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IOC Drops Baseball, Softball From Games (AP)
AP - Baseball and softball were dropped Friday from the Olympic program for the 2012 London Games, making the two American-invented sports the first events cut from the Olympics in 69 years.

Diamondbacks Defeat Cardinals 2-1 (AP)
AP - Luis Gonzalez led off the ninth inning with a home run to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night, salvaging the finale of a four-game series.

Streaking Yankees Stop Indians 7-2 (AP)
AP - A new center fielder and the Jason Giambi of old helped the New York Yankees extend their winning streak to five. Giambi homered for the third straight game and 20-year-old Melky Cabrera singled in his major league debut as Mike Mussina and the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Thursday night.

Pirates Beat Phils 2-1 on Cota's Homer (AP)
AP - Pittsburgh rookie left-hander Zach Duke pitched seven shutout innings for his first major league victory and Humberto Cota hit a two-run homer, giving the Pirates a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.

Orioles Top Red Sox 3-1 in Six Innings (AP)
AP - Eli Marrero and Melvin Mora hit solo home runs, and Sammy Sosa added his first RBI since June 19, leading the Baltimore Orioles past David Wells and the Boston Red Sox 3-1 Thursday night in a game called after six innings because of rain.

Brown to retire as an Oakland Raider (Reuters)
Reuters - Former Oakland standout wide receiver Tim Brown is planning to retire later this month as a member of the Raiders.

McMillan: Needed 'A Different Challenge' (AP)
AP - It wasn't Paul Allen's millions that lured Nate McMillan out of Seattle. After 19 years in the SuperSonics organization, the new coach of the Portland Trail Blazers just needed a change of scenery.

Braves Finish Sweep of Slumping Cubs (AP)
AP - Their playoff hopes are hurting, too.

CONCACAF Gold Cup: U.S. Defeats Cuba 4-1 (AP)
AP - Landon Donovan saved the United States from a shocking result.

Babcock Pans Mighty Ducks' Coaching Offer (AP)
AP - The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have new owners and a new general manager. Now, they're looking for a new coach.

Offseason notebook: Still armed and dangerous
Who'll be this year's Drew Brees, the QB who fares much better than expected? Here are five candidates.

Tim Brown to retire as a Raider (AP)
Tim Brown will end his prolific NFL career with the Oakland Raiders after all. ``Tim will sign a one-day contract and retire as a Raider,'' team spokesman Mike Taylor said Wednesday. A news conference is planned for later this month to recognize Brown, the former Heisman Trophy winner and longest-tenured player in franchise history.

Packers NT Grady Jackson could hold out (AP)
Nose tackle Grady Jackson could hold out or seek a trade if the Green Bay Packers don't improve his contract, his new agent said Wednesday. The 340-pound Jackson has a year left on a two-year, $2.31 million deal. Drew Rosenhaus said the 32-year-old Jackson is a ``premier player'' on the Packers defense and should be paid that way.

Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram dead at 82 (AP)
Even in declining health, Hank Stram was able to inspire his former players. During his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003, the former Kansas City Chiefs coach was so weak he had to be pushed onto the stage in a wheelchair. But a video montage of his career and a prerecorded speech offered powerful reminders of Stram's passion for football, moving many in the crowd to tears.

Revamped D-line key to Denver's success (AP)
Gerard Warren sums up the difference between Cleveland and Denver quite simply. ``At Cleveland, we went out there hoping to get better,'' he said. ``Here, we go out there thinking we're going to win a Super Bowl.'' If the Broncos are going to contend for a Super Bowl in 2005, it could come down to the Cleveland castoffs -- Warren, Courtney Brown, Ebenezer Ekuban and Michael Myers, four defensive...

Owens won't be on Kings' summer team (AP)
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens won't play for Sacramento's summer-league team next week because the NFL club will not give permission. Owens, the talkative All-Pro who's embroiled in a contract dispute with the Eagles, had recent discussions with the Kings about another foray into basketball, his favorite sport.

