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Padres exercise option on right fielder Giles

The San Diego Padres on Friday exercised their $9 million option on right fielder Brian Giles, whose .398 on-base percentage was one of the best in baseball.

The 37-year-old will be back for his seventh season with his hometown Padres. The team had a choice between the option or a $3 million buyout.

Giles hit .306 with 40 doubles and 12 homers, along with 63 RBIs and 87 walks.

Also: The Houston Astros signed right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year, $3.5 million deal and plan to use him in a setup role.

The Astros acquired Hawkins from the New York Yankees on July 30, and he did not allow a run in his first 22 relief appearances.

The 35-year-old Hawkins worked primarily as the setup man for closer Jose Valverde and went 2-0 with an 0.43 ERA in 24 appearances.

The Milwaukee Brewers promoted Bill Castro to pitching coach.

Castro served as the Brewers’ bullpen coach the last 17 seasons. He takes over for Mike Maddux, who turned down an offer to stay for his seventh season with Milwaukee and became Texas’ pitching coach.

Mark Cuban remains as interested as ever in buying the Chicago Cubs, dismissing a report that Major League Baseball might not want him as an owner.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times report that cited a baseball source, there was “zero chance” of the Dallas Mavericks owner taking over the Cubs.

“There’s no reason to comment on anonymous comments from unsolicited sources. I mean it’s ridiculous,” Cuban said.


Verplank up by three in Disney tournament

Scott Verplank shot his second straight 8-under-par 64 to take a three-stroke lead in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney, the final official PGA Tour event of the season.

Steve Marino (66) and Troy Matteson (68) were tied for second, but the real drama was at the bottom of the standings at the Orlando, Fla., tournament.

Friday was cut day in the event that ends the race for spots in the top 125 on the final money list, the cutoff for full 2009 PGA Tour play.

Bob Tway, who played with Verplank and shot a 62 after a first-round 73, made the cut and needs to finish in the top 12 to make the top 125.

Also: Heavy rain wiped out play in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, forcing organizers to find a way to squeeze in 54 holes over today and Sunday.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim and Adam Scott.

Japan’s Mayu Hattori and Miki Saiki shot 5-under 67s to share the lead of the Mizuno Classic in Shima, Japan.

Women’s British Open champion Shin Ji-yai was a stroke back.


Guard Adams named to Wooden Award list

Senior guard Wink Adams has a spot on an elite list. Adams is a 2008-09 preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy.

The list comprises 50 players who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.

Also: The Rebels men’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match to San Jose State when the Spartans scored about three minutes into overtime in San Jose, Calif.

Allen Hardison tallied his first goal of the season for UNLV (8-6-1, 3-4 MPSF) just before halftime.

The Rebels men’s swimming team won all three of its meets at the UC Irvine Shootout in Irvine, Calif., and the women’s team won three of four.

The men had two double winners — Andrew Morrell (100-yard breaststroke and 200 breaststroke) and David Seiler (100 butterfly and 200 butterfly) — in defeating Brigham Young 91-41, Cal State Northridge 118-11 and UC Davis, 94-37.

Amanda Weinbrecht (100 backstroke) and Marley Prothero (100 breaststroke) won events for the women, who beat Cal State Northridge 106-15, San Diego State 99-23 and UC Davis 83-57 and lost to BYU, 83-39.


Troubled Leaf resigns college coaching post

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has resigned as quarterbacks coach at Division II West Texas A&M.

The No. 2 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft told the school Thursday that he was leaving the program immediately. Athletic director Michael McBroom said in a statement that Leaf resigned because of “personal issues.”

Leaf was placed on administrative leave earlier in the week while Canyon, Texas, police investigated an allegation of his involvement in a minor drug crime.

Also: Charlotte Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan wants the team all to himself.

Jordan told The Charlotte Observer that he would be interested in taking control of the Bobcats from majority owner Bob Johnson if and when he decided to sell the team.

“When Bob wants to step aside, I have no problem stepping in and saying, ‘Hey, look, I’d love to take control of this franchise,’ ” Jordan said in a story on the newspaper’s Web site. “But Bob, he’s not at that point now.”

Knicks guard Stephon Marbury backed off a plan to practice with his old high school team while he’s not getting playing time with New York.

Marbury had expressed interest in practicing with his alma mater, Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, to stay in shape while he’s stuck on the bench for the Knicks.

“I’m not going to do it,” Marbury said. “I spoke to the players’ association, and they said it wouldn’t be a good idea.”

In other Knicks news, unable to make a comeback on the court, Allan Houston was given a front-office position with the team, hired as the assistant to the president for basketball operations.

American boxer Ray Austin earned a victory over Andrew Golota when the Polish fighter declined to come out for the second round of their nontitle WBC heavyweight bout in Chengdu, China.

Austin knocked down Golota only 10 seconds into the bout between former title contenders. Golota hit the deck a second time in the round, but referee Mike Griffin ruled it a slip.

Golota complained of an injury to his left biceps, apparently from the first round, officials said.

IOC president Jacques Rogge expects at least 15 doping cases from the Beijing Olympics.

“We had 39 positive cases in the run-up to the games, eight during the games and seven more possibly coming up,” Rogge said in Vienna, Austria.

Rogge said it will take about six more weeks before all final doping results are available.

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