Former Dodgers catcher dead at 69
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, a four-time All-Star, died Friday after a long illness. He was 69.
The cause of death was not specified, a Dodgers spokeswoman said.
Roseboro played for the Dodgers from 1957-67 and was the starting catcher in four World Series. He may he best remembered for being in a middle of an ugly incident on Aug. 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal twice hit Roseboro over the head with a bat, opening a huge gash that sent blood streaming down the catcher's face. National League president Warren Giles suspended Marichal for eight playing dates. Marichal contended that Roseboro returned a pitch close to his head while the pitcher was batting. Roseboro said he did nothing to provoke the incident and later filed a lawsuit against Marichal.
Roseboro batted .249 over 14 seasons in a career that also included stops with the Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators. He was named to All-Star teams in 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1969, and caught the first two of Sandy Koufax's four no-hitters. After ending his playing career in 1970, Roseboro went on to serve as a coach for several teams.
A native of Ashland, Ohio, Roseboro won World Series with the Dodgers in 1959, 1963 and 1965. His last postseason appearance was with the Twins in 1969.
Indians place 2B Gutierrez on DL
CLEVELAND, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians placed second baseman Ricky Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list Monday with an upper neck strain.
Gutierrez has been bothered by neck pain for most of the season and was examined Monday morning. After the exam, Gutierrez went on the DL, retroactive to Thursday.
The 32-year-old Gutierrez is hitting .275 with 13 homers and 38 RBI in 94 games, including a .336 average and 29 RBI over his last 41 contests. He has not played since Wednesday at Tampa Bay and sustained a bruised left hand the following night in batting practice.
To fill the roster spot, the Indians purchased the contract of infielder Greg LaRocca from Buffalo of the Class AAA International League. LaRocca was hitting .293 with seven homers and 41 RBI in 107 games at Buffalo.
Phillies give Lieberthal big contract
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Phillies Monday inked veteran catcher Mike Lieberthal, whose power can sometimes be devastating, to a lucrative contract extension.
Lieberthal already was earning $7 million this season, and is quickly approaching the 500 plate appearances needed to vest a $7.25 salary for 2003. The extension will override that option.
The 6-0, 195-pounder has rapidly returned to his All-Star form of 1999, when he hit .300 with 31 home runs. He missed most of the 2001 season after tearing the three major ligaments in his right knee in a game against Arizona. He was slow to recover this season and was hitting just .239 entering play June 20, the one-year anniversary of his surgery.
Overall, he's hitting .292 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI, with half of the homers coming in a 12-game stretch in which he hit .388 (19-for-49).
Seattle signs Rypien
CHENEY, Wash., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The Seattle Seahawks, who supposedly were not in the market for another signal-caller, Monday did just that, adding some insurance by signing former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien.
Rypien, 39, played last season for the Indianapolis Colts backing up Peyton Manning after sitting out three seasons, 1998-2000. He attempted only nine passes last year.
The Seahawks had second thought about adding a quarterback because of poor play by backup Matt Hasselback, who inherited the job after Trent Dilfer suffered a torn MCL in his right knee in a preseason contest Aug. 10 against the Colts. He sustained the injury when was hit by Colts' defensive linemen Chad Bratzke and James Cannida after releasing a pass in the second quarter of the 'Hawks' 28-10 loss. He may be out for as long as eight weeks.
Rypien, who lives in nearby Spokane, Wash., played collegiately at Washington State. He was with for the Washington Redskins from 1987-93, and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXVI, when he passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns in their 37-24 rout of the Buffalo Bills in 1992. In that regular season, he threw for 3,546 yards and 28 touchdowns.
For his career, Rypien has played in 104 games, starting 78. He has tossed 115 touchdowns to 88 interceptions, and passed for 18,473 yards.
Brees named Chargers starting quarterback
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Drew Brees, who appeared in just one game as a rookie last season, Monday was named this year's starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer chose Brees as his starter in a tightly-contested competition with 39-year-old Doug Flutie.
