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Sports briefs


METS SIGN SIERRA: The New York Mets signed outfielder Ruben Sierra to a minor league contract Saturday.

LEMON HONORED: With a touch of his old baseball wit, Hall of Famer Bob Lemon had his No. 21 retired Saturday as teammates from the 1948 Cleveland Indians World Series championship team stood and cheered.

Lemon's son, Jim, threw the ceremonial first pitch to Mike Hegan, son of the late Jim Hegan - Lemon's catcher from 1946-57.


RODMAN SUED AGAIN: For the third time this month, Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman has been slapped with a lawsuit over his behavior at a Las Vegas casino.

In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, Connie Wilcox claims Rodman sexually assaulted her April 19 at the Las Vegas Hilton by grabbing her sides near her breasts and lifting her up.

Horse racing

SKIP AWAY VS. SILVER CHARM: The long-awaited showdown between Silver Charm and Skip Away has been set for next Sunday in the $1 million Hollywood Gold Cup.

Silver Charm, the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, was second in last week's Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs after winning his first three starts as a 4-year-old, including the $4 million Dubai World Cup in March.


GRANDMA'S MARATHON: In Duluth, Minn., Tanzania's Simon Peter beat 40-year-old Russian Andrey Kuznetsov by 95 seconds Saturday to win Grandma's Marathon, and Ukraine's Yelena Plastinina captured the women's race.

Peter, a 30-year-old police officer, finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 47 seconds, the best winning time since 1985. Kuznetsov's time of 2:14.12 established a masters record for the race.


NATIONAL FINALS RODEO: Dickinson State's Zachary Crane matched West Hills' John Gragnani with a 74 in the third go-round of the saddle bronc competition Friday night, leading the North Dakota school to the team lead in the College National Finals Rodeo in Rapid City, S.D.

Dickinson State had 517 points to take a 32-point lead over defending men's champion Panhandle State in Saturday's final round. In the women's competition, defending champion Weber State had 365 points, followed by Lewis-Clark State at 285.

Kelli Fowers of Weber State has the lead in goat tying.


ALL-STAR GRIDIRON CLASSIC: The poignant story of former Miami Dolphins All-Pro linebacker Nick Buoniconti's dream to see his paralyzed son, Marc, walk again will bring some of the top college football players to Orlando, Fla., in January.

With The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis as its main beneficiary, the All-Star Gridiron Classic will match Team USA against a bunch of 'Noles, Knights and Gators and other players with Florida ties on Jan. 16 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.


MILLER TOYOTA: Larry H. Miller Toyota ended three streaks and started one of its own Friday night in Clearwater, Fla.

The Salt Lake City men's major fastpitch team swept a double-header Friday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Smokers, 4-2, in nine innings, and 3-2, at Bomber Stadium.

In the process, Miller Toyota (26-6) ended its personal six-game losing streak to the Smokers (22-4), and also, snapped the Florida club's 18-game home winning streak.


MURRAY TO COACH PANTHERS: Terry Murray will join his brother in working to turn around the Florida Panthers, agreeing to terms Saturday to become the NHL franchise's fourth head coach.

Murray, fired after leading the Philadelphia Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup finals, will be introduced Sunday at a news conference at the team's new Broward County Arena, Panthers spokesman Mike Hanson said.

Panthers general manager Bryan Murray coached the final 59 games last season after firing Doug MacLean when the Panthers got off to a 7-12-4 start.