Chiefs agree to terms with CB Ambrose (AP)
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to terms with free-agent cornerback Ashley Ambrose on Friday. The 13-year veteran started six games for the New Orleans Saints last year. Ambrose was drafted in the second round by Indianapolis in 1992 and has also played for Cincinnati and Atlanta. The 34-year-old Ambrose has played in 192 regular-season games, recording 550 tackles and 42 interceptions.

Tice fined $100K for scalping tickets (AP)
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice was fined $100,000 by the NFL on Thursday for scalping his Super Bowl tickets. Running backs coach Dean Dalton and special teams coach Rusty Tillman were also each fined $10,000 for scalping their tickets. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue notified the three coaches of their punishment in a letter.

Seattle's star bucks
Nate McMillan and Wally Walker had a history. That's why Mr. Sonic's days in Seattle are in the past.

Redd agrees to re-sign with Bucks (AP)
The Milwaukee Bucks are putting together a talented lineup even without a head coach. Michael Redd, a free agent, agreed Thursday to re-sign with the Bucks and play alongside No. 1 draft pick Andrew Bogut and T.J. Ford rather than return to his home state of Ohio to serve as LeBron James' sidekick. And the coaching situation could be settled soon, although the Bucks refused to comment on reports that...

McMillan leaves Sonics to coach Blazers (AP)
It wasn't Paul Allen's millions that lured Nate McMillan out of Seattle. After 19 years in the SuperSonics organization, the new coach of the Portland Trail Blazers just needed a change of scenery. ``This was time for me to move on. I needed a different challenge, a different opportunity,'' said the 40-year-old McMillan, whose news conference at the Washington Park Amphitheatre on Thursday drew...

Brown: 'Nobody seems to believe me' (AP)
After Larry Brown's agent and the Detroit Pistons talked about his future again, the Hall of Fame coach insisted nothing had changed from his perspective. ``I just want to get well and coach the Pistons,'' Brown said Wednesday night in an interview with The Associated Press. ``I've been saying that for a long time, but nobody seems to believe me.

Reports: Horry agrees to deal with Spurs (AP)
San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry has agreed to a three-year deal with the NBA champions, according to reports. Horry's agent, Robert Barr, told Houston television station KRIV and the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday that the three-year deal would allow the Spurs the right to buy Horry out of the third year.

Griffin jailed on probation violation (AP)
Free-agent forward Eddie Griffin was in jail Thursday for violating his probation, a court official said. Griffin, on probation after pleading guilty in a 2003 assault case, was listed as a witness in a disturbance at a club in Houston on Wednesday, state district court coordinator Virginia Cerda said.

Alan Henderson arrested on gun charge (AP)
Dallas Mavericks free agent Alan Henderson was arrested and charged with carrying a gun in his luggage while trying to board a flight over the weekend. The 32-year-old Henderson was released without bail Sunday, a day after his arrest at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a spokesman for the Queens County Criminal Court said.

Bobcats sign first-rounders Felton, May (AP)
Former North Carolina teammates Raymond Felton and Sean May both signed with the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday. The two juniors were taken in the first round of the NBA draft after helping the Tar Heels win the NCAA championship. Felton, the fifth overall pick, averaged 12.9 points, 6.9 assists and 2 steals last season as a point guard.

Hornets sign top draft pick Chris Paul (AP)
The New Orleans Hornets signed first-round draft pick Chris Paul on Wednesday to a three-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Paul, the fourth overall pick, averaged 15.3 points and 6.6 assists for Wake Forest last year. The guard is expected to see significant playing time in the Hornets backcourt this season along with second-year shooting guard J.R.

Jazz to tab Scott Layden assistant coach (AP)
Scott Layden is returning to the NBA. Layden, the former president of the New York Knicks and an assistant coach and administrator with Utah, is coming back to the Jazz as an assistant on coach Jerry Sloan's staff, the team announced Wednesday. Layden and Sloan were assistants with the Jazz under former coach and general manager Frank Layden, Scott's father.

