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A's Dave Henderson agrees to new terms

Dave Henderson became the first new-look free agent to come to terms when he agreed Tuesday to a three-year contract with the Oakland Athletics worth slightly less than $8 million.

The 32-year-old outfielder was one of 15 players made new-look free agents last Friday in the $280 collusion settlement between baseball owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Henderson had one season remaining, at $1 million, on a three-year $2.8 million deal. Last week's settlement gave him the right to negotiate with any team through Jan. 29.

"We just proceeded with Oakland and asked those clubs who were interested to hold off, and said we would call back if there was a hitch in the talks," said Henderson's agent, Doug Baldwin.

Jack Clark, another new-look free agent, received a contract offer from the Boston Red Sox Tuesday but the parties do not appear to be close to a deal.

Oakland, swept by Cincinnati in the World Series, now turns its attention to re-signing Bob Welch, who won 27 games and the American League Cy Young Award in 1990.

"We have to focus on signing Bob Welch, and we have been for the last several days," Oakland General Manager Sandy Alderson said. "We still are optimistic. There's nothing to suggest to me that we should feel otherwise, but at the same time it's not done yet."

The A's, the Chicago White Sox and Boston have made contract offers to Welch.

In New York, major league owners formally ratified the seven-year agreement negotiated with the minor leagues, the commissioner's office said.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league's umbrella organization, currently is conducting its ratification vote with results expected Thursday.

Chang opens $2 million bid with upset against Edberg

Michael Chang smashed Stefan Edberg's hopes of a $2 million Christmas bonus in Munich when he dumped the world's No. 1 player from the new Grand Slam Cup in the first round.

Edberg, who last month lost the ATP world championship final to Andre Agassi in Frankfurt, showed only flashes of the form that won him his second Wimbledon singles title this year as he fell to Chang, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

"I could play two points well and then I played two points badly," Edberg said of his lack of concentration.

U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras, seeded fourth, opened his campaign for the unprecedented $2 million winner's prize by rallying for a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Soviet Andrei Cherkasov.

As a first-round loser in this megabucks event, Cherkasov collected $100,000 -- the biggest payday of his career.

The cup, organized by the International Tennis Federation as a showdown between the 16 players with the best results in the year's four Grand Slam events, offers a total of $6 million in prize money.

Fifth seed Goran Ivanisevic of Yugoslavia took a pair of tie-breakers from American Kevin Curren, 7-3 and 9-7, and Henri Leconte upset seventh-seeded Austrian Thomas Muster, 6-3 6-4.

Edberg went up, 5-4, in the deciding set and was serving for the match when Chang, known for his dramatic comebacks, broke Edberg at 15.

The speedy Californian then held his next serve and reached match point on an Edberg double fault. A backhand service return winner put Chang into the quarterfinals.

Tomba rallies to win World Cup slalom

Alberto Tomba, skiing at the venue at Sestriere, Italy where he first made his World Cup reputation, won the slalom to move into first place in the overall standing.

The Italian star, who missed three months of racing last season because of a fractured collarbone, won in blowing snow and fog in 2:07.41, making up a full second in the afternoon run of the two-leg event.

Tomba scored his first World Cup victory in 1987.

Norway's Ole Kristian Furuseth, fastest after the first run through 73 gates, finished in 2:07.96, well over a second ahead of third-placed Rudolf Nierlich of Austria (2:09.18).

"I didn't think about the time I had to make up," Tomba said. "Ole skied well in the first run, but I had a good second run. I knew I was going well after the first gate."

Tomba received a hero's reception from a crowd of several thousand who watched Italy's top skier gain his first victory since a pair of slalom triumphs last spring in Scandinavia.

Around & About

Providence College announced it had suspended three members of the men's basketball team for an additional two games for fighting during a game last weekend. Corey Floyd, Marvin Saddler and Kenny McDonald already had been hit with the NCAA's automatic one-game suspension for any player ejected from a contest. The three players, who took part in Saturday night's brawl during a game with Rhode Island, will miss games against Boston College, Manhattan and Arizona. . . . Athletic directors from Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Miami will meet in Washington today to discuss which schools will join them in forming a Big East football conference. Big East spokesman John Paquette said Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese does not expect any formal invitations to come out of the discussions. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that, during today's meeting, the four athletic directors will vote to assimilate independents Temple, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech into the Big East football-only conference. . . . Documentary producer Ken Burns, fresh from his acclaimed public television series on the Civil War, wants now to peer into the heart and soul of America's favorite pastime. He is preparing a five-part series on the history of baseball he hopes will tell as much about American history as the Civil War. Burns said the series will be divided into nine segments -- each covering a decade of baseball. . . . Cathy Rigby says opening on Broadway in "Peter Pan" is another pinnacle in her career. Rigby, who in 1970 became the first American to win a medal in world gymnastics competition, began studying acting and singing after retiring from competition. The 36-year-old mother of four has been on the road for a year in the revival of the classic musical.


Canisius travels to Syracuse today for a meeting with the third-ranked Orangemen in the Carrier Dome (8 p.m., WBEN).

Canisius (4-1) is coming off its first tournament title since 1972, winning the Pepsi-Marist Classic with victories over Marist and Brown last weekend, and is riding a three-game winning streak. The Griffs are off to their best start since the 1985-86 season.

Syracuse (7-0) captured the Carrier Classic title Saturday and is one of the preseason favorites for the NCAA championship. The Orangemen, led by 6-foot-8 forward Billy Owens (19.6 points, 11.8 rebounds per game) and Dave Johnson (9.6 ppg), have won 20 of the last 21 meetings between the two teams, including 14 straight.

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