Tampa turns out for Super Bowl champs
TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans lined downtown streets Tuesday to get a glimpse of their heroes.
The parade was followed by a rally celebrating the Bucs' upset victory over the Oakland Raiders in Sunday's Super Bowl.
The parade began at the Davis Island Bridge and wound through the downtown area to Lykes Gaslight Park where the rally was held.
"We've been talking four or five years about what it would be like to win the Super Bowl, but we couldn't imagine anything like we just saw out there," said defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the parade crowd.
After getting the key to the city from Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, Coach Jon Gruden promised more of the same in coming seasons.
"There's a storm warning out there," Gruden said. "We got a heck of a football team. We're just getting started."
The 48-21 victory brought the Tampa Bay area its first national championship, so city and county officials didn't quite know how to plan. They turned to cities like Boston, home of last year's NFL champion New England Patriots.
PGA to establish new regulations for women
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- With Suzy Whaley qualifying for a PGA Tour event, the PGA of America Tuesday announced it will establish new tee regulations for women.
Whaley won her PGA sectional last year in Connecticut while playing from tees 10 yards shorter than her male counterparts. The win enabled her to qualify for this year's Hartford Open.
The new rule will force women to compete from the same set of tees in order to qualify for special exemptions into other events such as PGA Tour competitions.
There already is an exisiting regulation that requires all PGA professionals to play from the same set of tees to qualify for the PGA Championship and all other PGA of America events in which exemptions to major tournaments are earned by participation.
The PGA of America will continue to provide women members the option to select tees from which they prefer to compete. Since 1994, they have been able to play from tees that could be a maximum of 90 percent of the distance of those for the men.
Last September, Whaley became the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event, earning an exemption by winning the Connecticut PGA Section Championship.
LPGA Tour star Annika Sorenstam recently has expressed interest in playing in a PGA Tour event. She won 13 women's events worldwide last year.
Carey has spinal operation
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Former New Mexico guard Senque Carey, who was left partially paralyzed after trying to draw a charge in Nov. 25 game, underwent spinal surgery Monday.
According to Dr. Lawrence Shuer, Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University Medical Center, Carey is in good condition following a two-hour procedure to remove a bulging disc in his upper spine and fuse the spine at that level.
The surgery is designed to prevent further injury and give the spinal cord as much room as possible for recovery.
Carey is scheduled to go home some time Tuesday.
The 6-4 senior from East Palo Alto, Ca., suffered a spinal cord injury with 7:41 left in the first half against Northwestern State.
After the seemingly innocent collision with Byron Allen, he lay motionless for nearly 15 minutes. He then was immobilized, placed on a stretcher, and taken to University Hospital.
Carey had no feeling from the neck down when he was taken from the arena, but regained feeling from the waist up the next morning.
After nearly two weeks of paralysis in his legs, Carey attended a practice on Dec. 8, and walked with assistance from his girlfriend.
Carey played in all 30 games during he 2001-02 season after transferring from Washington. He started 20 games, including the last 16, averaging 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds and led the team with 95 assists.
Carey had seven points, four rebounds, and six assists in a season-opening loss to California on Nov. 23. He had one assist in nine minutes against Northwestern State before the injury.
Jordan, O'Neal are All-Star reserves
The two all-time greats were nudged out of starting spots in the fan voting.
Jordan, the second-leading scorer for the Washington Wizards and a 14-time All-Star, has said he would not play unless voted in as a starter. The 39-year-old guard has declared that this will be his last season, and NBA officials may ask the most popular player of all time to reconsider.
O'Neal, the fourth-leading scorer in the league and a 10-time All-Star, has been somewhat hobbled this season after undergoing toe surgery in September. He, too, may opt to take the four days off.
Joining Jordan as Eastern Conference reserves are Boston's Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, Jason Kidd of New Jersey, and first-time All-Stars Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Cleveland, Brad Miller of Indiana, and Jamal Mashburn of New Orleans.
Roddick will not play Davis Cup
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Andy Roddick, who advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open, will not lead the United States against Croatia in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Team captain Patrick McEnroe made that announcement on Tuesday.
