Report: Bobby Bonds has cancer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Bobby Bonds, the father of San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, is undergoing chemotherapy to treat lung cancer.
The Contra Costa Times reported Friday that Bonds is undergoing treatment after having a cancerous tumor removed from his kidney in July. The report said he was diagnosed with lung cancer over the winter and needs six months of chemotherapy.
Bobby Bonds also played for the Giants.
Team officials were unavailable for comment with the club in Mesa, Ariz., to play the Chicago Cubs in a Cactus League game.
The report added that Bobby Bonds is in the Bay Area, unable to visit his son at spring training. Barry Bonds said his father's weight was down to 180.
"He can't come to the ballpark," Barry Bonds told the newspaper. "He's too weak."
Bobby Bonds was with the Giants from 1968-74 before playing for seven other teams during a 14-year career. He hit 332 home runs, stole 461 bases, and had at least 30 of both in the same season five times.
Bobby Bonds also is a former Giants coach and special assistant.
His son hit a major league record 73 homers in 2001, and enters the 2003 season fourth in baseball history with 613.
Indians ink two
CLEVELAND, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians Friday signed outfielder Bernard Gilkey and reliever Tim Crabtree to minor league contracts.
Both players will report to the Indians' Triple-A affiliate at Indianapolis when minor league camp opens next week in Arizona.
Gilkey, a 12-year major league veteran, is joining his sixth organization since breaking in with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990. He sat out last season.
Gilkey enjoyed his best season in 1999 while with the New York Mets, hitting a career-high .317 with 30 homers and 117 RBI. Since that big year, his numbers have steadily declined.
Crabtree, 33, also was out of the majors last season while rehabilitating a shoulder injury. He went 1-0 with an 8.53 ERA in four appearances for Single-A Vero Beach of the Florida State League.
In 342 games with Toronto and Texas, Crabtree owns a career record of 21-22 with a 4.20 ERA. He briefly was the Rangers' closer in 2001, registering four of his nine career saves.
Erickson to miss season with bum shoulder
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Scott Erickson, the oft-injured pitcher of the Baltimore Orioles, is set to undergo surgery on his pitching shoulder and miss the entire 2003 season.
The veteran righthander, who is entering the final season of a five-year contract, will have the surgery performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum at a time yet to be determined.
Erickson, 35, missed the entire 2001 season after undergoing elbow surgery late in August 2000. He returned last season and was the Orioles' Opening Day starter, but went just 5-12 with a 5.55 ERA.
The 12-year veteran did not pitch in September. After undergoing an MRI in the winter that revealed a torn labrum, he decided to rehabilitate the shoulder instead of having surgery.
The 6-4, 230-pounder has a 140-128 career record. He broke into the majors with the Minnesota Twins in 1990, was the Cy Young Award runnerup to Roger Clemens in 1991 after winning 20 games, and threw a no-hitter in April 1994.
The Orioles acquired Erickson from Minnesota in July 1995. He has posted a 79-68 record with Baltimore.
Erickson, who relied on keeping the ball down and getting groundouts, is 140-128 with a 4.51 ERA in 355 career games. He had his best season with the Orioles in 1997, when he was 16-7 with a 3.69 ERA as Baltimore won the American League East Division.
In his second major league season, he went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA, and helped the Minnesota Twins win their second World Series title in 1991.
Ephedra use banned in minors
NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball has implemented a policy banning minor league players from using the herbal stimulant ephedra.
The ban was initially reported Thursday by the Baltimore Sun.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the ban was implemented Monday. It has been transmitted to the front offices of all 30 major league teams over the past two days.
"It's part of our new policy," Levin said.
"It's great news," Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Flanagan told the paper.
However, the ban covers players in the minor leagues and those not on 40-man rosters. It makes no provisions for players on 40-man rosters governed by the collective bargaining agreement reached last August.
The agreement does not ban major league players from using the supplement, which often is used to help speed weight loss.
Minor leaguers have no union and have been tested for drugs by baseball for several years.
Ephedra has been mentioned as a contributing factor in the death of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, a husky, 240-pound player, who collapsed after suffering heatstroke on Feb. 16 during a spring training workout in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and died the following day.
The substance has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and seizures.
Available without a prescription, ephedra is banned by the NFL, NCAA, and the International Olympic Committee. However, the Players Association has voiced its opposition to any ban.
The union said it will wait for the toxicology reports from Bechler's autopsy before re-examining its stance on ephedra.
Bechler's widow said this week that she plans to sue the manufacturer of the dietary supplement Xenadrine RFA-1, which contains ephedra. Bechler was believed to be taking the supplement before his death.
