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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan • 27

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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2000 RTS DETROIT PREE PRE88 3C WIIATTIXEY SAID ABOUT THE TRADE TIGERS I Swing deal with Astros for Cedeno From Page 1C Daniels may miss last two games for Bears NIX ROUNDUP FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES FOOTBALL ON TV Saturday Noon 'lifHZ Mt. Union (Ohio) vs. St. John's NCAA Division III championship. 12:30 I I Washington at Pittsburgh.

3:00 (I'M Georgia Southern vs. Montana, NCAA Division l-AA championship. 4:09 UU Oakland at Seattle. Sunday 1p.m. fJB Lions at NY Jets.

1:00 Denver at Kansas City. 1:00 fit' Tennessee at Cleveland. 4:15 CF) ni) Indianapolis at Miami. 8:35 dSPlt NY Giants at Dallas. Monday 9 p.m.

St. Louis at Tampa Bay. LAKE FOREST, 111. Chicago defensive end Phillip Daniels probably will miss the Bears' final two games with an ankle sprain. Daniels was injured in Sunday's 24-17 win over the New England Patriots when tight end Rod Rut-ledge jumped into the back of Daniels' legs.

Rutledge was assessed a 15-yard clipping penalty and later apologized to Daniels. "We're not really optimistic for him coming back this year," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. The Bears close the season Dec. 24 versus the Lions at the Silverdome. Daniels could join a half dozen key Bears knocked out for the season in recent weeks.

They include receiver Marcus Robinson (back), quarterback Jim Miller (Achilles' tendon), center Olin Kreutz (knee), tight end John Allred (knee) and linebacker Warrick Holdman (knee). Daniels signed the richest contract in Bears history five years for $24 million during the offseason but produced only six sacks so far. DALLAS: Quarterback Troy Aik-man probably will miss the team's next game and was questionable for the season-finale after the 10th concussion of his career. Aikman was hurt Sunday on a tackle by Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington in Dallas' 32-13 victory. Aikman wasn't expected to play in Sunday's home game against the New York Giants.

His status for the game Christmas night at Tennessee was not clear. DENVER: Recovering quickly from a separated right shoulder, quarterback Brian Griese is expected to play in the regular-season finale, against San Francisco Doug Brocail, reliever, on his championship-less career In Detroit: "It just disappoints me that four years was wasted. Trust me, Detroit people, when I say It (a trade made because of a pay- roll freeze) is not Randy's fault. It's a shame." Brad Ausmus, catcher, on how he i wavered on whether to agree to the trade: "I'm not 1 00 percent positive It Is the best move, mainly because I enjoyed Detroit so much the last two years playing the last year In Tiger Stadium and the first year in Comerlca Park, and the friends and neighbors I had there." Randy Smith, Tigers general manager. "We Identified our needs as a starting pitcher who could give us 200 innings, (someone with) speed and a potential lead-.

off hitter, and some pop for the middle of our lineup. We feel today we have accomplished two of our objectives, and gotten a special bat In Mitch Meluskey were going to make a run at some guys." Instead, a few days ago, Smith acknowledged that he hadn't made an offer to a free agent this off-season. The same day, he told Houston general manager Gerry Hunsicker that he would like to get Holt and Cedeno. One important statistic from the deal went unannounced: It will save the Tigers about $1.5 million in payroll next season. Comerica Park, which was supposed to generate enough money to make the Tigers a contender, now could be holding them back from becoming one.

One big-league official familiar with the park's financing confirmed recently that Hitch is saving now so he can make his loan payment on the park in 2002 even if there's a lockout that season. And the cost overruns at Comerica Park (they were in the tens of millions) might have put Hitch in a bind. Third baseman Dean Palmer said Hitch doesn't owe the players an explanation for why the pay- TIM But A-Rod fell short of the highest average salary in sports. Los Angeles Lakers center Sha-quille O'Neal will average $29.5 million in an three-year extension that starts with the 2003-04 season. Rodriguez was highly prized because he became a free agent at such a young age.

In seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners, he has compiled a .309 career average with 189 homers and 595RBIs. Anaheim: Right-hander Pat Rapp and former Tigers outfielder Kimera Bartee signed one-year contracts for undisclosed terms. Rapp was 9-12 with a 5.90 ERA for Baltimore. Bartee batted .298 with eight homers and 48 RBIs at Triple-A Louisville. He went 0-for-4 In 11 games after being called up by the Reds.

Chicago Cubs: Jason Bera agreed to a preliminary deal that would pay him $4.5 mil A. LIONS I Mo cites effort, dopiness From Page 1C struggled since suffering badly bruised ribs in the Lions' 34-9 Thanksgiving Day victory over New England. Batch threw three costly interceptions Sunday in a 26-13 loss at Green Bay, and his 67.8 passer rating is among the lowest in the NFL. Although Batch missed some open receivers at Green Bay, Moeller said, "I'm not going to be in here and beat up on Batch. And, honestly, I'm not going to do that because I don't think it's necessary.

