Sapp out of Pro Bowl
HONOLULU, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Star defensive tackle Warren Sapp of Tampa Bay will not play in the Pro Bowl Sunday because of a knee ailment.
It will be the second straight year that Sapp has begged out of the contest. The Tampa Tribune reported Thursday that he will undergo surgery on his ailing left knee on Monday.
The paper said Sapp pulled out of the contest last year because of a rotator cuff injury.
"It's something they've been talking about doing for a while," Sapp's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told the paper. "Warren was hoping he would be able to play the game, but after the [Super Bowl], it was decided it would not be wise. The team feels it's more important to get the knee taken care of, and I agree."
The paper said Sapp will need 2-4 weeks to recover, but will be available to participate in the Super Bowl champion's off-season workouts. He has been replaced on the AFC squad by Kris Jenkins of the Carolina Panthers.
Sapp is the latest player to skip the game because of injury.
Washington offensive tackle Chris Samuels was been plugged in to replace Tra Thomas of Philadelphia, and offensive tackle Walter Jones of Seattle will be replaced by Philadelphia counterpart Jon Runyan.
Among others out with injuries are offensive tackle Orlando Pace of St. Louis, and Oakland center Barret Robbins, who did not play in last Sunday's Super Bowl.
The Raiders still have not given a reason for Robbins' absence, and he was hospitalized in San Diego for part of the week.
All Coach Bill Callahan told reporters Wednesday is that Robbins appeared to be incoherent at the time he told him he would not play against Tampa Bay.
Others dropping out are linebackers Junior Seau of San Diego, Al Wilson of Denver, and Kendrell Bell of Pittsburgh.
Yao replaced in NBA Rookie Game
NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Emanuel Ginobili will replace Yao Ming in the 2003 Rookie Challenge on NBA All-Star Saturday Feb. 8 in Atlanta.
Ginobili, a 25-year-old rookie guard with the San Antonio Spurs, is averaging 5.1 points in 32 games this season. The 6-6 Ginobili, a native of Argentina, is averaging just under 16 minutes per game, and is among the league leaders in steals per 48 minutes.
Yao, the Houston Rockets starting center, was selected for the game, but also chosen by fans to start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. NBA rules prohibit a player from participating in both.
The Rookie Challenge features nine first-year players against nine second-year players. The game consists of two 20-minute halves.
Other events on All-Star Saturday include the dunk contest and the three-point shootout.
Hawks ink Jackson
ATLANTA, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Jermaine Jackson, who spent time earlier this season with the Toronto Raptors, Thursday signed a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks.
The 6-4 guard played 24 games with the Raptors, averaging 2.8 points, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 rebound. He most recently was with the Great Lakes Storm of the Continental Basketball Association, where he averaged 20.0 points in eight games.
Jackson played 24 games for Toronto last season, and appeared in seven games for the Detroit Pistons in 1999-2000.
Report: Tuberville gets pay raise
BIRMINGHAM, Al., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville will be paid more for his services in the coming future.
The Birmingham News reported Thursday that he has agreed to a new five-year contract that will pay him $1.5 million annually. The paper said the new deal will be signed sometime this week, and includes a buyout clause that will make it difficult for either side to walk away.
Tuberville guided the Tigers to their second nine-win season in three years in 2002.
Auburn was 9-4 last season, including an upset win over Alabama and a victory over Penn State in the Capital One Bowl.
The newspaper said that Tuberville will receive a raise of $250,000 annually, could receive an additional $500,000 in incentives, and a $1 million bonus if he completes the five seasons.
The Birmingham News added that the contract calls for Tuberville to pay Auburn $3 million if he decides to leave the school, and that Auburn would have to pay Tuberville a base buyout of $3 million, plus $200,000 for each year he completes the contract, should he be removed as coach.
The contract would be the third in four years for Tuberville, who took over a program in shambles following the departure of Terry Bowden. Tuberville was 5-6 in his first season in 1999, and improved to 9-4 and 7-5 the next two seasons.
Pirates sign Suppan
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates late Wednesday signed veteran righthander Jeff Suppan to further strengthen their rotation.
Published reports said Suppan got a one-year contract and a club option for 2004. The reports indicated the deal is worth $500,000 for the upcoming season, with another $800,000 in performances bonuses, and $4 million for 2004.
Suppan, a key member of the Kansas City Royals' rotation the past four seasons, posted a 9-16 record with a 5.32 ERA, three complete games, and a shutout in 2002. The durable 33-year-old pitched more than 200 innings each season with the Royals.
Drafted in 1993, Suppan made his major league debut two years later with Boston before being selected by Arizona in the 1997 expansion draft. After 13 starts with the Diamondbacks, he was traded to Kansas City, where he posted three consecutive 10-win seasons.
In 190 career games, including 15 relief appearances, Suppan is 49-64 with 12 complete games, three shutouts, and a 5.03 ERA.
He joins veteran righthanders Rolando Arrojo, Jeff D'Amico, Nelson Figueroa, Matt Herges, Pat Mahomes and Julian Tavarez, and lefthanders Mike Holtz and Dennys Reyes as offseason acquisitions to a staff that includes Josh Fogg, Kip Wells, Kris Benson, and All-Star closer Mike Williams.
Giants ink Galarraga
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Veteran first baseman Andres Galarraga, who spent the 2001 season with the San Francisco Giants, has signed a minor league contract with the team for 2003.
