SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Unable to reach agreement on a long-term contract with any team, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds has decided to go through the arbitration process.
Reports surfaced Wednesday that the single-season home run champion has accepted the Giants' offer of binding arbitration, a move that all but guarantees Bonds will spend the 2002 season with San Francisco.
The 37-year-old left fielder, who was seeking a multi-year contract at roughly $20 million per season, had until midnight Wednesday to accept the salary hearing or have his negotiating window to return to the Giants shortened to Jan. 8.
With an independent arbitrator, Bonds could earn as much as $30 million per season. He put together one of the greatest offensive campaigns ever in 2001, hitting .328 with 73 homers, 137 RBI and 129 runs scored.
In addition to shattering the all-time single-season record for homers, Bonds established new major league marks for walks (177) and slugging percentage (.863). Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who did not have as good a season as Bonds, was baseball's highest paid player in 2001 at $25 million.
In the arbitration process, the team submits one figure and the player submits another. After both sides present their cases, an arbitrator picks one of figures.
San Francisco still has the option of trying to secure a long-term deal with Bonds, who needs 188 homers to tie Hank Aaron's hallowed career mark of 755.
Despite his lofty achievements, Bonds drew minimal interest this offseason as his age and lofty contract demands by agent Scott Boras left few suitors.
In other baseball signings Wednesday:
* The Chicago Cubs added another run-producer to the middle of their lineup and filled an outfield void, agreeing to terms with free agent Moises Alou on a three-year contract. The Chicago Tribune reported the deal is worth $27 million.
* There were reports that free agent second baseman Bret Boone has accepted an arbitration offer from Seattle.
* The Texas Rangers, attempting to improve a pitching staff that was the worst in baseball last season, signed free agent Dave Burba to a one-year contract.
* Just over 24 hours after they acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds, the Colorado Rockies announced they had dealt talented but underachieving second baseman Pokey Reese to the defense-desperate Boston Red Sox for catcher Scott Hatteberg.
* The Anaheim Angels agreed to terms with Dennis Cook on a one-year contract as the 39-year-old joined his ninth team in a 14-year career.
Marshall wins wild bowl game
MOBILE, Ala., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Byron Leftwich helped rally Marshall from a 30-point halftime deficit Wednesday night and then accounted for his fifth touchdown of the game with an eight-yard pass to Josh Davis in the second overtime to give the Thundering Herd a stunning 64-61 victory over East Carlina in the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl.
It was the highest scoring bowl game in history and Leftwich put on one of the most amazing bowl performances ever. He completed 41 of 71 passes for 575 yards -- throwing for four touchdowns and running for another in a game that took almost four and a half hours to play.
Marshall trailed at the half, 38-8, but scored 28 points in the third period. Two of the touchdowns in the period came on interception returns of 25 yards by Ralph Street and 25 yards by Terrance Tarpley.
Marshall drew within six points with 1:53 to play on a 26-yard field goal by Curtis Head, then got the ball back with 41 seconds remaining and managed to drive 80 yards in eight plays with Leftwich hitting Darius Watts on a 10-yard scoring pass with eight seconds left to tie the game.
Head then missed the extra point that would have won it in regulation.
Marshall scored first in overtime on a two-yard run by Franklin Wallace, but East Carolina's Leonard Henry scored on the first play of his team's possession to tie it.
East Carolina had the ball first in the second overtime and scored on a 37-yard field goal by Kevin Miller. But Leftwich soon ended the game with his touchdown throw to Josh Davis.
Wizards win seventh straight
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan scored 23 points in just 27 minutes Wednesday night as the Washington Wizards extended their winning streak to seven games with a 103-76 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Jordan missed five of his first six shots and then made 10 of his last 13 before sitting out the fourth quarter. He made nine straight shots in the second period as the Wizards built a 20-14 lead into a 49-33 advantage at halftime.
Washington allowed its fewest points in the first half this season.
Richard Hamilton added 20 points and Jahidi White had 10 and 10 rebounds for Washington, which last won seven in a row from March 30-April 14, 1996.
Washington (12-12) has not been .500 since it lost to Detroit on Nov. 4 to fall to 2-2. The Wizards have not won eight in a row since the 1982-83 season, when Jordan was a sophomore at North Carolina.
Chris Whitney's three-pointer capped a 10-0 run and gave Washington a 59-33 lead with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter. Atlanta forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 15 points over the next seven minutes and cut the deficit to 72-54.
But Hamilton tallied four of the next five points to give Washington a 76-55 edge heading into the fourth quarter. The Wizards led by as much as 94-63 on Hamilton's final bucket, a jumper with 6:57 left.
Other NBA results: Boston 104, Cleveland 98; Charlotte 94, Philadelphia 85; New Jersey 117, Minnesota 112 in overtime; Orlando 98, Utah 90; Toronto 102, Indiana 90; San Antonio 97, Portland 79; Seattle 104, Sacramento 92; Golden State 101, Detroit 88.
