BaseballChicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano has a new message for the team: sign him to a new contract before the season starts or he'll become a free agent and leave after it's over. "I'm ready to sign and I would do my job anyway with the Cubs this year," Zambrano said. "Whatever happens, I don't want to know about a contract during the season. I want to sign with the Cubs before the season starts. If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks." Zambrano, 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA and 210 strikeouts last season, asked for $15.5 million in arbitration. The team offered $11.025 million. He made $6.5 million last season . . . A day after All-Star closer Mariano Rivera threatened to leave New York after his contract expires following this season if he doesn't get a new deal, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he intends to speak with Rivera -- but would not necessarily offer an extension. "Obviously there's a contract in place that we worked out a while before," Cashman said. "Right now I want to concentrate on '07 and worry about '08 at another time." . . . Reliever Ron Villone agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees and was invited to the team's major league spring training camp . . . Teams improved to 4-0 in salary arbitration when the Washington Nationals beat pitcher John Patterson and the Florida Marlins defeated reliever Kevin Gregg.
Allen, Okur added to All-Star rostersSeattle's Ray Allen and Utah's Mehmet Okur were chosen as injury replacements for Sunday's All-Star Game in Las Vegas. With Steve Nash (shoulder) and Allen Iverson (ankle) both pulling out, the Western Conference was in need of a guard. Allen is seventh in the league with 26.9 points per game. Also, the Nets said star point guard Jason Kidd will miss the next two games because of a back strain. The team had no information on whether he'll play in Las Vegas . . . The San Antonio Spurs traded former Celtics forward Eric Williams and a 2009 second-round draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward/center Melvin Ely in an exchange of veteran backups . . . Philadelphia 76ers center Steven Hunter won't need surgery on his injured left pinkie, and is expected to return to the lineup after the All-Star break . . . Pat Riley confirmed he'll return as coach of the Heat next week, following a six-week absence to address health issues.
Westminster Dog Show
Diamond Jim shows up Cosby's terrierAn English springer spaniel with a preference for chicken-and-garlic treats prevented America's top dog event from turning into "The Cosby Show." Diamond Jim jumped into handler Kellie Fitzgerald's arms after being picked for best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York. Diamond Jim beat out a Dandie Dinmont terrier co-owned by Bill Cosby, as he did at the big AKC/Eukanuba event in December. Diamond Jim also beat a pair of white poodles, a petit basset griffon vendeen, an Akita, and a Bouviers des Flandres.
Chargers to talk to Turner, three othersThe Chargers received permission to interview four candidates to replace fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer, including onetime San Diego offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Chargers also received permission to interview 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary and Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, both of whom interviewed for the Cowboys job. The fourth candidate is Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan . . . The Patriots waived safety Raymond Ventrone and receiver Zuriel Smith, two players who didn't play for the team in 2006 after sustaining injuries in NFL Europa. Ventrone spent the 2005 season on the Patriots' practice squad and Smith was signed as a free agent last February . . . Joe Cullen, the Detroit Lions assistant coach arrested for driving nude and a week later for drunken driving, was sentenced in Dearborn, Mich., to two years probation and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week . . . The New York Giants released return specialist Chad Morton.
Ch. 38 to show 22 Revolution gamesChannel 38 announced it will televise 22 Revolution games this season under a two-year rights agreement. The other 10 regular-season matches will be shown on ESPN2 and Fox Soccer Channel . . . Skier Anja Paerson's remarkable three-race winning streak at the World Championships ended when she fell in the giant slalom in Are, Sweden, an event won by Austrian Nicole Hosp. Olympic champion Julia Mancuso of the United States, who led after the opening run, slipped to fifth after struggling on the second run. She said later she will return home and skip Friday's slalom because the championships have been "just too much for my body." Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden captured the silver medal and Italy's Denise Karbon took the bronze. Paerson, who swept the first three races at these championships with victories in the super-G, downhill, and combined, crashed on the second leg, after being seventh-fastest on the opening leg . . . Michael Andretti's strong run in the Indianapolis 500 last year increased his desire to win the big race, and he announced he will take a shot at it again. Andretti, 44, nearly won it in his 15th try last year but wound up third, watching from the best seat in the house as Sam Hornish Jr. passed his son, Marco, on the final straightway to leave the Andrettis second and third . . . Two Illinois basketball players were injured when their car went off the road and slammed into a tree in Champaign, Ill. Brian Carlwell was hospitalized in serious condition with a severe concussion, sports information director Kent Brown said. Jamar Smith was treated at the hospital for a concussion and released. Campus police said further action is possible.
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