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Alex Rodriguez to Play for United States (AP)
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez waves a Dominican flag after making a donation to UNICEF, in Yaguate, Dominican Republic, in this Jan. 6, 2005 photo. Rodriguez was among 60 players on the Dominican Republic's preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic but it wasn't immediately clear whether he would play.  (AP Photo/Walter Astrada)AP - Alex Rodriguez finally chose a side: He wants to wear stars and stripes. His allegiance torn between the Dominican Republic and United States, A-Rod made up his mind at last Tuesday night and decided he will participate in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the U.S. team.


Serena, Roddick Advance at Australian Open (AP)
Serena Williams of the United States goes after a shot during her second round match against Camille Pin of France at the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006. Williams won in straight sets 6-3 6-1. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)AP - Defending champion Serena Williams won her 16th consecutive match in the Australian Open on Wednesday, and second-seeded Andy Roddick also advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park.


Jets' Mangini NFL's Youngest Head Coach (AP)
New York Jets new head coach Eric Mangini speaks about becoming the the teams new head coach during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006, at the Jets training facility in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)AP - Eric Mangini steadied himself as he prepared to address a packed auditorium full of reporters and eager Jets employees. That was probably easy compared to the task awaiting him. Mangini became the youngest head coach in the NFL when the Jets hired him Tuesday, stealing him away from Bill Belichick and the Patriots.


No. 13 Indiana Edges No. 7 Illinois 62-60 (AP)
Indiana's Marco Killingsworth, right, puts up a shot over Illinois' James Augustine during the second half of a college basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006. Indiana defeated Illinois 62-60. Killingsworth finished with a team high 23 points. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)AP - Marco Killingsworth scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half to help No. 13 Indiana beat No. 7 Illinois 62-60 on Tuesday night.


Broncos Try to Stay Low With Bus in Town (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis carries Cleveland Browns linebacker Ben Taylor into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run during the first quarter in NFL action Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tom Puskar)AP - Every so often over the past 15 years or so, hard-hitting Broncos safety John Lynch has had to gird up for a confrontation — a rite of passage is more like it — that almost every defender must face at some point in his career: Tackling Jerome Bettis.


Saints Set to Hire Payton As Head Coach (AP)
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach Sean Payton is shown along the sideline during the NFC Championship game in this Jan. 14, 2001 file photo at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J..  The New Orleans Saints will hire Sean Payton, formerly a Dallas Cowboys assistant, to his first NFL head coaching job, a team official familiar with the decision said Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2005.     (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)AP - The New Orleans Saints will hire Dallas Cowboys assistant Sean Payton to his first NFL head coaching job, a team official familiar with the decision said Tuesday.


NBA Today (AP)
AP - Washington at Orlando (7 p.m. EST). Magic guard Steve Francis returns from his team-imposed, three-day suspension against the Wizards, who have won four straight.

Teixeira Gets $15.4 Million, Two-Year Deal (AP)
All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira, shown in this 2005 file photo, agreed to a $15.4 million, two-year contract Tuesday Jan. 17, 2006 with the Texas Rangers, avoiding salary arbitration this year and next. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)AP - All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira signed a $15.4 million, two-year contract with the Texas Rangers. Alfonso Soriano, his former teammate, asked the Washington Nationals for almost as much for one year.


D.C. United Sale Terminated (AP)
AP - The sale of D.C. United's operating rights for an MLS-record price of more than $25 million is off.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Atlanta at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST). Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk leads the league with 34 goals.

Make the right call, NFL
After the referees' mistake-filled weekend, it's time the NFL dug into its deep pockets to pay for full-time officials.

Mangini hired as Jets coach (AP)
Eric Mangini steadied himself as he prepared to address a packed auditorium full of reporters and eager Jets employees. That was probably easy compared to the task awaiting him. Mangini became the youngest head coach in the NFL when the Jets hired him Tuesday, stealing him away from Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Saints hire Cowboys' Payton as coach (AP)
The New Orleans Saints will hire Dallas Cowboys assistant Sean Payton to his first NFL head coaching job, a team official familiar with the decision said Tuesday. The Saints' official was speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the formal announcement wasn't expected until Wednesday.

Steelers' Cowher backs NFL officials (AP)
Following a trying weekend filled with reversals, replays and reprimands, NFL officials got a strong show of support from an unlikely source: Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Cowher not only refused to criticize the officials for reversing upon review a possible game-clinching interception by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu against the Colts -- the NFL later said the reversal was wrong -- he...

Jauron interviews for Bills coaching job (AP)
Interim Detroit Lions coach Dick Jauron interviewed for the Buffalo job Tuesday, the second candidate to talk to the Bills since coach Mike Mularkey's resignation last week. Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold did not provide any details of Jauron's interview. Jauron declined comment, referring questions to the Bills.

