In Sports from United Press International

Jan. 9, 2003 at 4:11 PM   |   0 comments

Spencer signs with Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Veteran outfielder Shane Spencer Thursday signed with the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians have spent most of the last 14 months trimming payroll.

Spencer, a free agent, signed a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Spencer spent four seasons with the New York Yankees after being selected in the 28th round of the 1990 draft. He made $885,000 last year, but became an expendable member of the team with the highest payroll in baseball already locked into lucrative deals with fellow outfielders Bernie Williams, Rondell White, Hideki Matsui, and Raul Mondesi.

Spencer, 30, batted .247 with six home runs and 34 RBI in 94 games. He was not offered arbitration in December.

Spencer enjoyed a big debut with the Yankees in 1998, batting .373 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 27 games during a late season stint, but over the next four seasons, he never had more than 288 at-bats or had a regular slot in the lineup for an extended time.

The 6-0, 225-pounder is solid defensively and could start in left field for the Indians, alongside Milton Bradley and Karim Garcia.

Also, highly-touted Alex Escobar, who was acquired in the Roberto Alomar trade but missed 2002 with a knee injury, will compete for time in the outfield.

The Indians dealt Alomar to the New York Mets after the 2001 season. Last season, the Indians sent ace righthander Bartolo Colon to Montreal.

In December, Cleveland also allowed Jim Thome, a fan favorite and slugging first baseman, to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent.


Indians sign Mulholland, Burba

CLEVELAND, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians have come to terms with veteran pitchers Dave Burba and Terry Mulholland.

The decision to retain both was in line with the club's plan to cut costs during its youth movement. Both players were on the parent roster at the end of 2002.

Mulholland, 39, signed a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed. He made $3 million in 2002.

Burba, 36, signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

His financial terms also were not disclosed. He made $5 million in 2002.

Mulholland started last season with Los Angeles and was acquired by the Indians on July 28. Overall in 2002, he was 3-2 with a 5.70 ERA in 37 games.

In a 17-year career, Mulholland is 116-127 with a 4.34 in 547 appearances, including 314 starts.

Burba was 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 35 appearances last season, including 21 starts. He began the season with Texas, but was releases in late July and signed with Cleveland in August.

The 13-year veteran has a career record of 110-85 with a 4.52 ERA in 443 appearances, including 232 starts.

To make room for Mulholland on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated pitcher Jose Santiago for assignment.


Richardson out at Tennessee State

NASHVILLE, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Nolan Richardson III has resigned as men's basketball coach at Tennessee State University.

Richardson, 38, had been facing intense scrutiny after bringing a handgun into the university arena, and stepped down on Wednesday.

He was under indefinite suspension after being involved in an incident with assistant coach Hosea Lewis on Dec. 25. The two reportedly argued over practice time, and Richardson went to his car and brought a gun into the Gentry Center.

"When a person engages in the type situation Nolan Richardson III engaged in, no one can visualize that," said Tennessee State President James Hefner. "What he did is something that was beyond belief in terms of anyone in higher education doing something like that. It's abominable. It doesn't make sense. We don't tolerate it. That's why he was suspended, and that's why I have accepted his resignation."

School officials have said they will not pursue criminal charges against Richardson, who was 23-41 during his tenure at the university.

"I'm pleased that I can say the situation has ended," said Athletic Director Teresa Phillips. "I'm really ready to move forward and look to bring some positive, new leadership for Tennessee State men's basketball."

Lewis is serving as the interim coach for Tennessee State, which is 2-9. The team has lost five straight, and all four games under Lewis.

Richardson's father is legendary coach Nolan Richardson, who guided Arkansas to the national title in 1994.


Miller has shoulder surgery

CHICAGO, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Veteran quarterback Jim Miller of Chicago underwent a rotator cuff operation on Tuesday.

The Bears made that announcement on Wednesday. The procedure was to repair a partial tear of his right rotator cuff of his throwing arm.

The team is hopeful that Miller, 31, can begin throwing again by training camp, but the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that he might not be ready.

The paper said the Bears will know more in February.

"They're pretty confident he'll be fine,'' his agent, Joe Linta, told the paper. "If he's healthy, we expect he'll be the starter. He should be ready to go for the summer program.''

Miller, who played through pain in his shoulder for much of the season, missed the Bears' last three games with a sprained left knee, sustained in a loss at Miami on Dec. 9.

The nine-year pro completed 180-of-314 passes for 1,944 yards this season. He tied his single-season career high with 13 touchdowns and threw nine interceptions.


Musa Smith going pro

ATHENS, Ga., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Junior running back Musa Smith of Georgia Wednesday decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

"Musa notified me of his decision and certainly we will miss him," said Georgia Coach Mark Richt. "But we are proud of what he accomplished this season and wish him nothing but the best."

Smith helped the Bulldogs win the Southeastern Conference title, then rushed for 145 yards on 23 carries in their 26-13 victory over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Despite missing a game with a groin injury, he finished the year with 1,324 yards, the fifth-highest total in school history.

