Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2001

TSN ranks most powerful people in sports

ST. LOUIS -- NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was chosen Wednesday by The Sporting News as the most powerful person in sports, heading a list that also includes President Bush.

It's the first time Tagliabue has headed the annual list. He has been on the list every year since 1990, three times chosen at No. 2.

Bush was picked at No. 9, the first time a president has appeared on the list. The magazine said Bush, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers, was chosen for his leadership after the terrorist attacks.

Others in the top 10 were New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at No. 2; News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch, No. 3; IMG's Mark McCormack, No. 4; NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., No. 5; NBA commissioner David Stern, No. 6; August Busch IV and Anthony Ponturo of Anheuser Busch, No. 7; Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports, No. 8; and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, No. 10.

The highest-ranking athlete on the list was Tiger Woods at No. 12. Other athletes on the list were Michael Jordan, No. 33; Mario Lemieux, No. 53; Jeff Gordon, No. 68; Barry Bonds, No. 71; Venus Williams, No. 77; Shaquille O'Neal, No. 84; and Ichiro Suzuki, No. 88.

Angels sign Sele to 3-year deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Aaron Sele, one of baseball's winningest pitchers over the last four years and an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners last season, signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Anaheim Angels on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old right-hander has won 69 games since 1998, the most by an AL pitcher during that time. Only Randy Johnson (76), Greg Maddux (73) and Tom Glavine (71) -- all NL pitchers -- have more victories over that span.

Sele will receive $7.5 million next season, $8 million in 2003 and $8.5 million in 2004.

''We're happy to add a pitcher of Aaron Sele's stature to our staff,'' Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said. ''Our pitching staff was strong over the course of the 2001 season and, with the addition of Sele, should be even stronger in 2002.

''Not only does Aaron pitch a lot of innings over the course of the season, but he also is a proven winner.''

Dilfer to start for Seahawks in San Diego

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Quarterback Trent Dilfer will start in the Seattle Seahawks' next-to-last regular-season game Sunday in San Diego because Matt Hasselbeck has a separated left shoulder that is too sore.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Wednesday that Hasselbeck aggravated the shoulder in a road loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Hasselbeck is listed as questionable for the Chargers' game.

''There's a chance I might have him and he could play in an emergency-type situation, but he's pretty sore,'' Holmgren told his weekly news conference.

Holmgren said Hasselbeck, a first-year starter acquired in a trade with Green Bay in March, has played with a separated shoulder most of the season. Hasselbeck was injured in the team's third game against Philadelphia, he said.

''It just makes it very difficult for him to raise his arm, quite frankly,'' Holmgren said.

Mariners sign Sierra to one-year, $1.9 million deal

SEATTLE -- Free-agent outfielder Ruben Sierra signed a one-year, $1.9 million contract with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

The deal has $150,000 in performance bonuses.

Sierra, a switch-hitter, hit .291 with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs in 94 games with the Texas Rangers last season.

He is a career .270 hitter with 263 homers and 1,121 RBIs.

Sierra's first few seasons were promising. In 1987-89, he averaged 27 homers and 108 RBIs. By the late '90s, he had played with the Athletics, Yankees, Tigers, Reds, Blue Jays and White Sox, and his playing time and numbers diminished.

In 1999, he played with Atlantic City of the unaffiliated Independence League, and he began the next season with the Cancun Lobstermen in Mexico before rejoining the Rangers.

Vaughn trade deadline extended to Thursday

NEW YORK -- Last week, several New York Mets players offered to defer part of their salaries if it would help general manager Steve Phillips acquire a big bat for their lineup.

Now the question is whether Mo Vaughn is willing to defer part of his salary in order to become that big bat.

The Mets and Anaheim Angels are set on a trade that would send Vaughn to New York in exchange for pitcher Kevin Appier, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But the deal is contingent on the first baseman agreeing to restructure his contract.

The 72-hour window for the Mets and agent Jeff Moorad to negotiate, which was to expire at midday Wednesday, was extended to midday Thursday by the commissioner's office.

''We're still talking,'' Moorad said. ''Mo is excited about the possibility of playing in New York, and as a result we are trying our best to accommodate everyone involved.''

Moorad and Phillips spoke by telephone several times Wednesday, and Vaughn took part in some of the calls.

''I'm an optimist by nature and hope that with some more focus and attention, it's a deal that can be put together,'' Moorad said.

Moorad also represents free agent outfielder Juan Gonzalez, who has expressed interest in joining the Mets. Phillips has been cool to the idea of signing Gonzalez even though several players endorsed the move.

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