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Shelton Strikes Again, Tigers Win Again (AP)
Detroit Tigers' Mike Maroth pitches in the third inning against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Friday, April 7, 2006. (AP/David Pellerin)AP - Chris Shelton has five homers in his first four games, a pace he knows he won't be able to maintain over the long haul. For now, he's just trying to keep it going for as long as possible.


Turnbow Saves Another As Brewers Stay Hot (AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks' Conor Jackson, left, is out at second as Milwaukee Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy  throws to first base  to complete a double play on a ball hit by Shawn Green during the fourth inning of their baseball game , Friday  April 7, 2006, in Milwaukee.   (AP Photo/ Ron Kuenstler)AP - Dave Bush worked out a little harder in the offseason, knowing he wasn't assured of a spot in his new team's starting rotation. It shows.


Packers' Favre to Announce Plans Saturday (AP)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre goes back to pass during a game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)AP - Brett Favre has scheduled a news conference for Saturday morning, and a family spokeswoman said he's expected to announce whether he'll return to play for the Green Bay Packers this season.


Chad Campbell Surges Into Lead at Masters (AP)
Chad Campbell hits to the 17th hole during second round play of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., Friday, April 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)AP - The calendar says April. The azaleas and swirling wind down at Amen Corner whisper Augusta National. Everything else about this Masters, though, looks like a U.S. Open.


Dodgers' Eric Gagne Out 6-To-8 Weeks (AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Grady Little, center, confers with relief pitcher Franquelis Osoria, right, as catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. listens during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 5, 2006, in Los Angeles. The Braves won 9-8. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)AP - Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne will miss six to eight weeks after having surgery Friday to remove a nerve from his pitching elbow.


Young Thinks He Could Still End Up a Texan (AP)
AP - Vince Young isn't daunted by recent speculation that the Houston Texans will use the No. 1 pick in the draft on Reggie Bush.

Mavericks Win Showdown With Spurs, 92-86 (AP)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, shoots over San Antonio Spurs defender Tony Parker (9), of France during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Friday, April 7, 2006. Dallas won 92-86. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - The Dallas Mavericks downplayed their big victory over the San Antonio Spurs in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference.


Marrero, Atkins Heat Up Rockies on Road (AP)
Colorado Rockies' Eli Marrero follows through with his swing as he watches his run-producing double head into the left field corner in the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres,  Friday, April 7, 2006, in San Diego.   The Rockies had five consecutive hits in the four-run sixth inning. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)AP - The Colorado Rockies brought a touch of Coors Field with them to Petco Park. Eli Marrero drove in four runs on four hits, including a homer, and Josh Fogg won his Colorado debut as the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 10-4 Friday night.


Belgian Soccer Player Dies in Vietnam (AP)
AP - Police in southern Vietnam are investigating the death of a Belgian soccer player who was found in his bed with stab wounds in the chest.

Hurricanes Beat Capitals 4-3 at Home (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes' Rod Brind'Amour (17), and Mike Commodore (22) celebrate a goal by Justin Williams, center, against the Washington Capitals during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, April 7, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)AP - The Washington Capitals had Alexander Ovechkin and a whole lot of power plays to work with. Yet it was the Carolina Hurricanes who kept taking advantage.


Read and React: Go take a Lambeau Leap, Brett
Because Brett Favre only wants to play for a winner, readers want the Packers' quarterback to get lost.

Packers QB Favre to announce plans (AP)
Brett Favre has scheduled a news conference for Saturday morning, and a family spokeswoman said he's expected to announce whether he'll return to play for the Green Bay Packers this season. Becky Stuart, a personal assistant to the Favre family, said the news conference would be held at 8:30 a.m. EDT at Favre's charity golf tournament at the Cottonwoods Golf Course at Grand Casino Resort in Tunica,...

T.O. returns to Philadelphia on Oct. 8 (AP)
Philadelphia fans will get their chance to boo Terrell Owens a month into the 2006 NFL season. Owens, suspended and then benched by the Eagles last season, will return on Oct. 8 with the Dallas Cowboys in one of the highlight games of the NFL schedule, released Thursday. Owens was let go by Philadelphia and signed by Dallas a month ago.

Saints hold minicamp in New Orleans (AP)
Lounging in a black fold-out chair decorated with a gold fleur-de-lis, Richard Pleming wore a Saints jersey and watched Joe Horn sprint by on a pass route. This was what he loved about New Orleans, and what he feared would be relegated to memory after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to large parts of the metro area last August, sending the Saints to a temporary home in Texas.

