In Sports from United Press International

Aug. 7, 2002 at 12:00 AM
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Tony Stewart fined, put on probation

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Hot-tempered Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 and placed on probation Tuesday by NASCAR after punching a photographer following Sunday's Brickyard 400.

Stewart was penalized for "actions detrimental to stock car racing" and is on probation until Dec. 31. In addition to the fine and probation, the 31-year-old Winston Cup driver also will be required to apologize the Indianapolis Star freelance photographer Gary Mook, who downplayed the incident.

"It is imperative that we protect the integrity of our sport," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "This type of behavior cannot be tolerated and is in no way indicative of the manner in which our drivers, teams, tracks and sponsors interact with the media. We take pride in our accessibility and interaction with the media and we intend to protect that relationship."

Stewart led 43 laps after starting from the pole and was a contender late in the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But the handling on his Pontiac Grand Prix started to give and his chances to win faded. The native of Rushville, Ind., finished 12th and was visibly upset.

As Stewart was heading to the team transporter to exit the speedway, Mook took several pictures, which irritated Stewart. According to witnesses, Stewart took several swings at the photographer, including a few that made contact.

76ers trade Mutombo to Nets

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia 76ers traded 7-2 Dikembe Mutombo to the New Jersey Nets Tuesday for forward Keith Van Horn and center Todd MacCulloch.

A four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Mutombo was acquired by the 76ers at the 2001 trading deadline. He helped carry them to the NBA Finals, where he squared off against Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mutombo did as well as anyone could against the game's best player, averaging 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while matched up against O'Neal as the Sixers lost in five games.

The Nets supplanted the Sixers as Eastern Conference champions and also encountered the Lakers in the Finals. MacCulloch was unable to slow O'Neal, who averaged 36.3 points and demoralized every defense thrown at him.

The Nets felt they needed another star to complement All-Star point guard Jason Kidd, who can be a free agent at the end of the 2002-03 season. They may have gotten one in Mutombo, although they will pay a pretty penny for him.

Last summer, Mutombo, 36, signed a four-year, $68 million contract. He becomes New Jersey's highest-paid player and is signed through the 2004-05 season, an issue in the luxury tax era.

Van Horn is entering the third year of a six-year, $73 million extension. MacCulloch just completed the first year of a six-year, $34 million deal.

Hewitt rebounds; Chang upsets Haas

CINCINNATI, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- After stumbling last week, world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt returned on Tuesday in overpowering form as the Australian top seed whitewashed American qualifier Robby Ginepri, 6-0, 6-0, in the opening round of the $2.95 million hardcourt Tennis Masters Series - Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, veteran American Michael Chang converted three break-point opportunities and saved three against his serve to upset Germany's Tommy Haas, the third seed, 6-3, 6-2.

Hewitt recorded the double whitewash after losing to Felix Mantilla in three sets last week at the Tennis Masters Series - Canada in his first match since claiming his second career Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July.

The top seed from Australia has won four tournaments this season, including two on hardcourts. Hewitt, 21, made the semifinals here last year, one month before claiming the U.S. Open.

A two-time champion here, Chang outdueled Haas for the second time in as many career meetings. The 30-year-old also beat Haas in the quarterfinals of the 1998 San Jose hardcourt event.

The seven-time Tennis Masters Series winner recorded his 40th career match win at Cincinnati. Chang took sole possession of second place on the all-time match-wins list at this event, moving past American Jimmy Connors. With 45, only Sweden's Stefan Edberg owns a greater tally.

Report: Blackhawks to sign Fleury

DENVER, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Denver Post reported Tuesday that right wing THeo Fleury, a member of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, is close to signing with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are in need of a goal scorer after the departure of right wing Tony Amonte, who signed with the Phoenix Coyotes last month.

Fleury, 34, would reunite with Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter, who coached Fleury in Calgary in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

A three-time 40-goal scorer, Fleury spent the last three seasons with the New York Rangers, but was traded to the San Jose Sharks for a draft choice in the offseason even though he was on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Fleury has been beset by personal problems the past two years, including a stay at a drug rehabilitation facility for the final two months of the 2000-01 campaign. Last season, he drew the ire of Rangers coaches with frequent outbursts and ill-timed penalties, resulting in a career-high 216 penalty minutes. He played in all 82 games and had 24 goals and 39 assists.

