Sports briefs 8/1/05

Monday, August 1, 2005

Baseball

* The Chicago White Sox, looking to strengthen their infield depth and add a reliable backup for third baseman Joe Crede, acquired Geoff Blum from the San Diego Padres on Sunday for minor league pitcher Ryan Meaux.

Blum, 32, batted .241 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 78 games with the Padres this season.

The switch-hitting Blum has played second base, third base, shortstop, first base and the outfield.

Blum is a career .253 hitter with 61 home runs and 274 RBIs in 760 games with Montreal, Houston, Tampa Bay and San Diego. He will join the White Sox, who have the best record in the majors, for the finale of a four-game series in Baltimore on Monday.

Meaux, 26, was 6-2 with three saves and a 2.96 ERA in 38 games with Double-A Birmingham. Meaux, acquired from San Francisco in 2002, has struck out 64 while walking just 18 this season.

Football

* The Carolina Panthers will honor the late Sam Mills by retiring his No. 51 at halftime of their Aug. 13 preseason game.

Mills died April 18 after a nearly two-year battle with cancer.

Mills, a five-time Pro Bowler with the New Orleans Saints and the Panthers, played three seasons in Carolina. He joined the coaching staff upon his retirement following the 1997 season. He is the only player in Carolina's Hall of Honor and is the first Panther to have his number retired.

* Linebacker Derrick Johnson, Kansas City's No. 1 draft choice, agreed to a five-year contract Sunday and will be in camp on Monday, team president and general manager Carl Peterson said.

Johnson, an All-American at Texas and winner of the Butkus Award in 2004 as the best linebacker in college football, was the 15th player drafted and looked dazzling in offseason workouts.

* Jerry Rice almost had a last-second change of heart about trying to play a 21st season in the NFL.

Rice told the Denver Post for Sunday's editions that he showed up late for the team's reporting day Thursday, only after a last-second decision to catch an afternoon flight from his home in California to Denver.

"I was torn," Rice said.

He said he called coach Mike Shanahan and told him he was having second thoughts. Shanahan told Rice he could retire if he wanted but that there was no truth to media reports that Rice had no future with the Broncos.

Motorsports

* Kimi Raikkonen blew away the field Sunday at the Hungarian Grand Prix, winning by 35.5 seconds for his fourth victory of the season.

Pole-sitter Michael Schumacher finished a distant second, with his brother, Ralf Schumacher, taking third.

Raikkonen's sixth career victory gave him 61 points this season, second to Formula One points leader Fernando Alonso.

Tennis

* Kim Clijsters broke serve six times and took advantage of Venus Williams' erratic game to beat the Wimbledon champion 7-5, 6-2 for the Bank of the West Classic title Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Clijsters defeated Williams for only the third time in nine meetings and ended a three-match losing streak to the 25-year-old American, earning her third championship in this event and fourth tournament victory of the season.

"It's great to get this win here," said Clijsters, who has a 24-match winning streak in the United States dating to November. "Hopefully I can keep it up."

Clijsters, who also won here in 2001 and 2003, will move up four spots to 10th when Monday's rankings are released, her first time in the top 10 since October.

The second-seeded Williams lost in her 500th career match, which she played in the same tournament where she made her debut in 1994 when the event was held in Oakland.

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