In Sports from United Press International

Oct. 4, 2002 at 3:34 PM
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Baseball playoffs continue

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Anaheim Angels return to Edison Field Friday after splitting a pair of dramatic games with the favored New York Yankees, who have won the last four American League pennants and four of the past six World Series titles, when the two teams resume their AL Division Series.

It will be the first home playoff game for the Angels since Game Five of the 1986 AL Championship Series. They lost that game on Dave Henderson's three-run homer off the late Donnie Moore, costing Anaheim a trip to the World Series.

The Angels blew an eighth-inning lead in an 8-5 Game One loss Tuesday at Yankee Stadium before rallying in the eighth Wednesday to even the series with an 8-6 victory.

Anaheim is two victories away from earning the first series win in franchise history. The team went to the ALCS in 1979, '82 and 1986, losing the last two after getting within a win of the World Series.

The Angels send untested Ramon Ortiz to the mound against veteran Mike Mussina in Game Three.

While the AL East champion Yankees have established themselves as a modern-day dynasty, they have done a lot of their damage away from home.

On the way to four World Series championships under Manager Joe Torre since 1996, the Yankees are 30-11 on the road in the postseason, going 9-3 in the Division Series, with wins in six of their last seven games.

Game Four is Saturday. If necessary, Game Five will be Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Late Friday afternoon, the postseason makes an appearance in Minnesota for the first time since 1991, when the Twins won a dramatic seven-game World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

With Cy Young Award candidate Barry Zito pitching for the AL West champion Oakland Athletics, the Twins will be considered underdogs, despite playing in the always-raucous Metrodome.

Like 1991, the Twins, who were threatened by contraction last year, aren't supposed to win, but they beat A's ace Tim Hudson in Game One and left Oakland with a split.

The A's are two wins from returning to the ALCS for the first time since 1992. They have made the postseason each of the last three years, getting knocked out by the Yankees in the previous two.

Both National League Series take the day off Friday.

The Braves Thursday evened their series with the San Francisco Giants at one win apiece while the St. Louis Cardinals took a seemingly commanding two games to none lead on the road against the beleaguered defending World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

Raiders kicker arrested for drunk driving

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Oakland Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski was arrested this week on suspicion of driving under the influence.

According to officer Annie Greenfield of the California Highway Patrol, Janikowski was stopped for speeding on Interstate 580 in Oakland. Officers smelled alcohol on his breath and administered a field sobriety test, which Janikowski failed.

The state's legal limit is .08.

Greenfield could not release Janikowski's reading, but said it was consistent with reports that it was .19 at the time of arrest and .20 when he was taken to a medical center in Berkeley.

His latest brush with the law could make Janikowski subject to fine or suspension if he already is in the NFL's substance-abuse program. Because of confidentiality guidelines, it is unknown whether he is in the program.

Raiders officials were unavailable for comment.

In June 2000, Janikowski was charged with possession of the designer drug GHB, also known as the "date rape drug." Last year, he received five stitches after falling and hitting his head on a dance floor in San Francisco.

The former first-round pick out of Florida State and a native of Poland is one of the top kickers in the league. He surpassed 100 points in each of his first two seasons and is on pace to do it again this year.

Through three games for the unbeaten Raiders, the left-footed Janikowski is 5-for-6 on field goal attempts and 14-for-14 on extra points. During his career, he has converted 50-of-66 field goals and all 102 extra points.

Georgia meets Alabama in key SEC tilt

TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Alabama goes up against an old rival Saturday when the Crimson Tide faces sixth-ranked Georgia (4-0) in a key Southeastern Conference clash on the gridiron.

Because of NCAA probation, Alabama is not eligible for a bowl game or the league title, but Alabama (4-1) nearly upset Oklahoma last month and has the talent to knock off the unbeaten Bulldogs.

"We've got a lot of things to deal with," said Coach Dennis Franchione. "I'm very proud of our team and the way they've handled distractions and adversity to this point in time, and I'm sure they'll handle this week much the same way."

Elsewhere, No. 2 Texas (4-0) and No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0) warm up for have their annual showdown in Dallas by playing their Big 12 openers. The Longhorns entertain Oklahoma State, and the Sooners are at home to Missouri.