Fleury spent his first 11 seasons with Calgary before he was traded to Colorado in February 1999 and signed with the Rangers in July 1999. He has 443 career goals and 612 assists for 1,055 points in 1,030 games.

Rangers place OF Hollandsworth on DL

ARLINGTON, Texas, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers placed outfielder Todd Hollandsworth on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained left quadriceps muscle. Hollandsworth sustained the injury running to first base in the fifth inning of last Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox.

Acquired from the Colorado Rockies in a four-player deal just before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, Hollandsworth had three hits in 10 at-bats with one homer and four RBI in three games with the Rangers. He started two games in center field and one in left. Hollandsworth, 29, hit .295 with 11 homers and 48 RBI in 95 games for the Rockies this season. The 1996 National League Rookie of the Year, Hollandsworth is a career .280 hitter.

The Rangers recalled first baseman Travis Hafner from Class AAA Oklahoma to replace Hollandsworth. Hafner batted .338 with 19 homers and 72 RBI in 104 games for Oklahoma. He leads the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage (.458) and is fourth in hitting.

Baseball labor talks stepped up

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Labor negotiators for Major League Baseball and the players association resumed their stepped-up collective bargaining talks Tuesday after a marathon Monday session opened a "crucial week" with what was described as "some progress."

Tuesday's day-long meetings were to be split by a conference call between the union hierarchy and baseball's 30 player representatives. The union will discuss whether they believe setting a strike date is appropriate.

Some player reps said a strike date would not be set on Tuesday's conference call, but Aug. 12 has been set aside for a full in-person meeting of the executive board; only five games are scheduled for that day.

Long discussions Monday were about the core economic issue of revenue sharing and both sides agreed to a package of non-economic issues that had been introduced by the owners last month. The package was the second resolved since negotiations resumed in earnest the beginning of June.

Denver drops veteran receiver

GREELEY, Colo., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Long-time NFL wideout Rob Moore was looking for work Tuesday after he was waived by the Denver Broncos.

Moore, in his 13th season out of Syracuse, was signed by the Broncos April 1, 2002, after being waived by the Arizona Cardinals Feb. 27. He has missed the past two NFL seasons because of a torn left ACL (2000) and a torn right hamstring (2001). Despite his recent injury history, he was determined to make a comeback this summer, but missed a schedule practice on Monday after suffering a groin strain on Saturday. He may have seen the handwriting.

Moore, 33, has played in 153 games (150 starts) in his 12-year career. He caught 628 passes for 9,368 yards (14.9) and 49 touchdowns. But, he had been listed as Denver's fourth-string wide receiver in training camp.

Rocker apologizes for anti-gay remarks

DALLAS, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Texas Rangers pitcher John Rocker had some more explaining to do after making what were described as anti-gay comments to patrons at a popular Dallas restaurant, the Dallas Morning News said Tuesday.

Rocker issued a written apology for his actions through the Rangers. He said he was having brunch with his girlfriend Sunday afternoon at Breadwinners Café and Bakery when he was badgered and baited by nearby patrons. He said a group followed him outside and made an obscene gesture.

"At that point, I admit I was angry and said some things I probably should not have said," said Rocker. "But I wanted to make it clear their attentions were unwelcome."

However, Richard Garcia, who waited on Rocker and his girlfriend, said the ballplayer was not provoked by other patrons.

In February 2000, Rocker was suspended for two weeks and fined $500 for making remarks critical of minorities, gays and others in a Sports Illustrated article.

Reds get Hamilton back, lose Dessens

CINCINNATI, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Reds, battling for the lead in the National League Central, activated righthander Joey Hamilton from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. But, they will be without Elmer Dessens for a while.

Hamilton won 40 games for the San Diego Padres from 1996-98, but has just 18 victories since. This year, he is 3-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 16 starts for Cincinnati (58-52), which trails first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central. The 31-year-old Hamilton had been on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained left hamstring. The same injury also had him on the DL from May 5-22.

Dessens was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Aug. 2, with a strained right groin. He is third in the NL with a 2.67 ERA and is 7-5 in 23 starts this year.

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