Sports briefs 12/21/04

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


* Anaheim gave shortstop Orlando Cabrera a $32 million, four-year deal on Monday night, and the Houston Astros cut Wade Miller when they refused to offer the injured pitcher a 2005 contract.

On a busy day of deals among players eligible for salary arbitration, Minnesota outfielder Jacque Jones agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract, and Toronto right-hander Justin Speier got a $4.15 million, two-year agreement. Players on rosters who weren't offered contracts by Monday became free agents.

Among players who were already free agents, two left-handed relievers agreed to two-year contracts, with Steve Kline getting $5.5 million from Baltimore and Kent Mercker $2.6 million from Cincinnati.


* Colorado has dismissed highly recruited freshman swingman Keith Smith for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Asked about Smith following his team's 89-83 victory over Colorado State over the weekend, Colorado coach Ricardo Patton refused to comment. He did say Smith was no longer part of the program.

Smith, who sat out last season after two foot surgeries, played less than one minute in a victory at California two weeks ago.

Smith, a former Oklahoma prep star, woke up from his first foot surgery in October 2002 to find surgeons at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center had operated on the wrong foot. He later had surgery done on the correct foot at a different hospital.

* Louisville senior forward Otis George will miss 2-4 weeks after aggravating a stress fracture in his right foot, the latest in a freakish rash of injuries that has drained the Cardinals' roster.

The 6-foot-8 George has been coping with the foot problem for a month and missed the four games before Saturday's 60-58 loss to Kentucky. George played 21 minutes against the Wildcats, then re-injured the fracture in practice on Sunday.

* Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith was suspended on Monday for violating team and NCAA rules and will not play in next week's Alamo Bowl.

Coach Jim Tressel would not say what Smith did or when the violation occurred, but said the university became aware of the problem on Thursday.

* Kansas power forward Wayne Simien will be out 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb Monday evening.

The preseason All-America was injured Saturday night in the second-ranked Jayhawks' 64-60 victory over South Carolina. X-rays revealed the thumb on his non-shooting hand was severely sprained. Further testing showed there was tendon damage.


* Running back Willis McGahee has a hyperextended and bruised right knee that could prevent him from playing in Buffalo's game Sunday at San Francisco.

Tests conducted Monday showed the injury is not more severe than initially feared, and indicated the running back will not require surgery, McGahee's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press.

Buffalo (8-6) is 8-1 in games McGahee has started and won all six in which he's rushed for 100 yards.


* Roger Federer and Anastasia Myskina were honored Monday as the 2004 world champions of tennis.

Federer, winner of three Grand Slams, was the overwhelming choice among the men with 11 titles this year. He had a 74-6 record, including 18-0 against top-10 players. Myskina won the French Open champion in a season dominated by Russian women and narrowly beat Amelie Mauresmo of France for the award.

International Tennis Federation president Ricco Bitti noted Federer's "extraordinary performance" in a year in which the Swiss star captured the Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Myskina became the first Russian woman to win a Grand Slam title when she beat countrywoman Elena Dementieva in the French final. Two other Russians were Grand Slam tournament winners: Maria Sharapova (Wimbledon) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (U.S. Open). Sharapova then won the Tour Championship and Russia went on to capture the Fed Cup.

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