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Santiago Signs With the Phillies

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Philadelphia Phillies signed four-time all-star catcher Benito Santiago on Tuesday to a one-year contract worth $1.1 million, plus incentives.

The signing of Santiago, who has also won four Gold Gloves, indicates the Phillies don’t think Darren Daulton, who had off-season knee surgery, can be their everyday catcher this season.

Santiago, 30, hit .286 in 81 games with the Cincinnati Reds last season, with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. Defensively, he led all National League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage.

Daulton, who will make $5 million this year, will apparently split time at catcher, the outfield and first base.

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St. Louis Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith has pledged a $1-million donation to help build an athletic complex that includes a baseball stadium in his name at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Smith played for Cal Poly from 1974-77.

Ozzie Smith Stadium is expected to be ready for Big West Conference play in early 1997.

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The Dodgers signed three pitchers, Roberto Duran, Rick Gorecki and Eric Weaver. Each is expected to open the season in the minors. The Dodgers also announced that they will televise 50 games on Channel 5 this season, 10 of them home games.

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The Chicago Cubs have reached agreement with power-hitting outfielder Sammy Sosa on a two-year contract but did not disclose financial terms. The contract avoids salary arbitration for Sosa. He sought a salary of $5.9 million for 1996 when he filed for arbitration. The Cubs offered $4.9 million.

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Kevin McClatchy hopes to conclude his nine-month quest to buy the Pittsburgh Pirates by next week. His purchase agreement calls for him to complete the purchase by Thursday or risk forfeiture of his $3-million deposit. But major league baseball is expected to ask the Pirates to extend the deadline by one week.

Olympics

Rupert Murdoch has lost out again in his bid for a piece of the Olympic television pie.

The International Olympic Committee rejected $2 billion from a Murdoch-backed consortium for exclusive European rights to the first five Olympics of the 21st century.

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Accepting a smaller offer from its long-term partner, the IOC awarded the rights to the European Broadcasting Union for $1.442 billion.

The EBU will pay $350 million for rights to the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, $120 million for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, $394 million for the Summer Games of 2004, $135 million for the 2006 Winter Games and $443 million for the 2008 Summer Games. The sites of those three Games have not been selected.

In separate deals announced a month apart, NBC recently obtained the U.S. rights to the Games between 2000 and 2008 for $3.5 billion, thus shutting out Murdoch’s Fox network.

Jurisprudence

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Darryl Strawberry’s attorney entered a not-guilty plea in Los Angeles Municipal Court for the baseball player who is accused of failing to pay more than $370,000 in child- and wife-support payments.

A March 6 trial was set and Strawberry could be sentenced to a year in jail if convicted on a misdemeanor charge of “willful failure to provide.”

According to his ex-wife, Lisa Strawberry, the player was ordered to pay $12,810 a month in child support and $22,420 a month in spousal support. She claims he did not pay a total of $422,760 in support last year. Authorities seized his Mercedes-Benz and he paid his wife $50,000 in back support, leaving a balance of $372,760, according to the district attorney’s office.

Larry Demery, one of two men charged with murdering Michael Jordan’s father, testified that his co-defendant, Lord Danielle As-Saddiz Al-Amin Sallah U’allah, pulled the trigger of the gun that killed James Jordan, 56, on July 23, 1993, as he slept in his car.

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Demery, in his second day of testimony before a jury in Lumberton, N.C., said U’allah also grabbed a $3,500 wristwatch and an NBA All-Star game ring off Jordan after the shooting and then bragged that police could not trace calls made on a cellular phone taken from the car.

U’allah legally changed his name from Daniel Green while in prison.

Former Baltimore Colt defensive back Nelson Munsey was arrested on an outstanding warrant after an hourlong standoff with a San Diego police SWAT team at a motel in Mission Beach on Monday night.

Miscellany

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Plans for a sports arena in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers got a boost when the Broward County Commission approved a financing plan calling for the county to issue $182 million of taxable revenue bonds.

Names in the News

Kansas City quarterback Steve Bono was chosen to replace Miami’s Dan Marino on the AFC team for the Pro Bowl. With Marino out because of knee and hip injuries, Cincinnati’s Jeff Blake will be the starter in Sunday night’s game. . . . Jani Sievinen of Finland broke his own world short course record in the 100-meter medley with a time of 53.10 seconds at a World Cup swimming meet in Malmo, Sweden. The old mark was 53.78, set in 1992.


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