Johnson wins another Cy Young award
NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Arizona Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson received all 32 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America and Tuesday captured the highest honor in pitching for the fourth straight season.
The only other pitcher to win the Cy Young award four straight seasons was Atlanta Braves righthander Greg Maddux (1992-95). Maddux also was the last unanimous selection in 1995.
Johnson, 39, went 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 35 starts, and is the fourth-oldest Cy Young Award winner ever. He had eight complete games, including four shutouts, and struck out 334 batters in 260 innings.
One of the hardest throwers in history, Johnson led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts, held opponents to a .208 batting average, and nearly was unbeatable following an Arizona loss. For good measure, he went 5-0 with a 0.66 ERA in September.
The 6-10 southpaw also won the American League Cy Young Award with the Seattle Mariners in 1995. Only Roger Clemens, who won his sixth Cy Young Award last year, has more.
Johnson's teammate, Curt Schilling, was the runner-up, receiving 29 second-place votes.
Schilling, who turns 36 on Nov. 14, was 23-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 35 starts. He completed just five games and only had one shutout, but posted a remarkable walk-to-strikeout ratio of 33-to-316. The veteran righthander was 11-2 in the division, and held opponents to a .224 batting average.
As good as he was, Schilling had a rough finish, giving up 18 runs in his final three appearances, enabling Johnson to pull away.
John Smoltz, who made a stunning 18-month transformation from frontline starter to All-Star closer, received one second-place vote and was third overall in the voting.
The 35-year-old righthander set an NL record with 55 saves, blowing just four this season. He posted a 3.25 ERA and held opponents to a .206 batting average. He was spectacular in the
second half, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, and 24 saves in 25 opportunities.
No. 1 Panova rolls in first round
PATTAYA, Thailand, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Top seed Tatiana Panova of Russia, seeking her first career title, cruised Tuesday into the second round of the Volvo Women's Open by routing qualifier and counrtywoman Maria Kirilenko, 6-1, 6-0.
The 26-year-old Panova reached the finals at Auckland and Sarasota and advanced to the third round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Russian Anastassia Rodionova recorded the first upset in this Tier V hardcourt tournament, defeating German fourth-seed Anca Barna, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In the only other matches Tuesday, Japan's Shinobu Asagoe beat Russian Olga Kalyuzhnaya, 6-3, 6-1; and Poland's Magdalena Grzybowska overcame Libuse Prusova of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Red Sox re-sign LHP Alan Embree
BOSTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Boston Red Sox made sure Alan Embree never reached the free agent market, signing the lefthander Tuesday to a two-year contract with a club option for a third season.
"I'm really excited to be here in Boston," said Embree, who was acquired from San Diego on June 23. "Everybody made it real easy for me to come back. This was probably the most painless negotiation process I've had to go through."
Embree, 32, pitched well for the Red Sox after coming over from San Diego, going 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA and two saves in 32 games. He struck out 38 in 28 2/3 innings, while allowing 23 hits.
Overall, Embree had a combined 4-6 record with a 2.03 ERA in 68 games, striking out 82 batters over 68 games.
Devil Rays name Lee Elia hitting coach
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella began filling out his coaching staff Tuesday, naming Lee Elia as the club's hitting coach.
Piniella already is familiar with Elia, who served as his hitting coach with the Seattle Mariners from 1993-97. Elia was a member of Piniella's coaching staff in Seattle for seven of 10 seasons.
Elia, 65, brings a wealth of experience with him to Tampa Bay. He will be entering his 42nd year in professional baseball, his 20th as a coach or manager. He had previous managerial jobs with Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs.
Tha Devil Rays also announced that third base coach Tom Foley and bench coach Billy Hatcher would be returning to the staff.
Davis to remain suspended by Cougars
PULLMAN, Wash., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Washington State University linebacker Ira Davis will be on the school's suspended list until teammate Jason David is fully recovered from his fractured cheek bone and can return to the team.
Davis was suspended after attacking his teammate in the Cougar locker room on Oct. 29. David suffered three fractures of his right cheek bone in the altercation.
David, a cornerback, and Davis were starters on defense. Both are juniors.
"Ira is suspended indefinitely," said Coach Mike Price. "He will not be allowed to rejoin his teammates until Jason David fully recovers from his injury and returns to the team. In addition, Ira and I have agreed on several points he must comply with during his suspension. When he meets those expectations and Jason is ready to play, then he will be taken back as a member of the team.
Price added he is looking forward to putting the matter to rest.
Davis slugged his teammate in the face in the locker room after being misinformed that David was somehow involved with his girlfriend. David suffered three fractures of his cheekbone, had surgery, and will be lost 4-6 weeks.
Kevin Dineen announces retirement
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Kevin Dineen, one of just eight players in NHL history with 300 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes, announced his retirement Tuesday.
Dineen, 39, was in his 19th season and third with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He will remain with the organization in a hockey operations capacity and retires with 355 goals, 405 assists and 2,229 penalty minutes.
