Catcher Charles Johnson reversed his decision and approved a trade to the Colorado Rockies, his agent said yesterday, clearing the way for a six-player deal that sends left-hander Mike Hampton to the Florida Marlins.
Hampton might not stay in Florida for long. A lawyer familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the Marlins were working on a deal that would send Hampton to the Atlanta Braves.
Braves General Manager John Schuerholz and Hampton's agent, Mark Rodgers, declined to comment. Marlins General Manager Larry Beinfest did not immediately return a phone call.
If the Braves acquired Hampton, it would probably end their interest in re-signing free agent lefty Tom Glavine, who has spent his entire 16-year career in Atlanta.
Johnson, who had used his no-trade rights to block the deal earlier yesterday, changed his mind after getting an additional $1 million to make up for the fact that there is no state income tax in Florida.
Taylor Fined for Gesture
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was fined $10,000 by the NFL for making a "slashing of the throat gesture" against the Washington Redskins last Sunday, his second such punishment this season.
Taylor was docked $5,000 for making the same motion after scoring a touchdown against the Chiefs on Sept. 15, league spokesman Steve Alic said.
In Jacksonville's 26-7 victory over Washington a week ago, Taylor drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for gesturing after his 12-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
Hewitt Triumphs in China
Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt closed in on a second straight Masters Cup title by beating Roger Federer, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, in the semifinals in Shanghai.
Hewitt, ensured the year-end No. 1 ranking for the second consecutive season, will face French Open runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero in today's final. Ferrero beat Carlos Moya, 6-7 (8-6), 6-4, 6-4, in a baseline exchange between Spaniards.
Palmer Leads Rally
Arnold Palmer rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt and let Tom Watson take care of the rest as they won six straight holes to help the Americans keep their slim lead, 61/2-51/2 at the UBS Warburg Cup in St. Simons Island, Ga. . . .
Mark Calcavecchia had five birdies, and partner Fred Couples added three birdies to defeat the team of Peter Jacobsen and Scott McCarron, 5 and 4, in the opening round of the $1.2 million Hyundai Team Matches in Dana Point, Calif.
Peter Lonard carded seven birdies as he and partner Rich Beem defeated Jerry Kelly and Chris Smith, 3 and 2. Lonard and Beem will face Calcavecchia and Couples for the championship today at the St. Regis Monarch Beach and Spa.
Strong Winds Cancel Racing
Racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup was canceled as strong winds swept the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand. The race committee sent the boats home just after noon amid steady southwesterlies of 20 knots with higher gusts.
Racing resumes Monday. Stars & Stripes leads Great Britain, 3-1, and Seattle's OneWorld leads France, 3-1, in the best-of-seven quarterfinals. The losers will be eliminated.
GU Women Win Cross-Country Title
Georgetown won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic region's women's cross-country team title. Its five top finishers all placed in the top 14 at the Canaan Valley Resort golf course in West Virginia. In the men's 10-kilometer race, Mike Smith of Georgetown won a tight race with a time of 30 minutes 28.9 seconds. Villanova, with four runners placing in the top 10, edged Georgetown in the men's team standings.