Phils get Millwood from Braves
For the Phillies, it is a consolation prize, as lost the Tom Glavine sweepstakes recently, but still benefited from Atlanta's pitching surplus.
Philadelphia made an offer for Glavine before the veteran southpaw signed with the New York Mets.
Millwood went 18-8 with a 3.24 ERA in 35 games last season. He is eligible for salary arbitration.
Philadelphia, which finished 21 1/2 games behind Atlanta, signed the biggest free agent bat available on Dec. 3, when first baseman Jim Thome agreed to a 6-year, $85 million deal. The Phillies also inked former San Francisco Giants third baseman David Bell to a 4-year, $17 million contract in November.
Millwood originally was selected by Atlanta in the 11th round of the 1993 draft. He is 75-46 with a 3.20 ERA in 168 games, won 35 games in 1998-99, and benefited from the experience of Maddux, Glavine and John Smoltz, who made a successful transition to a dominant closer this past season.
Millwood, who turns 28 next Tuesday, now becomes the elder statesman on a promising staff in Philadelphia.
Last Friday, the Phillies re-signed lefthander Randy Wolf, 26, to a four-year deal. Wolf won six straight decisions from July to September, and finished 11-9 with a 3.20 ERA.
Also, righthander Vicente Padilla, 25, was 14-11 with a 3.28 ERA, Brandon Duckworth, who turns 27 in January, was 8-9 with a 5.41 ERA, and 22-year-old Brett Myers went 4-5 with a 4.25 ERA after being recalled from the minors in late July.
Estrada, 26, appeared in just 10 games for the Phillies in 2002. He was 2-for-17 with two RBI, but hit .279 with 11 homers and 67 RBI in 118 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League.
Estes signs with Cubs
CHICAGO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Lefthander Shawn Estes Friday agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago, citing unidentified sources, is reporting that Estes, 29, has signed a contract for $3 million, with incentives that could push the value to $4.5 million.
After spending his first seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Estes was dealt to the New York Mets prior to the 2002 campaign. He went 4-9 with a 4.55 ERA before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in July.
He was 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA for the Reds, completing a career-worst campaign.
In Chicago, Estes is reunited with new Cubs bench coach Dick Pole, who was his pitching coach with the Giants in 1997.
Estes made his debut in 1995. He is 69-62 with a 4.37 ERA in 189 games, all starts. In 1997, his first full season, he went 19-5 with a 3.16 ERA.
1-AA playoffs to be decided Friday night
CHATTANOOGA, Tn., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Top-seeded McNeese State goes after the Division I-AA title against Western Kentucky Friday night at Davenport Field in Chattanooga, Tn.
The contest is guaranteed to produce a first-time winner.
Both teams rallied for semifinal victories last week to reach the title game, but while McNeese State (13-1) was seen as one of the pre-tournament favorites, Western Kentucky (11-3) has come from virtually nowhere to get this far.
Ranked only 15th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, the Hilltoppers stunned six-time champion and No. 3 seed Georgia Southern, 31-28, last week to reach the championship game for the first time.
McNeese State has made one previous appearance in the title game, losing to Youngstown State, 10-9, in 1997.
After squandering a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jason Michael scored on a two-yard run with 46 seconds remaining to give Western Kentucky is victory last week. It was only the second home loss in 31 playoff games for Georgia Southern.
McNeese State rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to get past Villanova, 39-28. The Cowboys overcame an inspired effort from Villanova quarterback Brett Gordon, who threw a pair of touchdown passes despite playing with a broken right thumb.
McNeese State and Western Kentucky met earlier this season, with the Cowboys posting a 38-13 victory at home. The all-time series is tied at one win apiece.
This is the third crack at a first national championship for Western Kentucky, which lost the Division II title game in the Camelia Bowl in both 1973 and 1975. The Hilltoppers have won nine in a row since the loss to McNeese State dropped them to 2-3.
Western Kentucky opened the year with a 48-3 defeat to Division I-A Kansas State, and also suffered a 14-0 setback to Western Illinois. The Hilltoppers avenged the loss to Western Illinois with a 31-28 victory in the quarterfinals.
A victory Friday will tie a school record for wins. Western Kentucky posted a 12-1 mark in 1973.
The Cowboys' only loss came against Division I-A Nebraska. They have reeled off 10 straight wins since a 38-14 loss in Lincoln on Oct. 5, and ousted defending national champion Montana, 24-20, in the round of eight.
Jack Harbaugh is in his 19th season at Western Kentucky, posting a 90-68 record. Prior to this year, the Hilltoppers had made only three playoff appearances under Harbaugh, going 2-3.
Tommy Tate has posted a three-year record of 29-9 at McNeese State, which was suffered first-round losses in his first two seasons.
Montana hires Hauck foot football
MISSOULA, Mt., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Bobby Hauck, the secondary coach at Washington the last four seasons, is the new head coach at Division 1-AA power Montana.
Hauck, 38, was named Friday as the replacement for Joe Glenn, who guided Montana to the Division I-AA national championship in 2001, and left last week to become coach at Wyoming.
