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Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2002

Midnight Sun Volleyball Club to meet Dec. 12

The Peninsula Midnight Sun Volleyball Club will begin its season with a meeting Dec. 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Kenai Central High School.

In the Midnight Sun club, players in grades seven through 12 will participate in twice weekly practices and monthly tournaments. Instruction is provided by area high school coaches.

Paperwork and further information will be provided at the beginning of the first meeting. The remainder of the time will be used for practice. Bring clothing and shoes that are appropriate.

For further information, contact Bruce King at 262-9501.

Dodgers send Karros, Grudzielanek to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs completed their big deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, trading catcher Todd Hundley and outfielder Chad Hermansen for first baseman Eric Karros, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and $2 million.

The teams reached a tentative agreement Tuesday, and were given 72 hours to complete the deal. To finalize it, Karros waived his right to veto the trade and Grudzielanek agreed to restructure his contract.

''Our first and foremost goal was to gain some roster flexibility,'' Dodgers general manager Dan Evans said. ''This trade doesn't give us an unlimited amount of money, but it gives us some freedom.''

Since finishing 67-95, the Cubs have been busy. They hired manager Dusty Baker, signed free agent reliever Mike Remlinger, traded for catchers Damian Miller and Paul Bako and then made this deal.

Sharks replace Sutter with Wilson

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Ron Wilson was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, three days after the team fired Darryl Sutter and his two assistants.

Wilson, fired by Washington last May after five mostly successful seasons, coached the U.S. team in the 1998 Olympics, to the gold medal in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and twice in the world championships. He also spent four years as the first coach of division rival Anaheim.

Wearing a tie accented with teal, Wilson accepted the job at a news conference Wednesday night at the Shark Tank. Once he gets to know his new team's personnel, Wilson believes he can point the slumping Sharks back toward the playoffs.

''I can comment from my own personal experience: After four or five years, sometimes a change needs to be made,'' Wilson said. ''I'll initially keep things simple until I know everybody firsthand ... but everybody's got a clean slate.''

Wilson and team owner Greg Jamison needed 10 minutes to hammer out a contract that lasts through next season. Wilson will be among the league's highest-paid coaches, though financial terms weren't immediately available.

Ventura agrees to $5 million deal with Yankees

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday on a $5 million, one-year contract with third baseman Robin Ventura.

Ventura, 35, must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized, a Yankees official said on the condition of anonymity.

Ventura hit .247 with 27 homers and 93 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees, who acquired him from the Mets in a three-way trade last December. He'll be taking a cut from his 2002 salary of $8.25 million.

The Yankees originally had hoped prospect Drew Henson would be ready to take over at third base by now.

But the former Michigan football star has struggled in the minors, batting .240 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs at Triple-A Columbus last season, along with 151 strikeouts in 471 at-bats. He then had trouble in the Arizona Fall League.

The Yankees also informed left-hander Mike Stanton that they are likely to offer him salary arbitration, a person familiar with those talks said, also on the condition of anonymity.

A free agent who isn't offered arbitration can't re-sign with his former team after Saturday. Those offered arbitration have until Dec. 19 to accept or reject the offers and can re-sign through Jan. 8.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was in Tampa, Fla., for meetings to decide the team's next personnel moves and did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

In a move that was announced, the Yankees signed outfielder Chris Latham to a one-year contract that would pay him $400,000 if he is in the major leagues and $100,000 if he is in the minors. Latham, 29, hit .232 with six home runs, 43 RBIs and 26 steals last season for the Mets' Triple-A team at Norfolk.

''As a switch-hitter who has good speed and can play all three outfield positions, Chris Latham will give Joe Torre some viable options in late innings and in case of injuries,'' Cashman said in a statement.

New York also must decide by Saturday whether to offer salary arbitration to six-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, right-hander Ramiro Mendoza, outfielder John Vander Wal, backup infielders Ron Coomer and Alex Arias and backup catcher Chris Widger.

Clemens is coming off a $30.9 million, two-year contract and wants to re-sign with the Yankees. His agent, Randy Hendricks, has said the 40-year-old right-hander will make every effort to work out a deal with New York.

Also up ahead for the Yankees are talks with free-agent outfielder Hideki Matsui. The three-time MVP of Japan's Central League this week decided to hire Arn Tellem, whose Yankees clients include Jason Giambi and Mike Mussina.



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