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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 18, 2002

Hampton to Braves for Spooneybarger

Mike Hampton will try to rejuvenate his career with the Braves after a whirlwind weekend that had the left-hander dealt from Colorado to Florida, then to Atlanta.

The Marlins will get reliever Tim Spooneybarger from the Braves for Hampton, the Associated Press reported on Sunday. Details must be finalized, the trade must be approved by the commissioner's office and the players must pass physicals. Florida also may receive an unidentified minor-leaguer from Atlanta.

Hampton, who went 21-28 for the Rockies the past two seasons, was part of a six-player swap between Colorado and Florida that was completed Saturday.

In that deal, Hampton and outfielder Juan Pierre moved to the Marlins, and catcher Charles Johnson, outfielder Preston Wilson, left-handed reliever Vic Darensbourg and second-base prospect Pablo Ozuna went to the Rockies.

When the Marlins and Rockies balked at paying him the $1-million relocation fee that was part of his contract, Johnson vetoed Saturday's deal. Johnson and agent Scott Boras insisted on the sum to defray Colorado's 4.63 percent state income tax. The Marlins interpreted Johnson's contract to mean he was due that money only if traded in 2005.

"I wasn't going anywhere if (money) had to come out of pocket to pay taxes," Johnson said. "I felt that was something that had to be done. That's not fair for me to leave and have to pay out of my pocket to leave. That was already in my contract. Why should I have to fight over something that was already in my contract?"

Hampton's agent, Mark Rodgers, brought all parties back to the table and Johnson ultimately got his money and Hampton the spot with Atlanta. Florida reportedly agreed to pay about $38-million of the salary remaining on Hampton's lucrative contract. The Braves tried to sign Hampton of Crystal River two years ago before the Rockies gave him an eight-year, $121-million free-agent deal -- the richest for a pitcher.

The Rockies will pay $11-million of Hampton's remaining salary, plus a $19-million deferred signing bonus. The Braves will owe Hampton about $35.5-million over the next three years, with the Rockies and Marlins paying off the final three years of the deal.

After a 9-2 start with Colorado in 2001, Hampton went 12-26 with a 6.62 ERA for the Rockies. The 30-year-old left-hander was 7-15 this year with a 6.15 ERA, the highest in the major leagues among pitchers who qualified for the ERA title.

MORE BASEBALL: Major-leaguers defeated the Japanese stars 4-2 in Tokyo, winning for the fourth consecutive time to capture the seven-game exhibition series. Ichiro Suzuki was 4-for-4, Eric Chavez homered in the eighth and series MVP Torii Hunter made a running catch in the ninth. The major-leaguers were in command after dropping the first three. They have not lost an all-star tour of Japan since 1990, and this was their fifth straight series win.

COLLEGES: In volleyball, Florida wrapped up its eighth consecutive undefeated SEC season with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Kentucky. The Gators, the No. 1 seed, face the Wildcats at 12:30 p.m. Friday in the SEC tournament in Fayetteville, Ark.

TENNIS: Lleyton Hewitt has the Masters Cup title to go with the year-end No. 1 ranking for the second straight season. The Wimbledon champion beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6, 6-4 in Shanghai, China, to win the eight-player tournament. Hewitt is the first since Pete Sampras in 1997 to win consecutive season-ending championships.

AMERICA'S CUP: The campaigns of France's Le Defi and Britain's GBR Challenge ended when both lost 4-1 in best-of-seven challenger quarterfinals in Auckland, New Zealand. New York's Stars & Stripes, which beat GBR by 1 minute, 42 seconds, and Sweden's Victory Challenge, which beat Le Defi by 2:34, progress to quarterfinal repechages starting Saturday. Repechages involve Seattle's OneWorld and Italy's Prada -- losers of top-four quarterfinals -- and winning quarterfinalists. Repechage winners join San Francisco's Oracle and Switzerland's Alinghi in seeded semifinals Dec. 9.

SOCCER: The U.S. national team beat El Salvador 2-0 in a exhibition match in Washington. Ben Olsen, returning after four operations on his right ankle, scored his first international goal in more than 21/2 years. ... A match in Italian Serie B was stopped when a fan floored the visiting team's goalie with a punch. Messina's Emanuele Manitta needed hospital treatment but was not seriously hurt. His attacker ran into the crowd of Cagliari fans and escaped immediate arrest.

RUNNING: Middle distance star Hicham El Guerrouj and marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe were named athletes of the year by track and field's governing body. El Guerrouj is the first to win the award twice in a row. He won all 11 races at 1,500 meters or the mile this year. Radcliffe set a women's best of 2:17.18 in winning the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 14. She also won the London Marathon in her first try at the 26.2-mile distance, defended her world cross-country title and was the European champion at 5,000 meters.

SWIMMING: Amanda Beard won the 200-meter breaststroke (2:23.16) and was one of four Americans to win at the FINA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Haley Cope won the 100 backstroke (59.93), Gabrielle Rose the 100 individual medley (1:01.24) and Rachel Komisarz the 400 freestyle (4:07.66).

SKIING: Italy's Giancarlo Bergamelli (1:40.92) won the NorAm Cup slalom in Georgetown, Colo. American Tom Rothrock (1:41.58) finished third. Olympic champion Janica Kostelic of Croatia (1:31.35) won the women's slalom in Winter Park, Colo.

SPEED SKATING: Canada's Cindy Klassen (1:58.47) won the 1,500 meters at the World Cup event in Erfurt, Germany. In the men's 5,000, Carl Verheijen (6:27.44) led a sweep of Dutch skaters.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL: The Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos won division finals and play for the CFL title in Sunday's Grey Cup at Edmonton. Montreal beat the Toronto Argonauts 35-18 in the East, and Edmonton defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33-30 in the West.

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