Robinson to retire after next season
SAN ANTONIO, May 24 (UPI) -- San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson, voted one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996, announced Friday he will retire following the 2002-03 campaign.
Robinson has spent his entire 13-year career with the Spurs, but his play has declined in recent years. During the 2001-02 season, he averaged just 12.2 points and 8.3 rebounds--both career lows--and was hampered in the playoffs by a lower back injury.
Robinson will play out the final year of a two-year, $20 million contract he signed last summer.
Robinson helped the Spurs to their only NBA championship in 1999 and is the franchise's all-time leader in points (20,144), rebounds (9,989), blocks (2,843), steals (1,336) and games played (923). He has posted career averages of 21.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.08 blocks while shooting 51.9 percent from the field.
Robinson, who had two years of active duty in the Navy before joining the Spurs, was the unanimous winner of the Rookie of the Year award in 1989-90, helping the Spurs win the Midwest Division with a 56-26 record. The prior season, San Antonio finished with a league-worst 21-61 mark. Robinson captured the Most Valuable Player award in 1994-95 and has appeared in 10 All-Star Games. He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to win a scoring title (1993-94), rebounding title (1990-91) and lead the NBA in blocked shots (1991-92).
USOC president Baldwin resigns
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 24 (UPI) -- United States Olympic Committee president Sandy Baldwin resigned Friday after admitting that she lied about her academic credentials.
The USOC made the announcement following a conference call with Baldwin, who informed committee CEO Lloyd Ward she would resign immediately. The specific academic inaccuracies were not revealed.
Baldwin was elected president on Dec. 3, 2000 after serving as USOC vice president and treasurer during her long association with the organization. She was the Chief of Mission for the United States delegation at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The USOC said it will begin an immediate process to replace Baldwin. It involves a nomination of candidates and a mail ballot among the board of directors.
Eger ties Sigel for lead
ADA, Mich., May 24 (UPI) -- David Eger, an unheralded, 50-year-old rookie surprised virtually everyone Friday by shooting a 5-under-par 67 to tie Jay Sigel for the lead after the first round of the PGA Senior Tour Farmer's Charity Classic.
In two different stints on the PGA Tour, the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida resident earned just $31,014, with his best finish being a tie for fifth at the 1979 American Optical Classic.
Prior to this week, Egar, who achieved his greatest success as an amateur, had played in only two Senior events this year, tying for 64th at The Tradition and 40th at the Instinet Classic. He has won just $9,550 this year, ranking 100th on the money list.
On the road to recovery from hip and neck injuries, Nelson is seeking his third straight Farmers Charity Classic title. Nelson won Player of the Year honors in 2000 and five titles in 2001 but began this season with just two top-10 finishes in his first eight starts while battling hip and vertebrae problems.
Nelson has battled back from his injuries to place third and second in his last two starts. He skipped last week's event to prepare for a possible "three-peat." This week, Nelson is trying to become the seventh player in history to win the same event in three consecutive seasons. He held off Jim Ahern by a stroke last year and posted a three-shot victory over Dave Stockton in 2000.
With a win this week, Nelson will put himself in position to become the first player in Senior Tour history to have two "three-peats." He also has won the last two FleetBoston Classics, which is held in late July.
Bartholomew, Diaz tied for lead
CORNING, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) -- Jean Bartholomew fired a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 on Friday and is tied for the lead with Laura Diaz after the second round of the LPGA Corning Classic.
A Long Island native, Bartholomew collected three birdies and an eagle to move to 9-under 135. She has a share of the second-round lead for only the second time in her seven-year career and the first since this sevent in 1999.
Diaz was born in the Albany suburb of Scotia but lives in Florida. She also played the Corning Country Club without a bogey, logging three birdies en route to a 69.
Beth Bauer is tied with Korean rookie Jung Yeon Lee for third place at 8-under 136 after a second straight 68. Both Bartholomew and Bauer attended Duke while Diaz starred at ACC rival Wake Forest.
LPGA Hall of Famer Beth Daniel and Italy's Silvia Cavalleri are two shots back at 137 while former champions Rosie Jones and Britain's Alison Nicholas are among four players tied at 6-under.
Lakers-Kings series resumes
LOS ANGELES, May 24 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Lakers hoped Kobe Bryant would be healthy again when they hosted the Sacramento Kings Friday night in Game Three of the NBA Western Conference finals.