Dineen had 12 penalty minutes in four games this season. He bowed out after Sunday's game, in which he played on a line with former Hartford Whalers teammates Andrew Cassels and Geoff Sanderson, taking two shots and collecting six penalty minutes in a 3-2 home win over Buffalo.
A native of Quebec, Dineen joins Mike Foligno, Dale Hunter, Scott Mellanby, Gary Roberts, Brendan Shanahan, Rick Tocchet and Pat Verbeek as the only players with 300 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. He was an All-Star in 1988 and 1989 with Hartford and played for Team Canada in the 1984 Olympics, 1987 Canada Cup and the 1985, 1989 and 1993 World Championships.
At the 1984 Olympics, Dineen played for current Blue Jackets coach Dave King.
Dineen played for Hartford, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Columbus. Playing for his father, Bill Dineen, he had his best NHL season in 1992-93 with Philadelphia, collecting 35 goals, 28 assists and 201 penalty minutes.
As a player, Bill Dineen won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 1954 and 1955. Kevin Dineen's brothers, Gord and Peter, also played in the NHL. Peter Dineen is a scout for the Blue Jackets.
Michigan State football coach fired
EAST LANSING, Mich., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Michigan State football coach Bobby Williams was fired late Monday as the Spartans disappointing season bottomed out over the weekend, and an increasingly tumultuous period in MSU history finally came to a close.
Offensive coordinator Morris Watts will serve as interim coach until the end of the season, said Athletics Director Ron Mason.
"When I was named athletics director, I promised decisive leadership," Mason said at a news conference. "I assured the administration that I would make the decisions I thought were in the best interests of the athletics department and the entire university. I knew some of them would be difficult ones and didn't expect one this early."
According to a report Tuesday by the Detroit News, three words convinced Mason that a change was needed in football coaches: "I don't know."
That was Williams' reply to a question by a reporter after last Saturday's humiliating 49-3 loss to archrival Michigan as to whether or not he had lost control of the team.
Led by quarterback Jeff Smoker and receiver Charles Rodgers, the Spartans began the season with high hopes and were considered a dark horse candidate to play for the national title.
But, after back-to-back wins, the Spartans went into a free fall, losing six of their next seven games, including the Michigan debacle. The Spartans have lost four games in a row by an average of more than 28 points.
Rumors about Williams' likely dismissal have been running rampant almost from the start of the season.
On Sunday, the school announced Smoker has a substance abuse problem and dismissed arrested running back Dawan Moss from the team.
On Oct. 24, Williams suspended the 21-year-old Smoker for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Smoker, a junior, threw for 1,593 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions before his suspension.
Moss was dismissed by Williams after his arrest Saturday night on felony and misdemeanor charges.
According to Lansing Police Department Sgt. Dave Dahlke, Moss was charged with fleeing and eluding, a felony, operating a vehicle under the influence, and resisting arrest, a pair of misdemeanors. He was jailed, arraigned on the charges Sunday morning, and posted bond.
The alleged incident took place at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Dahlke said Moss had contact with an officer while he was driving and that an officer was injured, although he declined to be more specific.
Moss, a senior, was MSU's leading rusher with 592 yards and four touchdowns on 125 carries.
One person who was angered by Williams' firing played the race card.
"Since I have been an adult, MSU has had a reputation for fairness to minorities," Joel Ferguson, the only black member of the MSU Board of Trustees, said Monday in a written statement. "What is now incredibly disappointing to me is that MSU, under the cover of night, has decided to ignore the facts, ignore the precedent, and damage its reputation of fairness and commitment to diversity."
Rangers retain Hershiser
ARLINGTON, Texas, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- New Texas Rangers Manager Buck Showalter has retained pitching coach Orel Hershiser and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
The team also announced Tuesday that first base and outfield coach DeMarlo Hale and third base and infield coach Steve Smith will return. Mark Connor was named bullpen coach, and Don Wakamatsu bench coach.
"I am very pleased with the makeup of our coaching staff," said Showalter, who was named Rangers manager on Oct. 11. "I had the opportunity to visit extensively with DeMarlo, Orel, Rudy and Steve, and was extremely impressed with each. They all have a great knowledge of this organization, and I'm happy they are returning to the staff."
Hershiser replaced Oscar Acosta on June 22 after joining the Rangers last November as a special assistant to General Manager John Hart. Hershiser, a former National League Cy Young Award winner and the MVP of the with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, will work with a staff that finished 12th in the American League with a 5.16 ERA.
Jaramillo is returning for his ninth season, the longest tenure of any Rangers coach. He is serving as the hitting coach for the major league All-Stars for their Japanese Tour.
Connor served under Showalter with the Arizona Diamondbacks. At Arizona, Connor was the pitching coordinator before the team's inaugural season, and the pitching coach from 1998-2000.
Wakamatsu spent the previous two seasons as minor league coordinator and roving catching instructor for the Anaheim Angels.