The Los Angeles Dodgers have offered Manny Ramirez the second-highest average salary in baseball behind Alex Rodriguez in an effort to keep the free-agent slugger, general manager Ned Colletti said yesterday. Colletti did not disclose details, but he acknowledged that the proposed deal exceeded the average of $20 million a season Ramirez received during his most recent eight-year, $160 million contract. However, mlb.com reported that the Dodgers' offer is said to be in the range of $55 million over two years. Rodriguez, of the New York Yankees, currently has the top average at $27.5 million under the 10-year deal he agreed to before last season. Ramirez, acquired from Boston on July 31, hit .332 with 37 homers and 121 RBIs last season with the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. "If you saw the bid, it's nothing that we're embarrassed by," Colletti said at the general managers meetings in Dana Point, Calif.
More Dodgers: : The team declined pitcher Brad Penny's $9.25 million option, making the right-hander, 30, eligible to become a free agent. Penny, who receives a $2 million buyout, was 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances last season. He was bothered by shoulder problems for much of the year.
: Gold Glove:: Pitcher Greg Maddux, 42, won his record 18th Gold Glove while outfielder Shane Victorino of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies was among five first-time winners in the National League. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins joined Victorino from the Phillies, winning for the second straight season. The New York Mets also had two winners: outfielder Carlos Beltran and third baseman David Wright, both of whom repeated. Pondering retirement after 355 wins, Maddux has been the NL recipient for pitchers every year since 1990 with the exception of 2003, when Mike Hampton won it.
Dallas' Romo practices; Steelers unsure on QB
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo practiced, taking snaps and throwing passes with a small splint on his throwing hand. Romo, who has missed the past three games with a broken pinkie, said he had no problems during a morning walk-through. He remains optimistic about returning for Dallas' next game, a week from Sunday at Washington.
Steelers: : Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger rested his sore right shoulder, although his latest tests showed no further damage. It is unclear whether he will play Sunday against Indianapolis. Backup Byron Leftwich, who came off the bench to lead two second-half touchdown drives against the Redskins on Monday night, practiced with the regulars. ... Pittsburgh released punter Mitch Berger and brought back Paul Ernster.
Texans: : Starting linebacker Zac Diles, who leads Houston in tackles with 66, broke his left leg and will miss the rest of the season. Diles was injured in practice yesterday in what coach Gary Kubiak described as a freak accident. He was scheduled to have a rod placed in his tibia last night. Kevin Bentley will start in his place against the Ravens.
Seahawks: : Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is expected to return Nov. 16 against Arizona. He will miss his fifth straight game Sunday at Miami while he gets back into playing shape. Coach Mike Holmgren said his three-time Pro Bowl selection has finally passed the strength tests doctors prescribed for his hyperextended right knee.
Redskins: : Sean Taylor will be inducted into Washington's Ring of Fame this month, after the first anniversary of his death. Taylor, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, will be honored during a pre-game ceremony before the home game against the Giants on Nov. 30.
Et cetera: : Giants wide receiver David Tyree, who has been inactive since training camp as he recovered from knee surgery, will miss the rest of the season after pulling a hamstring last month. ... Philadelphia tight end L.J. Smith will be back in the starting lineup Sunday against the Giants after missing a game with a concussion.
No. 16 Ball State remains perfect, in BCS hunt
Nate Davis threw for four touchdowns and ran for one as No. 16 Ball State routed visiting Northern Illinois, 45-14, to remain undefeated and alive in the chase for a Bowl Championship Series game. MiQuale Lewis topped 100 rushing yards for the ninth straight game for Ball State (9-0, 5-0 Mid-American). Davis finished 18-for-22 for 300 yards against Northern Illinois (5-4, 4-2). ... Kansas State coach Ron Prince will not return next season, pushed out after failing to rebuild the Wildcats into a Big 12 contender. He went 16-18 in 2 1/2 seasons, including 4-5 this year. ... Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was placed on administrative leave from West Texas A&M;, where he is quarterbacks coach and men's golf coach for the Division II school. A source who was familiar with the situation told ESPN.com that Leaf acknowledged he had asked a player for a pill to reduce wrist pain he has felt since his NFL days. ... Boston College receiver Clarence Megwa had to postpone surgery on his right leg because of complications arising from the two broken bones he suffered last weekend.
Politics: : Former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware was trailing by 403 votes as the Republican vied for a Florida Legislature seat. The race appeared headed for a recount.
Soccer: : Dave Cash and David Stroud each scored to power the CCBC-Essex men past Cape Fear, 2-0, in the Mid-Atlantic District championship. The Knights (17-3-1) advanced to the NJCAA national tournament Nov. 20-22 in Phoenix.