"I don't think he was a horrible football player in that game at all. I shouldn't even use the word, horrible. There were some things he did well, and he's just got to continue to improve in that way." Batch's next test will be Sunday against the New York Jets at East Rutherford, N. J. Moeller said he would consider playing backup quarterback Stoney Case if Batch is unable to practice because of his injured ribs or if he has a particularly ineffective game, but Moeller indicated the move was unlikely.

Nor does he plan to make significant changes in the offensive strategy. "The one thing we're not going to do (although) you might run a reverse or something like that is go in there and put in a bunch of new plays," Moeller said. Mostly, he wants the Lions to play smarter football than they did at Green Bay. "The only thing I'm giving you a good review on is our effort," he said Monday. "The stupidity with which we handled the football at times is not exactly what you want done.

That was obviously the biggest difference in that game." Moeller did not list individual examples, but there were plenty he might have chosen. The Lions committed five turnovers the three interceptions by Batch and fumbles by Desmond Howard and James Stewart Batch's first interception probably hurt the most. Facing a third-and-goal at the Packers' 6, he was pressured, and instead of throwing the ball away or taking a sack he threw into coverage in the end zone. The Lions lost a chance for at least a field goal attempt. Howard fumbled on his second kickoff return, and Stewart lost the football as he struggled for yardage on a third-down play from the Packers' 26.

Despite those mistakes, "we kept coming," Moeller said. "We just did some things that were dumb to beat ourselves. And, obviously, you can't do that. That's the disappointing part. "Maybe we ought to continue to cut back on things and try to make it simpler.

But then you make the game so darned simple that everybody knows what you're doing and they can beat you up." NOTEBOOE: The Lions likely won't get much relief this week for their injury-depleted secondary. Free safety Kurt Schulz (ankle sprain) probably won't play against the Jets, and safety Cor-win Brown was awaiting the results of an MRI exam on the sprained left knee he suffered Sunday. He could be lost for the season. Former Lions safety Ryan Stewart, who was cut before the season opener, worked out and probably will be signed, director of pro scouting Sheldon White said. "I'm working myself out next," White joked.

Contact CURT SYLVESTER at on Dec. 23. Griese is expected to practice Wednesday, on a limited basis. He won't play in Sunday's game at Kansas City. n.t.

JETI: Coach Al Groh said it will be at least another day before the status of quarterback Vinny Testaverde is determined for Sunday's game versus the Lions at the Silverdome. Testaverde injured his groin in Sunday night's 31-7 loss at Oakland. Also, defensive end Rick Lyle is out for the season with a broken leg. WASHINGTON: Quarterback Jeff George will start the final two regular-season games for the Redskins, interim coach Terry Ro-biskie said. George, whose record as a starter this season is 1-3, went 19-for-33 for 235 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception in Sunday's 32-13 loss to Dallas.

He was also sacked five times. OBITUARY: Tyrone McGriff, a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Michigan Panthers in the 1980s and one of Florida greatest football players, has died at 41. He died Saturday in Melbourne, two weeks after having a heart attack. A three-time Division I-AA Ail-American, McGriff played three seasons in the NFL with the Steelers and three more years in the USFL. A key player on Florida national championship teams in 1977 and 1978, McGriff was drafted in the 12th round by the Steelers and earned NFL all-rookie honors in 1980.

He later played in the USFL with the Panthers and with the Memphis Showboats. 9-2 run and got within 14-10. O'Neal didn't look to score early, but scored six during a 12-6 spurt that gave the defending champions a 26-16 cushion. Joe Smith (23 points) and Ma-teen Cleaves came off the bench and combined for five straight field goals, closing the gap to 33-25 by the end of the first quarter. The Pistons got as close as 42-38 in the second.

Reprinted from Monday 's late editions. Snowed out Due to the severe weather, the Eastern Michigan-Oakland University women game was postponed until 8:30 p.m. Sunday at EMU. The Wisconsin men's game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee was also postponed with the makeup date to be determined. College players of the week: MidAmerican Conference Ball State sophomore forward Taman Bowl of Lansing Sexton (48 points, 19 rebounds in three games), Buffalo senior forward Tiffany Ben (36 points, 13 rebounds in two games), Miami (Ohio) junior forward Alex Shorts (36 points in two games), and Ball State sophomore forward Theron Smith (62 points, 17 rebounds two games).