Niners name Turner offensive coordinator (AP)
Norv Turner is going back to what he does best, and his assistant-turned-boss is glad he chose the San Francisco 49ers. Turner, fired as coach of the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago, moved across San Francisco Bay to become the 49ers' offensive coordinator on Tuesday. Coach Mike Nolan hired his former boss with the Washington Redskins to replace Mike McCarthy, named the Green Bay Packers' head coach...

Seahawks RB Alexander expects to play (AP)
Shaun Alexander was feeling "loopy" on Saturday. By Monday, the NFL rushing leader was back in the loop for the Seattle Seahawks as they prepare for the NFC championship game against the Carolina Panthers. Two days after a concussion knocked Alexander out of Seattle's playoff win over Washington, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said he expects doctors to clear the star running back for practice...

Seahawks' Locklear charged with assault (AP)
Seattle Seahawks tackle Sean Locklear was charged with one count of assault on Tuesday for allegedly grabbing his girlfriend by the neck, and released without bail after a court appearance. A judge ordered Locklear to have no contact with his live-in girlfriend. He also must abstain from alcohol and other drugs while the case is pending.

Trial date set for wife of Colts' Harper (AP)
The wife of Indianapolis Colts cornerback Nick Harper will not face a felony battery charge for cutting him with a kitchen knife, a judge ruled. Daniell Harper, 31, still faces a criminal recklessness charge. She was released on $5,000 bond Tuesday after spending the weekend in the jail. Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp said the judge apparently did not allow the battery charge because Nick...

Browns fan to be jailed for Super Bowl (AP)
The fan who ran onto the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium during a Steelers-Browns game was sentenced Tuesday to spend Super Bowl weekend in jail. Nathan Mallett, 24, will begin his three-day sentence on Feb. 3 and won't be allowed to watch the Feb. 5 game on television or listen to it on radio. Municipal Court Judge Joan Synenberg ordered Mallett not to attend Browns games in Cleveland or any other...

A league of their own
A blowout of the Spurs in San Antonio provided more proof that the Pistons are playing at another level.

Kings get surprising 119-90 rout of Suns (AP)
Coach Rick Adelman had little to do in the fourth quarter while the Sacramento Kings put the final touches on a shockingly one-sided win over first-place Phoenix. Adelman did all his best work last week, when he finally convinced his players to play the intense defense that led to a blowout of the high-scoring Suns.

Apologetic Francis rejoins Magic (AP)
Steve Francis apologized to teammates, coaches and fans Tuesday as he rejoined the Orlando Magic following his two-game suspension for refusing to re-enter a blowout game late in the fourth quarter. Francis said all the right things in his return. He called his decision "not a smart or wise one," said he hoped to remain with the club after the Feb.

Kirilenko gets triple-double in Jazz win (AP)
Andrei Kirilenko spent much of the fourth quarter on the verge of his first career triple-double and the first for the Utah Jazz since 1999. When he finally got it, Kirilenko allowed himself a quick fist pump to celebrate before running back to play defense. Kirilenko finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Jazz to a 111-98 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, ending...

Lakers finally beat Shaq, Heat 100-92 (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal got the word from Hall of Famer Bill Russell to make peace with Kobe Bryant, just as Russell once did with Wilt Chamberlain. O'Neal followed Russell's advice. Bryant then went out and scored 12 of his 37 points in the last 8 1/2 minutes to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-92 victory over O'Neal and the Miami Heat on Monday night.

Knicks' Marbury doubtful for Bulls game (AP)
New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who hasn't missed a game due to injury in five years, is doubtful for Wednesday's game at Chicago because of a sprained left shoulder. Marbury was hurt in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss to Minnesota. X-rays after the game revealed no fracture, but Marbury's arm was in a sling Tuesday and he did not practice.

Lakers sign F Turiaf (AP)
Ronny Turiaf is back with the Los Angeles Lakers less than six months after having open-heart surgery. The 23-year-old power forward signed a deal Tuesday. "Of course, people would have some doubts about whether you could come back from open-heart surgery," he said during a conference call. "There is no worries.

Parker's 28 lead Spurs past Grizzlies (AP)
San Antonio guard Tony Parker showed the Memphis Grizzlies on why he leads the NBA in points in the paint. Parker scored 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting in the Spurs' 93-83 victory over the Grizzlies on Monday night. Eleven of Parker's field goals came on layups. After missing his seventh attempt, Parker grabbed the rebound and scored in the third quarter.

Pistons might have multiple All-Stars (AP)
The Detroit Pistons have had only one All-Star the past three seasons despite being one of the NBA's best teams. That may soon change. With the top record in the league, the Pistons might have multiple All-Stars next month for the first time in six years. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Detroit's entire starting five should be on the Eastern Conference team Feb.

Nowitzki helps Mavs beat Bucks 114-95 (AP)
Erick Dampier won't be getting back into the starting lineup for the Dallas Mavericks any time soon if the center keeps playing like this off the bench. A reserve for the second straight game after starting the first 36, Dampier had seven rebounds and two assists in his first five minutes to help the Mavericks take control early against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

Power rankings
The Power Rankings go west as Detroit leapfrogs two Eastern Conference teams to take the top spot.

