Originally created 01/20/99

Overtime: Baseball's arbitration season begins



Toronto first baseman Carlos Delgado sought $6.5 million and Texas pitcher Aaron Sele asked for $6.25 million, the top figures Tuesday when 38 players exchanged salary arbitration numbers with their teams.

Baltimore catcher Charles Johnson asked for $5.1 million and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter asked for $5 million.

A total of 62 players filed for arbitration last week. There were 14 settlements Tuesday, led by Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte's one-year deal for $5.95 million.

The 38 players who swapped figures -- down from 60 last year -- are believed to be the fewest since 1979. Players who do not settle will be scheduled for arbitration hearings from Feb. 1-21, but no more than 10 cases are expected to go that far.

Delgado made $2.4 million last year, when he hit .292 with 38 homers and 115 RBIs, and had been rumored to be thinking of asking $9 million. The Blue Jays countered him at $4.2 million.Sele earned $2.85 million last year, when he went 19-11 with a 4.23 ERA. The Rangers offered $4.8 million.

The figures for other top players: Houston closer Billy Wagner ($3.3 million-$2 million); San Diego pitcher Sterling Hitchcock ($4.75 million-$3.85 million); New York Mets second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo ($3.85 million-$2.5 million); St. Louis pitcher Darren Oliver ($4.15 million-$3.55 million) and Chicago White Sox second baseman Ray Durham ($4.3 million-$3.35 million).

They have the dates, the bats and the ballparks. What the Cubans and the Baltimore Orioles do not have just yet is a deal on an exhibition series -- and money appears to be the obstacle.Representatives for Cuba and major league baseball were unable to reach an agreement Tuesday before Orioles owner Peter Angelos returned home.

If the sides agree, the first exhibition game would be March 28 at Havana's Latinoamericano Stadium between a Cuban all-star team and the Orioles. The second would be April 3 between the same teams at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

AUTO RACING:

Three-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon led testing Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 191.832, more than 1 mph slower than Rusty Wallace's top speed of winter testing. Twenty-five General Motors teams were at Daytona on Tuesday and will conclude testing today.

Kyle Petty had a lap of 191.375, while Mike Skinner, Sterling Marlin, Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte all topped the 190-mph mark.

SpeedWeeks at Daytona gets underway in February, with the Daytona 500 scheduled Feb. 14.

FOOTBALL:

Woody McCorvey, a longtime assistant at Alabama who worked last season at South Carolina, was hired by Tennessee on Tuesday. McCorvey, 48, will coach running backs for national champion Tennessee, said coach Phillip Fulmer.

McCorvey was an assistant at Alabama from 1990-97. Before that he coached at North Carolina Central, Alabama A&M and Clemson.

BOXING:

Shane Mosley, the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion who made five title defenses during the year, was selected as the 1998 Fighter of the Year by Boxing Writers Association of America. He will be presented the Edward J. Neil Award on April 9 in New York.Jack Mosley, Shane's father, won the John F.X. Condon Award as trainer of the year, and Floyd Mayweather Sr., father of the WBC super featherweight champion, won the Al Buck Award for manager of the year.

BASKETBALL:

The Atlantic Coast Conference and city of Greensboro hope to use this year's NCAA East Regional championship as a warmup for a future Women's Final Four.

In a bold move in an area known as a hotbed for ACC men's hoops, ACC commissioner John Swofford said Tuesday the league will submit a bid by the end of the month to host the 2004 Women's Final Four at the Greensboro Coliseum.

"I think this is an opportunity for the city of Greensboro and surrounding area to really put itself on the map in terms of women's basketball and its support of women's basketball," Swofford said of this year's regional final, which will be played March 20 and 22.