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Pierzynski, Garciaparra win final spots (AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra, right, is congratulated in the dugout by manager Grady Little after scoring on a Jeff Kent single off Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Juan Cruz in the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles on Monday, July 3, 2006.(AP Photo/Francis Specker)AP - A.J. Pierzynski got his ticket punched to Pittsburgh. A magnet for mayhem, the White Sox catcher beat out Minnesota rookie pitcher Francisco Liriano for the final AL All-Star spot in Internet voting Thursday. NL batting leader Nomar Garciaparra breezed to the last NL slot in the fan balloting.


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Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo advance to finals (AP)
Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium hits to Kim Clijsters of Belgium in their Women's Singles, semifinal match on Wimbledon's Centre Court, Thursday, July 6, 2006.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)AP - Amelie Mauresmo could sense another Wimbledon semifinal slipping away with each of Maria Sharapova's piercing shrieks and powerful shots.


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Mets place Pedro Martinez on disabled list (AP)
New York Mets from left, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Beltran, Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez who have all been selected to be in the All-Star game stand on the field before the Mets played a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Monday, July 3, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)AP - All-Star ace Pedro Martinez was placed on the disabled list by the New York Mets on Thursday due to pain in his right hip.


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Big Unit comes up big in win over Indians (AP)
New York Yankees' Derek Jeter hits an RBI-single scoring Miguel Cairo off Cleveland Indians' Cliff Lee in the fifth inning in baseball action, Thursday, July 6, 2006, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)AP - Old Man Johnson looked like a youngster for seven innings. He didn't show his age until the eighth. Randy Johnson, at times as dominant as he has been all season, worked into the eighth and Jason Giambi and Derek Jeter both had three RBIs, leading the New York Yankees to a 10-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.


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Thomas' walkoff HR lifts A's over Angels (AP)
Oakland Athletics' Nick Swisher watches the flight of his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels' Kelvim Escobar in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 6, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)AP - Frank Thomas is at the point he ignores his surprisingly low batting average, focusing instead on how he can contribute to wins. Razzed all game by third base coach Ron Washington to do something, the Big Hurt delivered.


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Broncos accept life without WR Lelie (AP)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Darius Watts heads down the field with the ball during a drill at the team's opening day of football minicamp, Thursday, Juy 6, 2006, in southeast Denver. Watts is determined to make an impression on Broncos' coaches in the absence of holdout Ashley Lelie. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - Mike Shanahan knows just the place receiver Ashley Lelie could compete for the No. 1 job he covets so much that he's boycotting the Broncos' minicamp: Denver.


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Agent: Pacers, Mavericks swap players (AP)
Indiana Pacers forward Austin Croshere  (44) drives against the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta, in this Jan. 23, 2006 photo. The Dallas Mavericks, looking for a solid backup to Dirk Nowitzki, will trade Marquis Daniels to the Indiana Pacers for Austin Croshere. Daniels' agent, Glenn Schwartzman, said Thursday July 6, 2006 the deal will go forward.   (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)AP - The Dallas Mavericks, looking for a solid backup to Dirk Nowitzki, plan to trade Marquis Daniels to the Indiana Pacers for Austin Croshere.


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Feliz has 3 hits as Giants edge Dodgers (AP)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds slaps his bat after flying out against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 6, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP - Pedro Feliz had three hits and drove in two runs, reliever Brad Hennessey worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on Thursday night.


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The place where World Cup dreams go to die (AP)
Portugal's goalkeeper Ricardo, right, is unable to stop a penalty kick for a goal by France's Zinedine Zidane (10) as Portugal's Deco looks on during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Portugal and France at the World Cup stadium in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, July 5, 2006.  (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)AP - A dozen yards in front of every soccer goal sits the intersection of crime and punishment. It's called the penalty spot, and it's where World Cup dreams often go to die.


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'Canes re-sign Cole to 3-year, $12M deal (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes Aaron Ward  hoists the Stanley Cup in Raleigh, N.C.,  in this June 19, 2006 file photo. Ward turned his third Stanley Cup title into a free-agent deal with the New York Rangers on Monday. (AP Photo/CP, Paul Chiasson)AP - The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed left winger Erik Cole on Wednesday to a three-year, $12 million contract, following an injury-shortened regular season in which he set career-highs in scoring.


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Read and React: Injured list
The mailbag was filled with comments on the recoveries of Ben Roethlisberger and Chad Pennington.

