Sports briefs 7/15/05

Friday, July 15, 2005


* Pitcher Al Leiter was designated for assignment Thursday by the Florida Marlins, perhaps signaling the end of a 19-year career for the left-hander who helped the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays win World Series titles.

Leiter agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with Florida in the offseason, but struggled with his control in his second stint with the Marlins and was 3-7 with a 6.64 ERA in 16 starts.

He gave up 88 hits and walked 60 in 80 innings.

"It's always tough," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "He's been a very successful pitcher. You always hate to see something like that happen. He's a real pro and a good guy."

The Marlins have 10 days to trade him or put him on waivers.

Leiter, 39, had spent the last seven years with the New York Mets, going 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season. He's 158-127 with a 3.76 ERA in a career that began in 1987 with the New York Yankees.

* The New York Yankees put pitcher Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with inflammation in his right shoulder and scratched him from today's scheduled start against the Red Sox.

The team also purchased the contract of right-hander Tim Redding from Triple-A Columbus, and he will start today instead. Wang is 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 13 starts.


* Kwame Brown is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent said Thursday.

Arn Tellem confirmed a published report that Brown, the first overall selection in the 2001 NBA draft, will be involved in a trade between the Lakers and Washington Wizards.

"It's Kwame's intention to sign a contract with the Wizards on the first day possible and be traded to the Lakers," Tellem said. "All parties are in agreement. This is the intention we're going to execute upon the first day possible."

That would be July 22 -- the date when an NBA moratorium is lifted and teams can announce free agent signings or sign-and-trade transactions.

It's believed the 6-foot-11 Brown will join the Lakers in exchange for swingman Caron Butler and guard Chucky Atkins.

* Cuttino Mobley, one of the NBA's most accurate outside shooters, will play for the Los Angeles Clippers next season, his agent said Thursday.

"An agreement has been reached," Andy Miller said from his office in Tenafly, N.J.

Miller wouldn't divulge terms, but it's believed the parties agreed to a five-year deal worth around $42 million.

The 29-year-old Mobley, an unrestricted free agent, has averaged 17.1 points in seven NBA seasons.


* Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber was rewarded Thursday with a two-year contract extension that gives him a $150,000 raise, a $100,000 signing bonus and deferred compensation that could exceed $1.1 million. Weber, who led the Illini to the national championship game last season, will be under contract through the 2010-2011 season. The deal keeps Weber's salary at $200,000 but increases the money he gets for doing radio and TV shows, camps and promotional events by $150,000, bringing his total compensation to $700,000 per year.

* Colorado has lost cornerback Terrence Wheatley for the season because of a wrist injury that will require surgery next month.

Wheatley, a junior, dislocated the wrist during spring practice in 2004 and underwent his first surgery the next day. He reinjured the wrist last fall but played all season in pain and in a cast with limited ability to control his hand.

He managed to intercept four passes, including one returned for a touchdown against Texas. He also was Colorado's primary kickoff return man, averaging 22.3 yards per return.

But he missed spring practice and doctors will soon remove a bone from his right wrist, replacing it with bone taken from his hip.


* Mike Babcock has agreed to become coach of the Detroit Red Wings, team spokesman John Hahn said Thursday.

The former Anaheim coach will be introduced at a news conference this morning.

Babcock, who last week rejected an offer to stay with the Mighty Ducks, replaces Dave Lewis, whose contract wasn't renewed.

The 42-year-old Babcock led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals two years ago during his first season in Anaheim. They didn't make the playoffs in 2003-04, and last season was canceled because of the lockout. The Ducks were 69-76-19 in two years under Babcock.

* Larry Robinson, who led the New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup title in 2000 but was fired less than two years later, returned Thursday as coach of the team.

Robinson replaces Pat Burns, who has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in a little more than a year.

Burns, a three-time NHL Coach of the Year, had surgery earlier this month and was expected to undergo chemotherapy as well.

Since August 2002, Robinson served as a special assignment coach with the Devils and worked with players at the franchise's minor league affiliate in Albany.

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