St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
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February 18, 2003
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[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Once a dominant closer, Mel Rojas has been out of the bigs since 1999.
Rojas aims to make people remember
ST. PETERSBURG -- The last time Mel Rojas got a major-league save, the Devil Rays were a first-year team convinced good times were just ahead. Pitching ace Joe Kennedy was fresh out of high school. Shortstop prospect B.J. Upton was just finishing the eighth grade.

New 1B trades bulk for power
ST. PETERSBURG -- New first baseman Travis Lee reported to camp Monday with a slimmed-down look he hopes leads to a pumped-up offensive performance.

Lightning
Lightning back in elite 8
LIGHTNING 3, CAPITALS 1: Tampa Bay again is among the East's playoff contenders.

St. Louis blames slump on energy lag
TAMPA -- There was no hiding the frustration on Martin St. Louis' face or in his voice.

Grand Prix
Raceway rejoices as runway grumbles

The Grand Prix has closed a runway at Albert Whitted Airport, to the dismay of pilots. But around the race course, merchants are happy.

Racing fans a mixed bag
In NASCAR, they are drawn to drivers and their cars; not so in open-wheel.

Grand Prix schedule
THURSDAY

Gary Shelton
Gruden: 'Amazing' year makes him want more
He came home a hero. He was a living doll. He captured a team, a town, a title.

Baseball
Orioles rookie dies after workout

Heatstroke is the likely culprit in the death of pitcher Steve Bechler, 23.

Golf
Verizon Classic has big money worries

Title sponsor is pulling out next year and no other firm has stepped forth.

NFL
Combine becomes more organized

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Polian remembers the time Ryan Leaf missed his scheduled interview with the Colts. The explanation: Another team had corralled Leaf at the 1998 scouting combine.

Storm
Storm blows 21-point lead in OT loss

LAS VEGAS -- Sedrick Robinson's 2-yard touchdown run with 8:47 remaining in overtime capped Las Vegas' rally from a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit as the Gladiators stunned the Storm 61-55 in Las Vegas' home opener Monday at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Baseball
Maddux sets mark for 1-year contracts

ATLANTA -- Greg Maddux is used to setting records. Monday, he claimed another.

Jeter says he, Boss are peachy
TAMPA -- For the past couple of months, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and shortstop Derek Jeter have been caught up in a he-said, he-said of sorts.

College football
UCF, K-State want USF in 2003

It seemed like a problem when South Florida recently was dropped from the 2003 football schedule by Baylor and Eastern Michigan. However, it has opened up more interesting, and lucrative, possibilities.

In brief
Swiss top Kiwis for 3-0 lead

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Nothing but stern.

NHL
Senators spoil Bure's return

OTTAWA -- Captain Daniel Alfredsson assisted on goals by Radek Bonk, Mike Fisher and Martin Havlat as the Senators beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Monday to ruin Pavel Bure's return.

College basketball
Bonner, Gators win easily 77-48

Anthony Roberson struggles in start for Brett Nelson, but Matt Bonner outscores New Orleans in the first half.

Duke routs Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Alana Beard and Sheana Mosch scored 14 each as No. 2 Duke beat Wake Forest 83-41 Monday night, winning its 36th straight conference game.

Terps gain first in ACC
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A strange afternoon worked out perfectly for No. 13 Maryland, which stormed past 10th-ranked Wake Forest to take over first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

NBA
Jazz stays strong, wears out Wolves

SALT LAKE CITY -- Karl Malone had 28 points and nine rebounds and John Stockton added 18 points and 11 assists as the Jazz beat the Timberwolves 109-97 on Monday night, snapping Minnesota's six-game winning streak.

Motorsports
Waltrip restricted by Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH -- Michael Waltrip won the Daytona 500 for the second time Sunday, becoming the eighth man in NASCAR history with multiple victories in the sport's biggest race.

Fans and drivers deserve a full 500
DAYTONA BEACH -- Finish it.

Preps
Powerhouse Plant inspiresquiet confidence

Coach Bo Puckett has a deep and experienced team that appears ready to make a run for the state tournament.

Gryphons seek some continuity
Sickles will insert some new players into the same system that has worked well for five years.

Cougars' dominance ends in first match
It's a new, more wide-open season as Lakewood ends state champion Countryside's run of undefeated play.

Crusader divides his focus
Marc Sawyer will play baseball and tennis for Canterbury.

Outdoors
Daily fishing report

With water temperatures holding in the mid to upper 50s, grouper bites inside the 100-foot mark remain slow. But that could change. The past few days the air temperature has been in the upper 70s to low 80s, and if the warming trend continues, it won't be long before the grouper start to feed. Until water temperatures reach the mid 60s, you need to pass the 100-foot mark to consistently score keeper-size grouper.

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