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D'backs Avoid 3-Game Sweep, Beat Cardinals (AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Claudio Vargas follows through  during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)AP - Claudio Vargas worked six solid innings and Luis Gonzalez homered twice, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.


Angels Rock Red Sox 13-4 in Series Opener (AP)
Los Angeles Angels' Juan Rivera watches his second three-run home run of the night against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP - Juan Rivera hit a pair of three-run homers, Bartolo Colon won his fifth straight decision, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Boston Red Sox 13-4 Thursday night in the series opener between AL division leaders.


Selig: Baseball Can Solve Steroid Problems (AP)
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig arrives for a baseball owners meeting in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday Aug. 17, 2005. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)AP - Describing himself as restless and disappointed, commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday he believes baseball can solve its steroids problem without help from Congress.


Monarchs Clinch Western Conference Title (AP)
San Antonio Silver Stars forward LaToya Thomas, left, has her shot blocked from behind by Sacramento Monarchs guard Hamchetou Maiga during the first half in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)AP - Kara Lawson scored a season-high 17 points and Rebekkah Brunson added 16 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Sacramento Monarchs clinch their first Western Conference title with a 64-57 win over the San Antonio Stars on Thursday night.


Coach Anne Donovan Hits 100-Win Milestone (AP)
Seattle Storm coach Anne Donovan, right, smiles as she is handed the game ball by team official Karen Bryant following the Storm's victory  over the Minnesota Lynx, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005, in Seattle. The Storm won, 76-60, giving Donovan her 100th career WNBA victory as a coach. Donovan became the first woman to reach that plateau. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)AP - Seattle's Anne Donovan became the first female coach in the WNBA to reach 100 wins, as Lauren Jackson had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Storm over the Minnesota Lynx 76-60 Thursday night.


Carolina Rookie QB Talks, Plays Like Jake (AP)
AP - They call Stefan LeFors "Baby Jake" in Carolina, a nod to his Louisiana upbringing and slight Cajun accent. He doesn't mind. After all, it's not such a bad thing to be compared to star quarterback Jake Delhomme.

Agent Says Christie Will Sign With Mavs (AP)
AP - Free agent guard Doug Christie plans to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, his agent said Thursday.

Red Sox Pitcher Hit in Ankle, Leaves Game (AP)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tim Wakefield falls to his knees after being hit in the right ankle by Los Angeles Angels' Casey Kotchman during the fifth inning Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005, in Anaheim, Calif. Wakefield was helped off the field.  (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP - Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield left his start against the Angels on Thursday night in the fifth inning after being hit in the right ankle.


U.S. Beats T&T 1-0 to Near World Cup Berth (AP)
Trinidad & Tobago's Stern John brings the ball in as the U.S. Men's National Team's Gregg Berhalter moves to defend in the first half of a World Cup qualifying match in East Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005.  (AP Photo/Bob Child)AP - All the United States has to do to qualify for its fifth straight World Cup is win one of its last four games.


Bertuzzi Impresses Team Canada Players (AP)
Team Canada players taking part in the Olympic minicamp wear the old and new jerseys during a scrimmage Canada's Olympic Men's Hockey Team orientation camp in Kelowna, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005. From left to right,  Keith Primeau  of the Philadelphia Flyers wears the current jersey while Kirk Maltby of the Detriot Red Wings, Ryan Smyth  of the Edmonton Oliers, and Scott Niedermayer of  the Anaheim Mighty Ducks all wear the tighter-fitting new jersey that was unveiled by Hockey Canada on August 17. Players chosen from the National Hockey League are in Kelowna for a four-day orientation camp as they prepare for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin.   (AP Photo/Jeff Bassett)AP - Shane Doan is no stranger to Todd Bertuzzi.


Quiet storm
PRESCOTT, Ariz. – How good is J.J. Arrington? Ask one of his teammates or coaches because he won't tell you.

Moss: I use marijuana 'every blue moon' (AP)
Randy Moss acknowledges that marijuana use has been a part of his life. He simply maintains it isn't now. ``It's in the past,'' the Oakland receiver said. Moss spoke Thursday after the Raiders practiced in Houston, addressing an interview with HBO's ``Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel'' where he seemed to indicate that he still smokes marijuana occasionally.

