Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002

Rickey Henderson, Red Sox reach deal

Rickey Henderson and the Boston Red Sox reached agreement on a minor league contract Wednesday, giving baseball's career leader in runs, stolen bases and walks a chance to play his 24th season in the majors.

The deal, confirmed agent Jeff Borris and Red Sox spokesman Kevin Shea, came a week before Boston's full squad reports to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

If Henderson makes the Red Sox -- it would be his eighth big league team -- the 43-year-old outfielder is expected to back up Manny Ramirez in left and be a part-time DH. If Henderson is not on the major league roster by March 28, he could become a free agent.

U.S. soccer drops friendly to Italy

CATANIA, Sicily -- For the first half, a lively United States team kept the Italian superstars at bay, wasting several chances to score a stunning upset.

''We missed an opportunity when we came out so strong,'' U.S. coach Bruce Arena said

Then Alessandro Del Piero came on in the second half and quickly scored to lead Italy to a 1-0 victory in the World Cup warmup Wednesday night.

Until then, a surprisingly offensive-minded U.S. team had dominated, even drawing cheers from many in the capacity crowd of 25,493 in this Sicilian city.

''The plan was to come out and attack them and keep the high tempo,'' U.S. captain Claudio Reyna said.

Italy, a three-time World Cup champion, is among the favorites to win this year's tournament in Japan and South Korea, while the U.S. team is seeking to improve on its last-place finish among the 32-nation field four years ago in France.

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