Broncos WR Lelie boycotting minicamp (AP)
Mike Shanahan knows just the place receiver Ashley Lelie could compete for the No. 1 job he covets so much that he's boycotting the Broncos' minicamp: Denver. "If you want to compete to be the No. 1 guy, why not be here? Why not be here in camp?" Shanahan said after the Broncos began their three-day practice session Thursday.

Redskins S Taylor being sued for assault (AP)
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was sued by a man who said the NFL player brandished a gun and repeatedly hit him during a fight last June. Ryan Hill filed the suit on June 27 in Miami Dade Circuit Court and is seeking $15,000 in damages from Taylor. The lawsuit states that Hill was bruised, incurred medical expenses and lost wages because of the fight.

Ricky Williams scores first CFL TD (AP)
Suspended NFL star Ricky Williams scored his first touchdown and ran for 97 yards on 18 carries Friday night for the Toronto Argonauts in a 26-19 loss to British Columbia Lions. Williams, playing in his third regular-season game in the CFL after he was suspended by the NFL for one year after a fourth positive drug test, also had two catches for 21 yards.

Prosecutor offers Plummer plea deal (AP)
Prosecutors offered Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer a plea deal to settle municipal charges in an alleged road rage incident, a police spokesman said Thursday. City attorney Dugan Comer made the plea offer during a private pretrial conference, said Englewood police investigator John Hoehler. "An offer was made, and Jake's attorney was going to discuss it with his client," Hoehler said.

Bucs sign free-agent QB Jay Fiedler (AP)
Free-agent quarterback Jay Fiedler signed Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will compete for a backup job behind Chris Simms. The Bucs also signed tight end Matt Kranchick, who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. The team released receiver Ben Nelson and offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers.

Ex-NFLers sue NFLPA over hedge fund scam (AP)
Steve Atwater told his four kids their recent trip to Cancun may be the last one for a while. Blaine Bishop has tossed and turned at night, worried his retirement safety net could be in jeopardy. The two former NFL defensive backs insisted Friday that the league and its players' union are to blame for the $20 million they and five other current and former players lost in an alleged investment scam.

49ers sign 14-year veteran P Tom Rouen (AP)
The San Francisco 49ers signed punter Tom Rouen on Thursday and waived Tom Malone. Rouen, a 14-year veteran, averaged 41.6 yards on 62 punts for Seattle last season. He averaged 50.2 yards per punt in the Seahawks' 21-10 loss to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. Rouen originally entered the NFL in 1991 with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent.

The wild, wild East
There's a reason the Pistons and Bulls would overpay for Ben Wallace. Three of them, actually.

Mavs send Daniels to Pacers for Croshere (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks, looking for a solid backup to Dirk Nowitzki, plan to trade Marquis Daniels to the Indiana Pacers for Austin Croshere. Daniels' agent, Glenn Schwartzman, said Thursday the deal cannot become official until Wednesday, when teams can complete trades and sign free agents. Croshere was entering the final year of his five-year contract that pays him nearly $7 million a year.

Report: Bulls trade Chandler to Hornets (AP)
Tyson Chandler is ready for a fresh start. The Chicago Bulls agreed Wednesday to send the center to the New Orleans Hornets for veteran forward P.J. Brown and swingman J.R. Smith, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday night on its Web site. Officials with both the Bulls and the Hornets declined comment.

Celtics exercise option on Telfair (AP)
The Boston Celtics exercised the options on newly acquired point guard Sebastian Telfair and three others Thursday, then signed undrafted free agent Allan Ray of Villanova. Telfair, along with forward Al Jefferson and guards Delonte West and Gerald Green, will remain under contract through the 2007-08 season.

LeBron still mulling Cavs' max offer (AP)
LeBron James has the Cleveland Cavaliers waiting and their fans wondering. James has yet to announce if he's going to accept the club's maximum contract extension, a five-year offer worth about $80 million. Although James isn't eligible for free agency until after next season, his silence -- he received the offer on July 1 -- has led to speculation that he has other plans.

Bobcats sign first-round pick Morrison (AP)
Adam Morrison, the No. 3 overall pick in last month's NBA draft, signed with the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday. Morrison, the 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward from Gonzaga, will be paid about $3 million in the first year of the deal and nearly $3.25 million in the second year under terms of the NBA's rookie pay scale.

Bulls hire Jim Paxson as consultant (AP)
Jim Paxson is going to work for his brother -- Chicago Bulls general manager John Paxson. Jim Paxson, former general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was hired Wednesday as a consultant by the Bulls. "Jim's hiring was multipurpose," John Paxson said in a statement. "He's played, scouted, and most important of all, he brings added experience and insight to my role having been (vice president) and...