Childress: No hard feelings toward Owens (AP)
Brad Childress says he has no hard feelings toward Terrell Owens, whose disrespect for the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator was one reason the wide receiver was sent home from the team's training camp last week. After Owens was dismissed for a week by head coach Andy Reid, he said Childress was antagonistic and spiteful toward him.

Chargers issue ultimatum to TE Gates (AP)
The San Diego Chargers told Antonio Gates Thursday that he will be suspended for three games, including the season opener against Dallas, if he doesn't end his holdout by Saturday afternoon. In an attempt to break an impasse in negotiations for a multiyear deal, the Chargers sent Gates' agent, Andre Colona, a letter last Friday informing him of the ultimatum.

Bears make final offer to RB Benson (AP)
Upset and frustrated that running back Cedric Benson is still a holdout and the only first-round draft pick without a contract agreement, the Chicago Bears have made their final offer to the No. 4 pick. ``After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson,'' Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said in a...

Brady shakes off rust in Pats' loss (AP)
Tom Brady got off to a rough start. The rest of the Super Bowl champions didn't finish up too well. After throwing an interception on his first play of the preseason, Brady led the Patriots on two consecutive scoring drives, and Doug Flutie converted two more TDs on Thursday night before the New Orleans Saints rallied against the New England subs for a 37-27 exhibition victory.

Raiders starting LB Williams tears ACL (AP)
Oakland Raiders starting outside linebacker Sam Williams tore a knee ligament Thursday during a practice with the Houston Texans. Raiders coach Norv Turner said Williams tore an anterior cruciate ligament, but was unsure which knee was injured. Williams, a third-year player from Fresno State, was in nine games last season and started four.

More trouble with police for Chiefs (AP)
In a third embarrassing episode involving Kansas City Chiefs players this week, authorities in Minnesota said they quelled a disturbance involving backup quarterback Todd Collins. No charges were filed after the disturbance early Sunday at the Freight House in Stillwater, Minn., near the Chiefs' River Falls training camp.

Win-loss record
Cleveland ranks among the NBA's big offseason winners, while the Lakers have languished as one of its losers.

Agent says Christie to sign with Mavs (AP)
Free agent guard Doug Christie plans to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, his agent said Thursday. ``For us, it's been exactly what we wanted,'' agent Bradley Marshall told The Associated Press. Marshall said Christie likes the Mavericks style of play and believes his defensive skills make him a good fit for the team.

LeBron testifies about documentary (AP)
LeBron James testified Thursday he never gave a businessman approval to make a documentary about the basketball star's life. The testimony came in the third day of a $15 million trial involving entertainment producer Joseph Marsh, who is suing James. Marsh contends James, who went from high school to NBA rookie of the year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, broke a contract that cost the Akron...

Briant Grant signs 1-year deal with Suns (AP)
Free agent forward Brian Grant signed a one-year, $1.67 million contract Thursday with the Phoenix Suns. The 11-year NBA veteran called the decision to go to the Suns a ``no-brainer.'' He became the first of the players waived under the one-time ``amnesty clause'' to sign with another team. Grant was given an option for a second year.

Mourning to return to Heat (AP)
Miami center Alonzo Mourning announced Wednesday that he will return for another season with the Heat. The 35-year-old Mourning had been contemplating retirement since the Heat were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals two months ago. ``I remain more committed than ever to bring a championship to Miami,'' Mourning said in a statement released by the team.

Timberwolves sign Wilkins to offer sheet (AP)
The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Seattle forward Damien Wilkins to an offer sheet on Thursday. The Sonics have seven days to match the offer or let Wilkins, a restricted free agent, leave. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a rookie last season, Wilkins averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds. But he averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 25.2 minutes in the Western Conference semifinals against...

With Finley on market, interest is high (AP)
Michael Finley's arrival on the free agent market Tuesday had an impact on Latrell Sprewell, whose agent said he'll wait at least a week before signing in Detroit, Houston or elsewhere. The Mavericks' decision to waive Finley late Monday night changed the complexion of the free agent market, throwing a two-time All-Star into the mix at a time when the majority of NBA teams have already made most...

