In Sports from United Press International

July 2, 2002 at 3:18 PM
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Pedro opts out of All-Star Game

BOSTON, July 2 (UPI) -- Three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez pulled out of the All-Star Game Monday night, citing the opportunity to rest and attend to personal matters.

Martinez made the announcement shortly after he struck out 14 Toronto Blue Jays over eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory. The righthander ran his record to 10-2 and dropped his ERA to 2.85 -- third in the American League.

On Sunday, Martinez was named to his fifth All-Star team, but he is scheduled to take the mound Saturday, three days before the Mid-Summer Classic in Milwaukee, and has battled a bad shoulder the past two seasons.

"It's the perfect time for me to take a little break and make sure I continue to be the way that I have, because I wouldn't trade a World Series for an All-Star," the 30-year-old Dominican said. "It may sound a little cocky of me to say World Series, but that's what I'm thinking."

Martinez said the decision was based on his recent injury, this weekend's start, and the consideration he has for his teammates, who are counting on their ace to guide them to the playoffs.

"There are also a few personal reasons in my life, unrelated to the game of baseball, that have played a part in my decision," added Martinez, who thanked Yankees Manager Joe Torre for selecting him and said he was honored.

"It was an inside decision," Martinez said. "Me and Tony (Cloninger, pitching coach) and (Manager) Grady (Little) getting together. My brother Ramon also had something to say."

As usual, he has been invaluable for Boston this season. The Red Sox are just 3-8 in their last 11 games, with the only wins coming in games he started.

Red Sox place Baerga on DL

BOSTON, July 2 (UPI) -- Carlos Baerga, who has fashioned a rather impressive comeback this season with the Boston Red Sox, Tuesday was placed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

The 33-year-old infielder, who made the Boston roster out of spring training, suffered the injury in Monday's 4-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. He left the game in the third inning and was placed on the disabled list prior to the opener of the Red Sox's day-night doubleheader Tuesday with Toronto.

Baerga, who did not play in the major leagues in either of the last two seasons, was hitting .303 with two homers and 16 RBI in 132 at-bats. He has played second and third base, and served as the designated hitter for the Red Sox this season.

To fill Baerga's roster spot, the Red Sox recalled veteran righthanded reliever Wayne Gomes from Triple-A Pawtucket of the International League. He was 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA and four saves for Pawtucket.

SEC names Slive new commissioner

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 2 (UPI) -- Mike Slive, the only commissioner that Conference USA has ever had, Tuesday was named to a similar post in the Southeastern Conference.

Slive replaces Roy Kramer, one of the most powerful figures in college sports, who announced his retirement after 12 years on the job.

Slive, who chairs the NCAA's Infractions Appeal Committee, inherits a conference under intense scrutiny.

Two SEC football programs, Alabama and Kentucky, are on probation, and several other schools could face sanctions pending the outcome of investigations.

Slive, the commissioner of Conference USA since 1995, is an attorney who once operated a firm that helped schools deal with penalties imposed by the NCAA.

"We're delighted to have Mike Slive join the Southeastern Conference and serve as its commissioner," said Dr. John White, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas and President of the SEC. "We think that Mike will build on the success that the SEC enjoyed under Roy Kramer. Mike is familiar with the league and he has been active on NCAA committees. He will bring the same level of commitment to excellence that Commissioner Kramer has done the past 12 years. We're excited about what Mike will be able to do working with the presidents and chancellors, athletics directors and coaches of the SEC in the league's continuing efforts to be the premier athletic conference in the nation."

Slive, 61, and a University of Virginia law school graduate, was selected by the chief executive officers of the 12 Southeastern Conference institutions. He is scheduled to begin his duties as SEC Commissioner on Aug. 1, 2002.

"It is an honor and privilege to be selected as the seventh Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, the finest athletic conference in the country," said Slive. "I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the presidents and chancellors, athletics directors and coaches to build on the conferences' past successes to meet the challenges of the future and to continue the conferences' winning traditions both on the field and in the classroom."

Slive has served on various NCAA boards and committees. Presently, he is the chair of the first NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee and the National Letter of Intent Appeals Committee. He is also chair of the Board of Directors of NCAA Football USA and is the President of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA). Last month, he was named to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), and also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Marquette Sports Law Institute.

Slive was also on the NCAA Management Council from 1997-2002, serving on the Membership Subcommittee and the Subcommittee to Review Automatic Qualification.

