Sports briefs 3/27/04
Saturday, March 27, 2004
The Atlanta Braves traded two pitching prospects Friday for Cincinnati Reds right-hander Chris Reitsma. The Reds obtained left-hander Jung Keun Bong and right-hander Bubba Nelson. Both are younger than Reitsma, 26, and are considered starters primarily.
Reliever Dave Veres was released by the Houston Astros, ending his bid to rejoin the team for which he was a bullpen mainstay in 1995. He played for the Chicago Cubs last season. He appeared in 31 games and had a 2-1 record with one save and a 4.68 ERA.
Wisconsin running back Dwayne Smith will stand trial on charges he raped a 19-year-old woman in a campus area apartment, a judge ruled. Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert also bound over Anwar Jones, 22, on a charge of being party to the crime for allegedly watching the rape. If convicted, each man faces up to 40 years in prison.
Kentucky point guard Cliff Hawkins is sorry, and his ring is no longer for sale. Hawkins offered his 2003 Southeastern Conference championship ring on eBay on Tuesday. He withdrew it two days later, after the bidding surpassed $3,000. "It was a mistake," Hawkins said on a fan Web site Thursday. "I don't know what I was thinking. ... In no way did I intend to offend or embarrass the great fans of Kentucky."
The St. Louis Rams, who lost starting defensive end Grant Wistrom to free agency this offseason, have signed defensive end Sean Moran, the team said Friday. Terms were not disclosed. Moran, originally chosen by Buffalo in the fourth round of the 1996 draft, played for the Rams in 2000 and 2001. He spent the past two seasons with San Francisco.
Two-time Masters champion Seve Ballesteros pulled out of next month's major because of back pain. It will be the first time the Spaniard has missed the tournament since he was first invited to play in 1978. He won in 1980 and 1983.
Islanders forward Jason Blake will miss at least a month after spraining an ankle in New York's victory over Philadelphia. Blake has a high ankle sprain that limited him to six shifts totaling just over four minutes of ice time against the Flyers on Thursday. New York's second-leading scorer will likely be out well into the second round of the playoffs, if the team gets that far.
Michelle Kwan's bid for a sixth world title all but ended when she was overshadowed by Sasha Cohen and penalized for a short program that officials contend ran two seconds too long. Kwan dropped to fourth place after an admirable but cautious performance. Referee Jan Hoffmann told U.S. figure skating team leaders that Kwan's program lasted 2 minutes and 42 seconds -- two seconds too long. The violation requires a 0.1 deduction on each mark. The U.S. team said it would file an immediate protest and is asking for a review of the program's timing. Kwan tied the U.S. record for world titles held by 1960 Olympic champion Carol Heiss with her victory in 2003. But she has little hope of winning a sixth title in today's final skate. Japan's Shizuka Arakawa and national champion Miki Ando were second and third, respectively.
Serena Williams ended an eight-month layoff by easily advancing at the Nasdaq-100 Open with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over qualifier Marta Marrero. The match was the first for Williams since she earned her sixth Grand Slam title by beating older sister Venus at Wimbledon last July. -- From wire reports
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