Sports briefs 5/17/04
Monday, May 17, 2004
Herk Robinson retired Sunday, ending a 35-year stay in the Kansas City Royals' front office that included 10 years as general manager. Robinson, 63, joined the Royals after their expansion season in 1969 following eight years with the Cincinnati Reds and one with the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson has been the team's chief operating officer for the last four years.
Sammy Sosa felt a bit sheepish while explaining why he wasn't able to play Sunday against the San Diego Padres. He sneezed twice shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before the game, which brought on back spasms and forced him to grab a chair to support himself. While his Chicago Cubs teammates were out beating the Padres 4-2 for a three-game sweep, Sosa spent the afternoon in the trainer's room receiving treatment.
Bryan Herta, Alex Barron and Felipe Giaffone bounced back from crashes 24 hours earlier and topped second-round qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Barron, a veteran of two Indy starts, turned in a four-lap, 10-mile qualifying average of 218.836 mph, while Herta earned his third start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 219.871. Giaffone, a three-time Indy starter and the third-place finisher in 2002, put together a solid 216.259 run as time ran out. Tora Takagi, last year's fifth-place finisher and top rookie, also qualified at 214.364 in a Morris Nunn Racing entry. The four Sunday qualifiers brought the number of drivers in the tentative lineup for the May 30 race to 26. It also left a big question mark as to whether there will be enough car-driver combinations to fill the traditional 33-car field next Sunday, the last of three days of time trials for the 88th Indy 500.
Amelie Mauresmo came back from a set down, saved a match point, and beat Jennifer Capriati in a third-set tiebreaker to win the Italian Open for her second straight title. The second-seeded Mauresmo won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to follow up her German Open victory last week and establish herself as a favorite for the French Open, which starts a week from today.
Top-ranked Roger Federer won the Hamburg Masters, beating Guillermo Coria 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to end the Argentine's 31-match winning streak on clay. Federer captured this title for the second time in three years. Coria, the defending champion who was seeded second to Federer, had a clay-court winning streak dating to the 2003 French Open semifinals.
-- From wire reports
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