In Sports from United Press International

Oct. 29, 2002 at 3:37 PM
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Yost hired by Brewers

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The Milwaukee Brewers scheduled a news conference for 5:00 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, at which time they will unveil Ned Yost as their new manager.

Yost replaces Jerry Royster, who posted a record of only 53-94 after taking over for the fired Davey Lopes in mid-April. The Brewers were 56-106 this season, losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the likely Yost hiring in its Tuesday editions., the official website for Major League Baseball, said Yost agreed to a two-year contract with a club option for 2005. No financial terms were disclosed.

Yost was a backup catcher for the Brewers' 1982 pennant-winning team. He has no major league managerial experience and has spent the last 12 seasons as a coach for the Atlanta Braves, including the last four as third base coach.

Various reports have indicated that Oakland bench coach Ken Macha turned down an offer from the Brewers. He is expected to be named A's' manager.

The Journal-Sentinel reported that Brewers bench coach Cecil Cooper and New York Yankees third base coach Willie Randolph also were interviewed for the Milwaukee job by General Manager Doug Melvin.

"Ned showed great determination for this opportunity," Melvin said. "He has enthusiasm for the organization and brings a strong desire to help us return to winning baseball."

"This is it for me," Yost told reporters after interviewing with Melvin and team officials on Oct. 16. "This is the job I would like. This is the job that means most to me. I feel a personal connection to this organization, and this is a job that I would genuinely love to do. I'm not interested in any other job. I want to see this organization flourish again because I know how wonderful it is in this town when they can (win) and when they do. That's what gets me excited."

Melvin replaced Dean Taylor last month as part of a restructuring in which team president Wendy Selig-Prieb relinquished control of daily operations to Ulice Payne. Melvin fired Royster earlier this month.

Yost was the Braves' bullpen coach from 1991-98, and his only managerial experience was at Single-A Sumter, a Braves' affiliate, from 1988-90.

Yost batted .212 with 16 homers in six major league seasons, and was part of the Brewers' 1982 team that won the American League pennant before losing the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since then, the Brewers have not been back to the playoffs.

In the big leagues from 1980-85, Yost hit .212 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 219 games with the Brewers, Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos.

One of his best friends was the late Dale Earnhardt, the NASCAR legend, who was killed in a tragic crash in 2001 during a race.

Athletics to name Macha as manager

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The Oakland Athletics have scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday to announce the promotion of bench coach Ken Macha to manager, replacing Art Howe, who was allowed to leave.

On Monday, Howe signed a four-year, $9.4 million contract with the New York Mets.

The Oakland Tribune reported Tuesday that Macha was seeking a multi-year contract worth over $600,000 annually. Other reports indicate he will be paid about $1 million per season.

Howe, who led the Athletics to three straight playoff appearances and more than 100 wins each of the last two seasons, had one year left on his contract with the A's worth $1.7 million, but General Manager Billy Beane gave the Mets permission to pursue Howe in the hopes of promoting Macha, who was being courted by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Tribune said before Macha could dig into contract talks with Oakland, he had to reject a three-year, $1.5 million offer from the Brewers.

Macha, 52, has 13 years of major league coaching experience, including the past four as Howe's bench coach. He also had stints with the Montreal Expos and California Angels.

The A's averaged just under 99 wins the past three seasons, including a 103-59 mark this year, but have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs, suffering three straight losses in the fifth game of the Division Series.

Despite Oakland's recent success, there have been reports that a rift developed between Howe and Beane over Howe's laidback approach.

Macha, who managed in the Boston Red Sox's minor league system for four years before joining the Oakland staff in 1999, is considered to be much more aggressive.

Creek signs with Toronto

TORONTO, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Veteran reliever Doug Creek Tuesday signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Creek, 33, split last season between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Seattle Mariners. He was a combined 3-2 with a 5.82 ERA in 52 appearances.

The lefthander also has pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs, and is 7-14 with one save and a 5.29 ERA in 238 games.

Lewis may be through for 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens again will be without five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis and starting quarterback Chris Redman this weekend when they visit the Atlanta Falcons.

In fact, there is concern that Lewis, who is trying to rehabilitate a partially-dislocated left shoulder and has missed the last three games, might not play again this season. He was injured in the Cleveland game on Oct. 6 while diving for a loose ball.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that there is a chance he might need to undergo season-ending surgery if the injury doesn't heal properly in three-to-four weeks.

"We have to consider the possibility because of the nature of the injury," said Ravens Coach Brian Billick. "No one has told me that it's a real possibility, but it's a possibility. You can't rule it out."

"I don't have any answers," Lewis said. "I don't know. I'm not a doctor. I'm working through it. Do you think I like not playing?"

Redman woke up Saturday with lower back stiffness, and was scratched from last Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The doctors continue to examine Chris and he'll spend another week rehabbing before he goes back out on the field," said Billick. "So Chris will definitely miss this next game and is out one to two weeks."

Jeff Blake started for the injured Redman and was intercepted three times in the Ravens' 31-18 loss to the Steelers. The loss knocked Baltimore (3-4) out of first place in the AFC North, one game behind Pittsburgh.

Lewis returned to practice last Friday, but admitted he could not do much because of the limited mobility in his shoulder.

Bernardo Harris, who was signed as a free agent from Green Bay in the offseason, has filled in for Lewis. He had an interception against Jacksonville on Oct. 20.

