Murray, Carter elected to Hall of Fame
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Eddie Murray and Gary Carter have been elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Murray, one of the most productive hitters of all time nut who endured a contemptuous relationship with the media, was elected in his first year of eligibility, earning 423 votes.
Carter was a near-miss last season, but made it on his sixth try this time with 387 votes.
Blue Jackets fire Coach King
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday fired Dave King, the franchise's first coach since its inception in 2000-01.
"This was an extremely difficult decision to make because Dave King is a tremendous person who has worked extremely hard for the Blue Jackets organization over the past three years," Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean said.
MacLean will take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
After a surprising 7-5-1-1 start, the Blue Jackets have gone 7-15-3-1 since Nov. 12.
"At this time I don't think we are where we should be as a team and this will allow me to evaluate our personnel from a different perspective," MacLean said.
The last straw for King came on Monday night when the Blue Jackets lost at home to the Nashville Predators, who have the worst record in the Western Conference.
Following the 5-1 defeat, King ripped the team for its lack of intensity. Blue Jackets left wing Ray Whitney agreed with his former coach's assessment.
"It was pretty much an embarrassment in terms of effort, execution and intensity," Whitney said after the game.
Red Sox sign 3B Mueller
CHICAGO, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Boston Red Sox reportedly have agreed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal with third baseman Bill Mueller.
The move will allow Boston to use Shea Hillenbrand to lure a top pitcher such as Montreal's Bartolo Colon in a possible three-way trade.
Mueller spent last season with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, batting .262 with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 111 games. The 32-year-old has a .286 batting average with 41 homers and 274 RBI in 778 games.
Boston was one of a few teams looking to sign Cuban defector Jose Contreras before the righthander agreed to a four-year deal with the New York Yankees in December.
Molik routs top-seeded Srebotnik
HOBART, Australia, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Australia's Alicia Molik continued her fine form Tuesday.
Molik posted a 6-3, 6-0 romp over top seed Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia in the second round of the Moorilla International.
Molik beat three higher-ranked players during Australia's campaign at the Hopman Cup before losing to world No. 1 Serena Williams of the United States in the final. She has lost just six games en route to the quarterfinals, where she will meet fifth-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia.
Zvonareva crushed American Sarah Taylor, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in as many events of the new season. The 18-year-old from Moscow appeared in her first career WTA Tour final at Palermo last July and reached the semifinals at Warsaw and Sopot.
Second seed Amy Frazier of the United States booked her place in the quarterfinals when her second-round foe, Ukrainian qualifier Tatiana Perebiynis, defaulted due to gastritis.
Frazier was a semifinalist here last year. Her quarterfinal foe is Germany's Angelika Roesch, who rolled past Hungary's Petra Mandula, 6-3, 6-1.
Japanese qualifier Shinobu Asagoe dispatched third seed Barbara Schett of Austria, 6-3, 6-3, and Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic eliminated No. 7 Cara Black of Zimbabwe, 6-4, 6-4, but No. 4 Elena Likhovtseva of Russia reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Rossana Neffa de los Rios of Paraguay, and No. 8 Jill Craybas of the United States beat Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain, 6-4, 7-5.
NFL admits officiating mistake
NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The NFL admitted Monday game officials botched a call at the end of Sunday's playoff game between San Francisco and the New York Giants.
The Giants, having lost a 24-point lead and trailing by one point, attempted a 41-yard field goal with six seconds remaining. But the snap was bad and holder Matt Allen wound up throwing a desperation pass that headed in the direction of New York guard Rich Seubert.
Just before the ball arrived, however, Seubert was hit by San Francisco defensive end Chike Okeafor in what appeared to be obvious pass interference.
No flag was thrown for interference. Instead, the Giants were flagged for having an ineligible receiver downfield, thus ending the game. If interference had been called, there would have been offsetting penalties and the Giants would have had a second chance to kick the field goal.
Commentators on radio and television indicated that because Seubert was an ineligible receiver, no interference could be called. The league said Monday, however, that Seubert was, indeed, an eligible receiver.
"The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers were informed today that
a defensive pass interference penalty should have been called on the final
play of Sunday's game," the league said in a statement.
"A videotape review by NFL Director of Officiating Mike Pereira of
the final play -- the Giants' 41-yard field goal attempt with six seconds
remaining -- determined the following:
"Tam Hopkins of the Giants lined up as the left guard and was illegally downfield on the pass attempt. The three flags thrown on this play were for this penalty.
"Guard Rich Seubert was an eligible receiver on Giants field goal attempts. This was reported to the officiating crew prior to the game as is routinely done prior to every game.
"49ers defensive end Chike Okeafor interfered with Seubert downfield when he was attempting to catch Giants holder Matt Allen's pass. This defensive pass interference penalty against the 49ers was not called.
"If defensive pass interference had been called, there would have been offsetting penalties (ineligible receiver against the Giants and pass interference against the 49ers) with the down replayed at the original line of scrimmage, the San Francisco 23-yard line.
"Although time had expired, a game cannot end with offsetting penalties. Thus, the game would have been extended by one untimed down."
The league also said that Allen did not have the option of spiking the ball to stop the clock once he fielded the poor snap.
"That only can be done by taking a hand-to-hand snap directly from the center," the league said. "If Allen had spiked the ball, it would have been a penalty for intentionally grounding the ball and the game would have ended due to a 10-second runoff of the clock."
Top-seeded Dechy injured at Canberra
CANBERRA, Australia, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Top seed Nathalie Dechy of France was forced to withdraw from her opening-round match Tuesday at the Canberra Women's Classic.
But Dechy is optimistic about taking part in next week's Australian Open.
Dechy won her first WTA Tour title last week at Gold Coast, despite suffering from a quadriceps strain. She re-aggravated the injury during the warmup and retired after falling behind lucky loser Marlene Weingartner of Germany, 5-0, in the first set.
"It is an injury I have been carrying since late last year," Dechy said. "I was hoping that with two days rest the injury might improve, but that wasn't the case. I am disappointed that I must retire from the tournament, but I am hopeful that I will be able to still play in Melbourne."
By winning at Gold Coast, Dechy rose to a career-high ranking of No. 19. She is expected to be seeded 16th for the Australian Open, which begins next Monday.
Dechy became the top seed and Weingartner gained a spot in the main draw on Saturday when defending champion Anna Pistolesi of Israel pulled out with heat exhaustion suffered during a semifinal match at Auckland last week.
Second seed Meghann Shaugnessy of the United States cruised past Virginie Razzano of France, 6-3, 6-2, in a first-round match Tuesday in 104-degree heat.
"I don't mind playing in the heat, and I think it is a good way to prepare for Melbourne," said Shaughnessy, an Arizona native.
Shaughnessy withdrew from Gold Coast last week after rolling her left ankle. She played Tuesday with her ankle heavily bandaged, but was not hampered against Razzano.
"The ankle is feeling OK," she said. "I will continue to get treatment through the week but at the moment it feels fine."
The 23-year-old American next takes on Spanish qualifier Conchita Martinez Granados.
In second-round action, fifth seed Francesca Schiavone beat fellow Italian Tathiana Garbin, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; eighth-seeded Magui Serna of Spain overcame Germany's Anca Barna, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5; and Italy's Adriana Serra-Zanetti topped Japanese qualifier Saori Obata, 6-4, 6-1.