Sports briefs 12/11/03

Thursday, December 11, 2003


  • Andy Pettitte is likely to decide by Friday whether to stay in New York or sign with the Houston Astros, and officials with the Yankees said Wednesday there's a good chance he might bolt for his hometown team.

    Detroit agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract with second baseman Fernando Vina.

    Colorado agreed to a $2.1 million, one-year deal with third baseman Vinny Castilla.


  • Frank Johnson was fired as coach of the Phoenix Suns, a young team off to an 8-13 start. The Suns promoted lead assistant Mike D'Antoni, who coached the Denver Nuggets in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

    Scottie Pippen said he is contemplating retirement because of recurring knee problems that have already kept him out of eight games.


  • Rams middle linebacker Robert Thomas, who leads the team in tackles, has a torn groin and will be sidelined up to a month. Thomas was injured in the first quarter of Monday night's 26-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns. He's been bothered by a groin injury all season, missing one start, but coach Mike Martz said he believes the latest injury is unrelated.

    Dan Reeves was fired abruptly by the Atlanta Falcons with three games left in the season. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will take over for the rest of the season. Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Reeves -- the sixth-winningest coach in NFL history -- that he would be fired at the end of the season, but asked him to coach the final three games. Reeves, 59 and in his 23rd consecutive season as an NFL head coach, asked to be let go immediately.

    Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman will make his first NFL start Sunday when the Bears play the first-place Vikings at Soldier Field.


  • Coach Bruce Cassidy was fired by the Washington Capitals, who are mired at the bottom of the NHL standings despite one of the league's highest payrolls. Assistant coach Glen Hanlon will replace Cassidy.

    -- From wire reports

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