Browns dump Holmes, Miller
CLEVELAND, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- In a bit of a surprise, veteran linebackers Jamie Miller and Earl Holmes have been released by the Cleveland Browns.
That brings the total number of salary cap casualties this week to five. Center Dave Wohlabaugh, cornerback Corey Fuller, and linebacker Dwayne Rudd were released Wednesday.
Coach Butch Davis was not happy about the cuts.
"Absolutely, those guys can still play," Davis said. "And absolutely, under different circumstances, we would have loved to have found a way to have them on the team."
The cuts show the harsh reality of the NFL salary cap these days.
"Some of those guys that you have to release, you'd have to release 10 other guys to compensate," Davis said. "Ten other guys make what that one guy did. To salvage four or five of the guys we had to release, you'd have to cut half the team."
The Browns elected not to pay roster bonuses due to Miller, Holmes, and Fuller, leaving the veterans open to explore other options during the free agent signing period, which began Friday. All three are welcome to come back if cap-friendly financial terms can be agreed upon.
"We're not trying to burn the bridge," Davis said. "We're trying to keep the door open. We asked the guys to keep us under consideration. They're still talented enough to play. The question will be, at what price?"
Miller, who was due a $14 million roster bonus, had 114 tackles and 13 sacks in 2001, and became the only expansion-era Cleveland Brown to be selected for the Pro Bowl. He tore his Achilles tendon in the first preseason game of 2002 and missed the entire year.
All indications are that his rehab is going well and he'll be ready for 2003.
Holmes was the Browns' leading tackler (150) in 2002, his first season in Cleveland, and the Akron Beacon Journal reported Friday that he was very upset.
"If you're doing the cap, you know how far you're going over and what you have to do," Holmes said. "I don't think you should mess with the people who are producing for you. I thought I had a productive year, a damn good year. I tried to be consistent and do what I could do. I went to a new system, from a 3-4 to a 4-3. I left the field on third down, led the team in tackles, and they still let me go. Here we go to the playoffs and you break up the team after the first year we go. That's not giving us a chance to grow. I thought next year would be better for us."
Davis admitted that Holmes was one of the major cap casualties. Holmes, 29, had signed a five-year $17.5 million contract prior to the 2002 season after spending the previous six seasons with Pittsburgh, and was due a $1 million roster bonus.
Multi-year deal for Petitgout
NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The New York Giants Friday made sure Luke Petitgout would not hit the free agent market this offseason, re-signing their left tackle to a multi-year contract.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Newark Star-Ledger reported the deal is for five or six years, would average about $5 million per season, and include a signing bonus of $8 million to $10 million.
"I don't think there's a better team that you can go to right now than the New York Giants," Petitgout said. "I wasn't about to leave for a couple more bucks and go somewhere else. That's not to say I would have gotten more money somewhere else, but that wasn't one of my top priorities."
"Luke was a very high priority as far as our own unrestricted free agents were concerned," said General Manager Ernie Accorsi. "We were aware of a lot of interest in him around the league. We are pleased we kept him off the market and secured his future here."
Petitgout, 26, was one of three starters on the Giants' offensive line eligible free agency, along with right tackle Mike Rosenthal and right guard Jason Whittle.
"Re-signing Luke is a big step for us," said Coach Jim Fassell. "I think the first step toward maintaining our success is to keep our own players, so it was important to re-sign Luke."
Last season, Petitgout was the anchor of the Giants' rebuilt offensive line that featured three new starters. He started all 16 games for the third straight season while protecting quarterback the blind side of quarterback Kerry Collins.
Petitgout, a 6-6, 310-pound first-round pick out of Notre Dame in 1999, started his career with the Giants as a left guard. He played right tackle for the next two years before being shifted to the left side last season.
Whitney signs with Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Orlando Magic Friday added depth to their backcourt, signing veteran point guard Chris Whitney for the remainder of the season.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Just two days after being waived by the Denver Nuggets, who own the second-worst-record in the NBA, Whitney goes to a team in playoff contention. By signing before March 1, he will be eligible to play in the postseason.
Orlando is in eighth place in the East, percentage points ahead of the Washington Wizards for the final playoff berth in the conference. Ironically, his name was mentioned as a possibility for the Wizards, who Thursday night lost Tyronn Lue for some time because of a shoulder separation.
Whitney, 31, appeared in 29 games for the Nuggets, starting 20. He averaged 9.6 points, led the team with 4.3 assists per contest, and 43 three-pointers.
