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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan • Page 25

Detroit, Michigan
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Tuesday, February 17, 1998 Section 30ettoit 4ftce Vxcss INSIDE 8' She's back Steffi Graf returned to competition after an eight-month layoff because of knee surgery, Page 2D. Dog show, Page 2 Scoreboard, Page 4 LionsNFL, Page 5 NBA, Page 5 www.freep.comsports Call Sports: 1-313-222-6660 Scores: 1-900-737-8884 tfn (fj) nn nnrnll ii1 if-- MSU, Cleaves seek revenge vs. Wolverines GABRIEL 8. TAITOetrolt Free Press i Tigers right-hander Doug Brocail traces a ball with his grip for the 1 knuckle-curve to make sure the won't take another hiatus. never go looking for that pitch again," he said.

BY DREW SHARP I'Yee Press Sports Writer IT'S HIS TURN ast Lansing On the bus ride to Ann Arbor last month, Michigan State associate coach Tom Crean gave Ma-Iteen Cleaves a newspaper Could there be a more complete turnaround than the one that Tigers ireliever Doug Brocail made last season? His stats forthe season's first half and second half: W-L ERA IP SO HR "1st half 1-4 5.68 ,38 48 18 7 2nd half 2-0 0.90 40 26 42 3 Lost 'n' found: A ins Anger rega Brocailfc pitch I story to read. It was about quarterback Kordell Stewart, who was about to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers into the AFC championship game against the Denver Broncos. The story was about how leadership knows no age. The Spartans needed Cleaves' leadership in that day's game against Michigan. But Cleaves, a sophomore guard, reflected the rest of the team that January afternoon too high-strung, too tightly wound to do what was necessary to be competitive.

The Spartans lost, 79-69, one of their two defeats in a surprising Big Ten season. Tonight determines whether they have learned their lesson. "We're a much different team than the one they saw then," Cleaves said of the rematch at the Breslin Center. But so, too, is Michigan. Senior forward Maceo Baston, perhaps U-M's most complete player, is sidelined with a fractured right fool.

He's the Wolverines' top interior defender and their best offensive re-bounder. With him gone, Michigan Stale has its best chance of ending a five-game losing streak to Michigan, in which the Wolverines have won by an average of 18.8 points. The Spartans should be more aggressive driving the lane and attacking the basket with Baslon out with the potential of gelling 6-fool-8 Robert Traylor in foul trouble. "We're not focusing on who they've got playing or who isn't," Cleaves said. "We've got to play our game.

We've especially got to start out better than we have. With the type of players that Michigan has, Please see SPARTANS, Page 6D WHAT'S SHAKIN'? I Spring training opened this week, concluding one of the wildest off-seasons of player I movement in baseball history. On top of the normal economics-induced trades and free agent signings, the breakup of the world champion Marlins and the birth of expansion teams Tampa Bay and Arizona generated a deluge of transactions. At least a dozen players changed teams at least twice, including Travis Fryman, who gives Cleveland a strong third base replacement for Matt Williams, whom Cleveland swapped to Arizona for him. Out of all the activity, here are the 10 playersvhose moves could have the greatest impact orr the season, ranked on a baseball Richter scale: A.

Chuck Knoblauch, 2B, Yankees (traded from Minnesota): He's the closest thing going to Pete Rose, and after enduring five losing seasons in Minnesota, watch him soar in New York. 5fkm Andres Galarraga, IB, Braves (free agent from Colorado): Having led the National League in RBIseachofthelasttwo seasons, Galarraga brings badly needed right-handed balance to the Braves' lineup, especially for October. And even if he averages 45 fewer RBIs than he did the last two seasons at hitters-paradise Coors Field, he'll still drive in 100 runs. 4 Cm Kenny Lofton, CF, Cleveland (free agent from Atlanta): After a one-year absence, Lofton gives the Tribe perhaps the ideal mix between their 1995 firepower and their 1997 teamwork. Cleveland has to win the World Series one of these years.

