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Armstrong: Doping Claims 'Preposterous' (AP)
Two-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, gestures during a news conference in Paris about alleged doping by the U.S. Postal cycling team, as his lawyer Georges Kiejman looks on, in this April 9, 2001 file photo.   (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)AP - Lance Armstrong went on the offensive Wednesday, saying it was "preposterous" for the director of the Tour de France to suggest the seven-time champion "fooled" race officials and the sporting world by doping. He also took to task the French newspaper that accused him, the laboratory that released the urine samples in question and any officials of the Tour and sports ministries involved in putting the story together.


Royals Defeats Red Sox 4-3 in 11 Innings (AP)
Kansas City Royals center fielder David DeJesus (9) celebrates with Matt Stairs (1) after DeJesus hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)AP - Chip Ambres' sacrifice fly drove in David DeJesus with the winning run with one out in the 11th Wednesday night, lifting the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.


Blue Jays' Nine-Run Fifth Dooms Yankees (AP)
New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina hands the ball over to manager Joe Torre, left, as he leaves the game in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday night, Aug. 24, 2005 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Yankees' Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, right, look on. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - Vernon Wells hit a three-run homer off Mike Mussina in a nine-run fifth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 9-5 on Wednesday night to snap a five-game losing streak.


Patterson Leads Nationals Past Reds 5-3 (AP)
Washington Nationals starting pitcher John Patterson throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005, at RFK Stadium in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)AP - With Washington's pitching staff in disarray, John Patterson gave the Nationals exactly what they desperately needed: a long, strong outing.


Huggins Agrees to Quit as Cincinnati Coach (AP)
Bob Huggins leaves his lawyers office building, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005, in Cincinnati, after his lawyer said a tentative agreement had been reached for Huggins to leave his position as basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - Bob Huggins agreed Wednesday to step down as Cincinnati's basketball coach, ousted by a school president determined to change the program's image. One day after Huggins was given a choice of resigning or being fired, he agreed to take a $3 million buyout of his contract. The school's offer includes a chance to stay for three more months, giving advice on basketball recruits and related matters.


Agent: Birk Needs Assurances From Vikings (AP)
AP - Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk will try to play through the pain of a torn labrum in his hip this season if the team guarantees the Pro Bowler's contract for 2006, the player's agent said Wednesday night.

Pistons Sign Maurice Evans to Offer Sheet (AP)
AP - The Detroit Pistons signed Sacramento swingman Maurice Evans to a three-year, $4.5 million offer sheet Wednesday.

Schilling Says to Wipe Palmeiro's Records (AP)
Baltimore Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro reacts after a swing and a miss at a pitch during the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005, in Baltimore. Palmeiro flew out on the at-bat. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)AP - Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said Wednesday that Rafael Palmeiro has "no credibility" to talk about steroids, and the Baltimore slugger's achievements should be wiped from baseball's record books.


Galaxy Eliminate Earthquakes With 2-1 Win (AP)
Los Angeles Galaxy's Herculez Gomez, right, is congratulated by Jovan Kirovski, left, after scoring against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half of their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match at Spartan Stadium, in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday,  Aug. 24, 2005. (AP Photo/John Todd)AP - Herculez Gomez scored a pair of first-half goals and the Los Angeles Galaxy eliminated the San Jose Earthquakes from the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in the quarterfinal round.


Red Wings Sign Lilja, MacLean, Ellis (AP)
AP - The Detroit Red Wings signed veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja and centers Don MacLean and Matt Ellis on Wednesday.

2005 preview: Defensive backs
Ty Law may be coming back from foot surgery, but he's still the best cornerback in the business.

Niners honor Herrion at memorial service (AP)
Thomas Herrion was remembered as a wonderful friend and teammate Tuesday night at a memorial service for the San Francisco 49ers' offensive lineman who collapsed and died after a preseason game last week. About 500 people attended the service, including NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, union head Gene Upshaw and all of Herrion's teammates and coaches in San Francisco.

Franks, Packers agree to long-term deal (AP)
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Bubba Franks has some big plans to match his new contract. ``Before all is said and done, I want to be known as the best tight end in Packers' history, hands down,'' Franks said. ``Actually, I want to be known as the best tight end in the NFL. It's just a matter of being put in the right situation.

