BUTLER'S DIAGNOSIS: The Los Angeles Dodgers physician says the cancerous tumor in Brett Butler's right tonsil was not diagnosed before surgery because he and Butler's doctor assumed the outfielder had only tonsillitis.
Dr. Michael Mellman, who is not a cancer specialist, is in daily contact with Robert Gadlage, an ear, nose and throat specialist who is Butler's personal physician. Last Friday, Gadlage discovered and removed the tumor and performed the tonsillectomy. On May 21 in Atlanta, Butler will undergo surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes and muscle tissue.
SURGERY FOR CONE: New York Yankees pitcher David Cone will have surgery today to repair an aneurysm in his right shoulder. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, retroactive to last Friday.
MCLAIN ACCUSED: Former Detroit pitcher Denny McLain bought a condominium in Puerto Rico and covered expenses for his private plane with funds stolen from a meat company pension plan, a federal indictment alleges.
McLain, 52, who won 31 games for the Tigers in 1968, and two business partners are accused of transferring more than $12 million of pension plan money from Peet Packing Co. in Chesaning to Michigan National Bank, then converting $3 million of that for personal and Peet Packing use.
LITTLE IMPROVEMENT: Minority hiring in baseball has changed little in the past seven years, despite promises from owners to improve ethnic diversity.
The percentage of blacks working for major league teams has not changed since 1989 and the percentage of women has declined 3 percent. Nine percent of front-office employees are black, baseball said in its first report on minority hiring in two years.
KRZYZEWSKI CONTRACT: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has agreed to a new contract and expects to sign by the end of the month, Krzyzewski's attorney, Ken Kirkman, told The News & Observer of Raleigh.
Krzyzewski, 49, now has a rollover contract without a set number of years. The bulk of his annual income is believed to come from the contract he signed with Nike in 1993, reportedly worth $375,000 a year.
WUERFFEL SAYS NO TO PLAYBOY: University of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel turned down an invitation to Playboy magazine's All-America college preseason football team, citing his religious convictions.
Wuerffel, a Christian and son of an Air Force minister, declined an invitation to be named the magazine's National Scholar Athlete of the Year.
His decision cost him this weekend's expense-paid trip to a posh Phoenix, Ariz., resort, site of a traditional glamorous photo shoot.
"It wasn't a thing I had to waste much time thinking about,"said Wuerffel, who as a junior last season finished third in balloting for the Heisman Trophy.
PLAYER KILLED: Valmond "J.B." Brown, a linebacker at Grambling, was shot to death, allegedly by a former teammate.
Police arrested Tilicius Irvin, 20, and charged him with second-degree murder in the 12:10 a.m. shooting at the Darrow Community Center in Brown's hometown of Gonzales. Irvin is being held on $100,000 bond.
NEW DEAL FOR WANNSTEDT: The Chicago Bears have extended coach Dave Wannstedt's contract four more years through 2000. Wannstedt is entering the fourth year of his initial deal, which would have run through Dec. 31, with an option for 1997.
OILERS INK DISHMAN: Houston Oilers cornerback Cris Dishman reportedly has signed a one-year contract worth more than $3 million. Dishman, the team's franchise player, is entering his ninth season.
ITALIAN OPEN: Top-seeded Steffi Graf of Germany beat Argentina's Paola Suarez 6-2, 6-4 in the Italian Open in Rome to advance to a quarterfinal match with 15-year-old Swiss star Martina Hingis.
Hingis beat Italy's Sandra Cecchini 6-2, 6-3. Third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain also advanced, beating Argentine qualifier Bettina Fulco-Villella 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
- Austria's Gilbert Schaller, a top clay-court player ranked No. 32, beat top-seeded Boris Becker of Germany 6-2, 6-2 in the third round of the German Open in Hamburg.
- Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman upset third-seeded countryman Magnus Gustafsson 7-6 (9-7), 1-6, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Pinehurst, N.C.
TOUR DUPONT: Germany's Sven Teutenberg won the ninth stage of the Tour DuPont, while Lance Armstrong finished in the main field to retain his overall lead (1:58) over France's Pascal Herve.
Teutenberg completed the 105-mile leg from Blowing Rock in 3 hours, 47 minutes, 15 seconds.
NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Two teams and eight more individuals from Salt Lake City, sponsored by Ritz Bowl, will compete starting Saturday (through May 20) in the 20th North American 8-ball billiard championships at the Rivieva Hotel in Las Vegas.
They join some 3,500 amateur members of the Billiard Congress of America in competing for more than $300,000 in prize money in the country's oldest and most prestigious pocket billiards championship. They qualified by finishing atop local standings.
One Ritz team is made up of Ron Howington, Ron Black, Dave Pierce, Ken Wayman and Chris Muirbrook; members of the other Ritz team are Terry Hopper, D.J. Paine, Ron Pelton, Bobby Healington and Herb Edwards. They will also compete in individual events. Those Salt Lakers going as individuals include Tim Joseph, Mike Butterfield, Ron Butterfield, Rick Gorenge, John Rugg, Jason Cook, Keith Young and Nick Farezoco.
POLAR BEAR CLASSIC: Larry H. Miller Toyota's fastpitch softball team won the annual Polar Bear Classic Wednesday night, defeating Page Brake, 3-0.
Peter Meredith, who is 4-0 this spring, spun a three-hitter against Page Brake in the championship game.
In the semifinal game, Dwayne Dyck hurled a no-hitter, striking out 13, and walking only one in dumping Larry H. Miller Chevrolet, 12-0. Brett Alvey's three-run home run powered Miller Toyota to the win. Alvey was named tourney MVP.