4 A. Randy Myers, closer, Toronto (free agent from Baltimore): His arrival probably won't allow Toronto to reach the playoffs, but could turn the Orioles from division champion into a scrambler for the wild card berth. Last season, Myers converted 45 of 46 save opportunities; his replacement could be hard-throwing but homer-prone Armando Benitez. ft MoisesAlou, LF, Houston (traded from Florida): Now Houston has a legitimate cleanup hitter to protect Jeff Bagwell, the National League's best all-around batting threat. 3 Darryl Kile, right-handed starter, Colorado (free agent from Houston): Here's a top pitcher (19-7 last season) who doesn't mind pitching in the Coors launching pad.

He joins Pedro Astacio to lead a rotation that could bring Colorado its first NL West title. 3 Kevin Brown, right-handed starter, San Diego (traded from Florida): He can be a free agent after this season, but the Padres are trying hard forthe NL West title, in part to enhance their bid for a new ballpark. 26 Marquis Grlssom.CF, Milwaukee (traded from Cleveland): Before changing leagues, the Brewers already had a line-drive, contact-type team more suited to the National League than the American; Grissom might make them the favorites in the NL Central. 2C Pedro Martinez, right- handed starter, Bcton (traded from Montreal): Like the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have abandoned development and are spending tens of millions to try to compete in the American League East. Sorry; unless Martinez finishes 20 games over .500 as Roger Clemens once did, his new club can't catch New York and Baltimore.

2 A. Rod Beck, closer, Chicago Cubs (free agent from San Francisco): Neither he nor his saves look elegant, but he gives the Cubs bullpen stability they have lacked. By John Lowe KIRTHMON F. DOZIERDetroit Free Press Michigan State needs Mateen Cleaves to play well if it is to snap a five-game losing streak to Michigan. U-M draws up 2-vm battle plan against MSU msuvs.u-m 1 1 a MATCHUP: No.

22 Michigan MATCHUP: No. 22 Michigan I 7S 7 was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that I'd lost it for four years and boom there it was like it had never left. Tigers reliever Doug Brocail, on last summer's sudden return of his knuckle-curveball. J3Y JOHN LOWE Free Press Sports Writer LAKELAND, Fla Tigers righthander Doug Brocail would just as "oon knock down a hitter at him, general manager Randy Smith says.

Early in his career, Brocail would putt his head against walls. Brocail unleashes anger with his jongue, too. Anger at himself. With an impeccable second half last season, he became as vital to the Tigers' bullpen as closer Todd Jones. But Brocail recalls his struggles early last season, when he was a starter with only two effective pitches and then a reliever without a role.

"I didn't have anything for a while," he said. "I got shellacked. Every day was a battle. I was getting in games and doing well and still hating myself because I had nothing. When you're bathing against yourself ana you have no confidence, it kills you." Brocail struggled in part because of a cyst in his right wrist, the result of a minor league brawl.

"I got a little stupid, throwing a punch with my right hand," Brocail said. "I broke the joint cap open, and fluid seeped out of it. Fluid has to go somewhere, so it sat in pools and built up a cyst." The cyst was drained at the All-Star break last season. But Brocail contin- Please see TIGERS, Page 2D Cubs broadcaster Caray still critical after fall at club Free Press News Services RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. A sudden change in heart rhythm was blamed for the collapse of Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray.

Caray was stricken during a Valentine's Day dinner with his wife. Caray, 78, remained in critical but stable condition Monday at Eisenhower tyedical Center. His condition has remained unchanged since he was admitted Saturday night after falling at a local nightclub. Nursing supervisor Jane Taylor confirmed Caray's condition but declined Jiirther comment Family spokesman Bill Wills said, "a sudden change in heart rhythm which seriously affected his circulation" Caray to collapse. "His heart output is normal now," Wills was quoted as saying in Monday's Desert Sun of Palm Springs.

