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O's Palmeiro Still 1 Away From Hitting 3K (AP)
AP - Rafael Palmeiro will have to wait at least one more day. The Baltimore first baseman moved within one hit of 3,000, Daniel Cabrera pitched a two-hitter through eight innings and the Orioles opened the second half with a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

Vazquez Helps D'backs Shut Out Padres 6-0 (AP)
AP - Javier Vazquez was brilliant again, pitching eight sharp innings while getting two hits and scoring a run as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 6-0 Thursday night.

Rich Harden Helps A's Shut Out Rangers 6-0 (AP)
AP - Rich Harden carried a perfect game into the eighth inning Thursday night, finishing with a masterful two-hitter in the Oakland Athletics' 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Canada Beats U.S. Women in Softball 2-1 (AP)
AP - The United States was beaten in an international softball game for the first time since 2002, losing 2-1 to Canada in the inaugural World Cup of Softball on Thursday night.

Armstrong Keeps Tour Lead, Loses Teammate (AP)
AP - Not everything went according to plan for Lance Armstrong on Thursday at the Tour de France. The American retained his overall lead on the last of three days in the Alps. The loss of Manuel Beltran, however, could be critical in the upcoming Pyrenees.

Former NFL Player Gets 15 Years for Crash (AP)
AP - Former NFL player Darion Conner was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for killing a bicyclist while he was driving drunk.

Brown Confident Pistons Will Have Him Back (AP)
AP - With only the slightest of hedges, Larry Brown said Thursday he's "confident" the Detroit Pistons will bring him back as their head coach for the 2005-06 season.

Jones Gets Two Hits in Second Rehab Game (AP)
AP - Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones had two hits in his second game of a rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Thursday night.

Sao Paulo Wins 3rd Copa Libertadores Title (AP)
AP - Striker Luizao scored and set up another goal to help Sao Paulo defeat Atletico Paranaense 4-0 and win its third Copa Libertadores title on Thursday.

NHL to Introduce New Drug-Testing Policy (AP)
AP - The NHL is set to introduce a new drug-testing policy with stiff penalties for players who test positive for performance-enhancing substances, The Canadian Press reported Thursday.

Six Points: Most improved
Miami, Oakland and Kansas City made significant upgrades but aren't the NFL's most improved team.

Titans' top pick 'Pacman' arrested (AP)
Tennessee Titans top draft pick Adam ``Pacman'' Jones surrendered to police Wednesday on charges of assault and felony vandalism stemming from a fight at a nightclub. Jones was released from custody after posting bond. He did not comment to reporters as he left the jail. His agent, Michael Huyghue, said in a statement that Jones had been advised not to comment and the cornerback regretted any...

USC's Wright goes to Dolphins (AP)
Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright was chosen by the Miami Dolphins on Thursday in the fifth round of the NFL's supplemental draft. Wright, who was entering his junior season, was the only player chosen in the draft. He was eligible because he is three years out of high school. ``We believe we have gotten great value from our supplemental pick by adding a player of Manuel's talent to...

Cowboys trade CB Hunter to Jets for pick (AP)
The Dallas Cowboys traded cornerback Pete Hunter to the New York Jets on Thursday for a conditional draft pick. Hunter played in only three games last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He asked for a trade following the 2004 season, after sliding on the depth chart behind free-agent acquisitions Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn, and Terence Newman.

Redskins' Taylor can travel before trial (AP)
A judge allowed Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor to travel to training camp, and state prosecutors did not offer a plea deal Tuesday at a court hearing to discuss charges the player pointed a gun during a dispute over an all-terrain vehicle. Taylor and his father appeared at a court hearing during which prosecutors restated they were charging him with a single felony count of aggravated...

Chiefs CB Warfield suspended four games (AP)
Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield has been suspended for the first four games of the 2005 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The 29-year-old was arrested Sept. 20, 2004 in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan. Police said Warfield had a blood alcohol level of .189 percent, more than double the state's .08 percent legal limit.

