NEW YORK -- Lawyers for the baseball players' union and the commissioner's office are discussing ways to bring about a meeting between Jason Giambi and steroids investigator George Mitchell.
The talks were expected to extend into the weekend and possibly next week, a person familiar with negotiations said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said June 6 that he wanted Giambi to meet with Mitchell within two weeks and to cooperate fully with the steroids investigation. Selig threatened to discipline the New York Yankees designated hitter following published remarks by Giambi that seemed to be an admission of steroids use. Selig said he would take Giambi's cooperation with Mitchell into account in determining discipline.
A federal judge took the unusual step Thursday of rejecting a plea deal for an attorney who admitted leaking the grand jury testimony of elite athletes to two newspaper reporters.
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• Troy Ellerman's lawyer argued in court papers for a 15-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to allowing two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to view transcripts of grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and other athletes embroiled in the government's steroids investigation. Probation officers recommended 18 months.
Ellerman was a successful Sacramento attorney when BALCO founder Victor Conte hired him following the raid of his Burlingame nutritional supplements lab, part of the government probe.
Ellerman also later served as the attorney for BALCO vice president James Valente. It was while he was representing Valente that he allowed reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada to view the players' grand jury testimony, according to the plea agreement.
• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- A former player and assistant for coach Oliver Purnell was named operations director for men's basketball at Clemson, the school said.
Josh Posterino was joined Purnell's staff at Clemson briefly in 2003 before leaving to work with Ron Jirsa at Marshall.
• COLLEGE BASEBALL -- The Florida Gators hired Kevin O'Sullivan as coach to try to turn around a program that has fallen on hard times.
O'Sullivan has served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator the last nine years at Clemson, where he helped the Tigers to nine-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and College World Series berths in 2000, 2002 and 2006.
• COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- University of Alabama trustees approved the eight-year, $32 million contract for football coach Nick Saban.
The deal doesn't include a buyout clause if he wants to leave early and puts a cap on the number of public appearances Saban must make every year.
Saban's base salary will be $225,000 with the rest coming in an escalating personal services fee that rises from $3.275 million this year to $3.975 million each of the final three years.
• PRO HOCKEY -- Sidney Crosby skated away with the Hart Trophy on Thursday night, becoming the NHL's youngest MVP since Wayne Gretzky.
The vote wasn't even close. The 19-year-old Pittsburgh captain -- who received his trophy from six-time winner Gordie Howe -- got 91 first-place votes and 1,225 points in a poll of Professional Hockey Writers' Association members.
• PRO BASKETBALL -- The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired frontcourt help for Kevin Garnett, sending point guard Mike James and swingman Justin Reed to the Rockets for power forward Juwan Howard.