Sixers' Green will miss 6-to-9 months (AP)
Philadelphia 76ers restricted free agent Willie Green will miss six to nine months after undergoing successful surgery on his left knee Tuesday. The 6-foot-2 guard was scheduled to sign a $20 million, six-year contract, but the restricted free agent injured his knee in a pickup game. While contract terms were reached, the deal was never signed.

NHL reaches deal to put games on OLN (AP)
Get the clicker ready, hockey fans. The NHL is taking its games outside the traditional realm of sports television. The NHL announced Thursday it has reached a two-year deal that will put games on Outdoor Life Network, starting on opening night in October. OLN, mostly known for showing Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France, takes over hockey cable broadcasts from ESPN.

Cloutier signs 2-year deal with Canucks (AP)
Dan Cloutier signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Cloutier, the Canucks' No. 1 goalie, recorded a franchise-record three straight 30-win seasons and posted a better goals-against average and save percentage each season. But the 29-year-old Quebec native has only led Vancouver to one playoff series victory during that time.

Players happy Bertuzzi's on Team Canada (AP)
Shane Doan is no stranger to Todd Bertuzzi. The Phoenix Coyotes forward has had his share of tussles over the years with Bertuzzi, the rugged Vancouver Canucks forward who was recently reinstated to the NHL following a long suspension. But this week has been a relief for Doan, who found himself on the same line as Bertuzzi during Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp.

Carolina inks Vasicek to two-year deal (AP)
Josef Vasicek, who led Carolina in goals, points, games played and game-winning goals in 2003-04, signed a two-year deal with the Hurricanes on Thursday. The contract will pay him $1 million this season and $1.3 million in 2006-07, general manager Jim Rutherford said. ``Josef is coming off two very good seasons and is approaching the prime of his career,'' Rutherford said.

Goalie hopes to give NHL Japanese accent (AP)
Yutaka Fukufuji is ready to ride the buses in hockey's backwaters a few more years if that's what it takes to make the NHL. The Japanese goaltender signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings this month and will attend a rookie camp next month. If he doesn't stay with the Kings, he most likely will be assigned to their AHL farm team, the Manchester Monarchs.

Capitals re-sign Zubrus (AP)
Forward Dainius Zubrus re-signed with the Washington Capitals on Thursday, agreeing to a two-year contract. The Capitals also signed free agent right wing Matt Bradley and defenseman Jean-Francois Fortin. Zubrus, is eight-year NHL veteran acquired by the Capitals in a trade with Montreal in 2001. He had 12 goals and 15 assists for Washington in 2003-04.

Lecavalier deal the buzz of Olympic camp (AP)
On the ice, it was the same as always for the stars of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Martin St. Louis spun around in the corner and fed a perfect pass to linemate Vincent Lecavalier, who one-timed a blast past Roberto Luongo to give Team Red a 1-0 lead Wednesday over Team White at Canada's Olympic hockey camp.

Busch report: Hamlin and Yeley
There's more to Joe Gibbs Racing than Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte.

Kansas City, Kan., makes its case for NASCAR Hall of Fame (AP)
NASCAR officials became visitors to the state's biggest attractions Thursday as they worked to decide whether to add stock car racing's hall of fame to the mix.

Tony Eury Jr. to remain with DEI (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - Although Michael Waltrip will be leaving Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated at the end of the season, he won't be taking his crew chief with him.

McMurray tries to keep team support as he races for Chase (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jamie McMurray fell agonizingly short of qualifying for NASCAR's playoffs last season,...

Eury Jr. signs long-term contract to stay with DEI (AP)
Tony Eury Jr. signed a long-term contract extension Thursday with Dale Earnhardt Inc., opening the possibility the crew chief will reunite next season with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Parsons heading to Hall of Fame (AP)
Former NASCAR champion and current TNT/NBC television analyst Benny Parsons is among nine people who will be...

Tony Stewart racing in rarified air (AP)
Tony Stewart is in a zone rarely achieved in NASCAR. With five victories in the last seven races and his spot in...

NASCAR visits Charlotte to look at Hall of Fame bid (AP)
Touting a rich racing history and the city's role as NASCAR's current hub, Charlotte leaders presented their pitch Wednesday to build a hall of fame for the stock-car series.

Aikman's new NASCAR teams lands primary sponsor (AP)
DALLAS – Texas Instruments Inc. will be the primary sponsor for a NASCAR team run by former Dallas Cowboys...

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