BALCO founder Conte planning book

NEW YORK -- BALCO founder Victor Conte is expected to write a book about the scandal, the New York Daily News reported on its Web site Sunday night.

The book has a working title of "BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion Jones and What We Can Do To Save Sports." It is scheduled for publication in September by Skyhorse Publishing.

Conte, off criminal probation as of midnight Sunday night, claims IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky fabricated an alleged confession by Conte and lied in court documents. Conte also says Novitzky was the subject of an internal investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for allegedly leaking confidential investigative information about the case and for missing evidence.

• Commissioner Bud Selig expressed confidence that an agreement can be reached to strengthen baseball's drug-testing policy.

"There's negotiations ongoing," Selig said during the inaugural game at Nationals Park. "I'd rather not comment other than that."

Selig said "Yes" when asked if was confident of an agreement with the players' union. He also cited the lack of reliable test for human growth hormone as a significant hurdle to cleaning up the sport.

• Jay Gibbons has been released by Baltimore, who lost patience waiting for the oft-injured outfielder to regain the form that enabled him to hit 26 home runs in 2005.

Gibbons batted .189 with no homers and four RBIs in 16 games this spring training after playing in only 84 games last season. Baltimore owes him $11.9 million for the next two season as part of a $21.1 million, four-year contract he agreed to in January 2006.

• A car seized as part of an investigation into a cocaine conspiracy in Kansas City was owned by five-time All-Star catcher Benito Santiago, a newspaper reported.

The Kansas City Star said federal and state records show Santiago bought a 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL55 two-door coupe that was linked to Jacques Lavigne.

Lavigne, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking charges, told authorities that he gave an unidentified individual $80,000 in drug money so that person could buy the car and title it in their name in Florida. He then kept it as his own at his Kansas City apartment.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Clovis, N.M., sports standout and Charleston Southern recruit Jaden Isler was resting comfortably at a Texas hospital days after he collapsed and nearly died, his father said.

"He's doing about as good as can be expected," J.D. Isler said Saturday night.

Jaden Isler, a 5-foot-9 point guard, finished his four-year basketball career at Clovis High as the school's assists leader and second-leading scorer. He announced Thursday that he has verbally committed to play basketball at Charleston Southern.

Isler was watching a softball game Thursday night in Canyon, Texas, when he collapsed and taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

J.D. Isler said doctors at Baptist St. Anthony's Hospital in Amarillo have run a battery of tests but haven't determined what caused his son to collapse and lose consciousness.

He said doctors believe "it may have something to do with the electrical part of the heart."

"Maybe it misfired and got his heart out of rhythm," he said.

• NHL -- The Detroit Red Wings celebrated Gordie Howe's 80th birthday with a ceremony before Sunday's game against the Nashville Predators.

Howe, who turns 80 on Monday, was presented with a framed No. 17 jersey -- his number his rookie year before he got No. 9 his second season. He also was presented with a leather jacket; when he signed, part of his bonus was a leather Red Wings jacket.

Christopher Ilitch, the son of team owner Mike Ilitch, announced via a taped message that the team was also giving Howe a 48-inch high-definition television.

"I've been treated like an angel," Howe said after the ceremony.