Gooden, Mets near contract extension
Dwight Gooden and the New York Mets are on the verge of agreeing on a three-year contract extension that would assure Gooden of earning at least $15 million.
The contract would make Gooden, 26, the second-highest paid player in history, behind only Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens in terms of average annual value of the contract. Only Clemens and Gooden would have contracts valued at $5 million or more per year.
Telephone conversations between the Mets and Gooden's agent, Jim Neader, progressed sufficiently yesterday that general manager Frank Cashen and vice president Al Harazin used the phrase "on the verge" to describe the talks.
Clemens signed a four-year contract extension this off-season for $21,521,000.
Gooden, who is to earn $2.25 million this season, was 19-7 last season with a 3.83 ERA. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 1985 with a 24-4 record and a 1.53 ERA, then went 17-6 the next season.
Orel Hershiser, 32, still recovering from last year's shoulder surgery, was put on the 15-day disabled list by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hershiser underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery April 27. He has been throwing on the sidelines throughout spring training and worked out again yesterday, but is not strong enough to pitch in exhibition games.
* New York Yankees general manager Gene Michael, angered by newspaper reports quoting unnamed pitchers critical of catchers Jim Leyritz and Matt Nokes, called closed-door meetings Friday and Saturday to recommend the pitchers not openly discuss their teammates in this manner again. "He reamed us out," one pitcher said.
* Atlanta Braves first baseman Nick Esasky, who has been sidelined by vertigo, has been sued for divorce by his wife.
Vicki Suzanne Esasky, 30, filed a divorce petition in Cobb (Ga.) Superior Court on March 20. In the petition, she said their marriage "is irretrievably broken."
* Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was released from Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati after fighting off a severe infection that could have killed her, the hospital said.
Schott, 62, has been ordered to rest at home as she completes her recovery from what a hospital statement called a "catastrophic illness."
A hospital statement said Schott was admitted with cellulitis, a skin infection of the legs, and that the disease developed into a bacterial infection that could have killed her.
* H. Wayne Huizenga, the Blockbuster Entertainment chief and prospective owner of the National League expansion club that would play at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, said he is partial to the nickname Panthers and the aqua and orange of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins.
Marc Pisciotta pitched a three-hitter and Carlton Fleming drove in the deciding run on an infield hit, as Georgia Tech (22-8, 5-1) took a 3-2 decision from Maryland (11-12-1, 2-6) in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Pisciotta (7-1) had seven strikeouts and walked three in helping Tech gain a share of the conference lead with Clemson.
Butch Miller of Coopersville, Mich., held off Jimmy Hensley by a car length to win the Mountain Dew 500 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Miller Barber celebrated his 60th birthday with a four-shot victory over Lee Trevino in the Grandslam Seniors Golf Championship in Kurimoto, Japan.
Stephen Roche of Ireland, the 1987 Tour de France winner, won the Criterium International in Avignon, France.
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