Babcock rejects Mighty Ducks' coaching offer (AP)
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have new owners and a new general manager. Now, they're looking for a new coach. Mike Babcock rejected an offer to remain with the Mighty Ducks, and could be headed to Detroit to coach the Red Wings. ``I received a call from Mike Babcock last night, and he told me he was not going to accept the offer of a one-year extension that I had tendered to him and that he was...

Blackhawks hire Yawney as head coach (AP)
Trent Yawney's to-do list seems daunting to say the least. As the new coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, he'll teach his system, reunite with players who were with him in the minors, learn the new faces and mend fences with fans disillusioned by a lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-2005 NHL season.

Report: NHL, Players Association reach agreement (SportsTicker)
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - The NHL's lengthy labor strife finally may be coming to an end.

NHL, players reportedly reach labour agreement (AFP)
The National Hockey League and the players' union have agreed in principle to a new labour contract that includes a salary cap, a US newspaper reported.

Blackhawks name Yawney coach (SportsTicker)
CHICAGO (Ticker) - The Chicago Blackhawks are counting on former player Trent Yawney to turn around their fortunes.

Ex-Red Wings defender Konstantinov becomes U.S. citizen (AP)
Former Red Wings star defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov has become a U.S. citizen. In a private ceremony Wednesday at a federal courthouse in Detroit, U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow swore in Konstantinov, 38, and his wife, Irina, just a few blocks from Joe Louis Arena, the site of many of Konstantinov's on-ice highlights.

Blackhawks expected to name Yawney coach (AP)
The Chicago Blackhawks have called a news conference for Thursday where they are expected to name Trent Yawney their new coach. Yawney, head coach of the team's AHL minor league affiliate at Norfolk, Va., the past five years, has been the front-runner to replace Brian Sutter, who was ushered out last month by new general manager Dale Tallon.

NHL and players' association deny report of a deal (AP)
The NHL and the players' association are closing in on a new collective bargaining agreement, but both sides denied a report Thursday that a deal had been reached. The Los Angeles Times reported that the sides had completed negotiations to end the lockout that wiped out all of last season. But the league and the union said that is premature.

Report: Online casino submits bid to purchase Blues (SportsTicker)
TORONTO (Ticker) - The ongoing NHL labor dispute has done little to keep away prospective buyers.

Busch and truck report
The Busch Series hits Chicagoland this weekend while the Craftsman Trucks are at Kentucky.

Atlanta Speedway badly damaged by tornado (AP)
The Atlanta Motor Speedway looks as if it was in a high-speed crash after a tornado caused as much as $40 million in damage. ``Everything but the track surface has suffered some kind of damage, said speedway president Ed Clark, who estimated damage of $25 million to $40 million from the storm Wednesday night.

McMurray to leave Ganassi for Roush Racing in 2007 (AP)
Jamie McMurray will leave Chip Ganassi Racing after his contract expires to drive the No. 6 car for Roush Racing in 2007.

Busch, Rudd have track to themselves (AP)
At least Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd didn't have to worry about traffic.

Darlington gets go-ahead for 2006 (AP)
``The Lady In Black'' has apparently made it to another year. Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning said Wednesday that the track got the go-ahead from its owners, International Speedway Corp., to send out ticket renewal letters for another Mother's Day weekend Nextel Cup race. The date of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 is May 13, 2006, the night before the holiday.

Lehto-Wermer win at Lime Rock (AP)
The Champion Audi Racing team of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner won the American LeMans Series New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Monday. Lehto, from Finland, beat teammate Emanuele Pirro by 1.7 seconds. Pirro shared driving duties with Frank Biela. The tandem of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta finished third overall and won the GT1 class.

Deep into the night, Stewart rules at Daytona (AP)
Tony Stewart climbed from his car, started scaling the fence and didn't stop until he reached the top. The unusual celebration capped an extraordinary night at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart wins Pepsi 400 in dominating fashion (SportsTicker)

Stewart finally wins at Daytona (AP)
After numerous frustrating finishes, Tony Stewart finally won at NASCAR's most famous track.

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