To Keep Belle, Cleveland Offers $8.5 Million a Year

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Cleveland Indians have made a rich offer to free-agent slugger Albert Belle. If they want to keep him, it looks as though they will have to make an even richer one.

"We're in the game. I guess that's the safest way to put it," Cleveland General Manager John Hart said Tuesday. "We're not close, but I think we've sent the right message to Albert that we want him."

The Indians have offered Belle $8.5 million a year for four or five years, whichever the slugger prefers. That's more than the five-year, $38-million offer that Belle rejected in spring training.

It has been widely reported that Belle is seeking a contract that would pay him $10 million a year, making him baseball's highest-paid player.


The Angels have claimed right-handed pitcher Todd Van Poppel off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.

Pitching for both the Oakland A's and Detroit last season, Van Poppel, 24, was a combined 3-9 with a 9.06 earned-run average, one shutout, one save and one complete game.

Originally selected by Oakland in the 1990 free-agent draft, Van Poppel has a lifetime record of 20-33 and a 6.22 ERA.

He will be placed on the Angel roster, bringing its total to 35 players.


Luman Harris, who managed the Atlanta Braves to their first divisional title in 1969, died Monday in Pell City, Ala., after a long struggle with diabetes. He was 81.

Harris was a pitcher in the 1940s for the Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators.


Former World Boxing Council super-featherweight champion Gabriel Ruelas suffered a broken finger in training camp, canceling his bout against Manny Castillo at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio on Dec. 3. Still on the card will be Ruelas' brother, Rafael, the former International Boxing Federation lightweight champion. Rafael Ruelas will be facing Andre Cray in the main event.


After denying for two weeks there were NCAA violations involved in Louisiana State's scholarship scandals, Athletic Director Joe Dean now admits to one.

In a letter dated Monday, Dean acknowledged there was a "secondary" violation and that the NCAA will allow LSU to voluntarily reduce the number of scholarships in its track program.

Three players from the powerful Southeastern Conference have ended up on the same side.

Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee, Shalonda Enis of Alabama and La'Keshia Frett of Georgia won spots on the Associated Press preseason All-American women's basketball team, joining Stanford's Kate Starbird and Connecticut's Kara Wolters.

Wolters, a dominating 6-foot-7 inside player, made the preseason team for the second consecutive year, but Holdsclaw and Starbird were the leading vote-getters.

USA Baseball named San Diego State shortstop Travis Lee the winner of the Golden Spikes Award, presented annually to the nation's best amateur baseball player.

A left-handed hitter, Lee batted .355 with 14 home runs and 60 runs batted in for the Aztecs last season.

Stan Bates, former Washington State athletic director and Western Athletic Conference commissioner, died Monday at age 86.


Goalkeeper Ricardo Pinto had surgery in Curitiba, Brazil, to remove a blood clot from his brain, two days after he was beaten by fans during a first-division game.

"The surgery went well, but the next 72 hours will be critical," team doctor Edilson Thiele said.

Pinto, who plays for the Atletico-Parana soccer club, was targeted by irate Fluminense fans during Sunday's game, which Atletico won, 3-2.


Heavy rain and wind gusts up to 40 mph over the Poipu Bay Resort course in Hawaii forced postponement of the first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Names in the News

Former UCLA and European star Denise Curry and AAU standout Joan Crawford were nominated for election to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. . . . Sean McManus, 42, is the new sports president of CBS, replacing the ousted David Kenin. McManus is the son of ABC sportscaster Jim McKay.

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