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January 8, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Utah’s John Stockton, the NBA’s career leader in assists and steals, moved back into position for a starting guard spot in voting for Western Conference All-Star team announced Tuesday.

Stockton, who has played in eight All-Star games but started only twice, has 192,144 votes. Seattle’s Gary Payton is the leader at guard with 218,941, while Houston’s Clyde Drexler is third at 151,846.

At forward, Charles Barkley of Houston took over the lead with 304,085 votes, moving past Seattle’s Shawn Kemp, who has 296,090. Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon leads the centers with 295,043.

Starters for the two conferences will be announced Jan. 26. The All-Star game is Feb. 9 at Cleveland.

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Atlanta Hawks activated forward Tyrone Corbin from the injured list Tuesday and waived forwards Willie Burton and Darrin Hancock.

Corbin, who missed seven games because of a sprained right ankle, is averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22 games this season.

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DENVER (AP) _ The Denver Nuggets signed former Notre Dame guard Elmer Bennett to a 10-day contract Tuesday.

Bennett, who appeared in four games for Houston this season, led the CBA in assists with an 11.2 average for Oklahoma City. He was second in the league in scoring with a 21.2 average.

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DENVER (AP) _ Charlotte Smith scored 19 points and Crystal Robinson added 17 as the Colorado Xplosion beat the Seattle Reign 77-72 on Tuesday night in the American Basketball League.

Colorado (17-10) has won 13 of its last 15 games. Olympian Cindy Brown had 18 points and had 14 rebounds for Seattle (10-13).

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Cincinnati Reds signed left-hander Noe Najera to a one-year contract Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Reds selected Najera, 26, from the Cleveland Indians last month in the Rule 5 draft. He was 12-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 140 innings last season for Kinston of the Class A Carolina League.

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SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle Mariners signed right-hander Rusty Meacham to a one-year contract Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Meacham, 28, acquired from the Kansas City Royals in June, was 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA in 15 games last season.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The NHL suspended forwards Mike Craig of Toronto and Troy Mallette of Boston for two games games and fined them $1,000 each Tuesday for infractions in games Saturday night.

Craig was sanctioned for a cross-check that broke Vancouver forward Mike Sillinger’s nose, while Troy Mallette was penalized for an elbowing incident involving Dallas forward Grant Marshall.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas football coach John Mackovic promoted assistant Bobby Jack Wright to defensive coordinator Tuesday.

Wright, 46, replaces Gary Darnell, who accepted a heading coaching job at Western Michigan before Texas’ 38-15 Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State. Wright has worked as assistant head coach, special teams coach and wide receivers coach in his 11 seasons at Texas.

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