Other Sports

Sports briefs: Feb. 23


Outfielder Gomes signs 1-year deal to return to Reds

Free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with Cincinnati on Monday, providing the right-handed power hitter the Reds wanted in the outfield. General Manager Walt Jocketty said the 29-year-old Gomes will compete for the job in left field. His contract includes a club option for 2011.

The Reds put right-hander Edinson Volquez on the 60-day disabled list to create room on the roster. Volquez had reconstructive elbow surgery last August and isn't expected back before mid-season.

Gomes appeared in 98 games for the Reds last season, batting .267 with 20 home runs and 51 runs batted in. He started 33 games in left field, 33 in right and nine as a designated hitter during interleague play. The Reds declined to offer him salary arbitration last December, making him a free agent.

Gomes had talked to the Reds about a deal over the winter.

"After I met with (Manager Dusty Baker) and the coaches after the season, we put together a list of things we wanted to improve on for this season," Jocketty said. "The last thing on the list we hadn't checked off was a right-handed power hitter. I definitely think Jonny fills that role. There will definitely be a lot of competition for that spot in the outfield."

■ The Detroit Tigers finalized a one-year, $8 million deal with outfielder Johnny Damon. "This is where I wanted to be," Damon said. "The Tigers were my first choice. I love it here and think I am a good fit."

College football

Kentucky 22nd in nation in attendance

Attendance at NCAA football games was down slightly in 2009 compared with the record 2008 season. The NCAA reported Monday that almost 48.3 million fans attended games at the 630 NCAA schools, including home, neutral-site and post-season games. That's down about 1 percent from the 48.8 million in 2008.

Michigan led the nation with an average crowd of 108,933. Penn State, Ohio State and Texas also averaged better than 100,000 a game.

The Southeastern Conference led all leagues in attendance, at 76,288 a game. Tennessee topped the SEC and was fifth overall with 99,220 per game. Kentucky was eighth in the conference and 22nd overall with an average crowd of 69,594.

Paterno's glasses net $9,000 for charity

Two Penn State graduates will pay $9,000 for a chance to see through Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno's trademark thick-rimmed glasses. The bid from Michelle and Kevin Coppola won an auction for a pair of spectacles donated by the Nittany Lions coach, who's famous for wearing his glasses on the sidelines — along with his rolled-up khakis and jet-black sneakers.

The farsighted Paterno had eye surgery last month to improve his vision. The 83-year-old still needs glasses to read, though he appears to be done wearing the Coke bottle-thick glasses.

The auction benefited Penn State Public Broadcasting.


Tomlinson's time with Chargers over

LaDainian Tomlinson was released Monday by the San Diego Chargers, ending a brilliant nine-year run in which he became one of the NFL's greatest running backs. The move had been expected for some time. Tomlinson, who turned 30 last summer, was injured early in the 2009 season and finished with 730 yards on 223 carries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry, all career lows.

Tomlinson was due a $2 million bonus in early March, which all but guaranteed he would be cut loose as his role diminished on a team that thrived with a pass-happy offense.

Tomlinson wasn't immediately available for comment. He said after the Chargers' playoff loss to the New York Jets that he felt he could still play for a few more seasons.

Tomlinson ranks eighth on the all-time rushing list with 12,490 yards. His 138 career rushing touchdowns rank second, and his 153 total touchdowns rank third. He was the NFL's MVP in 2006, when he set NFL single-season records with 31 touchdowns and 186 points. Tomlinson won the NFL's rushing title in 2006 and '07.


Bogut big in Bucks' defeat of Knicks

Andrew Bogut had 24 points and 20 rebounds in his third career 20-20 game, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the host New York Knicks 83-67 on Monday night for their third straight victory.

Limited to just 5½ minutes at Madison Square Garden three weeks ago because of a migraine, Bogut played 36 this time and overwhelmed the Knicks' smaller front line. He shot 12-for-15 from the field in his first 20-20 game since Dec. 13, 2008, against Indiana.

Tracy McGrady scored 15 points in his second game with the Knicks, but shot only 5-for-14. He wasn't alone in struggling, as the team hit just 33.8 percent from the field in its season-high seventh straight loss.

Andray Blatche scored 25 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards past the visiting Chicago Bulls 101-95.

Blatche, averaging 25 points in the four games since the trades of Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, helped Washington to its first three-game home winning streak since April 4-12, 2008. He also made all nine of his free throws.

■ Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson left the team and is out indefinitely to spend time with his ill daughter. Iverson will miss at least the remaining three games of Philadelphia's road trip. Iverson missed five games and the All-Star game to be with his family when the health issue surfaced earlier this month. Iverson has not disclosed what is ailing his 4-year-old daughter, Messiah.

Steve Nash didn't make the Phoenix Suns' trip to Oklahoma City in order to rest his sore lower back and abdomen. The two-time league MVP has been bothered by the pain in recent games, so Coach Alvin Gentry said it was an easy decision to keep Nash out of Tuesday night's game against the Thunder.

■ The Utah Jazz played without All-Star Deron Williams and forward Andrei Kirilenko against the Atlanta Hawks. Williams sat out Monday with a bruised right quad and Kirilenko had back spasms.

■ Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger missed Monday night's game at Dallas for unspecified personal reasons.


UK baseball's Rogers top SEC freshman

Kentucky freshman pitcher Taylor Rogers was named the Southeastern Conference's freshman of the week. Rogers pitched 72⁄3 shutout innings in his collegiate debut, a victory against West Virginia on Saturday. Rogers allowed six hits and a walk and struck out two batters. Kentucky's home opener against Murray State is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

■ Kansas junior center Cole Aldrich and Thomas More senior guard Daniel McKeehan were both named Academic All-American of the Year in the university and college divisions, respectively, by ESPN The Magazine. McKeehan, a Mainville, Ohio, native who majors in economics and has a 4.0 grade point average, leads the Saints in scoring with 15.7 points per game.

■ Third-seeded Andy Murray and defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the second round of the Dubai Championships on Monday. Murray defeated Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-3 at the $1.6 million tournament, while the second-seeded Djokovic beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 6-4.

The last word

Athletes will try just about anything to heal what ails them. Bulls center Joakim Noah is no different. After missing eight straight games nursing his injured left foot, Noah tried drinking a mysterious substance Friday that a friend provided. Said Noah:

"Somebody at the gym said, 'Drink this, it's good for feet.' So I drank it. Apparently it is some kind of fruit drink that is good for your feet. Whatever helps."