© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Devil Rays acquired some needed infield depth, signing third baseman Chris Truby to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Truby, 29, gives the Rays an alternative if Jared Sandberg struggles. Truby was the opening-day starter for Houston in 2001, before being replaced by Vinny Castilla, and Montreal in 2002, before being traded to Detroit and limited to reserve duty.
Truby hit .282 with 28 homers and 87 RBIs for Double-A Jackson in 1999. He was promoted from Triple A midway through the 2000 season and did well (.260, 11 homers, 59 RBIs in 78 games) but has struggled since. Overall, he has a .228 average in 250 major-league games with 23 home runs and 104 RBIs.
The Rays are expecting to add one or two players to their major-league roster this week, with utility infielder Desi Relaford and outfielders Todd Hollandsworth and Shane Spencer among the possibilities.
CHISOX STOP TALKS: The White Sox stopped negotiating with left-hander Mark Buehrle on a multiyear deal and are resigned to having their ace take them to arbitration in 2004. The Chicago Tribune reported the club offered a three-year contract worth between $7-million and $8-million.
JORDAN DROPS TRADE DEMAND: Outfielder Brian Jordan told the Dodgers he was rescinding his trade demand after recent deals by GM Dan Evans. As a player traded during a multiyear contract (from the Braves last January), he was allowed to file a trade demand during the 15 days after the World Series.
BRAVES SIGN FICK: Free agent Robert Fick agreed to a $1-million, one-year contract. Fick was an All-Star last season with Detroit, hitting .270 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs. He led outfielders with 21 assists, but is expected to play first base for Atlanta.
Tiger Woods was voted 2002 PGA Tour player of the year for the fourth consecutive time. Players vote on the award. Woods won five times on tour, including the first two majors, and he won the money title a fourth straight year. No one else won more than two tour events in 2002.
Jonathan Byrd was named rookie of the year and Hale Irwin Senior PGA player of the year. Irwin was the first to earn more than $3-million in one year on the 50-and-older circuit. Gene Sauers was the PGA's comeback player after getting his first win in more than 13 years.
In a column for the Australian newspaper, Martina Navratilova called for the Australian Open to be pushed to February, warning the January heat was taking a serious toll on players. The season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne starts Monday, when temperatures can reach 104 degrees.
"It could take someone dying before things will change ... We've had people on (IV) treatment after matches recovering from extreme heat exhaustion," she said.
KOURNIKOVA AWOL?: A Miami lawyer hopes to take a deposition from Anna Kournikova for her version of a scuffle between a celebrity photographer and her bodyguard while she dined with singer Enrique Iglesias last summer. A judge ordered the couple to give depositions Jan. 14, but Kournikova, competing in Australia, may not be around to receive the subpoena.
The deadline for Michigan businessman Thom Hopper to purchase the Storm has passed, coach and general manager Tim Marcum said, meaning Peter "Woody" Kern remains majority owner with Palace Sports & Entertainment as minority owner. Hopper, who paid $1-million of an announced $12-million deal up front, had until Dec. 31 to close the transaction. Also, ex-Florida quarterback Eric Kresser and fullback/linebacker Basil Proctor signed.
-- MARC TOPKIN, FRANK PASTOR, Times wires