Dolphins TE McMichael arrested (AP)
Miami Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael is facing charges for the second time in 13 months for allegedly hitting his wife. McMichael was arrested early Saturday morning in Columbia County after witnesses told police that he had given his wife, Cawanna, a bloody nose. The 26-year-old McMichael was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center, where he was charged with simple battery and criminal...

Courtney Brown tries again with Broncos (AP)
Scanning the dozens of players warming up and going through drills on a hot, summer day, it is easy to pick out Courtney Brown. He is the most impressive physical specimen on the field. That story is the same this year with the Denver Broncos as it was the last five in Cleveland and the four before that at Penn State and probably the four before that at Macedonia High in South Carolina.

What's the deal?
Find out which free agents are staying and going and which teams are looking to make a move.

Brown expects to return to Pistons (AP)
With only the slightest of hedges, Larry Brown said Thursday he's ``confident'' the Detroit Pistons will bring him back as their head coach for the 2005-06 season. ``I'm confident I'll be back, but you never know,'' Brown told The Associated Press. ``Whatever happens will be for the best of the franchise, and that's the important thing.'' Brown's agent, Joe Glass, and team president Joe Dumars...

Wizards to trade Kwame Brown to Lakers (AP)
Kwame Brown is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent said Thursday. Arn Tellem confirmed a published report that Brown, the first overall selection in the 2001 NBA draft, will be involved in a trade between the Lakers and Washington Wizards. ``It's Kwame's intention to sign a contract with the Wizards on the first day possible and be traded to the Lakers,'' Tellem said.

Mobley agrees to deal with Clippers (AP)
Cuttino Mobley, one of the NBA's most accurate outside shooters, will play for the Los Angeles Clippers next season, his agent said Thursday. ``An agreement has been reached,'' Andy Miller said from his office in Tenafly, N.J. Miller wouldn't divulge terms, but it's believed the parties agreed to a five-year deal worth around $42 million.

Haslem, Heat agree to five-year deal (AP)
Udonis Haslem got his wish. He's staying home. With work on Shaquille O'Neal's multiyear deal to stay in Miami progressing nicely, the Heat have completed another of their top offseason tasks. Haslem, the team's starting power forward, said Wednesday he's agreed to a five-year contract that could be worth more than $33 million.

Reports: Knicks sign C Jerome James (AP)
The New York Knicks and free-agent center Jerome James agreed to a five-year deal, according to several media reports. Marc Fleisher, James' agent, confirmed the approximately $29 million deal Wednesday, but the contract can't be signed until the free-agent signing period begins on July 22. ``They approached us on the first day of free agency and told us they had a lot of interest,'' Fleisher told...

Bucks give C Gadzuric six years, $36M (AP)
The Milwaukee Bucks are spending the big bucks this summer. Dan Gadzuric's agent said the 6-foot-11 center will sign a six-year, $36 million contract to stay with the Bucks once the league-wide moratorium on player movement ends later this month. That means the Bucks have committed some $200 million in player contracts since July 2.

Hawks sign No. 2 pick Marvin Williams (AP)
The Hawks signed No. 2 overall draft pick Marvin Williams on Tuesday. The North Carolina forward, Atlanta's highest selection since picking first in 1975, is the last of the top 10 draft picks to sign. The 6-foot-9 Williams played one year for the NCAA champion Tar Heels before leaving early for the draft.

Luke Walton will return to Lakers (AP)
Restricted free-agent forward Luke Walton will return to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Walton's agent, Lon Babby, said Thursday that Walton ``is committed to return, and they're committed to him.'' NBA teams aren't allowed to make contract announcements until a moratorium ends July 22. ``It will be a two-year deal,'' Babby said from his Washington, D.C., office.

Vegas OKs bid for 2007 NBA All-Star game (AP)
Tourism officials have approved a $4.5 million bid to host the NBA All-Star game in 2007, hoping to persuade the league to make Las Vegas the first city without a team to hold the event. The board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority authorized the bid during a meeting Tuesday. Memphis, Tenn., is the only other city with a confirmed interest in hosting the All-Star weekend in 2007 or...