Whitney has averaged 6.7 points and 2.9 assists in 541 career games with San Antonio, Washington, and Denver.
Originally chose in the second round (47th overall) of the 1993 NBA Draft by San Antonio, Whitney has appeared in 541 career NBA games, averaging 6.7 points, 2.9 assists, 1.4 rebounds, and 17.7 minutes per contest. He also has a career three-point field goal percentage of .364.
He will join the team in its contest at New York Friday.
Lue sidelined by shoulder separation
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Washington Wizards guard Tyronn Lue will be sidelined at least five days after suffering a separated left shoulder in Thursday's win over Houston.
Lue was hurt trying to make a hustle play in the fourth quarter of a 100-98 overtime victory. He also suffered a deep gash over his left eye.
With 5:28 left, Lue and Rockets guard Juaquin Hawkins tried to track down a loose ball. The 6-foot Lue dove into Hawkins' path to get there first, causing a collision. The 6-7 Hawkins tripped and fell onto Lue's upper body, slamming his head against the hardwood, and compressing his shoulder.
"It was loose so I just dived on it and I can't remember what happened after that," Lue said.
Lue remained on the court for several minutes, pressing a towel against his eyebrow to stop the bleeding.
"They said it is a Grade 1 separation," said Wizards Coach Doug Collins. "I think the earliest we will see him is Toronto (on March 4)."
Wizards trainer Steve Stricker told Lue he will experience soreness for a week to 10 days, but Lue doesn't expect to be out that long.
"We're going to see how it feels," Lue said. "It's my left shoulder so he says I might be able to play come Saturday, so hopefully I will."
The injury halted a good game for Lue, who scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and handed out four assists. In his fifth season and second with the Wizards, Lue is averaging 7.9 points and 3.0 assists per contest in 56 games.
"We have to now think about signing somebody to a 10-day contract," Collins said. "We are now down to Juan (Dixon), Michael (Jordan), and Jerry (Stackhouse) on the perimeter, in terms of guys who can handle the ball. We have to look at the NBDL or CBA to see if we can find somebody."
One person who might be considered is former Wizard Chris Whitney, who was waived by Denver earlier this week.
Lue, a 1998 first-round draft pick out of Nebraska, was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers' championship teams in 2000 and 2001.
Simien done for season
LAWRENCE, Kan., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Wayne Simien will miss the rest of the campaign after dislocating his right shoulder for the second time in Wednesday night's 85-45 victory over Texas A&M.
"They did an X-ray (Thursday) morning and the doctors decided the best-case scenario was to keep him out a couple weeks, probably even through the Big 12 tournament," said Jayhawks Coach Roy Williams. "We're basically shutting it down for the rest of the season. We'll go ahead and schedule the surgery and get on with the rehab."
The 6-9 Simien played only 14 games this season, ranking fourth on the team in scoring (14.2) and second in rebounding (8.2). He recorded seven double-doubles and led the team in shooting percentage at .646.
However, Simien dislocated the shoulder on Jan. 4 against Missouri-Kansas City and missed 11 games. Kansas was 9-2 during his absence.
Simien returned on Feb. 16 against Iowa and played four games, averaging 11.3 and 6.8 rebounds. However, his shoulder popped out in the opening minute against Texas A&M.
Simien will undergo surgery, likely in late March, and will need at least three months of rehabilitation.
"It's just gotten to be such a burden," Williams said. "Every time he flinches, he's got everybody worried he's hurting himself again. When a kid tells you, 'Coach, it's hard for my mom to sit there and see me wince. My mom is always on edge.' You think about that."
"Wayne doesn't have to go through the pain any more," his father, Wayne Simien Sr., told the Lawrence Journal-World. "It's disappointing for him. He hates this."
The surgery will be performed in late March in New York by Dr. Russell Warren, team physician of the New York Giants since 1984, and Chief Surgeon at New York's Hospital For Special Surgery.
"In hindsight, you can look back and say what would have happened if we held him out two more weeks," Williams said. "The fact of the matter is nobody knows."
KU trainer Mark Cairns told the paper that Simien would lose some range of motion in the shoulder, but not enough to hamper the player's college or NBA career.
"For baseball players and swimmers, it's a big concern," Cairns said. "Five degrees to those people is a lot of motion. Basketball players don't need excessive range of motion. Wayne's range should be fine."
The Jayhawks' victory over Texas A&M Wednesday, coupled with Oklahoma's loss to Missouri, moved the seventh-ranked Jayhawks into first place in the Big 12 Conference.