In the bleachers

Baseball Griffey breaks hand in accident Ken Griffey Jr. couldn't avoid injury in the offseason. The Cincinnati Reds' center fielder broke his left hand in an accident at home in Cincinnati, the latest in a series of setbacks since he joined was ...


Griffey breaks hand in accident

Ken Griffey Jr. couldn't avoid injury in the offseason.

The Cincinnati Reds' center fielder broke his left hand in an accident at home in Cincinnati, the latest in a series of setbacks since he joined was traded to his hometown team for the 2000 season.

Griffey will have the hand in a hard cast for three weeks, then be re-examined, the team announced on Friday. The club wasn't authorized by Griffey to give any details of how he was hurt.


General manager Wayne Krivsky wasn't sure whether Griffey will be ready for the start of spring training. The club will have a better idea when the hand is examined again in three weeks.

"It's just too early to tell," Krivsky said.

Griffey, who turned 37 last month, missed nearly a month early last season because of inflammation behind his right knee, and sat out 22 of the last 24 games after dislocating a toe.

The two injuries were par for the course for Griffey, who has been on the disabled list eight times since the Reds got him from Seattle in a trade before the 2000 season.

Willis arrested for drunk driving

Florida Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis was arrested Friday morning on a drunken driving charge along a Miami Beach street lined with nightclubs.

An officer saw the former NL rookie of the year stop his black Bentley in the South Beach neighborhood, get out of the car around 4:30 a.m. and urinate in the street. Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said the officer noticed signs of intoxication as he approached Willis, who failed a field sobriety test.

"He couldn't keep his balance, he had a strong smell of alcohol," Hernandez said.


The 24-year-old Willis was arrested and taken to a police station, where he refused a breath test, Hernandez said. He arrived at the Miami-Dade County jail around 6 a.m. and was being held on $1,000 bond, jail spokeswoman Chandra Gavin Dinkins said.

Yankees sign Cuban refugee

The Yankees finally signed a first baseman Friday. But Juan Miranda, a Cuban refugee, is the longest of long shots to be the Yankees' opening day first baseman.

"We're going to respect the transition process from Cuba to the States," General Manager Brian Cashman said. "He'll report to the major-league camp, and then he'll probably start at the Florida State (League, Class A) level. We'll let his performance dictate how fast he moves up the ladder."

Miranda, whom the Yankees said is 23, signed a four-year, $2-million contract. That includes a $500,000 signing bonus. The Yankees view Miranda as a low-risk, high-reward investment, since if he does become major-league ready in 2008 or 2009, his salary will be locked in.

He also plays the outfield, but the Yankees view Miranda's bat as his top tool.


Americans win exhibition


The U.S. Junior men's team scored three second-period goals Friday on the way to a 5-3 exhibition win over Switzerland in Norrtalje, Sweden. The Americans had a goal and two assists from Nate Gerbe of Boston College, Kyle Okposo of St. Paul, Minnesota, Patrick Kane of Buffalo, N.Y., and Peter Mueller of Bloomington, Minn. Goalie Jeff Frazee of the Gophers stopped 33 of 36 shots.

The U.S., 2-0 in exhibitions, opens the World Junior Championships against Germany on Tuesday. U.S. games can be seen on NHL Center Ice and heard on with Duluth native Jim Rich and former Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer calling the action.

Figure skating

Cohen pulls out of championships

Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen withdrew from next month's U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo., saying she is taking a temporary break from competition.

Cohen plans to skate at the 2009 world championships in Los Angeles and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"I love the thrill that competition brings, and I'm not ready to give that up," she said. "These past few years have been incredibly intense and demanding, so I need a little downtime from competing. I have competed in two Olympics, and there's nothing as thrilling as that, so I know I want to be in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics."

Cohen is the defending national champion, but her withdrawal hardly comes as a surprise. She skipped the Grand Prix series and hasn't competed in any major events since last year's world championships, where she won bronze.


Cablevision reaches agreement

Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable TV provider, reached an agreement with the NFL Network on Friday that will allow its customers to see a much-anticipated college football game between Rutgers and Kansas State University next Thursday.

The agreement resolves a standoff that had raised the ire of fans in the New York and New Jersey area, who were clamoring to see Rutgers -- long an underdog on the college football circuit -- cap its best season in the Big East.

Cablevision still doesn't have a long-term carriage agreement with the NFL Network, but on Friday accepted an offer from them to carry the network for free for the week of Dec. 24 through Dec. 30.

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