Grieving 49ers promote Rattay over Smith (AP)
Tim Rattay will be the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback for the season opener, reclaiming his job from No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith after just two preseason games. Coach Mike Nolan announced the decision Tuesday at the conclusion of the 49ers' first full practice following the death of offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, who collapsed in the locker room in Denver on Saturday night.

Eagles' Buckhalter out for season, again (AP)
A couple of framed jerseys sat on the floor inside Correll Buckhalter's locker, and a few others hung underneath a motivational quote typed on a white piece of paper. The Philadelphia Eagles' star-crossed running back won't be getting much use out of those jerseys and he'll certainly need more encouragement after having season-ending knee surgery for the third time in four years.

Chargers' Gates agrees to six-year deal (AP)
The Antonio Gates saga took another surprising turn Tuesday when the All-Pro tight end agreed to a six-year contract with the San Diego Chargers. Despite getting the long-term deal he wanted, Gates still has to sit out the final two exhibition games and the season-opener against Dallas on Sept. 11, his punishment for missing a team-imposed deadline for reporting to training camp.

Madden among Hall of Fame finalists (AP)
John Madden, a legendary coach and one of the NFL's best-known television personalities, was named a finalist on Wednesday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with former Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Rayfield Wright. The two, chosen by the Hall's seniors committee, will be joined by 13 other candidates from the modern era.

Troubled Phillips faces assault charges (AP)
Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips was charged Tuesday with multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two days after prosecutors say he drove into three teenagers who argued with him following a pickup football game. Phillips was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, the district attorney's office said.

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

Pistons sign Dale Davis to two-year deal (AP)
Dale Davis signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, adding depth to their frontcourt. ``He went to the finals once in Indiana, and he's really hoping to get back there with the Pistons,'' agent Chubby Wells said. ``He knows a lot of players on the team and (president of basketball operations) Joe Dumars, so he's really comfortable with the organization from top to...

Rockets sign G Derek Anderson (AP)
Free agent Derek Anderson signed with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday -- yet another addition in a busy offseason for the team. Anderson, a 6-foot-5 guard, was released by the Portland Trail Blazers under the NBA's amnesty provision. ``We think we've added another top-line piece of the puzzle and a great talent,'' general manager Carroll Dawson said.

Suns entourage makes case to Finley (AP)
The Phoenix Suns sent a six-person delegation, including three players, to meet with free agent guard Michael Finley in Chicago on Tuesday to try to persuade him to sign with the team that drafted him a decade ago. ``I think the meeting was productive,'' said Henry Thomas, Finley's agent, ``and Michael is still evaluating the teams that he is considering.'' Finley has narrowed his choices to...

Sonics match offer sheet on Wilkins (AP)
The Seattle SuperSonics re-signed restricted free agent Damien Wilkins on Wednesday, matching an offer sheet made by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wilkins signed the offer sheet from the Timberwolves last Thursday, and Seattle had seven days to respond. The deal is for five years and $15 million, Wilkins' agent Mark Bartelstein said.

Nowitzki allowed to play with Germany (AP)
Dirk Nowitzki has received permission from the Dallas Mavericks to join the German national team for warmup games before next month's European championship. Nowitzki had been practicing on his own, but Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban has said the forward can now start practicing and playing with his national team, the German basketball federation said Tuesday.

Aaron McKie agrees to join Lakers (AP)
Free-agent guard Aaron McKie, waived by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this month, has agreed to terms of a two-year, $5 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. McKie has averaged 7.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 11 seasons with Portland, Detroit and Philadelphia. He scored 4,143 points in seven-plus seasons with the 76ers, and won the 2001 Sixth Man of the Year award when he...

Wolves re-sign reserve F Eddie Griffin (AP)
Eddie Griffin re-signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Griffin, the seventh overall pick by New Jersey in the 2001 draft, revived his career last season by averaging 7.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 70 games. The versatile, 6-foot-10 Griffin signed with the Timberwolves during training camp, eight months after he was released by the Nets without playing a game for them because...

