Sports briefs 2/15/05

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


* AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana and the Minnesota Twins agreed Monday to a $40 million, four-year contract.

The 25-year-old left-hander, who had been scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing Tuesday, must past a physical before the deal can be finalized.

He the league with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts last season. He also become the first Venezuelan to win the Cy Young Award and the first unanimous winner in the AL since Pedro Martinez in 2000.

Santana set a Twins record by winning 13 consecutive games and didn't lose in 15 starts after the All-Star break, going 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA to help Minnesota win its third straight AL Central division title.


* Illinois was a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press' college basketball for the third straight week Monday, while Charlotte moved into the Top 25 for the first time in six years.

The Fighting Illini (25-0) beat Michigan and Wisconsin last week to remain the only unbeaten team in Division I. Illinois received all 72 first-place votes from the national media panel to stay No. 1 for the 11th consecutive week.

Kansas (20-1) moved up one place to get back to No. 2, a spot it held for nine straight weeks before losing at Villanova. The Jayhawks dropped to sixth after their only loss and were third the past two weeks.

Kentucky (19-2) jumped from fifth to third and North Carolina (20-3), which lost at Duke and won at Connecticut last week, dropped from second to fourth.

* Ed Warinner, who spent the past two seasons as offensive line and run-game coach at the University of Kansas, will join Ron Zook's staff at Illinois as an assistant coach.

Warinner, 43, also worked as offensive line coach for the Air Force Academy from 2000-2002, when the Falcon offense ranked in the top three in the nation in rushing yards, including the NCAA rushing title in 2002 with 307.8 yards per game.

* Iowa State's record-breaking wide receiver Todd Blythe tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during an individual workout last week, the university said. He will miss spring practice but is expected to be ready to play in the fall, coach Dan McCarney said.

As a freshman, Blythe caught 39 passes for 833 yards and a school-record nine touchdowns. He earned freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News.


* Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would make him the NFL's first black owner.

Fowler declined to say how much he would pay for the team. Published reports and a rival bidder, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, put the price at about $625 million.

Owner Red McCombs had the team on the block since 2002. Taylor had offered about $600 million, though some of that money was contingent on a new stadium being built. If the league approves the deal, McCombs will make a huge profit -- he paid $246 million for the team in 1998.

NFL owners are to meet March 20-23 in Hawaii. League rules require 24 of the 32 owners to approve a sale.

* Quarterback Jeff Garcia was released Monday by the Cleveland Browns, who cut ties with the three-time Pro Bowler after one bad season and with three years left on his contract.

Garcia signed a four-year, $25 million free agent contract with the Browns last March after spending five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.


* Top-seeded Andy Roddick Roddick played a near-flawless first set and breezed to a 6-0, 6-4 victory over unseeded Cyril Saulnier in 50 minutes to win the SAP Open in the fastest final on the ATP circuit this season.

Roddick, who had just nine aces, won his 16th career title less than 20 hours after a thrilling 7-6 (3), 6-3 semifinal win Saturday night over third-seeded Tommy Haas

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