Originally created 01/24/04



Rodriguez rejoins former team for day

Ivan Rodriguez rejoined the Marlins for a day, going with the team to the White House to celebrate Florida's World Series title.

The 10-time All-Star catcher, who became a free agent after the six-game win over the New York Yankees, rejected a $24 million, three-year offer from the Marlins. Detroit has offered a $40 million, four-year deal and his agent, Scott Boras, said he's still considering proposals from several teams.

President George W. Bush, the former Texas Rangers owner who was Pudge's boss in Texas, talked about Rodriguez during the photo opportunity in the East Room.

"I remember when my friend, Pudge Rodriguez, stood up to the world and said, '2003 is going to be the year of the Marlin,' " Bush said. "And a lot of people said, 'I'm not so sure he knows what he's talking about." Turns out he did know what he's talking about. And I want to congratulate Pudge."

  • New York Yankees reliever Steve Karsay reported no problems after his fourth bullpen session in the past two weeks.
  • Karsay threw 30 fastballs at the Yankees minor league complex. He did not pitch last season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in May.

    "We're increasing the intensity each time," he said. "We'll start throwing breaking balls in two weeks."

  • Shingo Takatsu brushed up on his English before he was introduced Friday as the newest member of the Chicago White Sox.
  • "I'm very excited to be here," said the reliever known as "Mr. Zero" who is Japan's career saves leader. "Chicago is my field of dreams."

    College football

    Former Bulldogs guard dies at 54

    In Claxton, Ga., former Georgia All-American Royce Smith, a guard who played two seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, is dead at 54.

    He died Thursday, the university said.

    Smith was chosen on The Associated Press All-America team in 1971, the year he won an award as the best blocker in the Southeastern Conference. He was all-SEC twice during his career.

    Smith was selected in the first round of the 1972 draft by the New Orleans Saints.

    He is survived by his son, Royce Jr., and a daughter, Kaysie. The funeral will be held Sunday at the Statesboro First Baptist Church.

    Figure skating

    Ice dancers trying to end long drought

    In Hamilton, Ontario, there hasn't been any Americans on a world championship ice dance podium for 19 years, but Canadian-born Tanith Belbin and partner Benjamin Agosto appear entirely capable of end-ing the drought.

    Using the West Side Story free dance that won them their first U.S. senior title earlier this month, Belbin and Agosto took the gold medal Friday in the Four Continents competi-tion.

    Belbin and Agosto will attempt in Dortmund, Germany, in March to become the first U.S. entry to win world championship ice dance medals since Judy Blomberg and Michael Seibert took bronze in 1985 in Tokyo.


    IOC Vice president has duties lifted

    IOC vice president Kim Un-yong was suspended from all Olympic duties Friday amid corruption accusations against him in South Korea.

    One of the most powerful of-ficials in international sports, Kim faces the possibility of be-coming the highest-ranking IOC member to be expelled. He narrowly escaped expulsion in the Salt Lake City bid scan-dal five years ago.

    The International Olympic Committee's executive board provisionally stripped Kim of "all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his IOC membership" pending investigations by South Korean authorities and the IOC ethics commission.


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