St. Louis signs six-year deal with Tampa (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning took another step to keep the core of their Stanley Cup championship team together Wednesday, signing Martin St. Louis to a six-year contract worth more than $31 million. The 30-year-old right wing had 38 goals and 56 assists for 94 points during the 2003-04 season to win the Hart Trophy as MVP, Art Ross Trophy (scoring leader) and Lester B.

Atlanta, Ottawa swap Heatley and Hossa (AP)
Dany Heatley returned to the ice and played through the memory of that awful night. But he never really got over it -- and didn't think he would as long as he played in Atlanta. Still haunted by the car crash that killed teammate Dan Snyder nearly two years ago, Heatley asked to be traded by the Thrashers.

Canucks re-sign Ohlund to four-year deal (AP)
The Vancouver Canucks avoided salary arbitration with Swedish defenseman Mattias Ohlund by re-signing him to a four-year, $14 million contract Wednesday. Ohlund had 14 goals and 20 assists in 82 games during 2003-04, the last NHL season before the lockout. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenseman averages more than 25 minutes of ice time, anchoring the penalty kill, playing the power play and matching up...

Mighty Ducks trade Rucchin, Leclerc (AP)
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks traded two longtime mainstays Tuesday, sending center Steve Rucchin to the New York Rangers and left wing Mike Leclerc to the Phoenix Coyotes. The 34-year-old Rucchin was dealt to the Rangers in exchange for left wing Trevor Gillies and a conditional pick in the 2007 NHL draft.

Selanne returns to Mighty Ducks (AP)
Right wing Teemu Selanne, the second-leading scorer in Anaheim history, returned to the Mighty Ducks on Monday. The 35-year-old free agent signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the team he played for from 1996-01. Selanne, a nine-time All-Star, has averaged 37 goals year in 12 NHL seasons. Since entering the league with Winnipeg in 1992, he has 452 goals.

Canucks acquire McCarthy from Blackhawks (AP)
The Vancouver Canucks acquired defenseman Steve McCarthy from the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday for a third-round pick in the 2007 draft. The 24-year-old McCarthy had a goal and three assists in 25 games for Chicago during the 2003-04 season. A former first-round pick -- 23rd overall in 1999, the 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman has three goals and 16 points in 134 NHL games in four seasons.

Mara accepts Coyotes' qualifying offer (AP)
Defenseman Paul Mara accepted Phoenix's $1.14 million, one-year qualifying offer and signed with the Coyotes on Monday, the earliest day his case could have been heard by an arbitrator. The 25-year-old Mara led the Coyotes in average ice time (23.36 minutes) and power-play assists (22) in 2003-04, posting overall numbers of six goals, 36 assists and 48 penalty minutes in 81 games.

Chase to the Chase: Bristol
We break down the contenders with just three races remaining until the Chase for the Nextel Cup cutoff.

Skinner dominates, wins NASCAR Trucks O'Reilly 200 (SportsTicker)

Hopes fading for Chase, Earnhardt focuses on future (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is done talking about the points standings. In fact, he claims he hasn't...

Darlington get NASCAR race for 2006 (AP)
Darlington Raceway's spot on the 2006 NASCAR schedule is signed, sealed and delivered. Track president Chris Browning said Wednesday that he has signed the sanctioning agreement to hold the Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 on May 13 and sent it on to NASCAR. Like this year, the race will be run the Saturday night before Mother's Day.

Teams lose points and pay fines for Michigan infractions (AP)
Ken Schrader's Nextel Cup team and the Busch series operation owned by Rusty Wallace were punished Tuesday by NASCAR for infractions Michigan International Speedway.

Crew chief Bainbridge hit with a fine a day after being fired (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Salt has been added to Blake Bainbridge's wounds.

City makes pitch to lure NASCAR Hall of Fame (AP)
The group trying to lure the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the city highlighted Richmond's roots in racing and diverse tourist attractions Tuesday when a delegation of NASCAR officials wrapped up their tour of possible locations.

Earnhardt to field Busch team (AP)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expanding his role as a car owner, announcing plans Tuesday to field a team in the Busch Series next season.

Akins Motorsports releases Busch Series rookie Walker (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Rookie Tyler Walker's rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series has been discontinued.

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