Jack Morris chose to become a free agent yesterday, and reliever Juan Berenguer left the Minnesota Twins and signed with the Atlanta Braves for $2.1 million over two years.
Three other new-look free agents faced a midnight (EST) deadline to decide their futures. California outfielder Chili Davis was talking with the Minnesota Twins, but no offers were reported for San Francisco Giants pitcher Mike LaCoss and New York Yankees pitcher Dave LaPoint.
The five were among 15 players granted new-look free agency Dec. 7 as part of the $280 million collusion settlement. The 15 had until the midnight deadline to re-sign with their clubs, stay with their teams under their existing contracts or become free agents.
Morris chose the third option and thus abandoned both his roster spot with Detroit and his salary arbitration case. The pitcher had been asking for $3.35 million, while the Tigers were offering $9.3 million over three years according to Detroit spokesman Dan Ewald. Morris' salary in 1990 was $2.1 million.
Richard Moss, the pitcher's agent, said the Tigers had offered a multiyear deal and that other teams were interested in Morris, the winningest pitcher of the 1980s. But he indicated he was unsatisfied with other teams' offers when he said, "Jack has no interest in a one-year contract."
Moss said he believed the Tigers still were interested in attempting to re-sign the 35-year-old Morris, who was 15-18 last season with a 4.51 ERA.
Sunday's Super Bowl was the second-lowest rated in 17 years and the eighth-lowest ever, according to national figures released by A.C. Nielsen Co.
The New York Giants' 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills on ABC got a 41.8 rating, which represents the percentage of televisions the country tuned to the game. A rating point represents 931,000 homes.
The only lower-rated Super Bowl since 1974 was San Francisco's 55-10 victory over Denver on CBS last year (39.0).
* Former Detroit Lion Reggie Rogers will leave a prison camp Feb. 6 after serving 12 months for killing three teen-agers while driving drunk, and his attorney says he's given up hope of playing football again.
Rogers was convicted last year of negligent homicide in the Oct. 20, 1988 deaths of Kenneth Willett, 19, and Willett's cousins, Kelly Ess, 18, and Dale Ess, 17.
Rogers had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent when his Jeep ran a red light and struck the teens' car.
Loren Seagrave has quit as Ben Johnson's coach, saying he was leaving Toronto and returning to Louisiana to be closer to his wife, hurdler Kathy Freeman-Seagrave.
"We've been talking about this for quite some time," Seagrave said. "Ben understands where I'm coming from. Kathy is my family."
Seagrave, an American, was hired last July to help Johnson train for his comeback following a two-year suspension for steroid use.
The comeback began 2 1/2 weeks ago when Johnson placed second in the 50 meters at the Hamilton Spectator Indoor Games. The following week, Johnson was second again in a Los Angeles meet. On Saturday, Johnson won a 55-meter race in Ottawa.
Unseeded Pam Shriver of Lutherville upset sixth-seeded Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union 6-2, 6-0 in the opening round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
Shriver, still troubled by a shoulder injury which required surgery last June and sidelined her for the rest of the year, used a serve-and-volley attack in the surprisingly easy victory on the artificial fast surface.
Qualifier Mana Endo of Japan beat Andrea Leand of Brooklandville, Md., 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a one-hour, 50-minute match.