Vikings QB Johnson remains confident (AP)
Brad Johnson has experienced plenty in his 14 NFL seasons, so if Minnesota brings in another quarterback yet this spring he vows to handle it the same way he has everything else. With a shrug and a smile. "I've been around too many different situations. I just love to play," Johnson said Friday, after the Vikings finished the first day of a veteran minicamp.

Bills CB Clements a no-show at minicamp (AP)
Nate Clements was a no-show when the Buffalo Bills opened a voluntary minicamp Friday because he failed to accept a one-year contract as the team's franchise player. New coach Dick Jauron said it was important for the star cornerback to attend camp to learn the new defensive system Jauron and coordinator Perry Fewell are implementing.

Young still thinks he could be Texan (AP)
Vince Young isn't daunted by recent speculation that the Houston Texans will use the No. 1 pick in the draft on Reggie Bush. The former Texas quarterback said Friday he still thinks his hometown team is open to drafting him. "That's why I believe that I came here today," Young said. "You never know what is going on.

Reggie Bush visits Texans in Houston (AP)
Reggie Bush hasn't asked the Houston Texans whether they will use the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to choose him, but he's 99.9 percent certain he'll go first. The double-talk was dizzying during the Heisman Trophy-winning running back's first visit to Houston on Thursday to meet with coaches and players.

Nuggets' split personality
DENVER – The Nuggets can perform like a playoff team and look like a lottery loser all in the same game.

Magic top short-handed Pistons 89-87 (AP)
Chauncey Billups outplayed Orlando's backcourt for almost all of the fourth quarter -- until the very end. Jameer Nelson hit two last-minute shots, the second a fadeaway jumper with 6.5 seconds left, and Hedo Turkoglu had 26 points and seven rebounds to help the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 89-87 Friday night.

Kobe's 51 not enough in Lakers loss (AP)
Kobe Bryant can score all the points he wants as far as the Phoenix Suns are concerned, as long as they come away with the victory. Bryant's 51 points weren't enough to keep the Suns from beating the Los Angeles Lakers for the seventh time in a row, 107-96, on Friday night in a matchup of potential first-round playoff opponents.

NBA fines Shaq $15,000 (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal was fined $15,000 Friday for criticizing referees and an NBA senior vice president after the Miami center was for called for five fouls in the Heat's loss to New Jersey. "That was the most ridiculous game I've ever been part of," O'Neal said after the 90-78 loss Sunday. "When you got a guy like Stu Jackson at the top, it shows why referees are the way they are.

Kings make it 13 straight over Clippers (AP)
The Los Angeles Clippers were less than 3 minutes away from clinching their first playoff berth in nine seasons and had a four-point lead. Ron Artest and the Sacramento Kings had other ideas. Artest scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to offset Sam Cassell's late scoring spree and Mike Bibby had 30 points, leading the Kings to a 96-93 victory on Friday night.

Pistons G Hamilton to miss game (AP)
Detroit scoring leader Richard Hamilton missed the Pistons' game against Orlando on Friday night because of a death in his family. Hamilton flew home to Tulsa, Okla., for the services directly from Miami, where Detroit beat the Heat 95-82 Thursday night. The guard is averaging 20 points, three rebounds and three assists for the NBA-leading Pistons.

Pierce, Green lift Celtics by 76ers (AP)
Allen Iverson squirmed in his seat, tugged his jersey and rubbed his eyes. The Philadelphia star appeared about as uncomfortable answering questions as the 76ers have looked in the playoff race. Coach Maurice Cheeks tapped the table, coming up empty in a search for words. He remained seated, head in hands as reporters left and the room went dark.

Knicks' Crawford beats buzzer again (AP)
Jamal Crawford was rattling off the list of his game-winning baskets before the Knicks' game on Friday night. Time to update it. Crawford hit his second winning basket in three nights, making a jumper with 0.5 seconds left to help New York beat the Indiana Pacers 98-96 on Friday night. "I love that moment.

Hawks overcome Arenas, Wizards (AP)
Josh Smith is showing there is more to his game than power dunks and blocked shots. Smith led a balanced scoring attack with 25 points as the Atlanta Hawks, who had seven players score in double figures, beat Washington 114-101 Friday night, ending an eight-game losing streak against the Wizards. Smith, continuing to gain confidence in his 3-point shot, is emerging as a more dangerous scorer in his...

Boozer keeps Jazz in playoff hunt (AP)
If Minnesota Timberwolves fans had a hard time putting up with all the losing during the first 75 games of this season, these last six are REALLY going to be rough. Carlos Boozer had 30 points and nine rebounds and Mehmet Okur had 19 points and 13 boards to lead the Utah Jazz to a 103-95 victory over the Timberwolves on Friday night in the first game of Minnesota's youth movement.