Georgia will try to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1982, when running back Herschel Walker was on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

The Bulldogs have posted a 5-0 road record since Mark Richt took over as coach last season.

The Crimson Tide also have overcome injuries to quarterback Tyler Watts (sprained left foot) and running back Ahmmad Galloway (torn knee ligaments).

Saturday's schedule also includes Penn State facing 15th-ranked Wisconsin in a Big Ten battle.

The No. 21 Nittany Lions (3-1) are coming off a heartbreaking 42-35 overtime loss to Iowa, and lost last season, 18-6 to the Badgers. It was the worst offensive performance in the 37-year tenure of Coach Joe Paterno.

Penn State was held to 131 total yards by Wisconsin last season, including just 23 rushing.

Wisconsin is off to a 5-0 start under Coach Barry Alvarez, and could have star wide receiver Lee Evans back in the lineup. Evans suffered a knee injury in spring drills.

Wisconsin, which did not play last week, is the last Big Ten team to open conference play. The Badgers join No. 5 Ohio State (5-0) as the only undefeated teams in the conference. Ohio State visits Northwestern on Saturday.

No. 20 Southern California (3-1) visits No. 17 Washington State (4-1) in a matchup of two of the better quarterbacks in the Pac-10 -- the Trojans' Carson Palmer and Jason Gesser of WSU.

Gesser threw for 431 yards and four touchdowns in last week's win over California and will face a USC defense that shut down Oregon State, 22-0, in its most recent outing.

California will host No. 12 Washington (3-1). The Huskies' Cody Pickett has four straight 300-yard passing games and back-to-back 400-yard games.

Miami (4-0) will prepare for next weekend's meeting with Florida State by hosting Connecticut. The Hurricanes will try to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 27 games.

No. 7 Oregon (4-0) will play on the road for the first time this season when it visits Arizona, and No. 8 Florida (4-1) is at Mississippi in a matchup of star quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Eli Manning.

Tyrone Willingham coaches against his former team when No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0) hosts Stanford. Willingham spent seven seasons with the Cardinal before going to South Bend.

Quarterback Carlyle Holiday is nursing a shoulder injury and Willingham has said little about the injury. If Holiday is not ready, former walk-on Pat Dillingham could get his first start for the Fighting Irish.

Also, No. 10 Tennessee (3-1) hosts Arkansas, No. 16 Kansas State (4-0) is at Colorado, No. LSU (3-1) hosts UL-Lafayette, No. 23 Texas A&M (3-1) hosts Texas Tech, and No. 25 Air Force (4-0) welcomes Navy.

No. 22 Colorado State (4-1) is at Fresno State Friday night.

No. 4 Virginia Tech (5-0), 13th-ranked Michigan (4-1), No. 14 North Carolina State (6-0), 18th-ranked Iowa State (5-1), and No. 24 Auburn

(4-1) are idle.

Rangers dump Rocker

ARLINGTON, Texas, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers late Thursday parted company with controversial outspoken reliever John Rocker, who was placed on irrevocable waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.

Rocker was 2-3 with a 6.66 ERA and one save in 30 appearances with the Rangers in 2002.

He went 1-0 with 8 2/3 scoreless innings in six appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma from May 21-June 9 after initially refusing to report. He was 0-1 with 13.50 ERA in three rehab outings with Tulsa from Aug. 8-12.

He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 11, retroactive to July 4, with left shoulder and neck pain, and experienced recurring pain following his rehab assignment at Tulsa.

He did not pitch again.

"John struggled, and as we went through it, we decided to go in a different direction," said General Manager John Hart. "We just decided that was one road we didn't want to go down again."

Rocker, 27, gained notoriety after his negative comments about New York and homosexuals were published by Sports Illustrated in the fall of 1999 when he was with the Atlanta Braves.

Rocker spent his first three-plus seasons with the Braves, recording 88 saves in 180 games. But he came under fire and was suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig for remarks on racial, ethnic and sexual minorities in the SI article.

He was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in a trade last offseason.

He failed to live up to expectations in the Rangers' bullpen. He had been counted upon to be the team's closer, but never pitched well enough.

Also, according to the Dallas Morning News, he got into an argument with a transsexual couple at a popular Dallas breakfast establishment. He did issue a written statement after the incident, but it was deemed insufficient by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

During that incident, he said he was having brunch with his girlfriend at Breadwinners Café and Bakery when he was badgered and baited by nearby patrons. He contended a group followed him outside of the establishment and made an obscene gesture.

