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National Sports Briefs: Yankee fans arrested

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó New York City police say they arrested more than a dozen people for stealing pieces of Yankee Stadium during the 85-year-old ballpark’s final game.
Police say 18 fans were charged with possessing stolen property.
Officers were out in force for the stadium’s final game on Sunday to keep souvenir hunters from tearing away pieces of the place.
Yankee spokesman Howard Rubenstein told the New York Post that they intend to hire a private security team to protect the stadium from other would-be thieves.
– NEW YORKó Atlanta Braves minor league pitcher Matthew Small was suspended for 50 games Tuesday after testing positive for a banned amphetamine.
The penalty will take effect at the start of next season.
The 20-year-old righty was 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA this year in 13 relief appearances with Danville of the Appalachian Rookie League.
There have been 66 suspensions this year under the minor league program and two under the major league program.
– FUKUOKA, Japan ó Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh will step down as manager of the Softbank Hawks at the end of the 2008 season.
The 68-year-old Oh, who hit a record 868 home runs over 22 seasons when he played for the Yomiuri Giants, cited health concerns Tuesday as his reason for leaving the team.
NBA
WASHINGTON ó Guard Juan Dixon signed a free-agent contract with the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, returning to the team that drafted him after he led Maryland to an NCAA title.
Dixon played his first three NBA seasons with the Wizards, from 2002-03 to 2004-05. He has also been with Portland, Toronto and Detroit, averaging 8.9 points, 1.7 assists and 1.9 rebounds over six seasons.
“He’s a proven NBA player. He’s a tough, hard-nosed competitor,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said.
COLLEGE HOOPS
WASHINGTON ó This year’s Coaches vs. Cancer appeal has a more personal meaning for Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, who has been undergoing treatment for skin cancer.
Calhoun and four of his fellow college coaches were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, joining the American Cancer Society in a call for Congress to fund more research.
“I feel great,” Calhoun said. “I feel gifted and will continue my fight.”Gary Williams of Maryland, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Fran Dunphy of Temple and Mark Gottfried of Alabama were on hand, along with more than 200 American Cancer Society volunteers who met with elected officials to push their cause.
– CONWAY, S.C. ó Coastal Carolina men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis says the Chanticleers will play in the preseason NIT in 2009.
Ellis told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that he does not know who Coastal Carolina will play because the entire 16-team field.
CYCLING
MADRID, Spain ó If Lance Armstrong joins the Astana cycling team for his comeback, then Alberto Contador is ready to leave.
“I think I’ve earned the right to be the leader of a team without having to fight for my place,” the Spanish rider said Tuesday in AS newspaper. “And with Armstrong some difficult situations could arise in which the team would put him first and that would hurt me.”
Contador, the 2007 Tour de France champion, won the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday.
Armstrong announced this month he is returning to cycling after three years in retirement and would attempt to win the Tour de France an eighth time.
CURLIN
History awaits Curlin in Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup if he can become the first North American racehorse to break $10 million in earnings. A meeting with Big Brown and some of Europe’s top horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is still possible, too.
Owner Jess Jackson said Tuesday he’d like to see Curlin run in his home state of California, but the reigning Horse of the Year’s schedule for the rest of the year depends on the 4-year-old’s health.
“I hate to repeat the mantra, but right now it’s one race at a time,” Jackson said on a national teleconference. “After he tells us if he’s fit and ready, we’ll consider all options, including the Breeders’ Cup.”

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