Giants hire Felipe Alou
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- In a bit of a surprise Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants named Felipe Alou their new manager.
Alou, who began his career in San Francisco during the first six years of the team's history, replaces Dusty Baker, who was not retained.
After guiding the Giants to the World Series in his 10th year, Baker became a free agent. General Manager Brian Sabean decided he would not re-sign Baker, who now is talking to the Chicago Cubs about their managerial vacancy.
The choice is a logical one for Sabean, who supplied temperamental superstar Barry Bonds with a laid-back, veteran skipper who has experience managing big-name players.
Alou has 10 years of experience as a major league manager. He recorded a record of 691-717 with the Montreal Expos before being fired in May 2001 following a 21-32 start. Among the players he nurtured in Montreal were Pedro Martinez and Larry Walker.
In the strike-shortened season of 1994, Alou led the Expos to the best record in baseball and was named National League Manager of the Year.
The 67-year-old native of the Dominican Republic played parts of 17 major league seasons, spending 1958-63 in San Francisco after the Giants moved from New York. He scored the winning run in a 1962 playoff against Los Angeles.
Alou had his best season with the Atlanta Braves in 1966, when he led the NL with 218 hits, 122 runs scored, and 666 at-bats. He hit .327 with 31 homers and 74 RBI.
Alou also once appeared in the same outfield with brothers Jesus and Matty.
Seattle dominates AL Gold Gloves
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The Seattle Mariners, who came up short in their drive to win the American League West this past season, had three players take AL Gold Gloves when the winners were announced Wednesday.
First baseman John Olerud, second baseman Bret Boone, and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki made the team, announced by the Rawlings Sporting Goods Co.
They were joined by pitcher Kenny Rogers of Texas, catcher Bengie Molina and outfielder Darin Erstad of the world champion Anaheim Angels, shortstop Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, third baseman Eric Chavez of the Oakland Athletics, and outfielder Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins.
Hunter prevented a sweep by the AL West. His team plays in the AL Central. There were no winners in the AL East.
Rodriguez ended the nine-year reign of Omar Vizquel of Cleveland, but it was his eye-popping offensive production that made headlines.
On defense, he was superb, making only 10 errors in 741 chances while playing in all 162 games. He was runnerup in the AL MVP balloting after leading the league with 57 home runs and 142 RBI.
Molina was able to break the streak of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who had win 10 straight gold gloves.
It also was a breakthrough season for Boone, who ended the reign of Roberto Alomar, who played for the New York Mets in 2002. He had won the award in ten of the last 11 years.
Rib and shoulder surgery for Rowland
CHICAGO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Chicago White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand Wednesday was set for surgery in California after breaking two ribs and his left scapula earlier this month in an off-road dirt bike accident.
Rowand broke a rib on each side and his scapula while bruising his left shoulder.
"I feel pretty good about being back in time, as long as therapy goes well," Rowand told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. "There's no reason to believe I won't be 100 percent. My dirt bike days are over. It's going to be sold."
The White Sox said he should be ready for spring training, but added that a better diagnosis will be available after the surgery.
This past season, Rowland, who resides in Glendora, Calif., not far from Las Vegas, hit .258 with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 126 games, taking over as the starting centerfielder in late July.
Phillies make big free agent offers
TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Phillies, in a sign that they will be serious shoppers at the free agent market this offseason, have made quick, lucrative contract pitches to three of the game's marquee names.
MLB.com, baseball's official website, reports that Philadelphia General Manager Ed Wade was busy at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the official start time of the free agent negotiating period, sending proposals to the agents of Jim Thome, Tom Glavine, and David Bell.
"(The offers were) very sufficient, I hope," Wade told MLB.com from Tucson, Ariz., where he is attending the annual general managers' meetings this week. "I don't want to characterize our proposal other than to say I would hope it's viewed as significant, sincere and sufficient."
There have been reports that Philadelphia was ready to offer Thome as much as $90 million over six years. He would be a potent addition to an order that already includes Pat Burrell, Mike Lieberthal, and Bobby Abreu.
Thome, 32, has hit 334 home runs in his 12 seasons in Cleveland, including 49 in 2001 and 52 in 2002. The 6-4, 240-pounder has expressed a specific desire to stay in Cleveland.
Bell, who is representing himself, is said to be looking for three years at about $4-$5 million annually. He hit .261 with 20 homers and 73 RBI in helping the Giants reach the World Series this past season.
He would be an everyday answer at third base to slugger Scott Rolen, who was traded to St. Louis.
Getting Glavine, 36, likely would be a very costly proposition. Reports indicate that, even at his age, he might be able to get $50 million in a long-term contract.