Financial terms of the deal, which includes an invitation to spring training, were not disclosed.
Galarraga, 41, played 104 games for Montreal last season, batting .260 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. With San Francisco, he could serve as a backup to J.T. Snow and a righthanded bat off the bench.
After the 2001 season, Galarraga signed with Montreal, with whom he had started his Major League career, and batted .260 with nine homers and 40 RBI in 104 games for the Expos. He won the league batting championship in 1993, has a lifetime .288 average, and needs 16 more home runs to become the 34th member of the 400-homer club.
"While J.T. Snow is our everyday first baseman, Andres is a man who's given a lot to the game of baseball, and we wanted to give him an opportunity to make our club off the bench," said Giants General Manager Brian Sabean. "If he does make our club out of spring training, he'll definitely make opposing managers consider that we've got a righthanded power bat to be reckoned with at some point during a game."
Galarraga is a 17-year veteran, five-time All-Star, and two-time Gold Glove award winner. He has a .288 career batting average with 386 homers and 1,381 RBI.
The Giants declined a hefty option on Galarraga's contract after the 2001 campaign, in which San Francisco went 38-23 after "The Big Cat" joined the club July 25. They shaved 4 1/2 games off their deficit in the National League West, finishing two games behind division champ Arizona and three games behind wild-card winner St. Louis.
Sather to coach Rangers
NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- General Manager Glen Sather of the New York Rangers Thursday named himself coach of the New York Rangers, at least for the remainder of the season.
Sather fired Bryan Trottier on Wednesday, and bypassed a pair of experienced assistants to do the job himself.
He becomes the 31st coach in Rangers' history, and is with the team during their morning skate as they prepare for Thursday night's game against Colorado.
Sather cited a "lack of accountability and discipline," when he announced that Trottier had been fired. On Thursday, he decided to coach the team instead of Jim Schoenfeld or Terry O'Reilly.
The Rangers are last in the Atlantic Division with a 21-26-6-1 record and are on their way to missing the playoffs for an unprecedented sixth straight season.
New York won five of six games earlier this month to climb to within two games of .500, but sandwiched a pair of losses to lowly Atlanta around Sunday's 7-2 pasting at Washington.
"I hope this turns this team around and gets us into the playoffs and gets some success from a lot of people who have been making mistakes," Sather said Wednesday. "All of the players have to be held accountable."
Sather became the franchise's 12th president and 10th general manager in June 2000, and has assembled a team with the highest payroll in the NHL. He served 21 seasons as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers before joining the Rangers.
He has a record of 464-268-110 as a coach and guided the Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships. However, Sather has not coached since the 1993-94 season when he replaced Ted Green at Edmonton.
Trottier, 46, came to New York after four seasons as an assistant with the Avalanche, but he never won over Rangers' fans, who remember him as a member of four Stanley Cup championship teams with the archrival New York Islanders in the 1980s.
Trottier also won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins and another as an Avalanche assistant coach.
While Trottier had no previous head coaching experience before Sather hired him last June, the Rangers also have played long stretches without several key regulars.
Center Bobby Holik, who signed a five-year, $45 million contract in the offseason, missed 18 games with a hip injury. Superstar Pavel Bure has missed 24 games and remains sidelined following left knee surgery. Two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch has been out since early December with a bruised ankle, and goaltender Mike Richter suffered a season-ending concussion on Nov. 5.
Schoenfeld guided the Phoenix Coyotes to a 72-66-24 record from 1997-99 after stints with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, and Washington Capitals.
O'Reilly was 115-86-26 as coach of the Boston Bruins.
Trottier was the seventh NHL coach fired this season, following San Jose's Darryl Sutter, Calgary's Greg Gilbert, Colorado's Bob Hartley, Atlanta's Curt Fraser, Dave King of Columbus, and Michel Therrien of Montreal.
Potvin could be out two months
EL SEGUNDO, Ca., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The injury-plagued Los Angeles Kings learned Thursday that goaltender Felix Potvin will be out from 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee.
He was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, one day after suffering a sprained right knee in the first period of a loss to San Jose. He underwent an MRI Wednesday that revealed the extent of the sprain.
Potvin became the seventh player on injured reserve for the Kings, who were swept by the Sharks in a home-and-home series, and have lost six of their last seven games (1-5
Los Angeles hosts Ottawa Thursday night.
Potvin, 31, is 17-20-3 with three shutouts and a 2.66 goals-against average in 42 games this season, his third with Los Angeles.
Acquired from Vancouver in February 2001, Potvin is 254-252-79 with a 2.78 GAA in 607 games with Toronto, the New York Islanders, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.
To fill the roster spot, the Kings recalled goalie Cristobal Huet from Manchester on the American Hockey League.
Cristobal, 27, a native of France, was 13-7-4 with a 2.39 GAA in 25 games with the Monarchs.
Jamie Storr replaced Potvin in goal on Tuesday.
Concussion sidelines Gratton
BUFFALO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Buffalo Sabres center Chris Gratton, who has four goals in his last three games, will miss two contests because of a mild concussion.
Gratton sustained the injury when he was hit in the head with a puck on a faceoff during last Saturday's 4-3 loss to Ottawa.
He managed to play in a 5-1 loss to Nashville. In that game, he scored a goal.
The 27-year-old center is Buffalo's second-leading scorer with 14 goals and 38 points.
The Sabres visit St. Louis on Thursday and host New Jersey on Feb. 4 after the All-Star break.