Sports digest 12/17/01

Monday, December 17, 2001

Herzog turns down offer from Rex Sox

BOSTON -- Former major-league manager Whitey Herzog said he has turned down an offer to be the Boston Red Sox's bench coach because he didn't think it would be fair to their inexperienced manager to have him lurking if the team had a bad stretch.

"A lot of things bother me that didn't bother me before. I'm too old for that," the 70-year-old Herzog, out of uniform since quitting as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in midseason of 1990, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a story Sunday.

Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette on Saturday announced Herzog's declining the offer to work alongside manager Joe Kerrigan, who recently met for five hours with Herzog and encouraged him to join. Herzog mulled the offer while on vacation and returned from a ski trip this week.

"As much as I may like to be bench coach -- pat (the players) on the butt, catch their helmets and say, 'Get 'em next year,' or 'Get 'em tomorrow,' it was a pretty easy job with the money they wanted to pay me," Herzog told the Post-Dispatch. "The more I thought about it, it wouldn't be fair to Joe Kerrigan for me to be a bench coach."

Estes sent to Mets for two playersNEW YORK -- The busy New York Mets made another deal Sunday, trading outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo and infielder Desi Relaford to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Shawn Estes.

Shinjo and Relaford both were nice surprises for the Mets in 2001, but the opportunity to trade them for a proven starting pitcher was too good to pass up.

Estes was 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 27 starts for the Giants. The 28-year-old lefty was an All-Star in 1997 when he won 19 games, and has averaged 29 starts the last five seasons.

On Friday, the Mets traded outfielder David Justice to Oakland for reliever Mark Guthrie and a minor leaguer. Justice was acquired only a week earlier from the New York Yankees for third baseman Robin Ventura.

At the recent winter meetings, the Mets obtained All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar in a major trade with Cleveland. They also signed a pair of free agents, getting outfielder Roger Cedeno to become their leadoff hitter and adding David Weathers for the bullpen.

Shinjo, 29, played exceptionally well in his first year in the majors. A star in Japan, he hit .267 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs in 123 games for the Mets.

Relaford, 28, hit .302 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 301 at-bats over 120 games.

MU grid star Gage to again play hoops

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Justin Gage, a Missouri receiver named a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, will join the Tigers' second-ranked basketball team within two weeks, the school has announced.

Gage, a 6-foot-4, 208-pound junior, has played for the Tigers' basketball program the past two seasons, averaging 2.1 points and 2.3 rebounds over 49 games.

"We're very pleased to have Justin join our team," Quin Snyder, Missouri's basketball coach, said in a statement.

Last season for a Tigers football team that finished 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12, Gage had 74 catches -- one short of the school record -- for 920 yards and five touchdowns. He has led Missouri in receiving the past two seasons.

North Carolina wins NCAA soccer title

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- North Carolina beat Indiana 2-0 Sunday to win its first NCAA men's soccer championship on goals by Ryan Kneipper and Danny Jackson.

Five-time champion Indiana entered the tournament having given up just six goals all season. St. John's was the only other team to score two goals on the Hoosiers

The Tar Heels (21-4) avenged last year's 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Indiana (18-4-1).

-- From wire reports

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