Brees was a second-round choice in the 2001 draft out of Purdue and completed 15-of-27 passes for 221 yards and one score in his only appearance with the Chargers.
Content that Brees is ready to take the next step, Schottenheimer bypassed Flutie, who has thrown for 13,249 yards in eight NFL seasons.
Bills sign Ahanotu
PITTSFORD, N.Y., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Veteran defensive end Chidi Ahanotu Monday joined his third NFL team in as many years when he signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.
Ahanotu, 32, spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recording a career-high 10 sacks in 1997. He spent last season with the St. Louis Rams.
The 6-2, 285-pounder was used only on first and second down by the Rams, but the Bills will give Ahanotu a chance to prove if he has anything left as a pass rusher. The Bills have no sacks in two preseason games.
Ahanotu has appeared in 129 games, including 120 starts, and has 33 sacks.
Bates suffers broken ankle
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Ace kick returner and special teams performer Michael Bates likely saw his return season to Carolina end before it really started after he suffered a broken right ankle in Saturday night's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Bates, a 10-year veteran who spent the 2001 season with the Washington Redskins, was hit by a Dallas blocker as he ran down field to cover a first quarter kickoff. The leg was immediately placed in a brace. A series of tests showed the break.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the five-time Pro Bowler appeared to be upset about the block that injured him, angrily gesturing to the Cowboys' bench as he was carted off the field at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte.
The 5-10, 189-pounder from Arizona is one of only 24 players in league history to be selected to the Pro Bowl at two positions, making it as the kick returner and as the special teamer. In 1996, he averaged 30.2 yards per kickoff return, marking the first time in nearly 20 years that a returner had an average of 30 yards or better.
Bates, 32, returned to the Panthers when the Redskins were forced to release him in March for salary cap purposes. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks as the 151st overall pick in the 1992 draft, and was chosen to play fort the NFC in the Pro Bowl each year from 1996-2000.
Toney nears cruiserweight title shot
TECMECULA, Calif., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- James Toney took another step toward a title shot Sunday night by knocking out contender Jason Robinson in the seventh round of their cruiserweight elimination bout.
Toney dropped Robinson with a devastating right hand at the end of the fifth round and finished him late in the seventh with a left hook to the chin.
With the win, Toney, 65-4-2 with 42 knockouts, the former IBF middleweight and super-middleweight champion, earns a title shot at Vassily Jirov. He ran his winning streak to 11 fights in a row.
Wild's Laaksonen wins arbitration case
ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Left wing Antii Laaksonen, the only player to appear in all 164 games for the Minnesota Wild was awarded a one-year contract Monday worth $750,000 by arbitrator Gil Vernon.
Laaksonen had career bests of 16 goals and 17 assists last season as the Wild went 26-35-12-9, a five-point improvement over their inaugural season, and finished last in the Northwest Division.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the ruling was $250,000 less than what Laaksonen sought, but it almost doubled his $475,000 salary from last season. The team submitted a proposal for $625,000 during a two-hour hearing last Thursday in Toronto.
Top thoroughbred dies at 16
TOKYO, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Sunday Silence, the winner of the first two legs of the 1989 Triple Crown who went on to become Horse of the Year, died Monday in Tokyo) from complications of a disease in his left foreleg.
The 16-year-old thoroughbred had been in failing health since contracting laminitis, a disease of the hoof, last month. He died at around 11 a.m. local time of heart failure, according to an official of the Shadai Stallion Station.
Last week, the horse underwent surgery for a third time to improve his right foreleg. He was expected to recover, but his condition worsened as his stable pondered whether to put him down. The stable said euthenasia was not involved.
Sunday Silence never placed lower than second in his 14 starts career starts. The son of Halo and Wishing Well, Sunday Silence became the fourth horse since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 to capture the first two legs of horse racing's ultimate prize, but fell short at the Belmont.