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Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Deal involving Blazers, Spurs appears imminent

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers are on the verge of sending veteran guard Steve Smith to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for free agent Derek Anderson. The sign-and-trade deal could be completed as soon as Wednesday, Anderson's agent said.

''It's real close,'' agent Tony Dutt said Tuesday.

To make the salaries match, the Spurs also will send veteran guard Steve Kerr to Portland.

Neither team would confirm the deal Tuesday night.

Anderson already committed to the Blazers last week. His contract, which is guaranteed, is expected to be for six years at between $45 million and $48 million. Anderson had been willing to sign for Portland's mid-level salary-cap exception of $4.5 million, which would have translated into $33.8 over six years.

Anderson, underpaid at $2.25 million in his only season with the Spurs, was offered a six-year deal worth $42 million, but it was loaded with incentives and the final year wasn't fully guaranteed. The Spurs said they thought they had an agreement last Thursday, but Anderson said he was insulted when the team gave him a deadline of 2 p.m. Friday to accept the offer.

Smith, 32, was one of the Blazers' most dependable scorers last season. He averaged 13.6 points, second on the team only to Rasheed Wallace's 19.2. But he lost his job as the starting shooting guard in late December to Bonzi Wells, and Smith didn't get it back until Wells went down with a season-ending knee injury on April 10.

Agassi wins topsy-turvy match

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Agassi looked like he was going to sweep James Blake, but ended up in a ''dogfight'' to win his first-round match Tuesday night 6-0, 7-6 (3).

Third-seeded Agassi, playing in his first match since Wimbledon at the Mercedes Benz Cup, won the first set in 18 minutes before Blake started punching back, taking the second set into a tiebreaker.

Blake was two points from sending the match into a third set before they reached the tiebreak. Agassi wore him down and took the first five points in the tiebreak and the last two in the match.

''It was not surprising,'' Agassi said. ''When you're up 6-0 and 1-0, you're not up 7-0. You're not playing one to 12, so it isn't the best thing that can happen out there, because then it turned into a dogfight.''

Agassi faces England's Greg Rusedski on Thursday. Rusedski beat Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Monday.

Second-seeded Marat Safin of Russia, the current U.S. Open champion, outgunned teen sensation Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-4. Safin blasted a couple of 130 mph serves in the other first-round match played Tuesday night.

Pete Sampras also struggled a bit in his first match since Wimbledon. He raised his game to eliminate Chris Woodruff 7-5, 6-2. Sampras needed 77 minutes and delivered 12 aces to one for Woodruff.

Sampras' next opponent will be defending champion Michael Chang on Wednesday night.

Rangers trade Galarraga to Giants

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Big Cat is back in the playoff chase.

The infectious smile of first baseman Andres Galarraga was wider than usual Tuesday after he was traded from the last-place Texas Rangers to the playoff-contending San Francisco Giants

The Giants went into Tuesday night's game at Colorado 5 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona. Texas was 31 games behind Seattle in the AL West.

Galarraga was also excited to be back in the National League, where he played all 15 of his seasons before signing with the Rangers as a free agent in December. The Rangers got three minor leagues in return for Galarraga.

Singh is big winner in Canadian Skins

MARKHAM, Ontario -- Vijay Singh was the big winner and British Open champion David Duval finished second at the $234,000 Telus Skins Game on Tuesday.

Singh, who had five skins for $58,500 on Monday, added four more for the same amount Tuesday over the back nine at the Angus Glen Golf Club.

That boosted the Fiji golfer's two-day total in the made-for-TV event to nine skins and $117,000.

Duval was next at $48,750. He was followed by Mike Weir of Canada at $45,500 and Sergio Garcia of Spain at $22,750.

Thorpe sets second world record

FUKUOKA, Japan -- Ian Thorpe powered to his second world record in three days Tuesday, then criticized swimming's hierarchy for tampering with his program and for what he called its lack of action against doping.

Michael Phelps of the United States also smashed a world record, breaking his mark in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:54.58.

Thorpe's two records at the World Championships were his 10th and 11th in individual long-course events. He won three Olympic golds at Sydney last year and already has three world titles at Fukuoka.

Garciaparra 0-for-3 in rehabilitation return

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nomar Garciaparra didn't waste any time testing his injured right wrist.

He swung at the first two pitches he saw and felt no pain or discomfort.

Garciaparra returned from wrist surgery and went 0-for-3 Tuesday night for Triple-A Pawtucket, his first game since last September.

He said he experienced nothing but some soreness during Pawtucket's 11-8 win over the Indianapolis Indians.

''It's what I expected. I assumed everything was going to feel all right and it did, so that was good,'' he said. ''We'll see how it feels tomorrow. That's going to be the bigger question than it is today.''

Garciaparra, hit by a pitch above the hip in the first inning, has been sidelined since surgery on his right wrist on opening day.

''I wasn't really thinking of the wrist at all,'' he said. ''My concern was making sure it was loose.''

He flied out to center field in the second inning, grounded out to third in the fourth and grounded out to second in the fifth.

''It was good to see a pitch. The last time I saw one was last September,'' he said. ''It's coming back to me a little bit. There are some things I have to work on. For the most, I felt I was able to do everything instinctively. That was the most important thing.''

Garciaparra said before the game he was eager to test his wrist in game situations for the first time this season. He said he was happy with the way it held up.

''Things are going to be sore,'' he said. ''I'm sure my body's going to be sore. We'll see how it feels tomorrow.''

He had two assists and a putout in his only fielding chances. In the fifth inning, he made a back-handed play in the hole and made a strong throw across his body for an out.

''I was worried more about catching it than I was about throwing it,'' Garciaparra said of his defensive expectations.

Garciaparra is to play at least three more International League games with the PawSox in Indianapolis, then be re-evaluated by Red Sox team physician Dr. Bill Morgan.

''The only way to recover from the surgery, or any injury, is to go step by step and do a little bit more,'' he said. ''Hopefully, I've done enough where now it's time to go in there and get some innings under my belt and go out there and play a game.''

Garciaparra played five innings and left with Pawtucket ahead 9-4. He is scheduled to be a designated hitter on Wednesday, play seven innings on Thursday and nine on Friday.

Garciaparra signed autographs for fans, mostly wearing Red Sox caps, right until game time.

He hadn't played since last Sept. 29 against Tampa Bay. Garciaparra could be activated from the disabled list as early as this weekend, when Boston is at home against the Chicago White Sox.

Garciaparra is the two-time defending AL batting champion who hit .372 with 21 homers and 96 RBIs last year.

''I definitely have some adjustments I have to make,'' he said. ''I was making some throughout the game. That's just a matter of getting some work in.''

The three-time All Star, who turned 28 Monday, said there is nothing wrong with his right hamstring, which was reported as being injured during a workout Saturday at Comiskey Park.

''I don't know where that came from,'' he said.



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