YANKS SIGN PAIR: Unable to agree on contracts, the New York Yankees renewed the deals of shortstop Derek Jeter and reliever Mariano Rivera for $750,000 each.

Jeter, the 1996 AP Rookie of the Year, made $550,000 last season. Rivera, who replaced 1996 World Series MVP John Wetteland as the closer, also made $550,000.


STRANGE LEADER: Curtis Strange, who hasn't won on the PGA Tour since taking his second consecutive U.S. Open in 1989, captured some of his old magic Thursday and shot a 68 to share the first round lead of the Doral-Ryder Open with four others.

Battling allergies and just recently over Bell's palsy, which paralyzed the left side of his face for more than a month, Strange played several brilliant iron shots on the back nine before stumbling with consecutive bogeys to finish his round.


WHITAKER IN REHAB: Pernell Whitaker has entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center after reportedly testing positive for drugs last week.

The rehabilitation has forced the postponement of Whitaker's title fight against WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey in Las Vegas on April 25, Main Events, Whitaker's promoter said in a statement on Thursday.

Whitaker, 34, has won world titles six times since turning pro after winning a gold meal in the 1984 Olympics.


BILLS INK GASH: Sam Gash signed with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, providing the lead blocker they were seeking to open holes for Thurman Thomas and Antowain Smith.

Gash, whose blocking helped New England's Curtis Martin become one of the NFL's premier running backs, signed a three-year contract worth $3.3 million with the Bills, including a $750,000 signing bonus.