Sports Digest

SPORTS DIGEST

February 12, 2005

Regretful Neagle thankful for shot to get back in game

Denny Neagle is grateful for the chance the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are giving him - even if it's just for the major league minimum salary of $316,000.

"My college baseball coach told me something I've never forgotten," the 36-year-old Arundel High alumnus told the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. "You have two lives ... one you live by and one you learn from. And I've learned. You learn from your mistakes and hopefully move on.

"If you hang a pitch, you learn from it and try not to do it again. That's how you live your life, whether it's hanging a pitch or raising your kids."

In December, Neagle was stopped in suburban Denver for speeding and a passenger, Jill Russell, said she was in the car because Neagle paid her $40 for a sex act. Neagle was cited for solicitation and Russell was cited for prostitution.

The Colorado Rockies owe him $19 million on his contract, but they've used a morals clause in attempting to terminate the deal.

Neagle, who hasn't pitched in 1 1/2 years because of a shoulder injury, said he can't talk much about the December incident because he still has a hearing, but it is clear he is remorseful and eager to return to the level of his 124-92 major league record over 11 years.

"I just want to show people I'm not done," he said. "I impressed Tampa Bay with the velocity on my breaking pitches, showing I'm ready to pitch again. And, of course, my changeup is still there. I haven't pitched for a year and a half, so while I'm 36, my arm isn't that old and I'm confident I can pitch into my 40s like Jamie Moyer, David Wells, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson.

"No question, because of the recent off-field stuff and my injuries, there are doubters out there. It's the cliche and for me it's true ... you never know how much you miss something until it's taken away. I missed it so much I couldn't bear to go to the ballpark to watch games."

Drugs

Canadian lab's steroid similar to BALCO's

Authorities have discovered chemical similarities between a new designer steroid confiscated in Canada and the drug at the heart of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal, leading one drug-testing expert to say that they were produced by the same laboratory. Two sources familiar with the BALCO investigation told the San Jose Mercury News the confiscated steroid - desoxy-methyl testosterone, or DMT - was found in packaging similar to that of THG.

Hockey

NHL maintains glimmer of hope

The next round of talks between the NHL and the NHL Players Association will happen under hush-hush circumstances, if they haven't already started, the New York Daily News reported. Despite a deepening gloom that is settling over the league and a memo reportedly sent to all 30 teams by commissioner Gary Bettman announcing a conference call next week - ostensibly to cover all of the ramifications of canceling the season - the NHL continues to leave the door open just a crack.

Pro football

B. Mitchell to retire as Redskin next week

Return specialist Brian Mitchell, holder of nine NFL records, will sign a one-day contract next week so that he can retire Wednesday with the Washington Redskins at Redskins Park. Also a former Philadelphia Eagle and New York Giant, he didn't play in 2004.

Rams: St. Louis informed left tackle Orlando Pace that he will be given the franchise designation for the third consecutive season, ESPN reported.

Et cetera

Dotson's trial set for June 13 in Waco

A judge set a June trial date for the former Baylor basketball player charged with gunning down his teammate in 2003. Carlton Dotson, 22, of Hurlock in Dorchester County, will go to trial June 13 in Waco, Texas, state District Judge George Allen said during an informal meeting with prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Skiing: Sick, weak and gasping for breath, Croatia's Janica Kostelic became the first woman in 23 years to sweep three titles at a world championships, winning the slalom in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy, to add to her titles in the downhill and combined.

Skeleton: U.S. racer Noelle Pikus-Pace finished third in Lake Placid, N.Y., in the season's final World Cup race to wrap up the women's season title.

Boxing: Laila Ali, the daughter of ex-heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, kept her Women's International Boxing Association super middleweight title, stopping Cassandra Geiggar in eight rounds in Atlanta.

Olympics: Italian police will have powers to raid the Olympic village during the 2006 Winter Games to investigate drug-dealing but won't take criminal action against athletes suspected of doping, IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

Baseball: New Seattle Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson was cited for alleged drunken driving last Saturday after being stopped for speeding in Vancouver, Wash. ... The lawsuit by the former limited partners of the Montreal Expos against former owner Jeffrey Loria was dismissed when U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages in Miami approved an arbitration panel's ruling.

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