Lewis, regarded as the NFL's premier inside linebacker, had a team-leading 69 tackles and two interceptions in Baltimore's first four games of the season.

Redman, the engineer of a conservative offense in his first year as a starter, has completed 53 percent of his passes for 1,034 yards and seven touchdowns with just three interceptions in six games. Four of those seven scoring tosses have gone to second-year tight end Todd Heap.

"I would say by next week, I'll be fine," Redman said. "It's a little better, but it still is pretty numb as far as walking around with a dead leg. Hopefully, it will come back pretty soon."

Blake was signed as a free agent in the offseason to serve as a veteran backup. Making his first start since November 2000 when he played for New Orleans, Blake has completed 29-of-50 for 298 yards and a touchdown.

Hilliard has dislocated shoulder

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- New York Giants wide receiver Ike Hilliard suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the third

quarter of Monday night's 17-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The injury occurred on the opening drive of the second half.

Trailing 9-3, the Giants had a 2nd-and-14 at the Eagles' 36-yard line when quarterback Kerry Collins threw incomplete to Hilliard outside

the 20.

The seven-year veteran took three more strides before he was leveled by safety Brian Dawkins, who received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the helmet-to-chest hit.

"I can't tell you how long he'll be out right now," said Giants Coach Jim Fassel.

"Ike Hilliard is going to come back," said rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey. "He is the strongest guy on our team and we really need him. He's a warrior."

Asked whether he thought Dawkins' hit was a cheap shot, Fassel left the decision to NFL officials.

Collins was more emphatic.

"I know he's an aggressive player, but I think there is a line that he crossed. He really did," Collins said. "He knew that (Hilliard) was defenseless. I know it's football, it's part of the game, and I'm not saying he intentionally tried to hurt him because I don't think he did. You're not going to hear Ike say anything bad about it, but it could have and should have been avoided."

Hilliard is third on the team in receiving with 27 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.

Chaney gets extension from Knicks

NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The New York Knicks, who were plagued by several negative developments in the preseason, Tuesday gave head coach Don Chaney a contract extension.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

Chaney, a former NBA Coach of the Year, was considered by many to be a lame duck with the undersized Knicks expected to win no more than 30 games in the 2002-03 season.

"We have great confidence that Don is the right person to lead the Knicks," said Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan. "We appreciated his willingness to step into a challenging position last December, and believe that he has shown all the qualities that the Knicks need to succeed."

Last December, Chaney was named interim coach when Jeff Van Gundy abruptly resigned after the Knicks started the season 10-9. Chaney was just 11-28 when the Knicks removed the interim tag and extended his contract through the 2002-03 season.

The Knicks went on to finish 30-52 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Tuesday's extension gives Chaney the chance to exert more authority with the players.

"I am very grateful to the Knicks organization, and I am looking forward to the future," Chaney said. "As a player and a coach, New York has always been a very special place to me, and I am

determined to lead the team through this transition and back to NBA prominence."

That will be a tough chore.

Chaney has to deal with controversial guard Latrell Sprewell, and will not have scoring forward Antonio McDyess, who is out for the season with a broken kneecap suffered in an exhibition game.

""There were distractions, no doubt," Chaney said. "But I think we made strides with the new offense, although I was disappointed with our defensive play. That has to pick up."

Chaney, 55, has spent the last seven years with the Knicks, serving as the top assistant for both Don Nelson and Van Gundy before becoming coach.

Chaney has a 285-425 career record. He previously coached the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons. In the 1990-91 season, he guided the Rockets to a 52-30 record and was named NBA Coach of the Year.

Sprewell has caused major problems for Chaney, accumulating fines totaling $437,500 the last three weeks for disciplinary reasons.

Sprewell broke his right hand in the offseason and did not tell the team until the start of training camp. The Knicks placed Sprewell on the injured list Monday, meaning the earliest he can return is Nov. 8 at Indiana.

New York opens the regular season Wednesday night at Detroit.

Saban dumps Damien James from team

BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Damien James, a senior defensive back at Louisiana State, has been kicked off the team by Coach Nick Saban.

According to a report Tuesday by the Baton Rouge Advocate, the decision was made by Saban after a joint meeting Monday with other seniors and various athletic officials at the school.

The Carencro, La., native had been suspended indefinitely last Saturday for "a violation of team rules and policies."

"We've tried to help Damien, and we've given him second chances," said Saban. "I like Damien a lot. He's one of the favorite guys I've ever coached, and he's a very good player, a stabilizing force in the secondary who makes a lot of the calls. But, from a program standpoint and for the overall discipline of the players, you have to have accountability. What's right -- the principles and values of a program and doing what's right or looking the other way on an individual so you can win a game? What's more important?"

Saban added that James will be allowed to retain his scholarship.

One player who felt the decision had to be made was linebacker and team captain Bradie James.

"I feel like Damien was given a lot of chances," James told the paper. "A lot of people stuck their neck out for him. Damien pretty much made the decision for himself. When you make a decision like he made, you not only affect yourself, you affect all your teammates, the program and your family. We'll support Damien from a personal standpoint. He's somebody we really care about. We're real disappointed from a team standpoint, but we have to move on without him because he's not coming back."

James had been considered one of the nation's top free safeties in the country, and was expected to make the All-SEC First Team this season. He had two interceptions, returning one of those for a touchdown against The Citadel, and had nine picks for his career.

Damien James likely will be replaced by one of two juniors -- Adrian Mayes or Jack Hunt.

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