- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008

The Washington Nationals came out on top yesterday in their salary arbitration case against infielder Felipe Lopez. A three-member arbitration panel in St. Petersburg, Fla., came down in favor of the Nationals’ salary figure for the 2008 season — $4.9 million — instead of the $5.2 million Lopez was seeking.

Lopez still will receive a pay raise of $1 million over his salary for 2007, when he batted .245 with nine home runs, 50 RBI and 24 steals. He goes into spring training vying for a starting role either at second base or shortstop as part of a three-man rotation with Ronnie Belliard, and, if healthy, Cristian Guzman.

• Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia has tabled contract talks with the Cleveland Indians until after the season. The left-hander, who is eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, says on his Web site that he and his agents have broken off negotiations on an extension with the club. The Indians have recently offered Sabathia a four-year extension believed to be worth $17 million to $18 million a season.

• A typo in court papers regarding Barry Bonds filed by federal prosecutors touched off a brief tempest over the mistaken belief that he failed a drug test in November 2001, one month after breaking the single-season home run record. In fact, the government meant to reference a previously reported November 2000 failed drug test, U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Josh Eaton said. That drug test was included in the indictment unsealed last year.

COLLEGES

Florida State’s sports teams will be on self-imposed probation for two years, and some will lose scholarships because of an academic cheating scandal, the university said. About 60 student-athletes also have or will suffer some loss of eligibility. Two staffers, a tutor and learning specialist, already had been fired.

• The NCAA turned down Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk’s request for another season of eligibility. Mauk was hoping to get another season to compensate for being redshirted in 2006 while at Wake Forest.

FOOTBALL

Zach Thomas, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker and one of the most popular and productive players ever to wear a Dolphins uniform, was released yesterday, the biggest move yet in Miami’s massive rebuilding project. Thomas missed most of last season because of concussions and migraines after an Oct. 21 car crash.

• The Arizona Cardinals have placed the “non-exclusive” franchise tag on linebacker Karlos Dansby. The move means Dansby has been offered a one-year deal worth just over $8 million, the average salary of the five highest-paid linebackers last season.

HOCKEY

Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik, whose carotid artery was nearly severed, may be discharged from a Buffalo hospital by tomorrow. Zednik is showing improvement after his neck was slashed, Dr. Sonya Noor said.

• Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers agreed on a six-year, $41.25 million contract extension that will keep the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist in the fold through the 2013-14 season. The 25-year-old Swede is 24-21-5 this season with a 2.37 goals-against average in 50 games.

SHORT TAKES

Britain is considering supplying its athletes with masks at the Beijing Olympics to counter pollution. The British Olympic Association hopes the air quality improves for the Aug. 8-24 Games and such a step will be unnecessary. BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said masks were just one option being considered to help athletes.

• Ronaldo arrived in Paris for an operation to repair the ruptured tendon in his left knee, an injury that could end his career. The three-time FIFA world player of the year was injured in AC Milan’s 1-1 draw with Livorno in the Serie A on Wednesday.

• Chuck Heaton, a prolific columnist and Cleveland Browns writer in his 60 years at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, died at 90.


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