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Cubs Close Deal With Beck for One Year at $4 Million

January 16, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

The Chicago Cubs picked up a closer Thursday, agreeing to a $4-million, one-year contract with Rod Beck.

Beck, 29, had 37 saves in 45 chances for the San Francisco Giants last season.

Beck fills a major need for the Cubs. After losing Randy Myers following the 1996 season, they signed closer Mel Rojas to a $13.75-million, three-year contract. But he was a bust, blowing several leads, and was traded to the New York Mets on Aug. 8.

Beck is the third free agent signed by the Cubs during the off-season, joining shortstop Jeff Blauser and outfielder Matt Mieske. Chicago also has acquired second baseman Mickey Morandini, outfielder Henry Rodriguez, catcher Sandy Martinez and pitcher Kurt Miller in trades.

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Atlanta outfielder Ryan Klesko, eligible for free agency after the 1999 season, got a $20.5-million, four-year contract that pays him $3.5 million this year, $4.75 million in 2000, $5.75 million in 2001 and $6.5 million in 2002. . . . The Detroit Tigers re-signed outfielder Bobby Higginson to a $16-million, four-year deal. . . . Shortstop Kevin Stocker and the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays agreed to a $7.5-million, three-year contract.

Tennis

After limping to victory against Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams couldn't do it against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who routed the American teenager, 6-2, 6-1, in the semifinals of the Sydney International.

Williams, playing only her third pro tournament, had hoped to reach the final against her older sister, Venus, 17, who was playing Japan's Ai Sugiyama.

Karol Kucera of Slovakia reached the men's final, weathering two match points in the second-set tiebreaker and coming back to beat Australian Michael Tebbutt, 6-4, 6-7 (8-6), 6-0.

Jurisprudence

Sexual assault charges filed against D.C. United players Raul Diaz Arce and Mario Gori were dropped in Columbus, Ohio, at the request of the alleged victim.

Each player had been indicted on single counts of rape and kidnapping, and Diaz Arce also had been indicted on a charge of attempted rape. Both players had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A divided state Supreme Court in Little Rock, Ark., reinstated a wrongful-death lawsuit that blames Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles for a football player's suicide.

In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that a jury should decide whether Shannon Wright consumed a painkiller illegally dispensed by the university's athletic department, and whether that contributed to or caused his death.

The court also ruled that Broyles and athletic trainer Dean Weber were not immune to a suit for civil damages.

Ronald Peters, who claimed in 1989 that he handled $1 million in bets for Pete Rose, was held on $40,000 bond in Dayton, Ohio, after being accused of passing a bad check at a shopping mall.

Figure Skating

Russia's Alexei Yagudin made a significant pre-Olympic statement, winning the European Figure Skating men's title in Milan, Italy, with a nearly flawless long program that included a quadruple jump and seven triples.

Yagudin led a sweep of the medals for the Russian team, which was missing its top two skaters because of injury. Replacements Yevgeny Plushenko, only 15, won the silver, and Alexander Abt the bronze.

France's 1994 bronze winner Philippe Candeloro was fifth, and Ukrainian champion Viacheslav Zagorodniuk finished seventh.

Miscellany

USC football Coach Paul Hackett is interviewing Ed Orgeron, an assistant at Syracuse, as possible defensive line coach. Orgeron previously was an assistant at Miami. Hackett met earlier this week with Bill Young, his probable choice for defensive coordinator. Young resigned as Oklahoma's defensive coordinator after the season.

Virgil Hill is looking for another fight after his Feb. 6 bout against World Boxing Assn. light-heavyweight champion Louis Del Valle was canceled in Bismarck, N.D. Hill's manager, Bill Sorensen, was informed by fax that Del valle had an "acute calf injury" and was unable to train properly for the bout.

Walter Zenga, starting goalkeeper for the New England Revolution and the goalie of Italy's national team during the 1990 World Cup, announced his retirement.

Helsinki is set to launch a joint bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics with Lillehammer as its co-host after the Finnish capital's city council formally endorsed the plan. Others that have submitted bids or are expected to are Sion, Switzerland; Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia; Klagenfurt, Austria; and Jaca, Spain. The host city will be selected in 1999.

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