Members of Twisted Sister, protesting pitcher John Rocker's comments disparaging gays and minorities, asked the Atlanta Braves to stop using their song, "I Wanna Rock," to introduce the reliever.

"We've got Hispanics in this band, Italians in this band, people who are Polish and Russian," said guitarist Jay Jay French, the heavy metal band's co-founder. "We're all immigrants, all foreigners--quote unquote--and this is our way of saying his comments were not acceptable."

In an interview in Sports Illustrated, Rocker said he would never play for a New York team because he didn't want to ride a train "next to some queer with AIDS." He also bashed immigrants, saying, "I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. . . . How the hell did they get in this country?"

Rocker later apologized, and in a subsequent interview with ESPN, he said his comments were in retaliation for verbal and physical abuse that he received from New York Mets fans during the NL Championship Series. . . .

The San Diego Padres settled all three of their salary arbitration cases, giving right-hander Donne Wall a $2 million, two-year contract; right-hander Brian Boehringer an $830,000, one-year deal, and outfielder Ruben Rivera $700,000 for one year. . . .

Catcher Tyler Houston and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a $835,000, one-year contract, a month after he became a free agent when the Cleveland Indians failed to offer him a contract for this year. . . .

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays made another move to bolster their pitching staff, agreeing to a minor league contract with John Burkett that will pay him $850,000 if he is added to the roster. Burkett, who spent the last three-plus seasons with the Texas Rangers, also could earn up to $2,175,000 in performance bonuses, getting the entire amount if he pitches 220 innings next season. . . .

Avoiding salary arbitration, the Chicago Cubs and left-handed reliever Felix Heredia agreed to a $625,000, one-year contract for the 2000 season, a raise of $350,000. . . .

John Frascatore, acquired by Toronto from the Arizona Diamondbacks last June, agreed to a $1.85 million, two-year contract with the Blue Jays. . . .

The Cincinnati Reds avoided salary arbitration with two of their nine eligible players, agreeing to a $1.6 million, one-year deal with Ron Villone and a $630,000 deal with fellow left-hander Gabe White. The Reds still have seven players eligible for arbitration, including Gold Glove second baseman Pokey Reese.


Tyson Wins in Court

Mike Tyson won his second fight in England before stepping inside the ring for his Jan. 29 European debut against Julius Francis.

Tyson beat immigration authorities last week after they threatened to bar him from the country because of his 1992 rape conviction. Yesterday, he won again when the country's high court denied an attempt by a women's group to stop the bout.

The group, Justice for Women, filed court papers yesterday challenging Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to let the former heavyweight champion into the country.

The court decided a few hours later that there was no reason to review Straw's decision, giving the go-ahead for the bout in Manchester.


A Royal Open in 2003

The British Open will be held at Royal St. George's Golf Club in 2003, the 13th time the course has hosted the tournament. The links course, in the town of Sandwich on the southeast coast of England, last staged the tournament in 1993.


Cooking for Charity

The Washington Wizards and the Fannie Mae Foundation will hold a "Wizards Cook for the Home Team" charity dinner at Red Sage Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert will serve as emcee for the program, which includes a silent auction. Proceeds from the event will benefit Washington's "Home Team" program, a partnership between the Wizards and the Fannie Mae Foundation to revitalize neighborhoods.

Auto Racing

Dakar Rally Resumes

The Dakar Rally restarted in Libya after terrorist threats forced a six-day delay and an airlift of the vehicles from Niger. Competitors restarted in Sabha, some 400 miles south of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. They will cover about 1,000 miles before entering Egypt on Thursday for the final stages, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported.