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Umpires resist background checks

Umpires are balking at baseball's attempt to widen background checks in the wake of the NBA's referee betting scandal. In exchange for an agreement to allow credit checks, the World Umpires Association asked Major League Baseball to add a seventh umpire to each postseason crew. Negotiations broke down during a contentious meeting last week. "We strongly indicated the fact that we were offended by the effort to trade economics against integrity," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations. After the NBA acknowledged last month that the FBI is investigating referee Tim Donaghy for betting on games, baseball officials asked major and minor league umps to sign authorizations for the background checks, but the unions told their members not to sign the forms.

Torn quadriceps sidelines Soriano
Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano went on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, a day after tearing his right quadriceps while running the bases against the New York Mets. Soriano is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Chicago purchased the contract of infielder Eric Patterson from Triple A Iowa to fill Soriano's roster spot. Soriano, who signed a $136 million, eight-year contract, is hitting .297 with 18 homers and 42 RBIs . . . Pedro Martínez will make his first minor league rehab start tomorrow as he attempts to return to the Mets' rotation after offseason shoulder surgery . . . The Yankees promoted pitcher Jim Brower from Triple A and designated lefthander Mike Myers for assignment . . . Cardinals lefthander Mike Maroth was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his pitching elbow . . . Pawtucket's Clay Buchholz allowed just four hits and struck out nine in seven innings, but reliever Edgar Martinez gave up five runs in the eighth inning as Rochester Red Wings defeated the PawSox, 6-1, at McCoy Field . . . In the Little League New England Regional tournament in Bristol, Conn., Walpole overcame a 4-3 deficit with a seven-run fifth inning to take a 10-4 victory over Vermont's Essex Junction (0-3). Matt Bender had three hits and two RBIs for Walpole (2-0). Also, Portsmouth, N.H., defeated Rhode Island's Cranston Western, 8-0, behind the pitching of Andrew Haslam, who allowed three hits, walked none, and struck out eight in six innings.


Pacers' O'Neal downplays trade talk
Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal said he isn't demanding a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, but he's open to the idea. quoted O'Neal as saying he would "welcome a trade to the Lakers" and mentioned New Jersey as another possible destination. O'Neal, a six-time All-Star, said he would be happy to remain with the Pacers in an interview with the Associated Press. "I don't think me saying I'd like to go with those teams is me saying I want to be traded," he said . . . Minnesota's Al Jefferson was among 10 young NBA players chosen to help the US men's team prepare for the FIBA Americas Championship, an Olympic qualifying tournament. USA Basketball announced its Select Team, which will scrimmage against the national team from Aug. 15-20 . . . Rockets guard Rafer Alston said he was innocent of misdemeanor assault and public intoxication charges filed against him a day earlier in Houston. Alston was accused of grabbing a parking attendant's arm, shaking him, and spitting on him after Alston's vehicle was towed from a lot early Sunday . . . Los Angeles Clippers forward Elton Brand will have surgery today to repair a rupture in his left Achilles' tendon . . . Forward Matt Barnes re-signed with the Golden State Warriors . . . The WNBA's Minnesota Lynx placed former Boston College standout Kathrin Ress on the suspended list. Ress is leaving to play for Italy in the European Championships.


Davydenko to play despite controversy
Nikolay Davydenko will play in the Rogers Cup this week amid an investigation into irregular betting patterns on one of his matches. The Association of Tennis Professionals said it had no plans to suspend the Russian star or ask him to sit out. The ATP is looking into Davydenko's match against Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Prokom Open in Poland last week. In an unprecedented move, British online gambling company Betfair voided all bets on the match when it drew about $7 million in wagers, about 10 times the usual amount for such a match . . . Qualifier Robin Haase upset 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych, 6-4, 7-5, in the rain-delayed first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal . . . Tatiana Golovin was forced to retire from her match against Tamarine Tanasugarn in the East West Bank Classic in Carson, Calif., because of a sore right hamstring . . . Amelie Mauresmo withdrew from the upcoming Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven. Mauresmo said she needs more time to recover from an appendectomy in March.


Busch expected to race for Gibbs team
Kyle Busch has chosen to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing next season and began informing other teams of his decision. A source close to Busch told the Associated Press that the driver had selected Gibbs after a seven-week search that began when Hendrick Motorsports released the 22-year-old driver to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season . . . Ray Evernham completed the sale of his NASCAR team to Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr., ending nearly six months of negotiations . . . Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere had surgery to repair a torn muscle in his groin and the Stanley Cup champions expect him to recover in time for training camp . . . The NCAA has asked Ball State officials to investigate new accusations of rules violations surrounding the men's basketball program, including an allegation that the women's volleyball coach was fired for reporting suspected infractions . . . Two-time champions Jim Ruschioni and Paul Nunez Jr. hold a one-stroke lead after two rounds in the Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Championship at Spring Valley Country Club in Sharon. Ruschioni and Nunez shot a 4-under-par 68 . . . Jockey Jose Santos, one week after injuries forced his retirement, led a class of eight inductees into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.