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Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



AREA

Games rained out

BOARDMAN -- The Little League championship game for boys ages 11-12 was rained out Friday. The game will be played at 1 p.m. today.

REGION

Browns sign Dawson

CLEVELAND -- Kicker Phil Dawson, one of only two members of the 1999 expansion Browns roster still with the team, signed a five-year contract extension with Cleveland, the team announced Friday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dawson was headed into the last year of a four-year deal signed in 2002. Defensive back Daylon McCutcheon is the other Browns player still on the team from when the team was revived in Cleveland.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Dawson is the franchise leader in field goal percentage (82 percent), making 108 of 132 attempts in his six-year career.

Dawson, who ranks seventh all-time in the league in accuracy, has had six game-winning kicks in his six years with the Browns.

Last season, he matched a career-high 100 points, connecting on 24 of 29 field goal attempts and making all 28 extra points.

Indians' Betancourtwants to clear name

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians reliever Rafael Betancourt said Friday that while he accepts punishment for violating major league baseball's drug policy he will continue his appeal to get the word "steroids" dropped from the official record.

The right-hander was suspended July 8 for 10 days after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

"I don't care about the suspension or the money they took," Betancourt said. "Just clear my name from that word."

Betancourt, on the disabled list since June 30 with a shoulder injury, does not dispute testing positive, though he says he has not been told exactly what substance was detected during a mid-May test.

"I was tested twice in 2003, twice last year and nothing," he said. "Now, they say I test positive."

The test could be the result of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine Betancourt got while pitching winter ball in his native Venezuela.

"I ask myself, 'How did this happen?"' he said.

"Back home, I bought some Voltaren, this is something that anybody can buy, even a 10-year-old kid. After I pitched, I would take one pill."

Betancourt equated the drug to Americans taking Advil or Tylenol. He said that once he got to spring training, he took medicine only prescribed by the Indians.

He did acknowledge that conditions in Venezeula are vastly different.

"Sometimes, I'm afraid to drink the water," he said. "But that is why I am upset. I have always respected this game."

Betancourt has been a key part of the Indians' bullpen, going 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 2-3 innings.

He is the sixth player suspended under major league baseball's policy, which began in March. There have been 77 players suspended under the minor league program.

The right-hander will serve the suspension while on the disabled list, and it will cost him $18,503 of his $338,600 salary.

Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez, Colorado outfielder Jorge Piedra, Texas pitcher Agustin Montero, Seattle outfielder Jamal Strong and Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon also were suspended. Montero and Rincon asked the union to file grievances, but decisions have not yet been made by arbitrator Shyam Das.

NATION

Palmeiro gets 3,000th

SEATTLE -- Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro became the 26th player to reach 3,000 career hits on Friday night, curling an RBI double into the left field corner in the fifth inning off Seattle starter Joel Pineiro.

Palmeiro also has 566 home runs over his 20-year career, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

Palmeiro tied Roberto Clemente for 25th place on the all-time list, both with 3,000 hits.

He was cheered each time he batted, and flashbulbs popped on every pitch. Teammates rushed onto the field from the dugout and bullpen after the milestone hit, and Palmeiro received a lengthy standing ovation from the Safeco Field crowd.

As the Orioles left the field, Palmeiro raised his helmet and thanked the fans.

Palmeiro, who walked in the first inning and grounded out in the third, went into a four-game series at Seattle only two hits short of 3,000. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in the series opener, lining a single to right field in the fourth inning Thursday.

Rickey Henderson was the most recent player to reach 3,000 hits, accomplishing the feat Oct. 7, 2001 for San Diego.

Vindicator staff/wire reports




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