Game on!
The NHL's owners and players finally reached labor peace. Let the games and damage control begin.

NHL to have new drug-testing policy (AP)
The NHL is set to introduce a new drug-testing policy with stiff penalties for players who test positive for performance-enhancing substances, The Canadian Press reported Thursday. Under the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, which still needs ratification, a league source told CP that players would be subject to a minimum of two drug tests a year without advance...

Robinson to return to coach Devils (AP)
Larry Robinson has already experienced the highs and lows as coach of the New Jersey Devils. That made him an easy, short-notice choice to replace the ailing Pat Burns. Robinson, who led the New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup title in 2000 but was fired less than two years later, returned Thursday as coach of the team.

Babcock agrees to become Red Wings coach (AP)
The new-look Detroit Red Wings will have a new-look coach. Mike Babcock, who led the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals two years ago, agreed to terms Thursday and will replace Dave Lewis in a time of transition for both the NHL and the Red Wings. For the past decade, Detroit has been a team of future Hall of Famers with hefty paychecks.

NHL, union reach deal in principle (AP)
The NHL is about to find out if it was missed. Rebounding from an entire season lost to a lockout, hockey players and owners reached a long-awaited agreement Wednesday that virtually ensures the NHL will be back on the ice in the fall. It's not the deal players' association executive director Bob Goodenow wanted when he took on this fight, but the union is expected to approve it.

Ray rips Goodenow for misleading players (AP)
Former Sabres enforcer Rob Ray is unhappy with the players' association, not only because the union denied him benefits and a monthly stipend during the lockout. Ray accused players' association executive director Bob Goodenow of misleading players into believing they could avoid a salary cap in a new collective bargaining agreement.

IIHF think NHLers will be at Olympics (AP)
Ice hockey's governing body is optimistic that NHL players will play at the Turin Olympics next year. The NHL and the players' association reached an agreement in principle on a six-year labor deal Wednesday. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said Thursday he doesn't know whether the agreement includes a clause about NHL participation in the Olympics, but he said a decision...

Roenick: Terms bad, but deal welcome (AP)
Philadelphia Flyers center Jeremy Roenick said Wednesday that he's glad the NHL lockout is finally coming to an end even though the owners got the best deal and players will make less money. ``To be totally honest, I really don't care what the deal is anymore. All I care about is getting the game back on the ice,'' Roenick told The Associated Press by telephone.

Busch report
Clint Bowyer knows the expectations that come from driving the No. 2 Chevy.

Ford introduces Fusion as new model on NASCAR circuit (AP)
Ford Motor Co. unveiled a prototype Thursday of the model that will replace its Taurus on the NASCAR circuit.

Kentucky Speedway sues NASCAR (AP)
Kentucky Speedway filed suit Wednesday against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., alleging the companies have violated federal antitrust laws by illegally restricting the awarding of Nextel Cup races.

Changing times: Track to go partly smoke-free at fall Cup race (AP)
First, NASCAR traded smokes for cell phones for sponsorship of its top series. Now, one of the circuit's biggest tracks is going partly smokeless.

Fans could shun A1 GP series after Indianapolis F1 fiasco: official (AFP)
US spectators may shy away from the inaugural A1 GP series after last month's Formula One fiasco at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, a senior official said.

Five crew chiefs fined for Chicago infractions (AP)
NASCAR fined the crew chief for Johnny Sauter $15,000 on Monday after Sauter's car failed inspection at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR fines five crew chiefs combined $38,000 (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Five Nextel Cup crew chiefs were fined a combined $38,000 by NASCAR on Monday for violations prior to the Pepsi 400 earlier this month.

Earnhardt gets big win at Chicagoland (AP)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. spun his tires while the sellout crowd of about 100,000 howled in approval. Through the clouds of thick, white smoke, it was clear to see that this victory was a long time coming.

Earnhardt Jr. wins USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicago (SportsTicker)

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