Sports briefs 1/22/04

Thursday, January 22, 2004


  • The Chicago Cubs are taking a chance that Ryan Dempster will be as good as old. The Cubs and the right-hander agreed to a one-year contract Wednesday that includes a team option for 2005, a deal that guarantees him $500,000. Dempster, 26, had ligament replacement surgery on his elbow Aug. 4, and spent the final two months of last season on the Cincinnati Reds disabled list. It will probably be July or August before he's ready to pitch in the majors again. Dempster was 3-7 in 22 games for the Reds last season.

    Jesse Orosco decided to retire, telling the Arizona Diamondbacks that he is ending a career that began in 1978 with the New York Mets. Orosco, who turns 47 on April 21, holds the major league record of 1,252 pitching appearances -- all but four in relief. He agreed in November to a minor league contract with Arizona that called for an $800,000 salary if he was added to the 40-man roster. Orosco was 87-80 with 144 saves and a career ERA of 3.16 with nine teams.

    The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract with Shingo Takatsu, Japan's career saves leader. The deal is expected to be announced Friday, a baseball source said on condition of anonymity. Takatsu, 34, has 260 career saves, passing Kazuhiro Sasaki last year for the No. 1 spot in Japan history. He has topped the 30-save mark four times, including a career-high 37 in 2001. Takatsu had 34 saves last season for the Yakult Swallows, best in the Central League.


  • The Cleveland Cavaliers traded forward Darius Miles, fined by the team for skipping a practice earlier this week, to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday for guard Jeff McInnis and center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. Miles, 22, jumped straight from high school in East St. Louis, Ill., to the NBA in 2000. He has been a major disappointment in 1 1/2 seasons with Cleveland and was averaging 8.9 points in 24 minutes per game this season.


  • Terry Shea, who spent the last three seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the high-scoring Kansas City Chiefs, was named the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator Wednesday. Shea, 57, is the third coach hired by new Bears head coach Lovie Smith, joining Pete Hoener (offensive line) and Bob Babich (linebackers.)

    Bobby April was hired by the Buffalo Bills as their special teams coach. April, fired by the St. Louis Rams earlier this month, has 13 years of NFL coaching experience. He is the latest addition to a new staff being put together by head coach Mike Mularkey, hired last week to replace Gregg Williams.

    -- From wire reports

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