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Quantrill Files for Free Agency

From Staff and Wire Reports

Dodger relief pitcher Paul Quantrill exercised his option to void the remaining guaranteed season of his three-year contract and filed for free agency Thursday.

“We’ve had many conversations with Paul’s agent and he knows what we think of him,” General Manager Dan Evans said.

Quantrill led the major leagues with 89 appearances last season and had a 1.75 earned-run average. The right-hander, who was guaranteed $3.1 million in 2004, had until Tuesday to void the last season of his deal.

Baseball officials said many teams plan to pursue the consistent setup man, and Dodger sources acknowledge losing Quantrill would be a significant blow to the majors’ top bullpen.

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In addition to Quantrill, left-hander Wilson Alvarez also filed for free agency Thursday, and left-hander Tom Martin plans to test the market.

The pending sale of the team to Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt could adversely affect the Dodgers’ ability to retain their top free agents, officials said, because of the cloud of uncertainty over the organization.

-- Jason Reid

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Frank Thomas decided to remain with the Chicago White Sox, and it looks as if Sammy Sosa will stay with the Cubs.

Thomas decided to exercise his $6-million option rather than risk becoming a free agent. Sosa has until Saturday to decide whether he wants to opt out of his contract, which guarantees him $33 million over the next two years.

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The Florida Marlins have agreed to change their name to the Miami Marlins if the city builds the World Series champions a new ballpark, the Miami Herald reported. ... The Seattle Mariners hired Paul Molitor as batting coach, agreeing to a one-year contract.

Tennis

Andy Roddick will move up to the men’s No. 1 ranking after reaching the Paris Masters quarterfinals while top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero lost.

Roddick, who beat Ferrero in the U.S. Open final last month, beat 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 6-4, to assure that he will move up from his current career-best ranking of No. 2.

Ferrero was upset by Jiri Novak, 7-5, 7-5.

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“I like to be greedy, and I want to stay there for a long time,” Roddick said.

Roddick, 21, is the fourth-youngest player atop the computer rankings since the ATP Tour introduced them in 1973.

Also Thursday, third-seeded Roger Federer outlasted French Open runner-up Martin Verkerk, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (12), 7-6 (6); fifth-seeded Rainer Schuettler eliminated No. 10 Nicolas Massu, 6-4, 7-5, and Tim Henman beat Gustavo Kuerten, 6-4, 6-2.

Golf

Charles Howell III shot a five-under-par 66 for a one-stroke lead in the Chrysler Championship at Palm Harbor, Fla.

Needing a solid week to secure his spot in the Tour Championship, Howell holed a 35-foot eagle putt on No. 14 and two long birdie putts on his back nine.

Dan Forsman opened with 12 pars and finished strong with four birdies over his last six holes for a 67. Vijay Singh, who can clinch the money title with a victory this week, had a 70.

Miscellany

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Two U.S. track and field champions, 1,500-meter runner Regina Jacobs and shotputter Kevin Toth, were among the first group of athletes to testify to a grand jury investigating a nutritional supplements lab.

Jacobs and Toth were among four track and field athletes who appeared before the federal panel at San Francisco. Jacobs and Toth have been customers of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, which is the target of the probe.

An appearance before the grand jury does not imply any of the athletes is a target of the probe. Federal officials have refused to discuss the scope of the grand jury or its secret proceedings.

But a source familiar with Thursday’s daylong proceeding said the athletes were asked whether they had taken the newly discovered designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, or the endurance-boosting hormone EPO.

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Winston Cup driver Kevin Harvick won his fifth NASCAR Busch series pole of the season, taking the top spot for the race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick turned a lap of 132.930 mph on the one-mile oval in a Chevrolet.

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Former NBA player Dee Brown signed a multiyear contract to coach the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars.

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A memorial service for former UC Irvine basketball All-American Kevin Magee will be Saturday at South Pike High football stadium in Magnolia, Miss.


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