Pistons replace Wallace with Mohammed (AP)
The Detroit Pistons are already moving on without Ben Wallace. A day after losing Wallace to the Chicago Bulls, the Pistons reached an agreement with free-agent center Nazr Mohammed on Tuesday, a person within the NBA told The Associated Press. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because NBA free agents can't officially sign contracts until July 12, said the team and Mohammed made an...

Hurricanes re-sign D Wesley for one year (AP)
The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed veteran defenseman Glen Wesley on Thursday to a one-year, $1.2 million contract. Wesley just finished his 18th NHL season, and had two goals and eight assists in 64 regular-season games. He had appeared in three Stanley Cup finals before finally winning the championship with the Hurricanes last month.

Lightning ink Fedotenko to one-year deal (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning and left wing Ruslan Fedotenko avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.65 million, one-year contract Thursday. Fedotenko had a career-high 26 goals and 41 points for Tampa Bay this past season. "In a perfect world we would have liked to sign Ruslan to a long-term contract," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement.

Blue Jackets sign G Conklin (AP)
The Blue Jackets signed former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ty Conklin on Thursday, giving Columbus a backup to Pascal LeClaire. Conklin's signing was completed a week after the Blue Jackets traded goalie Marc Denis to the Tampa Bay Lightning for veteran European netminder Fredrik Norrena. Conklin, 30, went 8-5-1 and allowed an average of 2.80 goals in 18 games with the Oilers last season.

Coyotes hope free agents can end drought (AP)
As the most popular player since the Phoenix Coyotes moved to the desert in 1996, Jeremy Roenick wore No. 97 in the team's oft-ridiculed, multicolored uniforms before leaving in a salary dispute five years ago. On Thursday, the nine-time NHL All-Star slipped into a new sweater with his old number, in the club's more traditional brick-red design.

'Canes re-sign Cole to three-year deal (AP)
The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed left winger Erik Cole on Wednesday to a three-year, $12 million contract, following an injury-shortened regular season in which he set career-highs in scoring. Cole had 30 goals, 29 assists and 59 points despite missing the final 22 regular-season games with a fractured vertebra in his neck.

D Spacek agrees to deal with Sabres (AP)
The Sabres are done shopping for defensemen in free agency after Jaroslav Spacek agreed Wednesday to a three-year contract worth about $10 million. Spacek's addition gives Buffalo six regular defensemen and makes up for the loss of Jay McKee, who signed with St. Louis last weekend. A seven-year veteran, Spacek played a significant role in helping the Edmonton Oilers reach the Stanley Cup final last...

Wild ink Gaborik to three-year contract (AP)
The Minnesota Wild have spent a lot of money this offseason to surround Marian Gaborik with plenty of talent. On Wednesday, they did their part to keep the right wing around for a few years. The Wild signed Gaborik to a three-year, $19 million contract, about an hour before he was expected to file for salary arbitration.

Having come so far
Matt Kenseth's season was a mess when he hit Chicagoland last year. He's faring a bit better this time around.

Kelley chosen as executive director of NASCAR Hall of Fame (AP)
Longtime broadcaster Winston Kelley was chosen as executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Thursday, and Ralph Appelbaum Associates was picked to be the exhibit designer.

Busch Series crew chiefs for Harvick, Lamar (AP)
The crew chiefs for Kevin Harvick and Burney Lamar's Busch Series teams were suspended six races each Thursday for violations discovered at Daytona International Speedway.

Kentucky adds more SAFER barriers (AP)
Kentucky Speedway has installed an additional 56 feet of the energy-absorbing SAFER Barrier across a section of...

Reid leaves Hendrick for chance with one-man trucks team (AP)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In an era in which promising young drivers land prime jobs with big-name racing teams,...

Earnhardt in solid shape to make Chase (AP)
CHARLOTTE – Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't come close to challenging Tony Stewart for this past weekend's win in...

Road-course pro Said looks to lead new team on ovals (AP)
It's a phrase Boris Said repeats a lot when he talks about yearning for his first Nextel Cup victory.

Appellate court sides with speedway in post-race bridge collapse (AP)
Four NASCAR fans injured in the post-race collapse of a pedestrian bridge in 2000 cannot seek damages from Lowe's Motor Speedway, the state's Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The three-judge panel unanimously determined that the lawsuits, filed in 2004, came too long after the bridge was constructed in September 1995.

Awesome Bill back at Chicagoland (AP)
Former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott plans to make his second Nextel Cup start of the year in Sunday's USG...

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