Bryant, who has been ill most of the week, suffered a bout of food poisoning before a Game Two loss in Sacramento on Monday after eating a hotel cheeseburger and a piece of cheesecake.
With Bryant at less than 100 percent, the Lakers had their playoff-record road winning streak halted at 12 games with Monday night's 96-90 loss. Star center Shaquille O'Neal was called for three fouls in the first half, when he scored 23 points. He was forced to play with foul trouble the rest of the way but finished with 35 points.
The Kings drew even in a series that may end up completely missing sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, whose severely-sprained right ankle has kept him out of the team's last four games. Stojakovic, an All-Star who averaged nearly 19.0 points per game against the Lakers during the regular season, was not expected to play in Game Three or in Game Four on Sunday.
That will make it more difficult for the Kings to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1951, when they were known as the Rochester Royals. They are in the conference finals for the first time since moving to Sacramento.
The Lakers are seeking their third straight NBA title and 14th all time. They have lost just three games in the last three postseasons.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference finals resume on Saturday as the Boston Celtics return home to host the New Jersey Nets in Game Three. The Celtics evened that series with a 93-86 victory Tuesday night.
Packers sign free agent LB Robert Jones
GREEN BAY, Wis., May 24 (UPI) -- The Green Bay Packers, looking for help at linebacker, have signed free agent Robert Jones to a one-year contract.
Jones, a 10-year veteran, spent last season with the Washington Redskins. He signed with the expansion Houston Texans as a free agent March 1, but was released 12 days later.
Jones, 32, brings a wealth of experience to Green Bay's linebacking corps. He is expected to contend for a starting position at both inside linebacker positions with Torrance Marshall and Nate Wayne. Jones also brings a winning pedigree to Green Bay, having been a member of three Super Bowl title teams with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s. During his career, he has started 128 of 150 games, registering 974 tackles and eight sacks.
Phillies' manager Bowa suspended
PHILADELPHIA, May 24 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Phillies Manager Larry Bowa will miss his team's series with the Montreal Expos this weekend after being hit with a three-game suspension by the league for excessive arguing against Arizona on May 17.
Bowa will not appeal the suspension, which was handed down Thursday prior to the Phillies' series finale with the New York Mets.
Bowa was ejected in the eighth inning of the Phils' 12-9 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Following a series of disputed plays, Bowa had to be restrained from going after plate umpire Tony Randazzo by veteran umpire Bruce Froemming. Specifically, according to Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's Vice President of On-field Operations, he was suspended for "arguing excessively" and for making "inappropriate comments" to Randazzo.
Bowa accused Watson of having a vendetta against him and called the suspension "absurd." Asked why he didn't appeal the decision if he felt so strongly, Bowa snapped, "They listen to one side of the story, and it wouldn't do any good."
Bench coach John Vukovich will run the team in Bowa's absence.
Twins activate 3B Corie Koskie
The Minnesota Twins will get back another one of their ailing infielders Friday night, with third baseman Corie Koskie having recovered from a torn right hamstring.
Koskie, one of the most complete third basemen in the American League, has missed 13 games since suffering the injury while sliding into second base in a 4-1 loss to Kansas City on May 7.
The Twins have been playing without three-quarters of their infield. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz missed six games with a wrist injury before returning Wednesday, and second baseman Luis Rivas has been out since the first week of the season with a broken arm.
Last season, the 28-year-old Koskie became the first American League third baseman with 100 runs, 25 homers, 100 RBI and 25 stolen bases. He also was the first Twin since Gary Gaetti in 1987 to reach the 25-homer and 100-RBI plateaus in the same season. This year, Koskie is hitting .311 with four homers, 19 RBI and three stolen bases in 34 games.
Bautista to have shoulder surgery
PHOENIX, May 24 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks announced late Thursday that Danny Bautista will undergo left shoulder surgery. He will miss a minimum of three months.
The rightfielder suffered the injury in Wednesday night's game against the San Francisco Giants while diving for a fly ball.
Bautista, who turns 30 on Friday, initially was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, but an MRI Thursday revealed a large tear in the labrum, a tear in the anterior capsule, a ligament tear and a bruised humerus bone.
After a strong postseason in 2001, when the Diamondbacks won the World Series, Bautista assumed a starting role this season and was batting .325 with six homers and 23 RBI in 40 games.
