The International Olympic Committee has two suggestions for baseball if it wants to return to the Olympics after the 2012 Games: Put in place tougher doping rules, and put major leaguers on the field.
"The message is clear," IOC President Jacques Rogge said yesterday, concluding a weeklong IOC session in Singapore. "The IOC wants clean sport, the best athletes and universality."
Baseball was singled out because major leaguers don't compete in the Olympics and its drug testing program falls short of international standards.
Softball must increase its global appeal to win back its place, Rogge said. The sport also was hurt by its perceived ties to baseball.
The sports will be played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and can reapply in 2009 for readmission to the 2016 Games.
"In the case of baseball, the best athletes are not competing and the major athletes perform in an environment where doping controls are not what we have in the Olympic world."
* TENNIS: The United States dropped its opening two matches to defending champion Russia in Moscow, with Wimbledon winner Venus Williams and Mashona Washington losing in the Fed Cup semifinals. Anastasia Myskina rallied past Williams, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and Elena Dementieva followed with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Washington in the American's Fed Cup debut.
In the other semifinal, host country France took a 2-0 lead over Spain. Amelie Mauresmo beat Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-4, 6-3, and Mary Pierce beat Nuria Llagostera Vives, 6-4, 6-4. . . . Top-seeded Rafael Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Swedish Open final in Bastad. In today's final, Nadal will face the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych, who beat countryman Jiri Vanek, 7-5, 6-1. . . .
Jim Courier was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., along with Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna and Butch Buchholz.
"My initial dream was to be a baseball player," said the 34-year-old Courier, who grew up in Sanford, Fla., but now lives in New York. "I remember throwing a baseball at 2 years old in the house. My dreams of playing tennis just kept changing. It's been a remarkable road."
Courier, a two-time winner of both the Australian and French opens, started playing tennis in juniors at age 7. He was a member of six Davis Cup teams, helping the United States capture the prize in 1992 and '95. He was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1992.
* COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton has Lyme disease and will miss the upcoming season, the university said. Coach Bobby Bowden said the university would seek a sixth year of eligibility for Sexton, who has already used his redshirt season. The estimated recovery time for his advanced stage of infection is several months.
The Seminoles will now choose between a pair of redshirt freshmen, Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, as their starting quarterback.
* COURTS: Boxer James Butler Jr., who fights under the nickname "The Harlem Hammer," will stand trial on charges that he used a hammer to kill sportswriter Sam Kellerman and then torched Kellerman's Hollywood apartment.
Kellerman, 29, was found dead in his apartment on Oct. 17, 2004, and police said at the time he had been killed about five days earlier. Kellerman's car was missing and a hammer was found not far from his body, police said.
* PRO BASKETBALL: Free agent guard Bobby Simmons agreed to a deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks. The deal is for about $47 million over five years. . . . The Memphis Grizzlies agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Hakim Warrick. The 19th pick overall in the draft signed a two-year deal with team options for the third and fourth years. . . . Saint Joseph's center Dwayne Jones is skipping his senior season for a shot at the NBA. Jones was close to signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
-- From News Services