Olympic goaltenders stage showdown
Named to the Canadian Olympic team last week, Brodeur made 23 saves, including a sprawling stop on Mike York's breakaway with three seconds left in overtime.
Added to the United States Olympic team during the second intermission Wednesday night, Richter celebrated with 33 saves and continued his brilliance on penalty shots by stopping defenseman Colin White early in the first period.
Defensemen Andrei Zyuzin and Brian Rafalski scored power-play goals for New Jersey, which is 0-1-1-1 in the last three meetings with New York following a 23-game unbeaten streak against its rival.
York and Jeff Toms tallied for the Rangers, who were denied a third straight win but are 2
Other NHL results: Chicago 6, Buffalo 5; San Jose 4, Atlanta 2; Detroit 4, Vancouver 1; Florida 5, Washington 2; Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 1; Colorado 2, Anaheim 1; Phoenix 6, Calgary 3.
Oklahoma State remains unbeaten
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Maurice Baker scored all 22 of his points in the second half Wednesday night and No. 6 Oklahoma State remained unbeaten with a 62-50 victory over Missouri-Kansas City.
Baker reversed his performance from Monday's 79-44 rout of Northwestern State, in which he had all 22 points in the first half. He made seen of eight shots in the second period Wednesday night as Oklahoma State (11-0) held off a late charge by the Kangaroos.
The Cowboys received 10 points from Victor Williams in the first half for a 30-21 lead. Baker came alive after halftime and scored on a layup for a 46-27 advantage with 10:27 left to play.
Oklahoma State was the only top 10 team in action Wednesday night, but there was a surprise in the top 25 when unbeaten Butler downed No. 21 Ball State, 75-61.
Buhner announces retirement
SEATTLE, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Jay Buhner, one of the most popular players in the history of the Seattle Mariners and one of 92 players to reach the 300-homer plateau, announced his retirement Wednesday.
Buhner spent all but 32 of his 1,472 games with the Mariners over a 15-year career. He is second on the team's all-time list with 307 home runs and third with 951 RBI. His 310 career homers are 85th all-time.
The 37-year-old right fielder, who also possessed one of the most powerful throwing arms in the game, will be remembered for his bald head, aggressive style on the field and easy-going manner off it.
"I'm very proud of my career and everything that we have accomplished here in Seattle," Buhner said. "I want to thank the Mariner organization for bringing me here in 1988 and giving me a chance to play every day in the majors."
U.S. Olympic goaltenders chosen
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Veteran goaltenders Mike Richter of the New York Rangers and Tom Barrasso of the Carolina Hurricanes were added to the United States Olympic team roster Wednesday night.
Both goalies have won Stanley Cups in the NHL and have represented the United States in international competition. Richter played in the Olympics in 1988 and 1998 and backstopped the United States to the World Cup championship in 1996. Barrasso appeared in Canada Cup tournaments in 1984 and 1987.
Richter and Barrasso, 36, will vie with Mike Dunham of the Nashville Predators for playing time in the nets at Salt Lake City in February.
Red Wings lead balloting
NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Detroit teammates Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Steve Yzerman held the lead at their respective positions in the latest balloting for the North American All-Star team released Wednesday.
Shanahan, a six-time All-Star, topped all North American players with 111,592 votes and had a comfortable lead over Hull among wingers. Hull was named on 49,729 ballots, 5,600 more than Owen Nolan of the San Jose Sharks.
Long-time Detroit captain Steve Yzerman had the lead among centers with 69,242 votes, more than 21,000 ahead of Joe Sakic of the archrival Colorado Avalanche. Pittsburgh Penguins Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, out since mid-November with a nagging hip injury, was third with 32,590 votes.
The Red Wings still lead the race for the Presidents' Trophy with 49 points, but have scored just five goals during a 1-5-1 stretch. Shanahan has gone nine games without scoring, Hull is mired in an eight-game drought and Yzerman has one goal in his last nine contests.
Patrick Roy of the Avalanche was in front of North American goaltenders with 67,255 votes, about 7,600 more than Curtis Joseph of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils was a distant third.
Frerotte goes on IR
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- With their playoff hopes already in serious jeopardy, the Denver Broncos Wednesday placed backup quarterback Gus Frerotte and defensive end Kavika Pittman on season-ending injured reserve.
Frerotte suffered a third-degree right shoulder separation after being tackled on a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Pittman tore a left calf muscle against the Chiefs and is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks. Both injuries were worse than originally believed.
Frerotte started in place of Brian Griese, who was sidelined after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks.
The injury to Frerotte placed the Broncos' offense in the hands of second-year quarterback Jarious Jackson.
Indoor soccer leagues merge
WESTPORT, Conn., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- North American indoor soccer will be consolidated into one league for the first time in 18 years after the Major Indoor Soccer League and World Indoor Soccer League announced they will merge for the 2002-03 season.
The merger was announced Wednesday by MISL commissioner Steve Ryan.
Three WISL teams -- the Dallas Sidekicks, San Diego Sockers and St. Louis Steamers -- have agreed to join the MISL as founding members. The fate of WISL franchises in Sacramento, California and Utah have not been determined.
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