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Garciaparra on mend, expected to return tonight

Chicago Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra expects to return to the lineup tonight after being out since Sept. 11 with a strained groin. Manager Dusty Baker said the plan is to play Garciaparra tonight, rest him for tomorrow's afternoon game, and then start him again Friday in New York. "Hopefully, knock on wood, he can play every game after that," Baker said. Garciaparra believes the injury is related to the Achilles' tendon injury that bothered him throughout the first half of the season with the Red Sox. He is batting .298 in 31 games with the Cubs . . . Barry Bonds will have two more seasons to break Hank Aaron's career home run record with the San Francisco Giants, who decided yesterday to drop their right to void the final year of his contract. Under the $90 million, five-year deal agreed to in January 2002, San Francisco could have voided the 2006 season if Bonds failed to reach 500 plate appearances next year or 1,500 combined from 2003 to 2005, including at least 400 next season. But with Bonds as dominant as ever, the Giants decided to keep the 40-year-old outfielder for two more seasons. Bonds, who needs 55 homers to pass Aaron's mark of 755, will make $20 million in 2005 and $18 million in 2006. "Given his track record I feel very confident that he'll be wearing a Giants uniform for future team and personal milestones," owner Peter Magowan said . . . Anaheim Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy is done for the season because of torn ligaments in his right knee, hindering the team's playoff hopes. Kennedy hurt himself in the fifth inning trying to plant his leg to make a throw to first in Monday night's 5-2 victory over Seattle. An MRI revealed a torn medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament. If Kennedy requires surgery, his rehabilitation could extend into spring training . . . Washington, D.C. officials disclosed plans to build a publicly financed stadium costing more than $400 million on the Anacostia waterfront near South Capitol Street, amid growing signs that Major League Baseball will attempt to move the Montreal Expos to Washington. The Washington Post reported that two high-level baseball sources said the owners' relocation committee is leaning toward recommending at an executive council meeting tomorrow in Milwaukee that the Expos be moved to Washington . . . Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella made his strongest statement about remaining with the Devil Rays next season. "I'm staying here," Piniella said. "All these things that have been talked about, they're all somebody's speculation."Piniella's name has been mentioned as a potential successor to New York Mets manager Art Howe, who will not return next year. The Devil Rays offered all of Piniella's coaches, and senior adviser Don Zimmer, two-year contract extensions through 2006, when Piniella's four-year deal ends.

MISCELLANY
Worn-out Woods withdraws from Pa. tournament

Tiger Woods won't be playing in this week's 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pa., after all. After tournament organizers made much fanfare last week over Woods's decision to play at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, he announced he had changed his mind because he was worn out after playing in the Ryder Cup. "I thought I would be ready to play this week because I was playing well," Woods said. "Physically I can handle it, but emotionally I was spent." . . . John Stockton's No. 12 will be retired by the Utah Jazz in November, honoring a point guard who spent his entire 19-year career with the team. Stockton, the NBA career leader in assists and steals, retired after the 2002-03 season . . . Houston Rockets guard Bob Sura had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, meaning he will miss at least the first two weeks of the regular season . . . Former Celtic great Nate Archibald was hired as coach of the American Basketball Association champion Long Beach Jam . . . A University of Idaho football player was shot to death over the weekend and police arrested two brothers from Seattle after a car chase that extended across two states. Eric McMillan, 19, was pronounced dead early Monday at an area hospital, Moscow police said. A motive for the shooting was not immediately clear. Idaho players will wear a decal with McMillan's initials on their helmets when they play at Oregon Saturday, coach Nick Holt said. Matthew R. Wells II, 27, and James J. Wells, 25, of Seattle, were arrested on Interstate 90 near Vantage, Wash., about 150 miles west of Moscow . . . Tennessee linebacker Kevin Simon, the Volunteers' leading tackler last season, tore a ligament in his left knee against Florida Saturday and will miss the rest of the season . . . Keene State College's longtime athletic director, John Ratliff, is returning to the job he left just last month. He left last month to become athletic director at Oglethorpe College in Atlanta, but said he missed Keene, which hadn't hired a successor . . . The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team challenged Olympic champion Argentina to a $1 million winner-take-all game that would be shown on pay-per-view. Promoters have agreed to provide the prize money and put the game on TV, the Arizona-based Globetrotters said in a statement. The game would be played on a neutral court at a date to be determined . . . Larry Phillips, a stock car racer whose 2,500 career wins included five Winston Racing Series championships, died of lung cancer in Springfield, Mo. He was 62 . . . Eighth-seeded Jelena Dokic lost in the first round of the China Open to Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6-3, 6-0, in Beijing . . . Former Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson, who has dropped to 143d after once being ranked in the top 20, had surgery for a right shoulder injury that has bothered her since January 2003.

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