Originally created 01/15/04

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Football

Thomson kicker verbally commits

Thomson punter/place-kicker Justin Martin verbally committed to the Air Force Academy on Wednesday.

"He meant a great deal to us," Bulldogs coach Luther Welsh said. "He gave us great field position, No. 1. Most of the time on kickoffs, the other team had to start on the 20-yard line. He was a great asset to us."

The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Martin averaged 37.3 yards per punt last season for Thomson, which finished 10-2.

Baseball

DeRosa signs deal to stay in Atlanta

Infielder Mark DeRosa and the Atlanta Braves agreed Wednesday to a $725,000, one-year contract.

DeRosa, 28, hit .263 with six homers and 22 RBI in 103 games with the Braves last season. He played at third base, second base, shortstop and left field.

In 275 career games, he has a .278 batting average with 14 homers and 68 RBI.

  • The Chicago Cubs, who lost Greg Maddux to the Atlanta Braves in 1992, would like him to finish where he started.
  • The Cubs have offered Maddux a two-year deal, thought to be worth $14 million to $15 million. Maddux made $14.75 million last year, his final season with the Braves.

    Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said he expects the right-hander to take his time before deciding.

    "We're continuing to negotiate with about four, five teams," Maddux's agent, Scott Boras, said.

  • It might not get him in the Hall of Fame, but Pete Rose's new autobiography will soon be atop The New York Times list of best sellers.
  • The book, released a week ago with a first printing of 500,000, will top the Times' nonfiction hardcover chart coming out Jan. 25, reflecting the week it went on sale.

    In 1989, Rose was banished from baseball for betting on the game, a charge he acknowledged publicly for the first time in the book. The career hits leader is ineligible for the Hall of Fame and officials had said reinstatement was impossible until he admitted he gambled on baseball.

    Tennis

    Henin-Hardenne opens with victory

    In Sydney, Australia, top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne opened her season with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Conchita Martinez in the Adidas International.

    Henin-Hardenne is seeded No. 1 in Sydney and for the Australian Open, which starts Monday at Melbourne Park.

    On the men's side, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt won nine consecutive games after trailing 0-4 in the first set to beat Slovakian Karol Kucera 6-4, 6-1 and clinch a quarterfinal berth against Frenchman Arnaud Clement, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Swedish qualifier Joachim Johansson.

  • In Los Angeles, an arrest warrant was issued for a man believed to have fired the shots that killed the half-sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams last year.
  • Lt. Dan Rosenberg said Wednesday that investigators believe Robert Edward Maxfield is "the shooter" of Yetunde Price.

    Another man, Aaron Michael Hammer, 24, was arrested shortly after the killing and charged with murder. Hammer pleaded innocent and was ordered to stand trial.

  • Jelena Dokic will miss the Australian Open for a third consecutive year after informing organizers Wednesday that she wasn't prepared for the season's first Grand Slam event.
  • Three former champions, defending titlist Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati (2001 and 2002), and Mary Pierce (1995), have pulled out in the last week citing injuries.

    Monica Seles, a four-time champion in Australia, will miss the tournament because of a foot injury that has sidelined her since the French Open. Second-ranked Kim Clijsters' entry is in doubt because of an ankle problem.