His leadership has translated into valuable national television exposure for Conference USA with television partner ESPN Inc., as well as appearances on ABC and CBS. C-USA also developed a syndicated television network for women's and Olympic sports.

The league's championship competition is enhanced by NCAA automatic bids in volleyball, men's and women's soccer, baseball, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's basketball.

In football, along with being a member of the BCS, C-USA sends its regular season champion to the AXA Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., and teams to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., the Houston (Texas) Bowl, the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu and the New Orleans (La.) Bowl.

While his tenure with the SEC has been a lucrative one for the conference, Kramer may best be remembered for devising the Bowl Championship Series for college football.

Kramer had been SEC commissioner since 1990, helping the league's exposure by negotiating multi-million dollar broadcast deals with CBS, ESPN and Jefferson Pilot.

During his stint, the league also has added Arkansas and South Carolina, and instituted a conference championship game for football.

Woods withdraws from Western Open

LEMONT, Ill., July 2 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods Tuesday morning withdrew from the $4 million Western Open, which begins Thursday at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Ill., because of an undisclosed illness.

The two-time Western champion had planned to make the tournament his final tune-up before he goes after the third leg of the single-season Grand Slam at the British Open, which will be played July 18-21 in Muirfield, Scotland.

Woods, who won The Masters and U.S. Open earlier this year, will remain in Florida to recuperate before leaving for England later this month.

"Naturally, we are disappointed he has had to withdraw from this year's Advil Western Open," said Tournament Director John Kaczkowski. "We appreciate the ongoing relationship we have enjoyed with Tiger since 1992, when he competed in the Western Junior at Chicago Golf Club. We wish Tiger all the best in his pursuit of golf's Grand Slam this year and hope he will be able to compete next year in the 2003 Western Open."

Woods has played in the Advil Western Open seven of the past eight years, including every year since 1997, his first full season on the PGA Tour. In addition to his 1997 and '99 Western titles, he also won the Western Amateur in 1994.

Despite Woods' withdrawal, the tournament still will have a strong field, including Scott Verplank, Nick Price, Bob Estes, Mike Weir, who finished second and third in 1999 and 2001, respectively, Justin Leonard, Stuart Appleby and defending champion Scott Hoch.

Hornets make Baron Davis lucrative offer

NEW ORLEANS, July 2 (UPI) -- The New Orleans Hornets, who were known for their frugality when they were based in Charlotte, Monday made a contract offer to superstar point guard Baron Davis.

Entering his third year in the NBA, Davis was presented with a proposed six-year extension, beginning with the 2003-04 season, in which he would earn an annual salary equal to 25 percent of the Hornets' salary cap each year. He stands to make about $72 million over the life of the deal.

"The money speaks for itself," Bob Bass, the Hornets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations told the New Orleans Times- Picayune. "It shows the kind of commitment this team is making to New Orleans, trying to keep the players together and this team together. We offered the maximum contract, a six-year extension, at the maximum numbers that's available under the collective bargaining agreement."

He is scheduled to make $3.9 million next season.

Davis said he would rather be traded than move to New Orleans, where the team was allowed to relocate this spring from Charlotte. Reports indicated that, when Davis changed agents recently, he told the Hornets that he preferred to be dealt to a team in New York, Chicago or his hometown, Los Angeles.

Bass has rejected any and all trade offers for the 6-3 former UCLA All-American, who has been called the second-best point guard in the NBA, slightly behind Jason Kidd of New Jersey.

Davis averaged 18.1 points and 8.5 assists per game last season for the Hornets. He was even better in the postseason, averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 assists and nearly four steals per contest in nine games.

Cujo signs with Red Wings

DETROIT, July 2 (UPI) -- The Detroit Red Wings, who last month won their third Stanley Cup in six years, have called a press conference for Tuesday afternoon to announce that they have signed Curtis Joseph to replace future Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek, their recently retired six-time Vezina Trophy winner.

Joseph has spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, reaching the playoffs each year.

According to the web site, Joseph will take less money from the Red Wings than the three-year, $26-million deal that the Maple Leafs offered.

Hasek, who won the Hart Trophy twice while with the Buffalo Sabres, earned $8 million last season, when he added a Stanley Cup to his resume.

