KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) _ Recovering from elbow injuries and managing a spotty spring performance, Astros relief pitcher Joe Sambito says he isn't ready to retire.

But the 32-year-old lefthander must decide by midnight tonight whether to join the National League team's Class AAA affiliate in Tucson or be released from his contract.

''I haven't decided,'' Sambito said in a Houston Post article published Sunday. ''It's a big decision and I'm not going to rush it.''

Sambito was a member of the league's 1979 All-Star team, but a series of elbow operations in 1982 and 1983 left him out of the 1983 season. He returned last season but was used only sparingly in relief situations.

And this spring, he pitched 14 1-3 innings, allowed 25 hits, 12 earned runs and walked six and struck out five.

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BOSTON (AP) - Middleweight boxing champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler reportedly is considering a step from the canvas of the ring to the boards of Hollywood film studios.

''At least it gives me another direction from being a fighter,'' Hagler was quoted as saying in a Boston Globe story today from Las Vegas.

''Hollywood is the same thing as boxing. It's got the same type of competitors but a whole different atmosphere,'' he said.

Hagler, in training to defend his title against Thomas Hearns one week from today, is scheduled to appear tonight as a guest with hostess Joan Rivers on ''The Tonight Show.''

He took a step toward an acting career last fall when he met with Marty Klein, president of the New York-based Agency for Performing Artists, whose clients include Sam Waterston, Vanessa Redgrave and Mary Tyler Moore.

''I found him bright and intelligent, and he seemed to know pretty much what he wants to do,'' said Klein, who agreed to represent the boxer from Brockton, Mass.

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Herb Brooks, former Minnesota Gopher hockey coach and former coach of the U.S. Olympic hockey team and the New York Rangers, says he's interested in talking with University of Minnesota Men's Athletic Director Paul Giel about the Gopher coaching vacancy.

And Brad Buetow, the Gopher coach whose contract was not renewed, said Sunday that Brooks would be his choice as his successor.

''I'd recommend Herb Brooks. I'd like to see Herbie get the job because he's the best man for it,'' Buetow said.

''I'm intrigued by Giel's job description of the coaching job,'' Brooks said Saturday. ''Paul is a very aggressive salesman. I spent seven enjoyable years working for him and I want to talk to him some more before I decide if I'm a viable candidate for the job.''

Brooks, also considered a leading candidate to become coach of the Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League next season, said he'd decide before the end of this week whether he's a serious candidate for the Gophers.

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