'Canes beat Flyers, win eighth straight (AP)
Now that the Carolina Hurricanes are alone atop the NHL standings, maybe they'll get noticed. Rod Brind'Amour scored in the fourth round of a shootout to lift the surprising Hurricanes to their eighth straight victory, 4-3 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Erik Cole's breakaway goal for Carolina with 3:58 left in regulation sent it to overtime as the Flyers twice wasted two-goal leads...

Devils win, Brodeur moves past Esposito (AP)
Martin Brodeur climbed another rung on the victory list, even if he wasn't his usual dominant self. After surrendering a three-goal lead, Brodeur finished strong to break a tie with Hall of Famer Tony Esposito for fifth place on the NHL's career victory list in the New Jersey Devils' 5-3 victory over the St.

Avs top Leafs for eighth straight win (AP)
Skating well, winning games and perched in first place, things are finally starting to get back to normal again for the Colorado Avalanche. Milan Hejduk scored a pair of power-play goals 34 seconds apart to lift the Avs to their eighth straight win, a 5-3 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night that pushed them into a tie for the Northwest Division lead.

Power play revived, Lightning beat Kings (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning rediscovered their power play. The defending Stanley Cup champions scored twice with the man advantage to end an 0-for-40 drought and went on to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Tuesday night in the franchise's 1,000th regular-season game. "It feels good to be able to get some power-play goals," said Martin St.

Islanders defeat Blackhawks in OT 2-1 (AP)
Oleg Kvasha got the break he needed in overtime to lift the New York Islanders past the Chicago Blackhawks. Kvasha scored off a rebound at 3:02 of the extra period, and Rick DiPietro made 34 saves in the Islanders' 2-1 victory Tuesday night. "When the puck bounced in there, I skated into it and I held my stick so tight," Kvasha said.

Gainey leads Habs to second straight win (AP)
If nothing else, Bob Gainey has had a great impact on the Montreal Canadiens' special teams in two games behind the bench. Mike Ribeiro had two goals, and the Canadiens scored on their first three power-play opportunities to beat Dallas 4-2 Monday night and end the Stars' season-high, six-game winning streak.

Doan sues over claim of ethnic slur (AP)
Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan sued a member of Parliament on Tuesday, contending that Denis Coderre falsely accused him of making a slur against French speakers during an NHL game. Doan also demanded in the lawsuit filed in Quebec superior court that Coderre, a former sports minister, make a public retraction.

Report: Palffy to retire due to injury (AP)
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Ziggy Palffy will retire because of a lingering shoulder injury, a Slovak paper reported Wednesday. "I have agreed on all matters related to my retirement with the Pittsburgh management," Palffy told the Sport daily. "There is no point in suffering any longer." It was uncertain whether Palffy would retire immediately or at the end of the season.

Ovechkin scores twice, Caps beat Coyotes (AP)
When Wayne Gretzky admires a goal, that says something. "That was pretty sweet," the Great One said after Alex Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to a 6-1 rout of Coach Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. "You know, he's a phenomenal player, and he's been a tremendous influence in the game. It's great to see, because he is that good." Ovechkin had two goals, the second on an amazing flick of the...

Blowing in the wind
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – High winds might have slowed NASA on Tuesday, but NASCAR's preseason testing kept on flying.

Jarrett eyeing renewed success at Daytona (AP)
Former NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett has a new crew chief, a new car and a whole lot of hope as he prepares for the 2006 season.

France's Luc Alphand wins Dakar Rally, final stage not timed (AP)
French driver Luc Alphand won the Dakar Rally on Sunday after finishing the final non-timed leg of the race in Senegal. Alphand led heading into the final stage, which race organizers said would not be timed to honor two boys killed during the race. Alphand, a former ski champion, was clocked at 53 hours, 47 minutes, 32 seconds at the end of Saturday's penultimate stage.

Stewart hospitalized after flipping Midget car (SportsTicker)
TULSA, Oklahoma (Ticker) - Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized after flipping his car Friday night in qualifying for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.

NASCAR champ Stewart injures arm after flipping midget car (AP)
Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart injured his right arm after he flipped his car during a qualifying race for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

Dakar Rally support truck kills 12-year-old boy (AP)
For the second day in a row, a boy died after being hit by a vehicle involved in the Dakar Rally. A support truck hit and killed a 12-year-old boy Saturday, said organizers of the cross-continental road race -- which ends Sunday. The truck struck the boy during the 14th stage on a road reserved for support vehicles.

NASCAR asks judge to dismiss suit by Kentucky Speedway (AP)
COVINGTON, Ky. – NASCAR asked a federal judge Thursday to throw out Kentucky Speedway's $400 million...

Stewart sticking with the Colts (AP)
INDIANAPOLIS – In a Super Bowl showdown, Tony Stewart's NFL allegiance would lie with the Indianapolis...

Darlington zooms ahead with construction, sales (AP)
DARLINGTON, S.C. – For the first time in a long while, Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning can...

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