MIAMI, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- John Henry reportedly has been given permission to sell the Florida Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria.
Citing a Major League Baseball source, the Miami Herald reported today that the deal could be made final in the next few days. Three-quarters of baseball's owners would need to approve the sale.
A spokesperson from the Marlins and Expos had similar responses, saying they do not comment on a "rumor." When asked if anything was official, a MLB spokeswoman simply said, "no."
The Expos are expected to be either contracted or taken over by Major League Baseball, which would buy the team from Loria in case contraction is aborted, leaving him an opportunity to own the Marlins.
Other teams wanting to acquire the star players in a dispersal draft likely would fight such a move.
Torre reportedly signs three-year deal
According to the New York Times, the deal is worth just over $16 million, although a team spokesman denied it today.
The Yankees also never announced the re-signing of General Manager Brian Cashman, who inked a new deal some time after the end of the World Series.
Torre's contract expired on Oct. 31, four days before the Yankees suffered a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Seven of the World Series.
Torre guided the Yankees to three straight World Series titles from 1998-2000 and four overall since replacing Buck Showalter in 1996. He is sixth all time with 19 wins in the World Series and is 582-387 during his tenure with New York to raise his career record to 1,476-1,390.
Torre has called Giambi in hopes of luring the Oakland Athletics slugger to New York. This past season, the 2000 American League Most Valuable Player batted .342 with 38 home runs, 120 RBI and a league-leading 129 walks.
Manuel has gallbladder removed
CLEVELAND, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Cleveland Indians manager Charlie Manuel, who has missed 27 games over the past two seasons bacause of health problems, had his gallbladder removed today.
Manuel, who will be 58 in January, is expected to leave the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday.
An abdominal infection cost Manuel 14 games this past season, including a win that clinched the American League Central Division title.
Manuel was hospitalized twice in late August and again in late September. On Aug. 28, he had scar tissue removed from his colon, which was operated on twice between February and May 2000.
Batch out for the season
PONTIAC, Mich., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Detroit Lions quarterback Charlie Batch, who suffered a separated right shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears, had his season come to an end today when he was placed on injured reserve.
Batch landed hard on his shoulder after he was sacked by Chicago Bears safety Mike Brown late in the third quarter of Detroit's 13-10 defeat. The Lions, who dropped to 0-11, originally announced that Batch would be sidelined four to six weeks.
He completed 18 of 28 passes for 214 yards in three quarters and left with the Lions holding a 10-3 lead.
The Bears rallied for 10 fourth-quarter points, and the Lions lost a chance to tie the game when Jason Hanson missed his third field-goal attempt of the game -- a 40-yarder with 24 seconds left.
Batch's injury should provide a further opportunity for rookie Mike McMahon, who nearly rallied the Lions to a victory over Green Bay on Thanksgiving. McMahon also replaced Batch last week and drove the Lions 49 yards to set up Hanson's potential game-tying field goal.
Batch was benched as the starting quarterback by rookie coach Marty Mornhinweg after a season-opening 28-6 loss at Green Bay, but reclaimed his job after Ty Detmer struggled in
Detroit's next two games -- losses to Cleveland and St. Louis.
Broncos stipped of third-round pick
NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Denver Broncos have been stripped of a third-round pick in the 2002 draft for violating guidelines under the NFL's deferred compensation fund.
The Broncos also were ordered to make payments totaling nearly $1 million for failing to submit money in a timely fashion between 1998 and 1999, a league spokesman confirmed today.
Denver is forced to pay $968,000 -- $663,000 of which was determined by the NFL to be the equivalent of the interest the Broncos gained by holding on to the money.
Under league rules, each team is required to place a portion of its deferred players' and coaches' salaries into a league reserve fund to ensure that teams do not go into long-term debt and that players who sign contracts that include deferred money are guaranteed it will be available in the future.
A third-round pick is a valuable one for the Broncos. That is where they selected quarterback Brian Griese in 1998.
Indiana fires football coach
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A season-ending victory over Purdue was not enough for Indiana football coach Cam Cameron to keep his job.
Cameron, a 1983 graduate of Indiana, was fired today after posting a five-year record of 18-37. The Hoosiers finished 5-6 this season, their best record under Cameron.
Indiana athletic director Michael McNeely said the program needs to head in another direction. In their first four seasons under Cameron, the Hoosiers were 2-9, 4-7, 4-7 and 3-8.
Cameron failed to produce a winning season despite the presence of Antwaan Randle El, who earlier this year became the all-time NCAA Division I-A rushing leader among quarterbacks.
SMU hires Kansas St. assistant
DALLAS, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Phil Bennett, the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Kansas State for the past three years, was named today as football coach at Southern Methodist.
Bennett, 46, takes over a program that has endured four straight losing seasons. He replaces Mike Cavan, who was fired on Nov. 19 after posting an 18-28 record over five years.
"This announcement is the next step in our commitment to excellence within our football program," athletic director Jim Copeland said. "We plan to win championships here at SMU and Phil has all of the characteristics that we were looking for in a leader of our program.
"He is passionate, enthusiastic, disciplined, has great integrity and has a great football mind. Without a doubt, Phil Bennett is the best fit for our program."
Kansas State is ranked third in the nation in total defense this season after placing fourth in 2000.
College awards to be handed out Thursday
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Maxwell Award for best all-around player and the Davey O'Brien Award for top quarterback will be among the honors bestowed Thursday night at the college football awards show.
Quarterbacks Eric Crouch of Nebraska, Ken Dorsey of Miami, Rex Grossman of Florida and Joey Harrington of Oregon will all be present - three days before they learn which of them will win the Heisman Trophy.
Crouch, Dorsey and Grossman also made the final cut for the Maxwell Award while Harrington joins Crouch and Grossman as nominees for the Davey O'Brien Award.
Crouch, known more for his running than passing, rushed for 1,115 yards and 19 touchdowns for the fourth-ranked Cornhuskers.
Dorsey threw for 2,652 yards and 23 scores for top-ranked Miami, which will play for the national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.
Grossman leads the nation in passing efficiency, throwing for 3,896 yards and 34 touchdowns for the No. 6 Gators.
Harrington led No. 3 Oregon to the Pac-10 Conference title, throwing for 2,415 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Dorsey's teammate, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior lineman. Defensive tackle John Henderson of Tennessee, the 2000 winner, and Nebraska offensive lineman Toniu Fonoti are the others.
Travis Stephens, who along with Henderson has the Volunteers in contention for the national title, is among the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the best running back.
Stephens averages 129 rushing yards per game and rumbled for 226 in a victory over Florida on Saturday. The Volunteers will play Louisiana State in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday and will advance to the Rose Bowl with a victory.
CART seeks new president
DETROIT, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- CART has begun a search for a new president and CEO.
The official decision came today, when current president and CEO Joseph Heitzler and the open-wheel racing league's board of directors decided to go in another direction.
CART did not give a timetable for its search and said Heitzler will continue to oversee its day-to-day operations until it is completed. He will stay on as the board's chairman once a replacement is found.
Since its inception in 1978, Championship Auto Racing Teams has struggled for stability, a situation exacerbated by the arrival of the Indy Racing League in 1996.