Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Rodriguez interested in minors, scouting

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alex Rodriguez isn't asking for private planes or his own office. While visiting the Texas Rangers, the free agent shortstop wanted to know about their minor league and scouting organizations.

Contrary to reports of extravagant demands -- aside from the expected $20 million a season over 10 years -- Rodriguez said Monday that his primary interest is in the future of whichever team he will sign with and possibly spend the rest of his career.

''The landscape is what I'm worried about. That's what we did today,'' Rodriguez said. ''The farm system and ownership are two of the very important things I'm looking for.

''All of the plane stuff got me dizzy, about me wanting a plane and all of these other things. I want to go somewhere for a long time. Wherever I sign, I think I want to retire there.''

Part of Rodriguez's two-day visit with Rangers owner Tom Hicks and other team personnel included a presentation on the organization's minor leagues and philosophy of scouting players.

As for when the 25-year-old All-Star plans to make a decision, Rodriguez said he is still early in the process. He has also met with Atlanta, but wouldn't say which other clubs he planned to talk to.

Carter to miss at least two games

TORONTO -- Vince Carter, the NBA's No. 2 scorer, will miss at least two games because of an injured tendon in his left knee.

The Toronto Raptors' star was hurt during the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls and did not return.

''It's just sore,'' said Carter, moving with a noticeable limp. ''I just knew that I couldn't get up and walk on it. Somebody needed to come get me.''

Doctor says Lindros is ready to play

TORONTO -- Eric Lindros has been cleared to play again by his doctor, six months after being knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs with his latest concussion.

Lindros' lawyer, Gord Kirke, said the 27-year-old restricted free agent was given the OK Monday by Chicago-based neurologist Dr. James Kelly.

''He's ready to practice full out -- if he has a team,'' Kirke told The Canadian Press. ''But he's ready to go.

''He couldn't step into a game at this point, although medically he's cleared to go into a game. But he's certainly at the stage where he can get himself game-ready by practicing with a team.''

Lindros has been working out with the York University hockey team in Toronto. Kirke said he could be ready in a matter of weeks.

Carruth co-defendant rejects deals

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A co-defendant in Rae Carruth's murder trial said Monday he rejected plea agreements twice because he was innocent in the killing of the former pro football player's pregnant girlfriend.

Michael Eugene Kennedy, one of three co-defendants, said he thought Carruth and the confessed triggerman, Van Brett Watkins, should be held accountable in the killing last year of Cherica Adams. Kennedy testified for prosecutors and was due back on the stand Tuesday morning.

''I have no motive and neither does Stanley,'' Kennedy said, referring to another co-defendant, Stanley Drew ''Boss'' Abraham.

Kennedy has testified he was driving a car carrying Abraham and Watkins, who shot Adams as she sat in her own car where it was stopped behind Carruth's vehicle.

Kennedy said he felt Carruth had threatened his life. After the slaying, he said, Carruth told him not to talk to police.

Adams was eight months pregnant with Carruth's child when she was shot Nov. 16, 1999, in what prosecutors said was a trap laid by Carruth to avoid having to pay child support.

Carruth, at the time a member of the Carolina Panthers, has denied involvement in the shooting.

''I have four children,'' Kennedy said. ''Unlike Rae, I would never kill them or pay somebody to kill them. ... Some people might call me a snitch for what I did, but I'm pretty sure nobody in their right mind would have gone down for something they didn't do.''

Kennedy said Carruth paid Watkins to shoot Adams. He also said Carruth gave him $100 to buy a gun.

The 26-year-old Carruth could be executed if convicted of arranging Adams' shooting. Adams, 24, gave birth to a son, then died a month later. The boy is in the custody of Adams' mother.

Watkins has confessed to shooting Adams, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Carruth.

Carruth's defense has claimed Watkins shot Adams in anger because Carruth reneged on a promise to pay for drugs and because she made an obscene gesture at Watkins from her car.

Kennedy and Abraham are to be tried separately on murder charges.

On cross-examination, Kennedy admitted to selling drugs, but said he was forced to do it because he was out of work.

''I had lost my job and I did it every once in a while,'' he told defense lawyer David Rudolf, who tried to discredit Kennedy's testimony.

For more than two hours, Rudolf attempted to impeach Kennedy as a credible witness, asking him questions about past drug dealing and his role in the 1994 shooting of another drug dealer.

He tried unsuccessfully to get Kennedy to say he was testifying without a plea agreement in hopes of earning a more lenient sentence when he goes on trial.

''I just want that family to know the truth,'' Kennedy said, looking at Cherica Adams' relatives in the courtroom.

At the end of the day, with the jury gone, Superior Court Judge Charles Lamm upheld a motion by witness Candace Smith, who wanted to prevent her face from being shown on Court TV or in still photographs when she testifies.

According to published reports, Smith, a former girlfriend of Carruth, told police he said he disliked Adams so much he wished she was dead. Smith also said Carruth told her he had seen Adams shot and left the scene worrying that he would be implicated.

As testimony opened Monday, Kennedy repeated parts of his testimony from last week's two days of trial to refresh the memories of jurors who had a long holiday weekend off.

He said Carruth told him to follow as he and Adams drove in separate vehicles. Carruth said a friend would be in Kennedy's car who ''would know what to do,'' Kennedy testified.

He said Carruth had talked to him prior to the killing about wanting to avoid child support payments.

Jurors also listened to a tape recording of an interview Kennedy gave police in which he made many of the statements he repeated on the witness stand.

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