras, who went to the New York Yankees, and starter Bartolo Colon, traded from Montreal to the Chicago White Sox, he said he was pleased with his offseason moves.

After being named the youngest general manager in baseball history Nov. 25, his three goals were to strengthen the lineup and improve the bullpen and bench. He said he accomplished all of them.

''There's no easy out. We think we're going to have a chance to score 900 runs,'' an average of more than five per game, Epstein said.

He has added first baseman David Ortiz and outfielder Jeremy Giambi, who both figure in the designated hitter picture. He also obtained Todd Walker to play second base and Bill Mueller for third. The Red Sox still have third baseman Shea Hillenbrand, an all-star last season who has been on the trading block.

Epstein defended the decision to go without a traditional closer. The best reliever, he said, ''will be used to get the most critical outs, whether that's in the ninth inning or the seventh inning.''

Epstein has shied away from long-term deals, like the eight-year, $160 million contract for Manny Ramirez that has six seasons left. That approach gives the team flexibility to make more moves.

''We're one of the few teams that can take on money to really improve the club in June or July,'' he said. ''We now have players under control for one and two years and we don't have these long albatross contracts. So we should be well positioned throughout baseball for the next five years to really do some damage.''

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