Draw announced for French Open
PARIS, May 24 (UPI) -- Andre Agassi, seeking his eighth Grand Slam title and second at Roland Garros, begins the French with a qualifier before battling through a draw that includes a handful of dangerous claycourt players.
In the women's draw, the Williams sisters cannot face each other until the final. Top-seeded Jennifer Capriati meets fellow American Marissa Irvin in the first round.
Among Agassi's possible opponents are 11th-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain and Argentina's Gaston Gaudio, one of two ATP Tour players with a pair of claycourt titles this season. Agassi, one of only five men to win all four Grand Slam titles, doesn't appear to have a challenge until a possible third-round encounter with the 25th seed, Tommy Robredo of Spain. If Agassi reaches the quarterfinals, his opponent could be Ferrero, who has made it to the semifinals each of the last two seasons and has claimed five of his six career titles on clay.
Agassi, the fourth seed, doesn't have it as bad as No. 1 seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, whose portion of the draw contains three former French Open winners, including two-time defending champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil. Hewitt also could face Carlos Moya of Spain or Michael Chang before the quarterfinals. His opponent in the final eight could be Pete Sampras, who owns a record 13 Grand Slam titles but none at Roland Garros.
That would be a good week for Sampras, who has not made the final eight at Roland Garros since a semifinal appearance, his only one in 12 French appearances, in 1996. He has a tough first-round opponent in Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi.
Elsewhere in the men's draw, second-seeded Marat Safin of Russia has potential matchups with No. 6 Tim Henman of Britain, No. 13 Andy Roddick of the United States and dangerous dirt players like Sebastien Grosjean of France and Argentina's David Nalbandian.
Third-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany likely has the most challenging road among the top four seeds to the semifinals. His quarter of the draw contains No. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson and clay specialists like Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco and Alex Corretja of Spain.
In the women's draw, all eyes are on the Williams sisters, who have met in a Grand Slam final just once, with Venus overcoming Serena in last year's U.S. Open. Venus Williams is seeded second as she seeks her fifth career Grand Slam title, all in the past three years. She faces Bianka Lamade of Germany in the first round.
Serena Williams, who is seeded third and is looking for her second Grand Slam title and first since the 1999 U.S. Open, opens with Martina Sucha of Slovakia.
Capriati, the defending champion, is the top seed as she continues her quest for the Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open in January. She has won three of the last five majors, making it at least as far as the semifinals in each.
The French Open gets underway Monday.
Hornaday grabs pole for Busch series
CONCORD, N.C., May 24 (UPI) -- Ron Hornaday earned the pole Friday for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Grand National series Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
In his third week for Carroll Racing, Hornaday collected his first career Busch series pole, taking his Chevrolet around the 1 ½-mile banked oval in 182.094 miles per hour, more than two miles an hour faster than Jeff Burton's track record. Last week, Hornaday recorded the team's best finish of the year, placing third at Nazareth Speedway.
Michael Waltrip qualified second for the second straight event, getting his Chevrolet to 181.549 mph. He was first before Hornaday blitzed his mark. Bobby Hamilton Jr.--the only non-Chevrolet driver of the top six qualifiers--was third at 180.832 in a Ford, followed by Jeff Green, Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague.
Russia advances to final
DUSSELDORF, Germany, May 24 (UPI) -- Russia defeated Britain Friday in the first meeting between the countries at the ATP World Team Championship to earn a meeting in the final with Argentina.
Marat Safin gave Russian the lead with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Martin Lee, then teamed with Yevgeny Kafelnikov to register a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Lee and Miles Maclagan in doubles.
Britain had evened things when Tim Henman defeated Kafelnikov, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) for his sixth win in 14 career matches against the Russian.
Russia went 2-1 to win the Blue Group, claiming 11 of 20 sets.
Also on Friday, Spain swept three matches with Germany. The Spaniards finished 2-1, but their loss came against Russia.
Alex Corretja gave Spain the lead with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Albert Costa had an even easier time with Nicolas Kiefer, 6-2, 6-2. Costa and Corretja then defeated Karsten Braasch and Kohlschreiber, 6-3, 6-2.
On Thursday, Argentina advanced to the finals for the first time since 1989 with a 2-1 victory over France to win the Red Group.
Sweden defeated the United States, 3-0, in Thursday's other tie. The Swedes and Argentines each had 2-1 records in the round robin, but Argentina defeated Sweden on Monday.