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SPORTS BRIEFLY

Baseball

SHEFFIELD SHOT: Florida Marlins outfielder Gary Sheffield appears to be OK after being shot in the left shoulder during what he called a robbery attempt in Tampa, Fla.

The 26-year-old was treated and released from a Tampa hospital Monday night. At first, he said, he knew he was hit by a bullet, but didn't know where.

"It did sting," he told The Palm Beach Post from St. Joseph's hospital in Tampa. "It hit me in my left shoulder. When they cut my shirt open, the bullet fell out. The doctor said I was lucky I had the kind of windows I have in my car. I think it's double glass."

Sheffield said he was stopped at a traffic light about 7 p.m. in the Belmont Heights neighborhood where he and his uncle, New York Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden, grew up when a teen sprinted towards his white 1993 Mercedes-Benz.

"I just thought it was a friend of mine running at the car," Sheffield said. "I let the window down some to see who it was. Then I saw him pull a gun, and I turned to the side. He shot the gun (through the window) and it hit me in the shoulder.

"He was trying to open the door. Then he said, `Give it up! Give it up!' I faked like I was hurt and was laying down. I surprised him and pulled off (in the car). Then I went and called for help."

No suspects were in custody Monday night, police said.

TORRE TO HEAD YANKS? Joe Torre might be the only candidate to become manager of the New York Yankees and could be hired within days, The New York Times reported today.

The newspaper said Torre, fired by St. Louis in June, needs only to meet with new general manager Bob Watson. The job opened last week when Buck Showalter was unable to work out a new deal.

TIGERS GO WITH SMITH: Looking to rebuild a team that was one of the AL's worst last season, the Detroit Tigers hired Randy Smith as general manager.

Smith, the former general manager of the San Diego Padres, signed a three-year deal. At 32, he is the youngest general manager in the majors.

HARGROVE STAYING: The Cleveland Indians exercised their 1997 option on manager Mike Hargrove, who led the team to its first World Series appearance since 1954. Hargrove is 350-316 in 41/2 years with the Indians.

MILWAUKEE LAWSUIT: Several executives and the Libertarian Party filed suit to block construction of a new Milwaukee Brewers stadium, saying a sales tax hike to pay for it constitutes "taxation without representation."

Tennis

VENUS WINS: Venus Williams, using her ferocious serve to handcuff an opponent more than twice her age, beat Rosalyn Nideffer 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic.

Williams, 15, playing just her third tournament match of the year, will face fifth-seeded Amy Frazier in the second round. Frazier beat Florencia Labat 6-4, 6-4.

PARIS OPEN: Henri Leconte, the oldest player in the field at 32, beat Aaron Krickstein 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Paris Open.

Top-seeded Pete Sampras, assured of regaining the No. 1 ranking from Andre Agassi for a week, begins play Wednesday. Sampras will regain the top spot Monday no matter what he does in the tournament.

Basketball

MAXWELL PLEA: Philadelphia guard Vernon Maxwell pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor marijuana charge, stemming from an incident over the summer when police stopped his car.

A judge recessed the case until November so he could review Maxwell's probation reports. Maxwell was cut by Houston in June.

THOMAS INELIGIBLE: New Mexico's Kenny Thomas struck out again with the NCAA, which has declared the freshman forward ineligible for this season.

The governing body stood by its Oct. 18 decision that Thomas is ineligible because his ninth-grade science course was not one of the 13 core courses required by the NCAA.

Football

HARMON DEAL: Defensive tackle Andy Harmon, tied for second in the NFL with 8 1/2 sacks, agreed to a three-year, $7.55 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Boxing

KING TRIAL: U.S. District Judge Lawrence McKenna told jurors the defense's case in the insurance fraud trial of promoter Don King might be completed next week.

The government has argued King, charged with nine counts of mail fraud, fabricated his contract with Julio Cesar Chavez to fool Lloyd's of London into believing the fighter received $350,000 in nonrefundable training expenses for a canceled 1991 bout.

Horse racing

INNOCENT PLEA: Hall of Fame driver Herve Filion pleaded innocent to charges that he fixed races at Yonkers Raceway. Filion, 55, was indicted last week on charges of taking a bribe and tampering with a sports contest.