For his career, Smith, a native of Elliotsburg, Pa., gained 2,202 yards. He was the first Georgia running back to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season since 1992, when Garrison Hearst did it.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Smith said the NFL Underclassman Advisory Committee told him that he probably would be drafted in the second round, but that at least one scout told him he needed to return for his senior season.

"He can do himself a great deal of help by finishing his college career," Mike Hagen, the College Scouting Supervisor for the Atlanta Falcons, told the paper.

Third-ranked Georgia (13-1) set a school record for wins and captured its first SEC title in 20 years.

Smith becomes the second Bulldog to enter the NFL draft this offseason. Defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan, fifth on the team in tackles with 74, declared on Tuesday.


Faine to go to NFL draft

SOUTH BEND, In., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Offensive lineman Jeff Faine of Notre Dame has decided to enter the NFL Draft.

Faine is regarded as one of the best interior offensive linemen in college football. His decision means he will forego his senior season at the school.

The 6-3, 298-pound center, who was a three-year starter, was a Rimington Award finalist and Lombardi Award semifinalist. He admitted he made the decision after being told by the draft advisory board that he likely would be a second-round selection.

The second-team All-American has started in every one of his 35 games at Notre Dame, and keyed a revitalized Fighting Irish running attack under first-year coach Tyrone Willingham.

Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden called Faine, "the best opposing center we've seen," while NBC commentator Pat Haden called Faine, "a great leader."


Lee entering NFL draft

MURFREESBORO, Tn., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Junior running back ReShard Lee of Middle Tennessee State says he will enter the NFL draft in 2002.

The decision to make himself available to the NFL means he will forego his remaining college illegibility. He was not in school when the spring semester began Wednesday, according to the Daily Journal of Murfreesboro, Tn.

"I'm very thankful we had the opportunity to coach ReShard," Coach Andy McCollum told the paper. "I want the best for him and his family. I want him to go on and represent Middle Tennessee well, and I hope he comes back and finishes his degree in the future."

The native of Brunswick, Ga., who started one game at quarterback in 2002 and also returned kickoffs, is the first athlete in the school's history in any sports to leave for the pros.

In his career, the 5-10, 227-pounder rushed for 1,432 yards, and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. He was a first team selection by the Sun Belt Conference.

The paper said Lee has retained the services of agent Harell Lewis with National Sports Agency in St. Louis, and will spend the next five weeks working out at a sports complex in Atlanta preparing for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.


Hart dismissed by Baylor football team

WACO, Texas, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Defensive back Bobby Hart has been kicked off the football team at Baylor.

The cornerback, a two-year starter, was dismissed for violating team and university policy.

Hart, a 5-11, 190-pounder, started 20 games over the last three seasons and led the team with three interceptions and a 10.0-yard punt return average in 2002. He had 34 tackles, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble this past season.

"Discipline and responsibility have to be the cornerstones of our football program," said recently-hired head coach Guy Morriss, who took over for the fired Kevin Steele last month. "It's tough when you lose a player with Bobby's experience and ability. We wish him the best."

Morriss called it a university matter and did not disclose specific reasons for the dismissal. The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that Waco native has been in trouble before.

The paper said five months ago, Hart was suspended for the first two games of the 2002 season because of what was called "a university matter."

Baylor was 3-9 last season, 1-7 in the Big 12 Conference.


Rosenbach joins WSU staff

PULLMAN, Wa., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- New Washington State football coach Bill Doba has hired Timm Rosenbach to his staff.

Rosenbach, a star quarterback at the school in the late 1980s, will be the Cougars' quarterbacks coach. He began a career on the sidelines in a similar capacity in 1999 at Ambrose University in Iowa.

Rosenback led the Cougars to the Aloha Bowl in 1988, where they beat Houston, 24-22, and later played four years for the Cardinals in the NFL and one season with Hamilton in the Canadian Football League.

"Timm is an excellent young coach," said Doba, who was named head coach recently when his predecessor, Mike Price, filled the vacancy at Alabama. "I know he was a very fierce competitor and I think that carries over into coaching. He has paid his dues and at Eastern Washington his offense ranked among the best in the nation the past two years. We interviewed him and were going to interview others, but decided there was no need to because of the way he taught, his expertise and his organizational skills. I think he will fit in our program very well and I think our kids will like him. He establishes instant credibility with our players, having played at the next level."

Rosenbach set WSU single season records in 1988 for total offense (3,422), passing yards (3,097), touchdown passes (24), and touchdowns responsible for (34).

His total offense yards and passing yards per game were also Pac-10 Conference records, and he had the highest quarterback rating in the nation that year, completing 218-of-338 passes with just 11 interceptions and 24 touchdown throws.

He has been the offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington University the past two seasons.


Shoop hired by Columbia

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Bob Shoop has been named the head football coach at Columbia.

He has been the secondary coach at Boston College the past four seasons, and replaces Ray Tellier, who was fired by the Ivy League school after a 1-9 season in 2002.

