Sports briefs 1/11/04

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Baseball

  • Rafael Palmeiro is returning to Baltimore, where he enjoyed five outstanding seasons before his acrimonious departure in 1998. Palmeiro, 39, agreed to terms with the Orioles on Saturday, accepting a one-year contract with a club option for 2005. The first baseman-designated hitter became a free agent after spending the past five seasons with the Texas Rangers.

    Vladimir Guerrero rejected a three-year contract offer from the Mets, who were told the free-agent outfielder has decided to sign with another team. Mets general manager Jim Duquette said Saturday night he didn't know which team Guerrero has committed to. But Duquette said he was informed by Guerrero's agent, Arn Tellem, that the former Expos star would sign a multiyear deal. The Orioles are thought to have offered Guerrero at least $65 million over five years. It was unclear which other teams were still pursuing Guerrero.

    Colleges

  • Coach Nick Saban announced he will stay at LSU, one day after talking to the Bears about their job opening. Saban led the Tigers to a share of their first national title since 1958 season, triggering a clause in his contract that guarantees him becoming the highest-paid coach in college football.

    UNLV's Larry Croom scored two touchdowns, and UCLA linebacker Brandon Chillar returned an interception 56 yards for a score in the West's 28-7 victory in the East-West Shrine game on Saturday. Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie, the most efficient passer in NCAA history, passed for 109 yards and a touchdown. He was named the outstanding offensive player in the 79th edition of the annual all-star game featuring top college seniors from across the nation.

    Figure skating

  • Johnny Weir kissed his right hand, then bent over to touch the ice. Finally, his free skate was done. Bouncing back from a horrifying fall last year, Weir skated to his first title in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with a flawless performance Saturday, beating three-time winner Michael Weiss.

    The rivals come and go, and so do the years. The only constant is Michelle Kwan and her brilliance on the ice. The "old lady" of figure skating taught her latest challengers a thing or two, winning her eighth national title and record seventh in a row with a style, grace and determination that no one can match. And she did it with a pile of perfect 6.0s. Seven of them for artistry as she swept the nine-judge panel. She now has 35 perfect marks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but they still leave her speechless. When the marks flashed on the scoreboard, her mouth dropped open and she buried her face in coach Rafael Arutunian's shoulder as the audience roared.

    Golf

  • Stuart Appleby regained a two-stroke lead over Vijay Singh after the third round at the Mercedes Championship. Appleby, who led after the first round before surrendering the halfway advantage to Singh, popped his nose back in front with a 7-under-par 66 on Maui's Kapalua Plantation course. The Australian posted an impressive 54-hole total of 20-under 199. Singh struggled a little with his putter en route to a 69 that left him at 18-under 201. A few groups behind them, Tiger Woods played his best golf of the week only to miss enough crucial putts to finish seven shots out of the lead -- a deficit he has never overcome in the final round on the PGA Tour.

    Hockey

  • Jordin Tootoo scored a power-play goal and had an assist for his first multipoint NHL game in the Predators' 3-1 win over the Blues. David Legwand and Jeremy Stevenson also scored for the Predators, who improved to 5-0-2-1 in their last eight home games. Chris Mason made 26 saves for his second victory in as many starts. Eric Boguniecki scored for the Blues, who are winless in their last four games and have scored just three goals in those games.

    --From wire reports

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