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Albert Pujols Makes Homer History (AP)
AP - No one has started a major league career the way Albert Pujols has. The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman became the first player to hit 30 homers in each of his first five seasons. No. 30 came in the first inning Friday night and it helped the Cardinals to an 11-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves that ended John Smoltz's eight-game winning streak.

Red Sox Routed; White Sox Struggles (AP)
AP - The Boston Red Sox weren't too concerned about the lopsided loss that ended their eight-game winning streak. The Chicago White Sox's inability to develop a home-field advantage is starting to worry them.

Florida State to Challenge Ban on Mascots (AP)
AP - Fed up with what it considers "hostile" and "abusive" American Indian nicknames, the NCAA announced Friday it would shut those words and images out of postseason tournaments, a move that left some school officials angry and threatening legal action.

Michael Phelps Wins 27th National Title (AP)
AP - Michael Phelps defeated training partner Klete Keller by nearly a half-second to win the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Summer Nationals on Friday night. It was Phelps' 27th national individual title, moving him into a tie for seventh on the career list with Katherine Rawls, who competed from 1931-38. He said he plans to swim the 400 freestyle relay Saturday and skip Sunday's events.

Gagnon Wins X Games Skateboard Vert Title (AP)
AP - Pierre-Luc Gagnon broke away from Shaun White to win the X Games skateboard vert title Friday with a highly technical final run.

Jerome Bettis' Vacation May Be Over (AP)
AP - So much for Jerome Bettis' summer vacation. Bettis, starting his 10th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, expected to take it easy early this camp. Let Duce Staley take most of the carries as the No. 1 running back. Stay fresh for the playoffs.

Las Vegas to host 2007 all-star game (Reuters)
Reuters - Las Vegas was chosen as host for the 2007 NBA all-star game Friday, marking the first time the league's showcase event will be staged in a city without a team.

National League Leaders (AP)
AP - BATTING_DeLee, Chicago, .357; MiCabrera, Florida, .356; Pujols, St. Louis, .341; Alou, San Francisco, .328; BClark, Milwaukee, .320; NJohnson, Washington, .320; LCastillo, Florida, .315.

Correction: SOC-MLS-All-Star-Game Story (AP)
AP - In an July 29 preview of the Major League Soccer All-Star game, The Associated Press erroneously reported a conversation involving MLS Commissioner Don Garber at Crew Stadium. In response to Garber's question whether she was going to the game, a woman said she was buying tickets for a drum and bugle corps performance. She was incorrectly described as a ticket lady at the stadium.

Crosby to Miss Canadian Junior Team Camp (AP)
AP - Sidney Crosby will skip the Canadian junior national team development camp next weekend to attend the Pittsburgh Penguins' rookie orientation camp.

Loud and clear
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – The Bengals are letting Odell Thurman know just how vital the rookie linebacker is to their success.

Eagles WR Pinkston out for season (AP)
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston ruptured an Achilles' tendon in practice Friday and is out for the season. Pinkston injured his right ankle when he was tripped up on a route down the sideline. He remained down for several minutes before limping to the medical tent. A few hours after the injury, the team said he was out for the season.

Jim Kelly's son, Hunter, dies (AP)
Hunter Kelly, whose battle with a fatal nervous system disease inspired his Hall of Fame father Jim Kelly's charitable works, died Friday. He was 8. Hunter's doctor, Patricia Duffner, said he died of respiratory failure. Hunter's Hope Foundation released a statement saying the Kelly family is grateful for the support people have shown.

Bills, Packers play sold-out scrimmage (AP)
The sellout crowd at the scrimmage between the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills had to wait until after the game to see any fireworks Friday night. There just wasn't much offense on either side. About halfway through the 2-hour, 20-minute scrimmage, Brett Favre finally got the crowd of 62,492 pumped up by throwing three short touchdown passes in the span of four plays inside the Bills' 5-yard...

Raiders' Porter to miss preseason opener (AP)
Injured wide receiver Jerry Porter will not play in the team's preseason opener against San Francisco while he recovers from a pulled hamstring. Porter was hurt during a team scrimmage Monday. The sixth-year receiver limped off the field and an exam revealed the damage. Coach Norv Turner and Porter initially downplayed the severity of the injury, but the coach updated the prognosis Friday and said...

Jamal Lewis' return to Ravens delayed (AP)
Jamal Lewis' return to the Baltimore Ravens hit a snag Thursday over technicalities regarding his probation on a federal drug conspiracy charge. The former All-Pro running back was released from an Atlanta halfway house Tuesday. He was expected to report to the Ravens on Thursday, but his lawyer Jerome Froelich, said Lewis has to meet with his probation officer in Atlanta.

Courtney Brown out with dislocated elbow (AP)
Broncos defensive lineman Courtney Brown dislocated his left elbow Thursday, a setback that is expected to keep him out three to six weeks and adds yet another to a long list of injuries that have hampered his career. Brown was injured in the morning practice at Denver's training camp, at the end of a play during which he was trying to strip the ball from a player ``and his arm kind of got...

Colts RB James a happy camper in Japan (AP)
Now that he's in Japan, Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James is finding out things aren't so bad after all. The three-time Pro Bowler threatened not to take the long, 14-hour flight to Japan for Saturday's American Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, but Friday said he's glad he made the trip.

Heat of the moment
The clock is ticking on Shaq's health. That's why Pat Riley felt compelled to shake up Miami's roster.

LeBron hires Leon Rose as new agent (AP)
Cavaliers All-Star forward LeBron James, who fired agent Aaron Goodwin shortly after last season, has hired Leon Rose to represent him, a spokesman for the NBA Players Association said Friday. On Thursday, the player's union received a standard player-agent contract in the mail signed by James and Rose, spokesman Dan Wasserman said.