Great Lakes Conference Grand Valley State senior guard Micah Bell of Wyoming Park (35 points in two games) and Hillsdale sophomore guard Stephanie Heid (50 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists in two games). Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Calvin sophomore guard Jeremy Veenstn of Kalamazoo Christian (38 points, 1 3 rebounds in two games). Olivet sophomore forward Louisa GVIP of Williamston (43 points, 1 9 rebounds in two games) and Adrian sophomore guard Sarah Vinckt of New Lothrop (35 points in one game). QMtUp! I Mk hk.aa 5. iMitiiaiitiiii ua hv who in the future can hit In the middle of the lineup." Gerry Hunsicker, Houston general manager "Our priority was to improve our pitching staff.

Brad Ausmus helped us win two championships in Houston, and reacquiring him Instantly makes our pitching staff bettor. Doug Brocail has become one of the most reliable setup men in the American League over the last three years." Larry Oierker Houston manager, on Chris Holt: "His problem has been the four-, five- or six-run Inning. He probably puts up as many zeros as anyone on our staff." Phil Garner, Tigers manager, on how Matt Anderson inconsistent in his three big-league seasons will replace Brocail as the eighth-inning reliever "What were we going to do, wait until Matt was 40 years old?" By John Lowe roll isn't rising. "It's his ballclub Palmer said. "It's his business.

But I think everyone thought it would be a little different direction going into the off-season." Palmer was subdued by Monday's deal. "It's not good news," he said. "With what we have, we're still not a bad club. We got guys who if they play the way they're capable of playing are going to help us a lot. Losing guys like Brad and Brocail is tough.

You've somehow got to be positive through it and give this thing a chance." When the off-season began, Tigers executives weren't thinking of trading Ausmus or Brocail. They figured the payroll would increase by at least $15 million. But by mid-November, it was clear that Hitch wasn't going to allow a payroll increase, least in time for the prime free-agent shopping period in November and December. It was time for Smith to take a big swing in the trade market. Right-hander Kevin Appier, 33, slips on his New York Mets uniform after signing a four-year contract for $42 million.

Appier was 15-11 with a 4.52 ERA last season, helping Oakland to the American League West championship. SHARPAsdociated Pmi lion for two years. The right-hander was a combined 12-10 with a 5.47 for Milwaukee and LOS Angeles: Right-hander Darren Dreifort re-signed for five years, $55 million. Dreifort was 12-9 with a 4.16. New York Mets: Right-handers Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel signed contracts.

Appier, 15-11 with a 4.52 for Oakland, got a four-year deal for $42 million. Trachsel, a combined 8-15 with a 4.80 for Tampa Bay and Toronto, got two years, $7 million. Right-handed reliever Donne Wall was acquired from San Diego for former Tigers outfielder Bubba Trammett. Wall was 5-2 with a 3.35 In 44 games, holding batters to a .193 average third lowest in the NL Trammell hit a combined .265 with 1 0 homers and 45 RBIs for Tampa Bay and the Mets Japanese outfielder Tsuyoshl Shlnjo signed a one-year contract for $700,000. He has a .249 average with 1 45 homers and 51 8 RBIs in 1 0 seasons.

Toronto: Infielder Jeff Frye signed a $1 million contract. Frye hit .307 with one homer and 16 RBIs for Boston and Colorado. nue is still far greater for big-market teams. Nonetheless, the ballpark-building trend continues. New York politicians are trying to figure out how to build new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets.

Thank goodness. Otherwise, how could they topple the Kansas City Royals juggernaut? Home-run king Mark McGwire has said that if a work stoppage creeps into the regular season, he'll retire. McGwire's historic 1998 season helped pull baseball out of its darkness, but here we are, two years later, and things are getting dim again. At the end of next season, the lights will go out, maybe for a long time. And when they finally come back on, we can only hope that the game's structure has genuinely been altered.

The alternative? Move the fences in even more, hope somebody hits 71 home runs and pretend all is well again. For a few years, anyway. Contact MICHAEL ROSENBERG at 313-22-6052 or Pistons finish trip 1-3; dynamic duo leads Lakers got the better of the deal." Manager Phil Garner thinks that could become evident next season. Garner praised Ausmus, 31, and Brocail, 33, but he refused to say the trade was more for the long term than next season.

"I think it's going to be good right from the get-go," he said. Smith now has made five trades involving Ausmus, including two from Detroit to Houston. "This is a very difficult decision, because we are dealing with quality individuals in Doug Brocail and Brad Ausmus," Smith said. "But we feel we've made ourselves better." Ausmus hit .266 last season and threw out 43.2 percent of the runners attempting to steal, best in the American League. Brocail, who had some elbow problems, was 5-4 with a 4.09 ERA.

He mostly set up closer Todd Jones. Cruz, 28, was 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA. For now, it might be hard to see this trade as progress because of owner Mike Hitch's disillusioning decision not to allow a payroll increase for next season. Like Brocail, Ausmus wasn't eager to play for a team that froze its payroll, which at $58 million ranked in the middle of the majors this season. Ausmus, one of the majors' best defensive catchers, waived his no-trade clause so the deal could be completed.

