Clemens still undecided about 2006

SPORTS DIGEST

Sports Digest

December 06, 2005

Roger Clemens hasn't decided whether he will pitch next season, again leaving the Houston Astros in a bind as they plan for 2006.

"Today, he would retire if he had to make the decision," Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, said.

Hendricks added that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who hobbled off the mound after only two innings in Game 2 of the World Series against the Chicago White Sox because of a strained left hamstring, probably won't make a decision until late January or early February.

The Astros have until tomorrow night to sign Clemens or offer him salary arbitration. Otherwise, he would not be able to re-sign with them before May 1.

"It's the same situation we were in last year where we were uncertain as to when we would get an answer," general manager Tim Purpura said.

It's a bigger problem for the Astros this offseason because of an already escalating payroll without even counting Clemens, who made $18 million last season. After being offered salary arbitration, he reached that deal on Jan. 21, only about a month before the start of spring training.

Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman are scheduled to make about $65 million in 2006, up from about $45 million last year. The Astros also have six players eligible for arbitration.

Baseball

Huizenga might pull park offer

Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga has offered land and money to help the Florida Marlins build a ballpark next to Dolphins Stadium, but an agreement appears unlikely, a person close to Huizenga told the Associated Press. The Marlins last month abandoned their bid for a ballpark near downtown Miami and said they would begin looking at other cities as possible sites to relocate the franchise, with the blessing of Major League Baseball. Huizenga made the Marlins a substantial offer a month ago but may soon rescind the proposal.

Cardinals -- St. Louis signed former Orioles shortstop Deivi Cruz to one-year, $800,000 contract. Cruz, 33, hit .265 in 101 games last season for the Giants and Nationals.

More winter meetings -- In free-agent news, pitcher Jeff Weaver's agent is believed to be talking with the Angels, closer Trevor Hoffman's representatives were speaking with the Indians, the Yankees have been contacted by the agent of Nomar Garciaparra and Arizona has had discussions with catcher Brad Ausmus.

College basketball

Charges dropped vs. La Salle player

Sexual assault charges against former La Salle player Dzaflo Larkai were dismissed because his accuser, a former member of the women's team, decided not to proceed with the case on the day the trial was to begin in Philadelphia. Larkai, 23, was accused of raping the 19-year-old woman in April 2003. She told authorities she didn't make a report right away because coaches discouraged her from coming forward. Assistant District Attorney James Carpenter declined to say why the woman decided against taking the matter to trial. Larkai, a forward who attended school in England before enrolling at La Salle, had been charged with rape, sexual assault and other related offenses.

More jurisprudence -- A former junior college coach was sentenced in Wichita, Kan., to two years' probation for falsifying players' federal work-study timecards. Matt Skillman pleaded guilty in September to fraud and embezzlement while an assistant basketball coach at Barton County Community College in Great Bend.

Soccer

World Cup won't use new `smart ball'

The high technology "smart ball" that will help officials on close calls around the goal won't be ready for use at next year's World Cup finals. FIFA president Sepp Blatter said plans to give the ball a second test this month at the World Club Championship in Japan have been scrapped. "That means it's no longer a theme for the World Cup," Blatter said. The balls, embedded with a microchip, send a signal to a device on the referee's wrist if they cross the goal line.

Golf

Holmes wins qualifying school

Former Kentucky star John Holmes became the first player in 22 years to leave college and win the PGA Tour qualifying tournament, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to win in Winter Garden, Fla., by three shots over Alex Cejka of Germany. Holmes was the only player to shoot in the 60s all six rounds.

Et cetera

Jedrzejczak plans to swim again

Olympic champion Otylia Jedrzejczak will return to swimming after an auto accident that killed her brother, left her injured and perhaps facing time in jail. "I'll return to swimming because I love it," Jedrzejczak said yesterday in her first public appearance since her car hit a tree, killing 19-year-old Szymon. On Oct. 1, she tried to overtake several cars on a two-lane road near Plonsk, Poland. In an apparent attempt to avoid an oncoming car, she swerved into a ditch before crashing into a tree. She suffered spinal fractures and a head wound. Jedrzejczak, who won a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly and added two silvers at the 2004 Athens Olympics, could face from six months to eight years in prison if convicted.

Boxing -- Undefeated Lorenzo Parra of Venezuela successfully defended his World Boxing Association flyweight title for the fifth time, unanimously outpointing Frenchman Brahim Asloum in Paris to improve to 27-0.

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