Longtime Cubs star, broadcaster Santo dies
Ron Santo's love for the Chicago Cubs stretched from his days as a standout third baseman who one season even jumped and clicked his heels to celebrate victories to the two decades he spent unabashedly pulling for his team as a broadcaster.
As much as his passion for the Cubbies soothed their long-suffering fans, his play and work in the broadcast booth helped him, too, through tough times and serious ailments, including a bout with diabetes that cost him both legs below the knees. He called the Cubs, simply, his therapy.
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Santo, who had finished his 21st season broadcasting the Cubs in September, died Thursday night in Arizona from complications of bladder cancer, according to the team and WGN Radio, his longtime employer. He was 70.
A nine-time all-star in his 15-year career, Santo hit .277 with 2,254 hits, 342 home runs and 1,331 runs batted in. He also won the Gold Glove award five times.
Santo was widely regarded as one of the best players never to gain induction into the Hall of Fame. The quiet sadness with which he met the news year after year that he hadn't been inducted helped cement his relationship with the fans.
"What a great loss for the Cubs and Cubs fan everywhere. Ron was such a wonderful person and friend. It is so unfortunate that he never became a Hall of Famer, as he should have long ago," Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman said.
Reds add two years to Arroyo's contract
The Cincinnati Reds and Bronson Arroyo have agreed to a new contract that added two years through 2013 and $23.5 million in new money. After a season in which the 33-year-old right-hander won a career-best 17 games, the Reds exercised an $11.5 million option last month. Friday's agreement adds two seasons and includes deferred money through 2021.
■ Right-hander Aaron Harang has agreed to a one-year deal with the San Diego Padres, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. Harang spent the last 7½ seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, winning 16 games in 2006 and 2007. But he struggled the last three years, going 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA last season when he was bothered by back spasms.
■ Veteran outfielder Pat Burrell signed a $1 million, one-year contract with the World Series champion Giants on Friday, taking a below-market deal to remain in San Francisco.
■ Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty Friday to attempted assault to settle charges he attacked his girlfriend's father at Citi Field last season in a deal that spares him jail time but sends him to additional anger management classes.
Woods takes 4-shot lead at Chevron
Tiger Woods is starting to look like his old self at the Chevron World Challenge. Woods got off to a blazing start Friday in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and a solid putting stroke enabled him to play bogey-free in the second round for a 6-under 66 that gave him a four-shot lead going into the weekend of his final tournament this year.
Woods was at 13-under 131, his best 36-hole score this year by six shots. U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was four shots back. Rory McIlroy, playing with the Woods for the first time, made double bogey on the 18th hole for a 70 and was another shot behind, along with Luke Donald, who had a 66.
■ Lee Westwood, the world's top-ranked player, opened a three-shot lead with eight birdies in a second-round 64 Friday at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Englishman Ross Fisher (68) is in second, and three players are six off the lead.
■ Geoff Ogilvy shot a 7-under 65 at The Lakes course to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds at the Australian Open in Sydney on Friday. Australian Matt Jones (64) is one stroke back. Americans Fred Couples (74) and John Daly (77) missed the cut.
■ Amy Yang held firm atop the leader board at the LPGA Tour Championship, taking a three-shot lead by the time the second round was called for darkness in Orlando, Fla. Yang finished with a 3-under 69 on Friday, playing through near-freezing temperatures at Grand Cypress Golf Club. Maria Hjorth (68) and Seon Hwa Lee (73) were three shots back. World No. 1 Jiyai Shin (75) is 8-over par and projected to make the cut on the number, keeping alive her chances of having the top ranking at season's end.
Kentucky falls to Purdue in NCAAs
Host Purdue ousted Kentucky (17-4) from the NCAA Tournament on Friday with a 3-1 first-round victory in West Lafayette, Ind. The loss prevented a UK rematch with rival Louisville, which will play Purdue in the second round at 7 p.m. Saturday.
■ Louisville (23-7) got 17 kills from sophomore Lola Arslanbekova and beat Middle Tennessee 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in West Lafayette, Ind.
■ Western Kentucky (27-9) was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, losing to Cincinnati 3-0 in Champaign, Ill. Cincinnati (30-5) advanced to play host Illinois (23-8), which swept Austin Peay.
■ Penn State won its 109th straight volleyball match, beating Niagara in a three-set sweep in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night. The win was Penn State's 91st in a row at home, breaking the NCAA women's record previously held by Nebraska. The Nittany Lions will face Virginia Tech on Saturday as they try for their fourth straight national title.
Notre Dame, Stanford reach NCAA finals
Mandy Laddish scored in the 83rd minute to lift Notre Dame past Ohio State 1-0 in the NCAA Women's College Cup semifinals in Cary, N.C. on Friday. Laddish drilled a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the upper left-hand corner of the net for her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish (20-2-2), who advanced to the championship game for the fourth time in the last seven years. Notre Dame will play Stanford (23-0-2), which beat Boston College 2-0, on Sunday.
The last word
Texas Tech basketball coach Pat Knight, when asked if his fiery father Bob ever threw furniture at home:
"No, everything was glued down."