His biggest advantage is that he is a left-handed starting pitcher who wins, a valued, coveted commodity in the majors.
In 2002, he was 18-11 with a 2.96 ERA for the Atlanta Braves, the only team he has played for in the major. He is 242-143 with a 3.37 ERA in 16 seasons in Atlanta.
Wade said the Phillies are looking at a number of options designed to make them a better team.
"At this point, we'd like to exhaust these free agent avenues, but there are other possibilities we will look into if we have to," Wade told MLB.com. "There are other things that we would like to do, so not everything hinges on what takes place in the free agent market. It behooves us to go ahead and have those conversations on a number of fronts because some fairly significant people are made available."
In 2002, the Phillies were never a threat in the NL East, finishing in third place at 80-81, 21 1/2 games back of division-winning Atlanta.
Giants sign Herman Moore
NEW YORK, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Herman Moore, who holds the NFL's single-season record with 123 receptions in 1995, has signed with the New York Giants for the balance of the season.
His negotiations with the team were first reported late Tuesday by ESPN, and his signing was confirmed by several media outlets on Wednesday.
New York Newsday reported that Moore will earn $308,823 on a one-year contract, a prorated portion of the veteran minimum of $750,000.
Moore, 33, who reportedly will sign a one-year deal, was one of several receivers to work out for the Giants recently. It is unclear what role he will play Sunday, when the Giants host the NFC East-rival Washington Redskins.
The Giants are in desperate need for healthy, able-bodied receivers. The team is down to two healthy receivers after losing Ron Dixon and Tim Carter to injuries in last Sunday's 27-20 win at Minnesota.
Moore spent the first 11 years of his career with the Detroit Lions, and had 670 receptions for 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns in 145 games. He was released in July for salary cap purposes after three injury-plagued seasons in which he had just 60 catches in 26 games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers brought in him for a workout just before training camp, but decided to sign Terance Mathis instead.
The four-time Pro Bowler never filed retirement papers with the league, but recently was passed over by the Miami Dolphins, who lured Cris Carter out of retirement.
Moore, a 1991 first-round draft pick out of Virginia, averaged 111 catches for 1,425 yards from 1995-97.
Amani Toomer is New York's leading receiver with 39 receptions, but the Giants lost No. 2 receiver Ike Hilliard for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder suffered Oct. 28 in a game at Philadelphia on an apparent late hit by Eagles' defensive back Brian Dawkins.
Dixon will miss at least two weeks with a sprained ankle, and Carter is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.
Rookie Daryl Jones, a seventh-round pick out of Miami, is New York's new starting flanker, and running back Sean Bennett has been converted to wide receiver.
The Giants also signed wide receiver Tony Simmons and placed Carter on injured reserve. Guard Dusty Zeigler, the most experienced member of the offensive line, also was placed on IR.
Zeigler, New York's starting center the last two years, missed all of training camp and the first five games of the regular season after undergoing right knee surgery. He returned for two games, but experienced pain and swelling in his knee and had been inactive the last two weeks.
Chargers dump Vanover
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Tamarick Vanover, who was one of the top kickoff and punt returners in the NFL, has been released by the San Diego Chargers.
After a conviction for his role in a drug-trafficking ring and being out of football the past two seasons, Vanover was reunited with Coach Marty Schottenheimer when he signed a one-year contract with San Diego on May 6, but he was not the same player that consistently was among the top five in kick and punt returners in the late 1990s.
The 6-0, 220-pounder averaged 23.1 yards on 14 kickoff returns, and just 5.4 yards on 16 punt returns. He was inactive in two games for San Diego (6-3), including Sunday's 28-24 road loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Vanover played with Kansas City from 1995-99. He caught 39 passes for 564 yards and three touchdowns, and also averaged 24.1 yards on 212 kickoff returns and 10.7 yards on 191 punt returns.
Vanover had four touchdowns on kickoffs and another four on punt returns.
Wide receiver Tim Dwight, who returned punts last season, will get the job back, and backup running back Ronney Jenkins will handle kickoff returns.
Miami of Ohio assistant arrested
HUNTINGTON, West Va., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Miami of Ohio defensive coordinator Jon Wauford was arrested Tuesday night after shoving a fan following a 36-34 loss at Marshall.
Several Marshall fans stormed the field after backup quarterback Stan Hill scrambled for a one-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the Mid-American Conference matchup.
As the coaches and teams were heading to their locker rooms, Wauford pushed a Marshall fan, Robert Flaugher, to the ground.
Flaugher, 36, was taken on a stretcher to a local hospital, treated, and later released.
