Sports briefs 12/19/03

Friday, December 19, 2003

Baseball

  • The Cardinals begin their spring training schedule March 4 hosting the New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. The Cardinals will play six games against the Florida Marlins, also based in Jupiter. The Cardinals will play 19 home games, including three as the visitor to the Marlins. Other home games will be against the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos. Pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 20.

    The Cubs got the left-handed reliever they wanted by signing Kent Mercker to a one-year, $1.2 million deal. A few hours later they found a fourth outfielder, agreeing to terms with Todd Hollandsworth on a one-year, $1 million deal.

    Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki agreed to a four-year contract with the Mariners, ensuring the three-time All-Star with Gold Glove defense and exciting leadoff hitting will remain in Seattle.

    Left-hander Sterling Hitchcock, who led San Diego into the 1998 World Series, rejoined the Padres after agreeing to an $800,000, one-year contract.

    Yankees Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia and a Fenway Park groundskeeper were charged with assault and battery for fighting in New York's bullpen during a playoff game. Clerk Magistrate Michael Neighbors also ruled there was enough evidence to go forward with Nelson's cross-complaint against Paul Williams, a part-time groundskeeper and middle school teacher from Derry, N.H.

    Miami leaders voted to ask the county to seek a half-penny sales tax to raise $225 million for a new stadium for the Florida Marlins. The city commission voted unanimously to urge the county to set a March 9 referendum asking voters if they want to fund part of the stadium cost by adding to the 7-cent-per-dollar tax for 18 months.

    Basketball

  • Medical records and patient confidentiality will be at the heart of Kobe Bryant's hearing today, when key evidence will be discussed in detail for the first time before the trial judge. The NBA star's lawyers will argue they should be allowed to introduce the records of the woman accusing him of rape. They also will try to show mental problems might have affected her perception of what happened in a hotel room with Bryant last June.

    Less than a month after retiring from the NBA with a kidney disease, former All-Star center Alonzo Mourning will undergo kidney transplant surgery today, his agent confirmed. Mourning will receive the kidney from an unidentified family member at a New York hospital.

    Timberwolves swingman Wally Szczerbiak is expected to miss at least another six weeks because of a left foot injury that has sidelined him the entire season.

    Colleges

  • A University of Georgia search committee said it wanted to hire Mike Alden as its new athletic director, but Alden made it clear that he would stay at the University of Missouri, a member of the committee said.

    St. Louis University officials announced the site and other details for a new 13,000-seat sports arena, a $70 million facility on the campus' eastern edge and within view of drivers on Interstate 64. The university hopes to have the arena open for the 2005-06 basketball season when St. Louis moves to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

    Football

  • San Diego Chargers linebacker Ben Leber was fined $7,500 by the NFL for using his helmet on a hit against Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre.

    Oakland Raiders safety Rod Woodson had surgery on his injured left knee. The Raiders said they had no details about the procedure. Woodson has said he'd like to return to the Raiders next season.

    Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna was fined $5,000 by the NFL for wearing a baseball-style cap marked with a cross. In wearing the cap at his postgame news conferences, Kitna violated an NFL rule prohibiting the wearing of non-NFL apparel immediately after a game.

    -- From wire reports

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