Free Agent Alvarez Signed by Devil Rays

From Staff and Wire Reports

The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed free-agent pitcher Wilson Alvarez.

Terms were not disclosed, but Scott Boras, Alvarez's agent, told the Tampa Tribune his client agreed to a five-year, $35-million contract.

Alvarez, a left-hander, was 13-11 with a 3.48 earned-run average for the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants in 1997 and has compiled a 71-54 career record and a 3.83 ERA.

Alvarez will be reunited with closer Roberto Hernandez, who signed a four-year, $22.5-million deal with the Devil Rays last month. Both pitchers will be playing for their third club in less than a year after being traded from the White Sox to San Francisco in a multiplayer deal on July 31.

Alvarez joins a staff that currently includes Tony Saunders, Dennis Springer, Albie Lopez and Rolando Arrojo.


Steve Hamilton, a 6-foot-7 reliever who pitched in two World Series for the New York Yankees and played in the NBA finals for the Minneapolis Lakers, died of cancer Tuesday night at his home in Morehead, Ky. He was 63.

His death was announced Wednesday by Morehead State University, where Hamilton was athletic director and baseball coach and had been a three-sport athlete.

Hamilton, a left-hander, pitched in the majors from 1961 to 1972 with the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, both Chicago teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Yankees.

Hamilton had a 40-31 record, with 42 saves, including 11 for the Yankees in 1968.

He enjoyed his greatest success during his eight years with the Yankees, appearing in the World Series in 1963 and 1964. Toward the end of his career, Hamilton developed a blooper pitch, the "Folly Floater," which he threw from a hesitation motion.

"He was a great guy," said Yogi Berra, who managed the Yankees in 1964. "He was a big herky-jerky guy and a fun guy to be with. He kept you loose and everything. He did a great job for us."

Before making it to the major leagues, Hamilton played in the NBA with the Minneapolis Lakers from 1958-60, averaging 4.5 points a game. He played in the NBA championship series in 1959.


The Angels have inquired about designated hitter Paul Molitor and second baseman Bip Roberts. Ron Simon, Molitor's agent, said the Angels made contact two weeks ago and are one of the five teams interested.

A baseball source said that Baltimore offered Molitor a one-year contract worth $4 million and the Blue Jays offered a two-year deal worth $7 million.

Roberts, who batted .302 with Cleveland after being acquired in a trade with Kansas City last season, made $1.15 million.


The Boston Red Sox re-signed pitcher Jim Corsi to a one-year deal with an option for 1999. Corsi went 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 52 relief appearances last season.

Corsi signed with Boston last winter for one year and an option that would have paid him $500,000 for 1998.

But the Red Sox declined to pick up his option because doing so would have left him vulnerable in the expansion draft. Instead, they rewarded him with a new deal worth a little bit more.


The Cleveland Indians hired Al Bumbry as their first base coach, replacing Dave Nelson. Bumbry, a former Baltimore Oriole, coached for Boston from 1988-93.

Nelson worked as a part-time instructor with the Colorado Silver Bullets women's team this year. Nelson was released last month.


Services for Art Sherman, a longtime Milwaukee Brewer scout and fixture at Anaheim and Dodger stadiums, will be held at 1 p.m. today at Bethany Lutheran Church in Lakewood.

Sherman died Sunday after a long illness. He was 77.


Martina Hingis defeated Mary Pierce, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, in the inaugural Masters of Champions at Frankfurt, Germany. Last month, Hingis lost to Pierce in quarterfinals of the Chase Championships in New York.

The $1.56-million Masters of Champions, which does not affect world rankings, features eight of the world's top women players in round-robin play in two groups. The player with the best record in each group meets the second best in the opposite group in the semifinals Saturday.

In the other Group One match, South African Amanda Coetzer defeated Anke Huber of Germany, 6-3, 6-4. In Group Two, Lindsay Davenport beat Irina Spirlea of Romania, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, and French Open champion Iva Majoli of Croatia defeated Mary Joe Fernandez, 7-5, 6-3.

If the winner of the tournament is undefeated over four days of play, she receives $437,850 after Sunday's final.


Vladimir Pyshnenko, a member of the Russian relay team that set a world record in the Barcelona Olympics, and two other Russian swimmers tested positive for steroids, the head of the country's swimming federation said.

Pyshnenko, freestyler Natalia Mescherjakova and Olga Kochetkova, who does the backstroke, were barred by the federation from the world championships in Australia next month.

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