With Roddick sidelined with tendinitis in his mid-forearm, McEnroe named James Blake, Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri, and Taylor Dent to the team he will bring to Zagreb for the Feb. 7-9 competition.
Roddick was coming off his best showing at a Grand Slam last week at Melbourne. He outlasted Younes El Aynaoui in an epic quarterfinal that lasted one minute shy of five hours, and featured the longest fifth set in Grand Slam history.
However, Roddick, 20, who lost to Rainer Schuettler in his first career major semifinal, aggravated a recurring arm ailment, partially caused by playing so many matches at Melbourne, and aggravated following a fall in his quarterfinal matchup.
Roddick underwent an MRI in Los Angeles this week and was advised not to play for several weeks.
With the sixth-ranked player in the world out, and Australian Open champion Andre Agassi not making himself available, Blake will anchor the team. He also is coming off his best career Grand Slam appearance, having lost to Schuettler in the quarterfinals.
This is the second time Blake will represent his country this year. He teamed with women's world No. 1 Serena Williams to lead the United States to a Hopman Cup crown.
Blake, 23, a member of the 2002 Davis Cup team which lost to France in the semifinals, is 4-1 lifetime in singles matches at the international team event.
Baron Davis goes to IL
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Baron Davis, the second-leading scorer for the New Orleans Hornets, underwent knee surgery Tuesday.
He is expected to be sidelined six weeks.
It was reported Monday he would be out at least a month. The six-week assessment was made after the surgery.
Davis, 23, tore cartilage in his left knee during Friday's 97-96 overtime loss to Portland. He is averaging 16.8 points and 6.9 assists in 36 games this season, but missed eight with back spasms.
He was officially placed on the injured list Monday.
To shore up the guard position the Hornets have signed Randy Livingston to a 10-day contract. The New Orleans native has played with five different NBA teams over the past six years, averaging 4.1 points and 2.1 assists in 171 contests.
Livingston had been with Sioux Falls Skyforce of the CBA, where he was averaging 14.0 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds in 12 games this season.
New Orleans also waived forward Matt Bullard, who had spent the entire season on the injured list because of a degenerative disc disease.
Knee injury sidelines Reiner
IOWA CITY, Iowa, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Iowa center Jared Reiner is out indefinitely after spraining his knee in the final minute of Saturday's loss to Ohio State.
The school made the announcement late Monday.
Reiner, a 6-11, 255-pound junior, sprained the MCL in his right knee after totaling nine points and 10 rebounds in an 83-72 loss to the Buckeyes. He has started all 16 games this season, averaging 8.1 points and a team-best 8.8 rebounds.
"Because of our lack of depth, any injury for this team is magnified," said Coach Steve Alford. "It's nice that we have a week to prepare for our next game, but once February is here, we have a very busy schedule. Our other guys will have to step up to fill Jared's minutes."
The Hawkeyes are 11-5, with a 3-2 mark in the Big Ten. Iowa returns to action Saturday against Purdue.
This is the second injury of the season for Reiner, who suffered a spiral fracture in his right hand on Jan. 15. After missing two games of practice, he was in the starting lineup against Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Giants sign Jose Cruz
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The San Francisco Giants added another bat to their potent lineup Tuesday by signing slugging outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.
He got a one-year contract with a mutual option for the 2004 season.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Cruz earned $3.95 million with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002. The 28-year-old outfielder is eligible for arbitration.
The Blue Jays did not tender him a contract at the Dec. 20 deadline, and he became a free agent.
The seven-year veteran hit .245 with 18 homers and 70 RBI in 124 games for the Blue Jays last season, and has 134 homers and 389 RBI in 747 career games. The runnerup in the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year voting can play any of the three outfield positions.
"It's been no secret that we've admired Jose's ability for the last few years," said Giants General Manager Brian Sabean. "We're extremely excited to add a player of his caliber, who can hit for power and steal a base while playing outstanding defense."
Brewers bag Vander Wal
MILWAUKEE, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- John Vander Wal, who struggled at the plate in 2002, Tuesday signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Financial terms of the deal, which includes an invitation to spring training, were not disclosed. Vander Wal made $1.55 million last season, when he was a member of the New York Yankees.
