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YANKEES EXPECTED TO SIGN PONSON
Sidney Ponson is about to get another chance, this time with the Yankees. Ponson was cut by the St. Louis Cardinals last week and the Yankees, desperate to find a fifth starter, expect to sign the talented-but-troubled pitcher today. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said yesterday the deal “made sense, compared to everything else that was available to us.”
Once among baseball’s more promising pitchers, Ponson’s career has been derailed by alcohol problems. Baltimore released him last September, saying his behavior gave them grounds to terminate his contract. Ponson is set to make his first start for the Yankees on Tuesday night at home against Seattle. The Yankees will pay between $150,000 and $175,000 to sign him for the rest of the season.
Released by Baltimore in the off-season, Ponson signed a $1 million deal with St. Louis.The 29-year-old righty started the season 3–0, but slumped and was 4–4 overall with a 5.24 ERA when the Cardinals designated him for assignment last Friday.
“He’s still got a great arm,” Cashman said.
Ponson won 17 games in 2003 when he pitched for Baltimore and San Francisco, but has struggled on and off the field since then. He was convicted last December of driving while impaired and sentenced to five days in jail — his arrest in August marked his third drunk driving offense.The pitcher also spent 11 days in jail in his native Aruba after fighting on a beach.
DONADONI NAMED ITALY COACH
The Italian soccer federation named former national team midfielder Roberto Donadoni as Italy’s new coach. Donadoni, 42, replaces Marcello Lippi, who resigned Wednesday despite widespread calls for him to stay, three days after guiding the Azzurri to their fourth World Cup title.
Considered by many to be one of Italy’s best soccer players in recent decades,Donadoni started his career in Serie A with Atalanta Bergamo in 1984 and transferred to AC Milan in 1986. During his years with the team, Milan won five Serie A titles, three European Cups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups. As a member of Italy’s national team, he played in World Cups in 1990, when Italy finished third, and again in 1994, when Italy lost the final to Brazil.
CELTICS INK PIERCE TO THREE-YEAR DEAL
The Boston Celtics have agreed to terms with forward Paul Pierce on a three-year contract extension worth almost $60 million, pending league approval.Spokesman Jeff Twiss said yesterday that the team has worked out a deal with Pierce on a contract extension that would keep him in Boston beyond the 2007–08 season, when he has a player option for about $16 million. Also yesterday, the Celtics said Pierce is scheduled to have minor surgery on his left elbow in August. He should be ready for the start of training camp.
BENGALS NAB BROOKS IN SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who starred at Virginia for three seasons before being kicked off the team by coach Al Groh,was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of yesterday’s supplemental NFL draft. Brooks, a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker as a sophomore,also was a finalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker in 2004. But he played only six games last season because of injury, then was dropped by the team just before spring practice this year.
The Bengals, who used the 22nd pick of the third round to take Brooks, forfeit their third-round choice in the 2007 draft.
— Associated Press