Doctors were unsure what caused the problem. Caray had a stroke in 1987, but doctors have ruled out another stroke, Wills said. Around the horn, Page 3D. 18-7, 8-4 Big Ten; No. 14 Michigan State 18-5, 11-2.

TIP-OFF: 7:30 tonight, Breslin Center, East Lansing TVRADIO: ESPN; WJR-AM (760), WXYT-AM (1270), WTKA-AM (1050). LINE: Michigan State by 7. OVERVIEW: Michigan forward Maceo Baston isn't the only player with a serious injury. MSU's David Thomas won't play. He's out with a sprained left knee suffered against iiiinois last Thursday.

Coach Tom Izzo hopes Thomas will be ready by the regular-season finale March 1 against Purdue. Michigan needs Louis Bullock to clamp the defensive locks on Mateen Cleaves, as he did in the first meeting at Ann Arbor last month. Jason Klein needs to hit his three-pointers for the Spartans to win. Five and counting U-M has beaten MSU five straight times and in nine of their last 11 meetings. Some comparisons during the five-game streak: CATEGORY U-M MSU Points 77.8 59.0 Field-goal shooting 49.3 37.2 Free-throw shooting 65.6 57.3 Rebounding 37.8 34.0 By jack sayloj Free lress Spurts Writer Two game plans are in place for Michigan in its attempt to continue a basketball spell over Michigan Stale tonight.

The Wolverines' concerns are: (A) playing without Maceo Baston, and (B) playing against Mateen Cleaves, Both were on the court when U-M ripped the Spartans, 79-69, at Crisler Arena on Jan. 10, running the Wolverines' string of victories to five straight against MSU. Cleaves endured 4-for-19 shooting that day, and Baston and Robert Traylor stuffed the Spartans inside. But coach Tom Izzo picked up the pieces and, wilh Cleaves leading the way, Michigan State went on a tear that carried the Spartans to the Big Ten lead, which they still hold with an 11-2 conference record. Michigan, at 8-4, has almost no hope of winning the title, but the Wolverines do seek a top-five finish and resulting first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament.

"They're a different team than when we played them the first time," Traylor said Monday as U-M held its last practice before the short ride to East Lansing. "They're playing great basketball." U-M coach Brian Ellerbe agreed. "They're a better team now," he sajd. "Mateen is arguably one of the three or four best point guards in America probably your Big Ten MVP, right now. "Their depth has helped them.

(Dujuan) Wiley is shooting 31-for-38 over the last half-dozen games; Qason) Klein is playing with a lot of confidence; they're as good a Please see WOLVERINES, Page 6D KIRTHMON F. DOZIERDetroit Free Press Michigan's Louis Bullock will be responsible for guarding Michigan State's Mateen Cleaves. Amid Florida's fun, Red Wings will practice ans Nick Lidstrom, Brendan Shana-han and Steve Yzerman head to Orlando today for a distraction-filled minicamp after taking eight days off as, part of the NHL shutdown during the Winter (James in Nagano. The Wings will return home Sunday and will play their first game in 7h weeks Feb. 25 against Los Angeles their first home game in four little tiresome.

Don Waddell, the assistant general manager, immediately brought up Orlando as the perfect setting. He had firsthand knowledge of the new, $50-miHion RDV Sports-plex, having nursed it from idea to construction during his two years as general manager of the 1HL Orlando Ple ase see RED WINGS, PaKe 3D weeks. A little rest and relaxation beneath sunny skies just might give the Wings a shot in the arm. Bui first, a week's worth of relaxation has to be worked off. Team management began discussing an Olympic-break camp during the fall training camp in Traverse City, realizing lhal six days of practices at Joe Ixwis Arena might get a by helene St.

James Free lress Sxirts Writer ORLANDO, Fla. Walt Disney World is 20 minutes away, the Atlantic coastline a mere 50, the Gulf coast about 90. There are golf courses in abundance. Oh, yeah, there's an ice rink nearby, loo. The Red Wings minus Olympi.

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