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Names In The Game

July 1, 1995

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ One day after he signed a minor league contract and just 12 weeks after he left Cuba, Ariel Prieto became a member of the Oakland Athletics on Friday.

Prieto, a right-handed pitcher who was the Athletics’ first pick in the June 1 amateur draft, was called up to replace right-hander Jim Corsi on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder.

Prieto, 29, who had a 4-0 record with independent Palm Springs of the Western League, was a member of the Cuban national team from 1990-94, striking out 20 in a game against Nicaragua in 1990. He was undefeated in international play with an 11-0 record.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Prieto signed a minor league contract Thursday.

``Oakland has always been my favorite team,″ he said. ``I liked Oakland a lot, and my friends liked Oakland.″

Agent Gus Dominguez acted as interpreter for Prieto during a meeting with reporters Friday before the A’s hosted the California Angels.


YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) _ Kellie Connaughton is moving from the warehouse floor to the hardwood.

Connaughton, 35, an assistant manager at the Price-Costco discount warehouse store in Union Gap, has been named general manager of the Yakima Sun Kings.

She takes over July 15 from Brooks Ellison, who stepped down last spring after the franchise’s first five seasons.

The appointment was announced Thursday.

Connaughton is the third female general manager in the Continental Basketball Association. She joins Nancy Sagar, who has held the position in Omaha for two years, and Tina Jacobson, general manager in Columbus, Ohio, for one year.

``There is a tremendous amount of pressure but I’m not afraid of that,″ Connaughton said. ``I feel this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m excited to work with the Sun Kings to market a successful product.

Connaughton has no previous CBA experience. But investor Bob Hall said the owners were more interested in someone with a marketing rather than a basketball background.

``We didn’t want to hire a basketball person and try to train them to be a business person,″ Hall said.


TORONTO (AP) _ Claude Lemieux of the Stanley Cup-champion New Jersey Devils was named playoff MVP by the Hockey News on Friday, the second such honor for the Devils assistant captain in less than a week.

Lemieux, named winner of the NHL’s Conn Smythe Trophy last Saturday, right after the Devils finished off their four-game sweep of the Detroit Red Wings, was a near-unanimous selection in the Hockey News poll. He received 13 first-place votes from ``a panel of 15 hockey experts,″ the publication said in a news release.

The newspaper also named the Devils’ Jacques Lemaire as coach of the year and Bob Clarke, president and general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, its executive of the year.

Lemieux helped the Devils to their first Stanley Cup championship with a league-leading 13 post-season goals.

Devils defenseman Scott Stevens and goalie Martin Brodeur finished second and third respectively.


LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Magic Johnson welcomed moviegoers to a 12-screen theater Friday that bears his name and described his new business venture as better than basketball.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star’s Johnson Development Corp. and Sony Theatres joined forces to build the 3,700-seat Magic Johnson Theatre.

``It’s for you, first-run movies, rocking chair seats, all the foods you want, big, big spacious lobby,″ Johnson told hundreds of guests out front. ``So all you’ve got to do is walk through the door, respect each other, laugh, shout, have a good time inside and take care.″

City officials are hopeful that the project will spur revitalization in the Baldwin Hills area, which was hard-hit by the 1992 riots.

``I just never thought that, you know, I would have my name sitting up on a building, and that I could provide some jobs for people,″ Johnson said, ``and to see people waving and cheering and saying, `Thank you, Magic, for building this in the community.′ ... No matter what else happens in my life, this has been one of the best days and the greatest day ever, I mean more than basketball.″

Johnson, who retired from the Lakers in 1992 because he has the virus that causes AIDS, said he plans to team with Sony for other first-run movie theaters in minority communities in metropolitan areas.

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