Asked how much Hitch's payroll-freeze contributed to his decision, Ausmus said, "It was definitely a consideration." Brocail said: "It hurts me what happens. As players we expected to jump in payroll. I thought we BASEBALL! A-Rod joins Rangers in record deal From Page 1C buy three franchises or so at the bottom end of market value," said Sandy Alderson, an executive vice president in the commissioner's office. It is double the previous record for a sports contract: a $126-million, six-year agreement in October 1997 between Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves. The previous high for a baseball player was set just Saturday: a $121 million, eight-year contract between left-hander Mike Hampton and the Colorado Rockies.

"Alex made an owner decision," said Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, who called Hicks "someone he could communicate with, someone who could put him in position to achieve his goals as a baseball player." Rodriguez, who can opt out of the agreement after seven years and become a free agent again at age 32, came away with an average salary of $25.2 million 48 percent higher than the previous top, the $17 million Toronto first baseman Carlos Delgado agreed to in October as part of a four-year contract. ROSENBERG From Page 1C without competitive balance. And the players association must decide whether having the highest possible average salary is worth it if half the players are stuck on perennially losing teams. And, you know, it wouldn't kill anybody to start thinking about this stuff before games are canceled. But games will be canceled.

In fact, the entire 2002 season might be canceled. Owners are determined to finally win one of these labor struggles. Players, used to drubbing the owners, won't give in. For those keeping score, this will make it Strikes 5, Lockouts 4, in a game that started three decades ago, a game nobody is winning. There were lockouts in 1973, 1976 and 1990 and strikes in 1972, 1980, 1981, 1985 and 1994-95.

The beauty of baseball is that it never changes, but this is ridiculous. The last strike forced the cancellation of the 1994 Wrorld Series and accomplished nothing. There are still at least a dozen 1 I Baseball trouble ahead BASKETBALL ROUNDUP ByPERRYA.FARHELL free press sports writer LOS ANGELES This one went as expected as the Lakers sent the Pistons home with a 112-88 loss Sunday night at the Staples Center, finishing a 1-3 trip. As usual in losses by the Pistons (9-12), Jerry Stackhouse was the only reliable weapon, with 30 points. As usual in victories by the Lakers (15-7), Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant dominated.

Both scored 26 points in 33 minutes. "It's hard to play them on the second game of back-to-back, just because of Shaq," said Pistons coach George Irvine. "You have to prepare for them differently than any other team because of him." The Pistons, minus forward Jerome Williams (sprained ankle), were hurt more when guard Chucky Atkins suffered a twisted ankle in the first half. "I just think we're ready to go home," Stackhouse said. "We don't feel bad about the road trip.

We won the battle but lost the war." Threatening to blow out the Pistons a few times in the first half, the Lakers led at halftime, 56-44. They made it 61-48 after the start of the third on a three-point play by Rick Fox. Bryant and Stackhouse traded three-pointers, and Dana Barros added a triple that got the visitors within 66-56 with 8:18 left in the period. Bryant and O'Neal combined for 15 straight points, allowing the Lakers to open a 76-60 cushion when O'Neal dunked a pass from Bryant with 5:49 left in the third. Bryant continued his onslaught with six points in a row, and the lead swelled to 82-64 on a dunk by Shaq.

By the time the Showtime dust had settled, the Lakers used a 19-8 run for an 85-64 advantage. It was evident early that the Pistons were more in sync against the Lakers than they were Saturday in a blowout loss to Portland. Bryant got loose early, scoring a bank-shot triple and adding a slam, helping the Lakers to a 12-1 lead. Stackhouse, however, stayed aggressive, and the Pistons used a SALE Everything you need to know about I golf in Michigan is available at Check it out today to WIN FREE GOLF I 1 PLUS.

SEE THESE i ADVERTISED SPECIALS Look for the Golf Guide Tuesdays Sundays teams that cannot compete for championships. They simply don't have the money. The teams that win consistently all have high payrolls. It is true that the low-payroll Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics made this year's postseason. But neither team will be around for the long haul unless it doubles its payroll and only Chicago can afford that.

A decade ago, Twins center-fielder Kirby Puckett became baseball's highest-paid player $3 million per year. Now the Twins can't afford to pay their entire roster what Rodriguez will make in a year. So while A-Rod looks for a town to live in, or purchase, almost half the teams know they won't make the playoffs in 2001. The Tigers, fresh off their stirring 2000 run toward mediocrity, are in that group. But at least they will lose in a shiny new park.

So will the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers and most other teams with new parks in small markets. New parks don't level the playing field, not enough, because broadcast reve HolidaySale additional $20 CFF Shirts Buy 2nd 12 CFF ShoeS From $39 Lcdles Peelers 3 Woods, 8 Irons, Putter, Bag Head Cover SALE ENDS DEC 22 mmm. mm.

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