National Sports Briefs: Glavine released
ATLANTA ó In a stunning move, the Atlanta Braves released 305-game winner Tom Glavine on Wednesday, just when it seemed he was ready to return to the big leagues.
The 43-year-old Glavine, who was coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings for Class-A Rome on Tuesday night and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.
Instead, the Braves cut him, another move that figures to draw the ire of Atlanta fans after the team failed to re-sign John Smoltz during the offseason.
“We appreciate and respect everything Tom has done for and brought to the Atlanta Braves organization and our fans,” general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. “His accomplishments for our club during his Hall of Fame career is a measure of his dedication that we will always respect and admire. We wish him nothing but the very best.”
The Braves closed the clubhouse before their game against the Chicago Cubs. When team spokesman Brad Hainje finally poked his head out less than hour before the first pitch, he said Glavine had already left Turner Field after meeting with team officials.
Hainje said manager Bobby Cox and the players would not comment until after the game.
Glavine was the winningest active pitcher in the majors with a record of 305-203. While his agent, Gregg Clifton, did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone, the fact that Atlanta released Glavine would indicate the left-hander still wants to pitch.
The move could be based on financial considerations. Glavine’s $3.5 million deal, signed after the start of spring training, included a $1 million bonus when he was placed on the active roster and $1.25 million each for 30 and 90 days on the active roster.
PITTSBURGH ó Brand-new locker room humorist Evgeni Malkin is making fun of his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates in two languages, and they’re loving it.
Coach Dan Bylsma is pleased because Malkin is laughing at his dry-humor witticisms. Sidney Crosby doesn’t have a goal in the Stanley Cup finals, yet he’s smiling, too.
The yuk-it-up Penguins trail the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1 going into Game 4 tonight, but it was difficult to tell from their off-day levity that they weren’t ahead.
They’re not acting at all like they did when they were down a game in this same situation last year, against the same opponent.
WASHINGTON ó A lawmaker urged the National Basketball Association Wednesday to repeal its requirement that players be at least 19 years old and a year out of high school before entering the league, calling the restriction unfair.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., sent identical letters to NBA commissioner David Stern and union leader Billy Hunter, asking that they scrap the requirement in the next collective bargaining agreement.
Stern said last month he wouldn’t mind if the new agreement pushed the minimum age to 20 ó although he was happy the way the current rule was working. The current agreement runs through 2011.
– CLEVELAND ó Cavaliers star LeBron James had a benign growth removed from his right jaw during a five-hour procedure.
James has had the condition for several months, but with permission from his doctors, he and his family decided to put off the operation until the Cavs completed their season. Cleveland was eliminated from the NBA playoffs on Saturday by Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals. James, this season’s NBA MVP, remains hospitalized but will soon be returning home.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Yahoo Inc. has sued the NFL Players Association to try to ensure it won’t be sued for using player statistics, photos and other data for its popular online fantasy football game.
The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Minneapolis alleges that a licensing arm of the players union has threatened to sue if Yahoo does not pay it royalties for the use of publicly available player data.
– NEW YORKó The NFL and its players’ union opened talks Wednesday in a bid to avoid a work stoppage in 2011, when the current labor contract expires.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the new executive director of the NFL Players Association, were both present at the meeting.
– TEMPE, Ariz. ó Ten years after retiring as an NFL quarterback, Chris Miller is back in the huddle. This time, he’s coaching the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterbacks.
– NEW YORK ó Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison are joining NBC’s Sunday night NFL studio show.
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State has hired Walter Mebane as an assistant women’s basketball coach, completing the staff of newly hired coach Kellie Harper.
Mebane had spent the past five seasons as head coach at Hampton.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ó Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett has an injured finger on his throwing hand.
Mallett is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks after hurting his ring finger in the weight room Monday.