Vegas will host 2007 NBA All-Star game (AP)
The NBA is going ``all-in'' with its All-Stars. The 2007 NBA All-Star game is headed to Las Vegas, the first time a city without a franchise has been chosen to host the event. The festivities will take place just off the Strip, at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus. Commissioner David Stern called it ``a merger between the basketball capital of the world and the entertainment capital of the...

Lakers' Turiaf cancels news conference (AP)
Los Angeles Lakers second-round draft pick Ronny Turiaf, who underwent open-heart surgery last month, canceled a news conference Friday because he did not feel well. Turiaf was chosen 37th in the NBA draft out of Gonzaga and had surgery July 26 to repair an enlarged aortic root that was discovered in a post-draft physical exam.

Grizzlies sign guard Damon Stoudamire (AP)
Guard Damon Stoudamire on Friday signed a four-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, who traded Jason Williams and Bonzi Wells earlier this week. The 10-year veteran spent the past eight seasons in Portland. He is coming off his best season with the Trail Blazers, averaging 15.8 points and 5.7 assists and shooting 91.5 percent from the foul line.

Abdur-Rahim fails physical, deal on hold (AP)
The New Jersey Nets' trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Shareef Abdur-Rahim has been put on hold after the veteran forward failed to pass a physical. The Nets did not disclose the nature or cause of the problem, but said the injury in question was one that neither the team nor Abdur-Rahim was aware of.

Hawks' ownership rift headed to court (AP)
A power struggle among the Atlanta Hawks' owners heads to court next week, overshadowing attempts in the offseason to improve the team with the fewest wins in the NBA last season. Owner Steve Belkin of Boston has obtained a restraining order preventing his co-owners from removing him as the team's NBA governor.

Ray Allen signs extension with Sonics (AP)
Ray Allen listened to pitches from Cleveland, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Clippers and others. In the end, the All-Star guard decided staying with the Seattle SuperSonics was the right choice for him. ``I wanted someone to say something to knock me off my feet. And I was very disappointed,'' Allen said Wednesday after signing a five-year contract extension with the SuperSonics.

Chicago signs Khabibulin for $27 million (AP)
Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin signed a four-year, $27 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, leaving the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Khabibulin played in 55 regular-season games for the Lightning during 2003-04, posting a 28-19-7 record with three shutouts, a 2.33 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.

Kariya signs 2-year deal with Predators (AP)
The Nashville Predators fought for a fair labor deal for small market teams to help them compete in the NHL. They followed through with the biggest signing in the expansion franchise's short history. Paul Kariya signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Predators on Friday. It's the left-wing's third team in three seasons, and he becomes Nashville's biggest scoring threat yet.

Lemieux group to keep Penguins (AP)
Don't remove the owner's tag from Pittsburgh Penguins owner-player Mario Lemieux's title just yet. In an about-face brought about partly by the team drafting Canadian super prospect Sidney Crosby, the Penguins said Friday that Lemieux's group will retain its majority ownership. William ``Boots'' DelBiaggio, a San Jose-based businessman who was to buy a majority stake, will instead buy a minority...

Flyers trade Roenick to Kings (AP)
Jeremy Roenick is going Hollywood. The Philadelphia Flyers made salary-cap room for Peter Forsberg by trading the outspoken Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Los Angeles also receives a 2006 third-round draft pick the Flyers acquired from Nashville. Philadelphia gets future considerations from the Kings and space under the $39 million cap to clear the way for Forsberg.

Capitals, Ovechkin agree to 3-year deal (AP)
Alexander Ovechkin, the No. 1 pick in last year's NHL draft, agreed to a three-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday. The 19-year-old left winger opted out of a deal with a Russian club last month so he could join the Capitals. Financial terms were not immediately released, but Ovechkin's annual salary in this entry-level contract can't exceed $984,200 based on the league's new...

Scott Niedermayer joins brother on Ducks (AP)
Scott Niedermayer's desire to play with his brother Rob on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks was worth more than anything the New Jersey Devils could offer. Niedermayer, the Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman in 2003-04, chose family over money Thursday, turning down a deal with the Devils that would have paid him more than his four-year, $27-million contract with the Ducks.

Bruins introduce Leetch, sign Zhamnov (AP)
Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell had just finished showing off free agent Brian Leetch on Thursday when team president Harry Sinden inquired prophetically, ``Did Mike announce anything else today?'' Three hours later, the Bruins confirmed they had agreed to terms with center Alexei Zhamnov on a three-year deal, continuing the transformation of what had been one of the NHL's most reluctant...

McMurray chasing the Chase
INDIANAPOLIS – Last year, Jamie McMurray was close. This year, he's even closer.

Biffle looks to regain winning touch at Indy (AP)
It's been five races since Greg Biffle last visited Victory Lane.

Setzer wins Power Stroke Diesel 200 (SportsTicker)

Rain washes out practice at Allstate 400 (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

Rain washes out track activity at Indianapolis (AP)
Rain washed out all track activity Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, disrupting race preparations for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Busch brothers hope to turn Brickyard into the "Busch Series" (SportsTicker)
INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) - Defending NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and his younger brother Kyle are hoping to turn Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard into their own version of the NASCAR "Busch Series."

Notes: Said aiming to add Indy to resume (AP)
Boris Said has raced at most of the world's most famous racetracks, including Daytona International Speedway and...

Stewart heads back to Indy searching for elusive win (AP)
Tony Stewart isn't kidding when he says he'd trade every win and every trophy for just one victory at...

New Ford Cup car gets first track test (AP)
Dale Jarrett gave the Ford Fusion, the automaker's proposed NASCAR Nextel Cup entry for 2006, its first on-track test.

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