Latest word is that the Suns are expected to at least talk to ex-Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, fired this week by the Detroit Pistons, about their vacant coaching job. It's unlikely Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, though, would be willing to guarantee Saunders a $20 million, four-year contract. Saunders is guaranteed the final year of his contract, $5.5 million, by Detroit next season. (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Comment
Kelvin Sampson's director of basketball operations at Indiana University told the NCAA that the coach and his staff had to have known they were breaking telephone recruiting sanctions. Ten other people -- seven recruits, two mothers of recruits and one coach -- directly implicated Sampson and former assistant coach Rob Senderoff in interviews with the NCAA. Sampson, hired in March 2006, had extra recruiting limitations during his first year at IU, including a ban on three-way phone calls, as punishment for his NCAA violations while at Oklahoma. Recruit DeJuan Blair, now a player at Pittsburgh, told an NCAA investigator he was "100 percent" sure he was on the phone with Sampson and Senderoff at the same time. "If coach Sampson said something funny, coach Senderoff would laugh; or he would ask a question and coach Senderoff would answer; or coach Senderoff would ask a question and he would answer about Indiana," Blair said. (Indianapolis Star) Comment
Joe Mauer, who hit his first two home runs of the season this week, has slightly changed his batting strategy. "Not anything too drastic, but I'm trying a couple of things to help, just taking a chance on some pitches," the Twins' catcher said Thursday. "Instead of staying with the (regular) approach, maybe I'm looking for a pitch 'in' like that." Both of Mauer's homers came on inside pitches. His upper-deck blast at the Metrodome against the Orioles on Wednesday night wasn't close to being a strike. Mauer and hitting coach Joe Vavra began working on making a better turn on inside pitches during spring training. "I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable going inside," said Mauer, who is among the American League's leading hitters at .328.(St. Paul Pioneer Press) Comment
Rays pitcher James Shields takes a swing at Red Sox Coco Crisp after Crisp was hit by a pitch and charged the mound in the second inning in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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