Hauck, a native of Missoula, twice lettered in track and field for the Grizzlies, and also was a defensive backs and defensive line coach at the school in 1988 and '89. He also has worked at UCLA, Northern Arizona and Colorado.
Washington plays Purdue in the Sun Bowl and Hauck is expected to coach that game on New Year's Eve.
Montana was 39-6 in three seasons under Glenn. The Grizzlies were 11-3 this year, losing, 24-20, to McNeese State in the quarterfinals.
Hauck takes over a program that has advanced to the I-AA playoffs for 10 straight years, including a national title in 1995.
Thompson gets football job at ECU
GREENVILLE, N.C., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- East Carolina Friday name Florida defensive coordinator John Thompson as its new football coach.
Thompson replaces Steve Logan, who stepped down under pressure after 11 seasons on Dec. 7 following a 4-8 season. He will remain with the Gators through the Outback Bowl against Michigan on New Year's Day.
While both Logan and predecessor Bill Lewis were offensive-minded, Thompson's strength is on the other side of the ball. The Pirates decided on a defensive specialist after allowing 33.2 points and 445.7 yards per game.
Thompson was in his first season at Florida, where the Gators' pass defense was ranked third nationally (149.3 yards per game). Florida's defense was fifth overall in the 12-team Southeastern Conference.
Thompson came to Florida after two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas, and the Razorbacks led the SEC in total defense in 2000.
It is the first head coaching job for the Thompson, 47, who also has been a defensive coordinator at LSU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, and Louisiana Tech in a 21-year college career.
East Carolina tied for fifth in Conference USA with a 4-4 mark, its lowest finish in six years of competition in the league, after three straight second-place showings. The Pirates have lost 11 of their last 15 games.
Logan was 69-58 at East Carolina. His best season was 1993, when the Pirates went 9-3 and spent most of the year in the national rankings.
Nebraska hires Pederson as AD
LINCOLN, Ne., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Steve Pederson, the athletic director at Pittsburgh the last six years, Friday took a similar post at Nebraska.
Pederson, 45, returns to his alma mater and replaces Bill Byrne, who left to become athletic director at Texas A&M.
"There are a few very special places in the world of college athletics," Pederson said. "The University of Nebraska is at the top of that list."
During his tenure at Pittsburgh, Pederson oversaw the development of the Petersen Events Center, a state-of-the-art college basketball facility. He also hired football coach Walt Harris, men's basketball coach Ben Howland, and women's basketball coach Traci Waites.
"It is clear to me that Steve Pederson is the right choice for this position and we are pleased to have him back at Nebraska in a new role," said Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman.
Before going to Pittsburgh, Pederson was associate athletic director at Nebraska from 1994-96, serving as Director of Football Operations. He returns to a football program that has endured a disappointing 7-6 season under Coach Frank Solich entering next week's Independence Bowl against Mississippi.
Pederson also had stints as a football recruiting coordinator at Ohio State and Tennessee.
Bibby returns for Kings
SACRAMENTO, Ca., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Star point guard Mike Bibby of Sacramento played for the first time this season Thursday night in the Kings' 83-81 loss to San Antonio.
It was the Kings' first homecourt loss of the year after 14 straight victories.
Bibby, who had his first full practice of the season on Wednesday, looked sharp, scoring 17 points while playing 29 minutes.
He made 7-of-12 shots, including 2-of-3 from the arc, and added four assists without a turnover.
"I felt good," Bibby said. "I was just kind of winded at first. I think toward the latter part of the game, I caught my wind. With Bobby (Jackson) in there, it gave me some time to rest and play the 2-guard."
Bibby underwent surgery Oct. 12 to repair a stress fracture in his right foot. He was placed on the injured list Oct. 28, and was activated prior to Thursday night's game.
The 6-2 Bibby missed 27 games, but the Kings didn't miss a beat. Without their starting point guard, they went 21-6 and took over first place in the Pacific Division.
In his absence, Jackson moved into the starting lineup and provided a spark, averaging 20.2 points per game. Now that Bibby has returned, Kings Coach Rick Adelman must shuffle his rotation, and shots must be redistributed.
"Anytime you have one of your better players out, you're going to have to make adjustments when he comes back because everyone has upped their level so much," said superstar forward Chris Webber. "They're playing a certain style, a certain play, but we've got to make room, to fit him in. He's a great player and one of the best on this team, so everyone has to make adjustments, accept them and go with it."
The Kings acquired Bibby from the Memphis Grizzlies in June 2001. His outside shooting and floor leadership provided critical missing components that allowed the Kings to post the best record in the league last season at 61-21.
In the playoffs, Bibby averaged 20.3 points, and made a handful of clutch shots as Sacramento advanced to the conference finals for the first time in 20 years before losing in seven games to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.
He signed a seven-year, $80.5 million contract in the offseason.
In four seasons, Bibby has averaged 14.5 points and 7.1 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field. As a collegian, he helped lead Arizona to the 1997 national title.
To make room for Bibby on the roster, the Kings placed guard Mateen Cleaves on the injured list with a lower back strain.
After beginning the season on the IL following foot surgery, Cleaves played just two games, scoring one point.