Sports briefs 3/19/05

Saturday, March 19, 2005


* Cardinals outfielder Reggie Sanders was recovering Friday after an apendectomy, and the Cardinals don't know when he'll return to the lineup. The Cardinals say that in past players who had the operation, the player was generally out for a couple of weeks. Sanders, entering his 15th season in the majors, hit .260 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs last year in helping lead the Cardinals to the World Series.


* Plaxico Burress didn't let an agent stand in the way of joining the New York Giants. The free agent wide receiver, formerly with the Pittsburgh Steelers, officially joined the Giants on Friday, a week after rejecting an offer from the team. He then fired agent Michael Harrison and signed with Drew Rosenhaus, who renewed negotiations. The six-year, $25 million contract was reached Thursday,


* Breathing heavily and weakened by a heart ailment, Irina Slutskaya delivered an impassioned and athletic performance Friday to take the lead after the short program at the figure skating world championships. She was narrowly ahead of Sasha Cohen before a home crowd. Michelle Kwan stayed within reach of winning her sixth world title after rallying to fifth place following a disappointing qualifying round. Carolina Kostner of Italy and Miki Ando of Japan were third and fourth.

Track and field

* Seven months after a scandal that shook the Athens Olympics, Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were cleared of evading drug tests in a surprise decision that could be challenged by the IAAF.

Kenteris, 31, and Thanou, 30, missed drug tests on Aug. 12, one day before the 2004 Summer Games began, deeply embarrassing the Greek Olympic hosts. But a Greek sporting tribunal voted 4-1 Friday to clear the runners, instead blaming coach Christos Tzekos for the no-shows.


* Lindsay Davenport accomplished something no one else has against Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova -- shut her out. Davenport beat the 17-year-old Russian 6-0, 6-0 in Friday's semifinals of the Pacific Life Open. The match lasted just 49 minutes. Earlier in the afternoon, Andre Agassi pulled out of his quarterfinal against Lleyton Hewitt because of a sore toe.

Kim Clijsters, the 2003 champion coming back from a wrist injury, faces Davenport in Saturday's final. Former No. 1 Clijsters defeated Elena Dementieva 6-4, 6-2 in their semifinal.


* Oklahoma State had a clean sweep of five semifinal matches on Friday night, wrapping up its third straight NCAA wrestling championship a day early.

The Cowboys have won three straight titles for the first time since 1954-56, a season-long goal, and have 33 national titles overall. Now, they'll try to win five individual titles for the first time in school history.

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