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The Baltimore Sun

MASN to start up full-time HD channel

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MASN will launch a full-time high definition channel in March and more than double the number of HD telecasts of Orioles and Washington Nationals games. Expanding on MASN's first season of using HD technology, the regional sports cable network will air a major league baseball game in HD every night of the season - up to 200 games. The channel will also carry Ravens preseason games, selected NCAA Division I football, basketball and lacrosse games, and ESPN News in HD. MASN made available 40 Orioles games and 40 Nationals games this season in HD. Many of MASN's distributors will carry the full-time HD channel, including Comcast, DirecTV, Cox and RCN.

Wizards:: The Washington Wizards announced that they have added WVIE (1370 AM) as the Baltimore affiliate of their radio network. The 50,000-watt station recently switched to an all-sports format and will carry all eight preseason games and all 82 regular-season games.

Monday Night Football:: The Dallas Cowboys' 41-37 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPN on Monday night was watched by 18.6 million viewers, the largest audience ever for a program on cable television.

Red Sox, GM Epstein near extension agreement

baseball

Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is nearing an agreement for a contract extension, team owner John Henry told the Associated Press. Epstein, who left Boston for nearly three months after his previous contract expired at the end of October 2005, has a three-year deal that expires at the end of next month. The Red Sox have won two of the past four World Series championships and are one game behind the first-place Rays in the American League East.

Hall of Fame:: Joe Torre, Ron Santo and Gil Hodges are among 10 players on the latest Hall ballot for Veterans Committee voters. Dick Allen, Jim Kaat, Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson and Maury Wills also were among the candidates announced. Voting results will be revealed Dec. 8.

Mariners:: Left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard, out since July with a tight shoulder, has decided to undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery Friday to remove any unhealthy tissue from the labrum in the shoulder. Bedard, acquired from the Orioles in the offseason, was 6-5 this season with a 3.67 ERA.

Brewers:: A day after being abruptly fired as Milwaukee's manager and replaced by third base coach Dale Sveum, Ned Yost insisted he had no hard feelings toward the team that let him go with 12 games left while tied for the National League wild-card spot.

Mets:: Manager Jerry Manuel called a team meeting before New York's 1-0 loss at Washington, hoping to help the team avoid a second consecutive September meltdown. With their third straight defeat, the Mets dropped a half game behind the Phillies, who moved into first place in the NL East with an 8-7 victory over the Braves. ... Mets outfielder Fernando Tatis, a former Oriole, is out for the season after separating his right shoulder in the fifth inning while trying to make a diving catch on Odalis Perez's double.

Phillies:: Left-handed rookie J.A. Happ is moving into the rotation tonight against the Braves, replacing Kyle Kendrick.

Et cetera:: Paul Konerko was back at first base for the White Sox in their 6-2 win over the Yankees, making a quick recovery from a strained right knee he suffered Sept. 9. ... Impressed by his outings for Taiwan in the Olympics, the Indians signed right-handed pitcher Chen-Chang Lee, 21.

Texans consider using Rice Stadium

nfl

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has discussed the possibility of his team playing at Rice Stadium in the city if repairs to Reliant Stadium from Hurricane Ike can't be made in time for the first home game, Oct. 5 against the Colts. The stadium's retractable roof lost five pieces in the storm, and officials said large pieces of debris had fallen into the stadium.

Referee:: Ed Hochuli received the support of the NFL Referees Association, two days after he botched a call at the end of the San Diego-Denver game that allowed the Broncos to keep possession and go on to score the winning points in a 39-38 victory. "No one feels worse about this than Ed, but ... mistakes will occur," NFLRA executive director Tim Millis said in a statement.

Seahawks:: Seattle took two steps to bolster its injured-depleted wide receiver corps by trading for Keary Colbert and reacquiring Koren Robinson. The Seahawks agreed to a one-year contract with Robinson. Colbert was acquired from the Broncos. The deal is believed to be for a fifth-round pick.

Steelers:: Coach Mike Tomlin clarified the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder: sprained but not separated. He will play Sunday against the Eagles.

Et cetera:: Browns defensive end Robaire Smith was put on injured reserve because of a left Achilles tendon injury. ... Raiders defensive end Tommy Kelly was arrested Monday in Oakland on suspicion of driving under the influence. ... Buccaneers rookie cornerback Elbert Mack was suspended one game without pay by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. ... The Jets waived punter Ben Graham. ... Former Giants wide receiver Mark Ingram, 42, was sentenced in Central Islip, N.Y., to more than seven years in prison for bank fraud and money laundering.

Woods says he won't attend Ryder Cup

et cetera

The closest Tiger Woods will get to the Ryder Cup is in front of his television. Despite speculation that Woods planned to show up at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., this week, he said in a monthly newsletter he has no intention of coming. "U.S. captain Paul Azinger has my cell phone number, and he or any U.S. player can call me anytime," said Woods, who had season-ending knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open.

More golf: : Michelle Wie shot a 2-under-par 70 to begin the LPGA sectional qualifying tournament in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Wie's score placed her four shots behind leader Sun-Ju Ahn of South Korea.

Paralympic Games: : Wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden of Clarksville added a bronze medal to her two silvers in Beijing. The United States women's 400-meter relay team finished with a time of 1 minute, 2.1 seconds, behind China (gold) and Australia (silver). ... South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius completed his gold-medal haul, winning the 400 meters (47.49 seconds) to go with sprint victories in the 100 and 200.

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