Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, November 28, 2003

Schilling taking his time to decide on trade

BOSTON The Red Sox negotiated with Curt Schilling over the holiday as the two sides approached the Friday deadline for a contract extension that would persuade the Arizona right-hander to waive his no-trade clause and come to Boston.

''Talks will continue ... probably up to the end of the 72-hour window,'' Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Thursday.

Schilling did not return a call seeking comment but his spokeswoman, Katie Leighton, said she did not expect him to have an announcement before Friday.

Boston and Arizona agreed to a trade on Monday that would send Schilling to the Red Sox in exchange for lefty Casey Fossum, righty Brandon Lyon and two minor leaguers. But for the deal to go through, Schilling would have to accept it, and he said one condition would be an extension that could take him to the end of his career.

The Red Sox were granted three business days to talk to the 37-year-old five-time All-Star about a deal. Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein met with Schilling at his house twice on Wednesday before breaking for the holiday; Epstein stayed in Phoenix and Lucchino returned to San Diego, ready to return if necessary.

Lucchino said Wednesday that the team made a proposal but declined to comment on the details. Schilling acts as his own agent.

The former Philadelphia ace has expressed a desire to get back to the East Coast, but he has also spoken fondly of his time in Arizona. He has said he would like to go the Phillies or the New York Yankees, but neither has offered a package of players that interested the Diamondbacks.

No. 17 Mississippi throttles Mississippi St.

STARKVILLE, Miss. Eli Manning and Mississippi sent Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill into retirement with his worst Egg Bowl loss ever.

Manning threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in Ole Miss' 31-0 victory Thursday night in the 100th meeting between the Magnolia state rivals.

The Rebels (9-3, 7-1) remained in the SEC West title race and reached nine regular-season victories for the first time since 1990. Ole Miss can earn its first trip to the SEC championship game if No. 3 LSU loses to Arkansas on Friday in Baton Rouge.

For Sherrill and the Bulldogs (2-10, 1-7), the season ended with a sixth straight lopsided loss. Since the 60-year-old coach announced his retirement on Oct. 17, the Bulldogs have been outscored 267-57.

He received a long, loud standing ovation from the Bulldogs fans when he was introduced before the game.

But by the fourth quarter, most of the rain-soaked fans remaining in Scott Field were rooting for the Rebels.

Sherrill completed 13 seasons at Mississippi State 75-75-2, but was just 8-27 in the final three.

Sherrill won over Bulldogs fans by becoming the first Mississippi State coach in decades to consistently beat Ole Miss, doing it seven times in his first 11 seasons.

In the end, he couldn't even do that.

The Rebels won the Battle for the Golden Egg for the second straight season, a first during the Sherrill era.

And never have the Rebels so easily dismantled Sherrill's Bulldogs.

Ole Miss outgained the Bulldogs 359-192. Kevin Fant, playing his last game for Mississippi State, was 14-for-28 for 91 yards.

Hewitt wins opening match in Davis Cup final

MELBOURNE, Australia Australia's Lleyton Hewitt beat Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2 on Friday in the opening match of the best-of-five Davis Cup final.

''All my thoughts were to try to get Australia off to a great start,'' said Hewitt, playing his first match in more than two months. ''I'm glad I did. ... I was going for it a lot today, probably more than I normally do. I might have had a lot more errors, but I had a lot more winners, too.''

The competition got off to a controversial start when a long-outdated Spanish national anthem was played during the opening ceremony.

Spain's Sports Minister Juan Antonio Gomez-Angulo waved furiously and yelled from the stands as the anthem of Spain's first republic, the Himno de Riego, was played instead of the current anthem. The correct anthem was then played, and will be repeated before the matches Saturday and Sunday.

''I was quite surprised,'' Ferrero said. ''I had never heard that (anthem) before. It was a big mistake but I had to keep my mind focussed on the match ahead.''

Hewitt shut out Ferrero in the fourth-set tiebreaker, broke serve in the first game of the fifth set and dominated the rest of the way before a sellout crowd of about 14,000 at Rod Laver Arena.

''I played an awesome tiebreak,'' Hewitt said. ''When you go into a tiebreak down two sets to one, you want to get off to a good start. I just played faultless tennis and laid it all on the line.''

Australia's Mark Philippoussis faced Carlos Moya in the second singles match Friday on the temporary grass court.

On Saturday, Australia's Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs will face Feliciano Lopez and Alex Corretja in doubles. In the reverse singles Sunday, Philippoussis will play Ferrero, and Hewitt will face Moya.

Tennis Australia officials apologized courtside after they were alerted to the anthem error, and sent a letter of apology to the president of the Spanish tennis federation, Augustin Pujol Niubo.

''It is unfortunate the outstanding opening ceremony was marred by this regrettable occurrence and, as a mark of respect, Tennis Australia will be playing the Spanish and Australian anthems before play tomorrow and again on Sunday,'' Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard said in the letter.

Pollard said the error occurred because ''a CD of world national anthems provided to the performer by Tennis Australia contained what we have subsequently been advised is not the correct national anthem.''

Australia has won the Davis Cup 27 times, four behind the leading United States. Spain's only win came in 2000 against Australia.

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