The 36-year-old outfielder, who also can play first base, hit just .260 with six homers and 20 RBI last season. The 13-year veteran is a career .260 hitter with 81 home runs and 381 RBI in 1,213 games.
Vander Wal is third on the all-time list for home runs by a pinch- hitter with 17 and sixth with 119 pinch hits.
"John gives us proven leadership in the outfield and a quality bat off the bench," said Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin. "He has experienced a great deal of success throughout his career, which will be a tremendous asset to our young players."
Rangers sign Sierra
ARLINGTON, Texas, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Reuben Sierra, returning for his third stint with Texas, has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Rangers.
The signing late Monday also includes an invitation to spring training.
After beginning his major league career in 1986 with a seven-year tenure in Texas, Sierra, 37, toiled with Oakland, the New York Yankees, Detroit, Cincinnati, Toronto, and the Chicago White Sox before returning to the Rangers in 2000.
The Sporting News' Comeback Player of the Year in 2001 played 122 games with Seattle last season, batting .270 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. In 1,898 career games, he owns a .270 average with 276 homers and 1,181 RBI.
Signed to fill the designated hitter slot, Sierra is the Rangers' all-time leader in triples (44). He ranks fourth in hits (1,246), home runs (177), RBI (730), extra-base hits (469), and total bases (2,113).
Yankees sign Acevedo
NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The pitching-rich New York Yankees have signed veteran righthander Juan Acevedo to a minor league contract that contains an invitation to spring training.
Acevedo, 32, was 1-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 28 saves in 65 appearances with Detroit last season. He allowed just 68 hits and four home runs in 74 2/3 innings, and held opponents to a .246 batting average.
The versatile seven-year veteran could close, set up, or serve as long man, depending upon how the Yankees' bullpen shakes out. Star reliever Mariano Rivera and setup man Steve Karsay had arm woes in 2002 and may not be 100 percent at the start of the season.
Acevedo, who also has spent time with Colorado, the New York Mets, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Florida, has a career record of 27-35 with a 4.16 ERA and 47 saves in 327 games. Thirty-four of those appearances have been starts.
Three opt out of NHL All-Star Game
NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour, suffering from back spasms, is one of three players to withdraw from the All-Star NHL Game on Sunday in Sunrise, Fl.
Belfour, in his first season with Toronto, missed three games last week before returning for losses on Friday and Saturday.
According to team officials, it was more important for Belfour to get the five days rest instead of "displaying his skill" next weekend.
Belfour is 21-14-3 with five shutouts, a 2.15 goals-against average, and .925 save percentage. He signed over the summer after Curtis Joseph left for Detroit.
Jokinen, who leads all Eastern Conference centers in goals, joins teammate Sandis Ozolinsh on the Eastern Conference squad. He has 25 goals and 17 assists in 49 games this season.
Koivu, who overcame non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2001-02, has 13 goals and 33 assists in 51 games this season.
Leetch, who has not played since Dec. 3, is out with an ankle injury. Prior to the injury, he had 15 points in 28 games.
Poti, 25, making the first All-Star appearance of his career, has seven goals and 31 assists in 51 games. The points and assists already are career highs.
Pittsburgh superstar Mario Lemieux also is contemplating skipping the contest. The league's leading scorer is battling a groin pull.
Roy earns weekly NHL honor
NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Patrick Roy of Colorado has been named NHL Player of the Week.
Roy became the first goaltender in league history to play in 1,000 games. He also posted consecutive shutouts.
The winningest goalie in NHL history hit the 1,000-game plateau on Jan. 20 in a 1-1 tie with Dallas. Earlier this season, he passed Terry Sawchuk for the all-time lead in games and minutes played among goaltenders.
Roy completed last week by posting consecutive shutouts over Columbus and Toronto, giving him 63 for his career. That tied him with Ed Belfour of Toronto for the most among active goalies.
In three appearances last week, Roy went 2
1 with a 0.32 goals-against average, and a .971 save percentage. He is 15-11-10 with a 2.43 GAA and .909 save percentage this season.
Roy was voted by fans as the starting goaltender for the Western Conference for Sunday's All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fl. He will make his 11th All-Star Game appearance.