The 35-year-old Joseph went 29-17-5 with a 2.23 goals-against average last season, and became an unrestricted free agent Monday. His rights were acquired by the Calgary Flames on Sunday night. The Flames sent a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft to Toronto and Calgary will receive compensatory picks.

Joseph has been one of the top goalies in the NHL, but never has won a Vezina Trophy or reached the Stanley Cup Finals. He won consecutive Game Sevens in the first two rounds of the playoffs before the Maple Leafs suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Six of the Eastern Conference finals.

Joseph spent his first five NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 1995. A member of the 1998 and 2002 Canadian Olympic teams is 346-260-81

with a 2.78 GAA In 706 career games.

In the playoffs, he is 58-58 with a 2.53 GAA in 118 games.

Leafs ink Belfour

TORONTO, July 2 (UPI) -- On the day that former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph signed with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, the team wasted little time in signing veteran Ed Belfour to a two-year contract with incentives that could add a season to the pact.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Belfour has a career record of 364-242-100 with a 2.47 goal-against average. He spent the last five seasons with the Dallas Stars and is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

The 37-year-old goaltender is coming off a season in which he went just 21-27-11 and posted an .895 save percentage, his worst in a decade, but he backstopped the Stars to the title in 1999 and erased his reputation as a poor playoff performer.

Belfour did endure some off the ice problems in 2001, getting arrested in a dispute with police. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Toronto was in need of a goaltender after Joseph opted to replace the recently retired Dominik Hasek in Detroit.

Lang reunites with Jagr; signs with Capitals

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- The Washington Capitals Monday reunited Jaromir Jagr with Robert Lang, who signed a five-year contract on the first day of unrestricted free agency.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Washington Post reported he will get $5 million per year.

Lang, 31, played the last five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, four of them were with Jagr, the superstar right wing, who was traded to Washington prior to the 2001-02 campaign.

Despite missing 20 games because of injury, Lang was third on the team in scoring last season, totaling 18 goals and 32 assists.

In 2000-01, he set career highs in games (82), goals (32), assists (48) and points (80).

"They called me right away and it shows you how interested the team is in you and how excited they are to get you," Lang told the paper. "And I think it was the same from my side. You look around as a player at the other teams and Washington was definitely a great place for me to go. I can't imagine having a better end to this."

Lang likely will play on a line with Jagr, a fellow Czech who led the Capitals in scoring during his first season with the team, recording 31 goals and 48 assists in 69 games.

The Capitals tied for 10th in the NHL last season with 228 goals. They dealt Adam Oates, one of the best playmaking centers in history, at the trade deadline, then made a run at the playoffs before missing out.

"We needed an offensive center and identified Robert Lang as the right fit for our club," said Capitals General Manager George McPhee. "He plays in all situations and really shoots the puck well."

Lang has 122 goals and 197 assists in 495 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, Boston and Los Angeles. He blossomed with the Penguins, totaling 103 goals and 158 assists in 345 games.

Sharks re-sign three

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 2 (UPI) -- The San Jose Sharks, who lost in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference semifinals, Monday re-signed center Patrick Marleau, left wing Marco Sturm and defenseman Shawn Heins. Terms of the deals were not released.

Marleau, a Group II restricted free agent, was tied for fourth on the team with 21 goals and tied for second with five game-winning tallies. He also had 23 assists in 79 games.

The 22-year-old Marleau also matched Owen Nolan's team-record six-game goal streak from March 30-April 10. He led the Sharks with six goals and 11 points in 12 playoff games.

Sturm, 23, also a Group II restricted free agent, posted career highs with 21 goals and 41 points in 77 games last season. He also played for Germany in the Olympics, and had one assist in five games.

Heins, a Group VI unrestricted free agent, had two assists in 17 games last season.

San Jose has five unrestricted free agents: Mike Craig, Theo Fleury, Stephane Matteau, Teemu Selanne, and Gary Suter. Fleury's rights were acquired from the New York Rangers late last month for a sixth-round draft pick, and Selanne became an unrestricted free agent Monday after he declined the Sharks' latest contract offer. The club deemed his counter-proposal to be too steep.

The Sharks are not optimistic about re-signing Selanne.

"History is not with us," General Manager Dean Lombardi told the San Jose Mercury News. "They (Selanne and his agent, Don Baizley) still left it open, but it doesn't ever seem to work out that way. There were no bad feelings, but he felt like he wanted to see what else was out there."

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