He also was a target of team owner Tom Hicks, who singled out Rocker in May after a poor outing in Detroit, saying that he ""stinking up the joint."

He gave up four runs in his first two appearances of the season and finished April with an 8.59 ERA.

Rocker's release came two days after the Rangers fired Jerry Narron as manager.

Texas also announced it will not pick up the 2003 contract option on backup catcher Bill Haselman.

Haselman hit .246 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 69 games while backing up perennial All-Star Ivan Rodriguez, whose future with the Rangers also remains in doubt.

Vols running back has thumb surgery

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Sophomore tailback Cedric Houston of Tennessee will not dress Saturday when the Volunteers tangle with Arkansas in a Southeast Conference matchup in Knoxville.

Houston, who, ironically, hails from Clarendon, Ark., underwent surgery Monday for a torn ligament in his left thumb.

He suffered the injury in last Saturday's 35-14 non-SEC victory over Rutgers. The 6-0, 210-pounder already was hampered by a deep thigh bruise sustained against Florida, and carried the ball only five times the last two games for 13 yards. He began the 2002 season by rushing for 106 yards and two scores against Wyoming, followed by 74 yards and another touchdown against Middle Tennessee.

"He'll have a short cast on when he comes back and be ready to play some," said Coach Philip Fulmer. "He just needs one hand to carry the ball and the other to cover it up."

Houston is the 10th-ranked Vols' leading rusher this season, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, but has only 193 yards, which is a prime example of Tennessee's overall offensive struggles. He has been able to score three touchdowns, including a 46-yard TD run against Wyoming. It is the Volunteers' longest running play of the year, and no Tennessee running back has carried the ball more than 13 times in a game.

He will be replaced in the Vols' backfield by 235-pound sophomore Jabari Davis and 230-pound freshman Gerald Riggs.

Team trainer Keith Clements said Houston could be upgraded to questionable as early as next Monday and will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. The Vols face sixth-ranked Georgia in Athens on Oct. 12.

Cain steps down at Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Jim Cain resigned Friday as president and chief operating officer of the Carolina Hurricanes after helping the team increase attendance, earn television and radio contracts, and secure a naming-rights deal.

Cain had overseen the business side of the franchise since January 2000, teaming with owner Peter Karmanos and General Manager Jim Rutherford to gain respectability in a basketball hotbed.

Cain, using his local roots, hoped for a successful three-year plan, which focused on earning community support, improving the fan experience, increasing season ticket sales and attendance, and securing a naming-rights agreement.

"We've done that ahead of schedule," said Cain, who attended Wake Forest.

Under Cain's leadership, attendance at the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena has increased 25 percent. The team also signed new TV and radio deals and an $80 million naming-rights contract with RBC Centura.

Cain, 44, is expected to remain a partner in the Raleigh law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton. The team said he also will explore other opportunities in major league sports.

"Jim has been instrumental in the progress of this franchise," Rutherford said. "We thank him and wish him good luck in all his future endeavors."

With Cain's resignation, Rutherford adds the title of president. Jason Karmanos was named vice president of hockey operations and assistant general manager.

The Hurricanes, who moved from Hartford in 1997, made a surprising run to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance last season before losing in five games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Daigle signs with Penguins

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Alexandre Daigle, the top overall pick in the 1993 NHL draft who has had more success dating in Hollywood than in his scoring prowess, Friday ended his retirement, signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Daigle reportedly will collect a base salary of $650,000, with incentives that could push the deal to $1.1 million. The right wing signed a $12.5 deal when he was taken by the Ottawa Senators in 1993.

Daigle, 27, had 20 goals and 31 assists as a rookie in 1993-94 and 26 goals and 25 assists in 1996-97, but he never lived up to the hype that followed him to the NHL. He made more news for dating actress Pamela Anderson.

The 6-0, 204-pounder, who has said he might pursue acting in the future, played for four teams from 1997-98 to 1999-2000, recording eight goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the New York Rangers before retiring.

In 459 games, Daigle has 100 goals, 141 assists, 152 penalty minutes and a minus-156 rating, also playing for the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has never finished a year with a plus rating.

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