Mets choose Howe to be new manager
Blocked from pursuing Lou Piniella and unsure if Dusty Baker would be interested, the New York Mets turned to Art Howe as their new manager.
A baseball source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that Howe has agreed to a four-year, $9.4 million contract. The move will be announced formally next week, after the World Series.
The agreement with Howe completes a bizarre managerial soap opera that involved the Mets, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
After finishing in last place despite a $95 million payroll, the Mets fired Bobby Valentine on Oct. 1 with one year left on his contract and entered the managerial marketplace. Their top targets were Seattle's Piniella and San Francisco's Baker.
Oakland's Howe was not on their radar screen at the start of the search.
Pinch Gut Puffer runs this weekend
The Walton Foundation for Independence will hold the 24th Pinch Gut Puffer run and walk competition Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
The run will begin at Standard Textile on King Mill and the walk at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Both divisions will end at St. Paul's. Walton will also hold the Pinch Gut Pasta dinner tonight at 7 p.m., for any of the participants in the race. Tickets are $7.
For more information, call (706) 823-8792 or go to www.wrh.org and click on "news."
Roddick disposes of teammate Blake
Andy Roddick eliminated U.S. Davis Cup teammate James Blake 7-6 (6), 6-3 Thursday in the second round of the Swiss Indoors.
Roddick next plays home favorite Roger Federer, the No. 3 seed, who beat qualifier Alexander Waske of Germany 6-3,7-6 (1).
In other action, defending champion Tim Henman came back from a set and a break down to beat Nicolas Escude 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Rios only needed to play one set before Jan-Michael Gambill was forced to retire due to a knee inflammation. Rios won the set 6-2.
Massu had a much tougher time, outlasting No. 8 seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
In other matches, fourth-seeded Justine Henin defeated Russia's Tatiana Panova 6-2, 6-1, and fifth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova beat Barbara Schett 6-1, 7-5.
Panthers get two back from injuries
The Carolina Panthers got mixed news about their injury situation Thursday. Linebackers Dan Morgan and Mark Fields both returned to practice, but rookie running back DeShaun Foster suffered another setback.
Foster has yet to play this year. He suffered cartilage damage and a bone bruise in his left knee in an August preseason game, and was originally supposed to miss just four weeks. His absence stretched on through the first seven games, although Carolina (3-4) had hoped he would make his season debut Sunday against Tampa Bay (5-2).
The Foster setback spoiled what was a lighthearted day for the Panthers, who got Fields and Morgan back for the first time in over a week. Both linebackers missed last week's loss to Atlanta with groin injuries.
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