American League most valuable player Juan Gonzalez of the Texas Rangers will undergo surgery today to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and probably will be sidelined until mid-May.
“Whenever you lose the most valuable player in the American League, it’s a big loss,” Ranger spokesman John Blake said. “We’re just going to have to fill the void and get him back as quick as we can.”
Gonzalez, who hit 47 home runs last season, was injured Jan. 28 when he slipped on wet artificial turf while chasing a ball in a Puerto Rican winter league game.
The injury was originally diagnosed as a sprained ligament, but doctors found the tear Thursday.
After the surgery, Gonzalez will have to wear a hard cast on the thumb for seven to 10 days.
Former Cy Young Award winner Mark Davis, 36, signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who start National League play in 1998. Davis will play this season with the High Desert Mavericks of the California League.
The Detroit Tigers and Comerica Bank announced the arrangement of a multibank loan that will provide $145 million in financing required by the team for the development of a new Tiger Stadium scheduled to open in 1999. Comerica, the lead lender, will be joined by 11 other banks.
Danny Darwin signed a minor league contact with the Chicago White Sox. Darwin, 41, will be invited to spring training as a nonroster player. Darwin, a 19-year veteran, split last season with Pittsburgh and Houston, going 10-11 with a 3.77 earned-run average.
Chanda Rubin and top-seeded Jana Novotna advanced to the semifinals of the Austrian Open. The other semifinal will have second-seeded Karina Habsudova against third-seeded Judith Wiesner. Rubin battled her way to a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, victory over Barbara Rittner. Novotna had no problems with Magdalena Maleeva, 6-0, 6-2. Habsudova rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over eighth-seeded Asa Carlsson and Wiesner beat sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat, 7-5, 6-2.
Germany’s Ricco Gross won the men’s 20-kilometer individual biathlon world championship at Osrblie, Slovakia. Gross, a double Olympic champion and a 1991 World champion in team events, won his first title in individual events with a time of 52 minutes, 4.6 seconds.
Candice Gilg of France defended her moguls title at the freestyle World Ski Championships, edging out American Donna Weinbrecht at Nagano, Japan. Canadian Jean-Luc Brassard, flashing the form which brought him the 1994 Olympic gold medal, cruised to his second men’s moguls title.
Switzerland’s Marco Zarucchi, a part-time bank clerk who was demoted to the B circuit last month, earned his fourth victory on the tour by winning the Nordic combined World Cup B competition at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, near Lake Placid, N.Y. Teammate Andi Hartmann was second.
Italy’s Margherita Parini upset newly crowned world snowboard champion Sondra Van Ert of Ketchum, Idaho, in a World Cup snowboard giant slalom at Bend, Ore. Peter Pechhacker of Austria won the men’s event.
Olympic champion skater Oksana Baiul said on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that she had had “four or five” Long Island iced teas before crashing her car but contended she was not drunk because “I’m a Russian.”
Mary Slaney, 38, won the women’s mile with a powerful performance in the Millrose Games before a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Her time of 4 minutes, 26.67 seconds was the fastest in the world in three years.
Former Olympians Allen Johnson and Gwen Torrence were also winners. Johnson beat Courtney Hawkins in 7.64 seconds in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Hawkins’ time was 7.65 second. Torrence led all the way in winning the women’s 60-meter dash in 7.13.
Reggie Torian of Wisconsin twice broke the collegiate record in the 60-meter hurdles and ran the fastest time in the world this year in an indoor track and field meet at Indianapolis, clocking 7.47 seconds in the final.
Mickey McCardie, a running back for USC in 1941-42 and ’46-47, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He was 74. McCardie, an All-City running back at Manual Arts High, led the Trojans in total offense in 1942 and ’46 and was the team’s rushing leader in 1942. Services will be held at the Grace Chapel at Inglewood Cemetery on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
USC’s seventh-ranked men’s swimming team upset No. 1 Stanford, 124.5-116.5, in Palo Alto. The Trojan men’s volleyball team, which is unranked, defeated the top-ranked Stanford team, 5-15, 15-8, 15-8, 15-13, at the North Gym.
Herb Brown, 60, former NBA coach and Indiana Pacer director of player development, will coach the U.S. basketball team in the summer Maccabiah Games in Israel. Brown is the brother of Pacer Coach Larry Brown.
Two sports-gambling rings near the University of Florida have been shut down, according to Gainesville police. They made one arrest and filed 10 sworn complaints against people, mostly students, who allegedly met secretly to place bets. Most of the bets were on pro and college football games.
Pittsburgh Steeler safety Darren Perry, 27, waived a preliminary hearing on a drunk-driving charge. Perry was charged with fleeing Dec. 14 after crashing his sport-utility vehicle into the back of a small sedan driven by Sally Barton. Barton, 54, and Perry settled out of court.