The Chicago White Sox invoked a contract clause that drastically reduces Frank Thomas' salary, clearing the way for the two-time MVP to become a free agent.
The White Sox sent Thomas a letter on Oct. 6 telling him they were invoking a "diminished skills" clause in his contract, a lawyer with knowledge of the talks said on condition of anonymity. That clause would reduce his base pay to $250,000, and defer most of his nearly $10 million salary.
Gibson back with Tigers
Kirk Gibson returned to the Detroit Tigers, joining manager Alan Trammell's staff as a bench coach on the team he led to a World Series title.
Owens' stunk irks Holmgren
Terrell Owens won't get any trouble from coach Steve Mariucci for autographing his touchdown ball with a pen he stored in his sock before presenting it to his financial adviser in the front row Sunday.
However, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren called Owens' celebration "shameful" and "a dishonor to anyone who ever played this game," and Seattle defensive lineman John Randle -- who once celebrated a sack by crawling on the ground and lifting his leg like a dog near a fire hydrant -- called it "embarrassing for the league."
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was released from a hospital early Wednesday after he collapsed when he apparently tore a neck muscle at a fund-raising dinner.
Buss, 69, was released early Wednesday from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and returned home, Lakers spokesman Bob Steiner said.
John Black, another team spokesman, said Buss had severe pain in his neck while he was at the Carousel of Hope Ball at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
Clubs show interest in Piniella
Lou Piniella may not be out of work very long.
After releasing Piniella from the final year of his contract because he wants to work closer to home, the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday fielded calls from other teams interested in talking with their ex-manager.
If he really wants a short commute from his Florida home, the Tampa Bay job is open. However, it's unlikely the budget-conscious Devil Rays would be able to pay him enough or be able to adequately compensate the Mariners for allowing him to manage elsewhere.
The New York Mets, however, are another story.
Although the team owes ex-manager Bobby Valentine $2.7 million for the final year of his contract, owner Fred Wilpon wants a high-profile individual with a background as a winner as the next bench boss. That comes with a high price tag.
Piniella fits that profile, managing Cincinnati to the World Series championship in 1990 and Seattle to a record 116 victories in 2001.
Play-calling caper the latest of Florida's follies
Rex Grossman surveyed the defense, called an audible, took the snap and threw for a touchdown -- to the wrong team.
It turned out that the audible, a little wiggle of the hand, means one thing under Florida offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher's new system and another under Steve Spurrier's old one.
Or so the story goes.
Was it a simple mistake, or something more unseemly?
That's one of the big questions this week in Gainesville, and after a full round of interviews on Monday and Tuesday, it remains a mystery, mostly because all the key parties are giving conflicting explanations.
To refresh, the Gators had third-and-11 from their own 30 in the first quarter against LSU on Saturday, when Grossman made the audible and threw the pass right into the hands of Tigers cornerback Corey Webster. The 45-yard touchdown return gave LSU a 10-0 lead en route to a 36-7 victory.
Upon throwing the interception, Grossman immediately ran over to the intended receiver, Taylor Jacobs, and started berating him for going long, instead of curling back for a 12-yard pass.
Grossman claimed the audible meant one thing under Spurrier's offense and another under Zaunbrecher's, and the whole thing was an innocent crossing of signals.
There are a number of theories floating around for why the play turned out like it did, and among them is that Grossman intentionally called the Spurrier audible without his coaches knowing.
McKinnie sued for allegedly beating Miami man
Minnesota Vikings holdout offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie is being sued for allegedly attacking, beating and severely injuring a man this summer.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade County accused McKinnie and three others of beating up Anthony Sloan, 29, at a gas station in Miami on June 29.
The lawsuit said McKinnie, without provocation, willfully and maliciously threatened, shouted obscenities at, assaulted, battered and struck Sloan numerous times in the head and body.
It also said McKinnie advised and encouraged the three other men -- Zander Robinson, Lamar Sturdivant and Terry Collins -- to do the same to Sloan.
Sloan's attorney, Robert Eber, said his client and McKinnie were at Club Rolexx in Miami that night, and McKinnie later mistakenly identified Sloan for a man who robbed him outside the club.
"He beat the snot out of him," Eber said. "My client didn't do anything."
McKinnie was not charged by police, Eber said, but others with him were.
Robinson, Sturdivant and Collins are not defendants in the lawsuit. McKinnie, the seventh overall pick in this year's NFL Draft and the only unsigned first-round selection, is the lone defendant.
According to the suit, Sloan sustained permanent injuries and disfigurement, suffered pain and mental anguish, incurred medical expenses and lost wages.
Sloan and his wife, Yolanda, are seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
Minnesota-Duluth moves up to the North Central Conference
Minnesota-Duluth will move up to the North Central Conference starting in the 2004-05 season, the school announced Tuesday.
That means the NCAA Division II Bulldogs will leave the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Bulldogs will join Augustana; Minnesota State, Mankato; Nebraska-Omaha; North Dakota; St. Cloud State; South Dakota and South Dakota State in the NCC.
UMD has 12 Division II sports -- baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, softball, women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball -- and two Division I sports -- men's and women's hockey.
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