Shoop, 36, a wide receiver at Yale in the 1980s, began his coaching career in 1989 as an assistant at his alma mater under former Bulldogs coach Carmen Cozza. Shoop was a graduate assistant under George Welsh at Virginia in 1990 before spending three years as an assistant at Northeastern.

Shoop returned to Yale for three seasons from 1994-96, then spent one season each at Villanova and Army before moving on to Boston College.

"Bob brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm," said Columbia Athletic Director John Reeves. "He has advanced quickly through the coaching ranks because of his hard work and dedication. Bob has been associated with some of the best football minds in the country. He is the perfect person to lead the Lions to the next level. He is a smart, driven winner."

Tellier posted a 42-96-2 record in 14 seasons at Columbia. In 1996, he led the Lions to an 8-2 record, their best mark since 1945. Columbia, however, lost its final nine games this season.

The Lions' only win came over Fordham, which advanced to the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs.


Ferrero in semis at Sydney

SYDNEY, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Juan Carlos Ferrero Thursday led advancers to the semifinals of the adidas International tournament.

The $932,000 event is being played in Sydney, Australia.

Ferrero beat Paradorn Srichaphan in straight sets to make it to the semifinals. The scores were 6-3, 6-1.

Srichaphan had a seven-match winning streak snapped. Ferrero was much fresher than Srichaphan, who had battled through two three-set matches this week after getting to Sydney late from winning the Chennai title.

Ferrero has dropped just nine games in his past two matches.

Rainer Schuettler of Germany improved his 2003 match record to 5-1 after beating qualifier Mardy Fish of the United States, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. Schuettler had a double break at 4-1 in the second set, but slumped to 4-3 and then had to save three break points to stop Fish from leveling the set at 4-4.

"I was just trying to keep the ball above the net and keep fighting for every point," Schuettler said. "I didn't try to play pretty tennis in the wind. I've had a good start to the year the past four or five seasons and I'm pleased that is the case again this year. I'm looking forward to the semifinals. I've won two or three rounds every year at the Australian Open, and this year I'll try to go further."

Meanwhile, top seeded Marat Safin was forced to withdraw because of rotator cuff ailment, forcing him to forfeit his match against qualifier Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea.

Safin planned to travel to Melbourne to receive treatment Friday.

"I need to stop a few days," Safin said. "I have to (not) serve like for three days. So hopefully for the Australian Open, for the beginning, I'll be OK. I'll ask for a late start and try to recover."

Safin, the third seed at next week's Australian Open, pointed to his intense preparations for the first Grand Slam event of 2003 as the reason for his shoulder ailment.

"For (the) last couple of weeks, I practice quite a lot," he said. "It's too much exercise is what they told me - too much, just too tired."

He was not sure when he would bounce back.

"I don?t know," Safin said. "I have to speak to the doctor. Hopefully I?ll be ready for the Australian Open. I?ll ask for a late start and try to recover. I can playing forehand, backhand, anything except serve."

On the women's side, Kim Clijsters of Belgium and Justin Henin-Hardenne rolled into the semifinals.

Clijsters rolled over No. 7 Chanda Rubin of the United States, 6-1, 6-2. Henin-Hardenne had a slightly tougher time but reached the final four with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Amanda Coetzer of South Africa.

The Fed Cup teammates will clash in the semifinals. Last year, Clijsters topped Henin-Hardenne in the adidas quarterfinals.

Russia's Tatiana Panova, who conquered top- seeded Jennifer Capriati in the second round, is the lone unseeded semifinalist.

The 26-year-old Moscow native cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over qualifier Olga Barabanschikova of Belarus.

Panova will meet No. 6 Lindsay Davenport of the United States.

Davenport, played just nine WTA events last year after returning from a knee injury, recorded a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) win over fourth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.

Davenport, 26, reached the finals in four events last season, but has not won since the 2001 Pan Pacific Open.


Safin may miss Australian Open

SYDNEY, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Marat Safin of Russia Thursday withdrew from a tennis event in Sydney, Australia because of a shoulder injury.

Safin, who is third in the world in men's tennis and the top seed at the $932,000 adidas International hardcourt tennis tournament, was forced to withdraw because of tendinitis in his right rotator cuff. He planned to travel to Melbourne to receive treatment Friday.

"I need to stop a few days," Safin said. "I have to (not) serve like for three days. So hopefully for the Australian Open, for the beginning, I'll be OK. I'll ask for a late start and try to recover."

Safin, the third seed at next week's 2003 Australian Open, pointed to his intense preparations for the first Grand Slam event of 2003 as the reason for his shoulder ailment.

"For (the) last couple of weeks, I practice quite a lot," he said. "It's too much exercise is what they told me - too much, just too tired."

As a result, Korean qualifier Hyung-Taik Lee, who knocked off No. 6 Andy Roddick on Wednesday, reached his second career ATP semifinal. In 2000, Lee advanced to his first championship match, falling to Roddick in Houston.


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