Wauford, a former defensive end in the Canadian Football League, was handcuffed by West Virginia state police officers, taken to the Cabell County (W. Va.) Magistrate Court, and charged with battery. He was released and given a court appearance for Dec. 16.
Wauford was suspended by Miami, as was assistant coach Taver Johnson, who took responsibility for damaging the coaches' press box at Marshall University Stadium.
According to Steve Snyder, Miami's interim athletic director, the suspensions are effective immediately and are without pay, pending the outcome of a full investigation.
"Both these incidents were highly regrettable," Snyder said. "Miami has a rich tradition in athletics with high expectations for its coaches. These are leadership positions, and the individuals holding them are held to the highest standards."
Snyder added that the school is disappointed that the actions of the two coaches "took away from the competitive efforts of both teams."
He also noted that tensions surrounding the rivalry were intense and included various threats to RedHawk players and coaches, such as internet bulletin board warnings about food poisoning efforts.
"However, these tensions in no way excuse any unsportsmanlike behavior," Synder said.
Wauford played at Miami from 1988-91, and was a three-time All-MAC selection. He played three seasons in the CFL and coached four years at the University of Findlay (Ohio) before becoming defensive line coach at Miami in 1999.
Johnson is in his third year as linebackers coach following a one-year stint as graduate assistant at Notre Dame. He was a Division III All-American linebacker from 1992-93 at Wittenberg University in Ohio.
Edwards will not play in Auburn game
ATHENS, Ga., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- When seventh-ranked Georgia continues its drive for the East Division title in the SEC Saturday, it will have defensive leader Boss Bailey back at linebacker, but senior wide receiver will Terrence Edwards is out for some time.
Bailey, a 6-3, 229-pound senior from Forkston, Ga., injured the MCL in his right knee last week against Ole Miss, but an MRI showed no significant damage.
"I've got to work a little soreness out, but it should be fine by the end of the week," said Bailey, who leads the nation's No. 5 overall team defense with 92 tackles and also has two blocked field goals.
Bailey is a semifinalist for two awards, the Butkus as the nation's top linebacker, and the Lombardi as the top lineman.
Meanwhile, Edwards, who suffered a left shoulder separation in the Ole Miss game, is expected to miss 3-6 weeks, which means he is not expected for the balance of the regular season.
Team doctors say he has an outside chance of being ready if the Bulldogs qualify for the SEC title game on the first Saturday in December.
Edwards, who has missed only one game because of injury since his high school football career began, and said he was told he could be back in four weeks.
"If everything works out, that'll be Dec. 7," said Edwards, who will not travel with the team this week.
Edwards has a team-high 47 receptions, making him No. 3 in the SEC, for 804 yards and a school-record 10 touchdowns this fall.
Martin appeals NASCAR fine
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- With a Winston Cup title in the balance, Roush Racing Wednesday announced it has appealed a 25-point penalty that has left Mark Martin further behind Tony Stewart in the points race.
NASCAR docked Martin for using an "unapproved" spring at the Pop Secret Popcorn 400 in Rockingham, N.C., a ruling that left him 89 points behind Stewart with just one race remaining.
Martin finished second to Johnny Benson, Jr. at North Carolina Speedway on Nov. 3, but in a postrace technical inspection, the right front springs did not meet the required 4 1/2 coils. Martin's springs were 4 3/8.
In his appeal, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith claimed the spring had an "inconsequential deviation" from the rule-specified length, had no effect on the fairness of competition and, thus, was too harsh.
Smith applauded NASCAR for maintaining a policy of fairness, but said, "Fairness can only exist when there is equal punishment for equally- situated offenders. That is a concept that is a cornerstone of the entire American experience."
Smith, citing two previous cases of discipline by NASCAR, said Roush Racing "was not 'equally situated' with the two other teams who suffered penalty points reductions in 2002."
Smith said NASCAR needs to evaluate the presence or absence of two very significant facts:
- Did the examination of the part reveal the offender's intention to violate a rule?
- Was the part's function altered in any way to attempt to improve performance?
"Both of those factors were conspicuously absent in our case, and both were present in the other two cases," Smith said. "Fairness requires a different penalty result for us. We hope that these 25 points have no impact in this year's championship race, and do not enjoy having this issue present itself at this late date, yet we cannot passively submit to a punishment that is so excessive for the offense."
Smith acknowledges that the list of successful appellants "can fit on the back of a postage stamp, but we remain hopeful that after a sober review of each of the spring-related penalty violations," the points will be reinstated.
Martin, who drives the No. 6 Ford Taurus, left Phoenix this past weekend with an 89-point deficit in the championship race.
Regardless of Martin, all Stewart needs to do Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway is finish 22nd or better to clinch the title.