Power rankings
Not much changes atop the Power Rankings as the most important races are for the remaining playoff spots.

Hurricanes move atop Eastern Conference (AP)
If the Carolina Hurricanes have scoring chances they are going to attack the net, even if they down a man. That aggressive play paid off Friday night as Carolina scored a franchise-record three short-handed goals -- including two from Justin Williams -- and moved into a first-place tie atop the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Flyers top Sabres, clinch playoff spot (AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers gained more than just a playoff berth against the Buffalo Sabres. After the Flyers clinched a postseason spot Friday night with a 4-2 victory over the Sabres, Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock and his players agreed that a swagger -- especially against potential playoff opponent Buffalo -- is also starting to emerge.

Red Wings overcome Nash, Blue Jackets (AP)
The Detroit Red Wings barely pulled out a win against a team long eliminated from the playoff race. Tomas Holmstrom scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to lift Detroit -- the NHL's top team -- to a 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. The Red Wings blew a 4-1, second-period lead and saw second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg leave the game in the second period with an...

Senators' Hasek hopes for playoff return (AP)
Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek practiced without pads Friday and hopes to return for the playoffs after missing nearly two months with a groin injury. Though there is no timetable for his return, an upbeat Hasek all but guaranteed he'd be ready to go for the postseason, although he wouldn't make any predictions on his return before then.

Flames' Kiprusoff sets wins record (AP)
As he lay flat on the ice being mobbed by his teammates, Tony Amonte could only laugh at how he ended the longest scoring drought of his NHL career. Amonte's flukey goal just 1:37 in opened the scoring, then he assisted on Jamie Lundmark's winner late in the third period as the Calgary Flames escaped with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

Penguins end Panthers' playoff hopes (AP)
The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a long losing streak to the Florida Panthers and knocked their nemesis out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists, Sebastien Caron made 36 saves, and the Penguins ended their 12-game losing skid against Florida with a 5-1 victory Friday night.

Oilers top 'Hawks on Smyth's OT goal (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers needed two overtime goals to finally beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Ryan Smyth scored his second goal of the game during a power play at 3:18 of the extra session to net the actual game-winner. With Patrick Sharp off for slashing, Smyth took a pass from Ales Hemsky and beat Nikolai Khabibulin from the edge of the crease.

Stars clinch division but lose Modano (AP)
Mike Modano was in the dressing room getting treatment for an injured left knee while the rest of the Dallas Stars were wrapping up their seventh division title in nine seasons. Dallas clinched the Pacific Division crown Thursday night with a 5-3 victory over the second-place Anaheim Mighty Ducks. But the accomplishment was tempered somewhat by the injury to the Stars' captain and leading scorer.

Habs beat Senators for 8th straight win (AP)
The Montreal Canadiens knew they caught the short-handed Ottawa Senators at just the right time. Chris Higgins scored the go-ahead goal and David Aebischer made 44 saves to help the Canadiens match their longest winning streak in more than 13 years with a 5-3 victory over Ottawa on Thursday night. Mike Ribeiro had three points, including his 15th goal, and Alex Kovalev had three assists.

Saddle up
FORT WORTH, Texas – Elliott Sadler is off to a decent start after his '05 collapse as Cup hits Texas, where Sadler's won before.

Martin glad he came back for another Cup season (AP)
Mark Martin initially was reluctant about returning for another Nextel Cup season. He wasn't certain he had the desire to do it again.

Stewart wins IROC at Texas Motor Speedway (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

Stewart wins IROC race, Kinser flips again (AP)
Tony Stewart climbed the fence, grabbed the checkered flag and then had to walk to Victory Lane after the second round of the International Race of Champions. When Stewart crossed the finish line Friday night and spun out the tires to celebrate winning his third career IROC race -- and his first victory of any kind at Texas Motor Speedway -- something broke on the car.

Kahne wins pole for Samsung/Radio Shack 500 (SportsTicker)

Kahne takes Texas pole (AP)
Kasey Kahne hopes his second Nextel Cup pole of the season translates into another trip to Victory Lane.

NASCAR will use smaller fuel tanks for shorter runs at Charlotte (AP)
Nextel Cup cars will use smaller fuel tanks when they race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, a move to create shorter runs between pit stops and tire changes.

Would you like a table by the track, sir? (AP)
Pork chops with brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, glazed with cherry barbecue sauce. Bananas Foster. The smell of exhaust.

Denny Hamlin on pole for O'Reilly 300 (SportsTicker)

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