Jeff Roberson, Associated Press
Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins was voted the National League Most Valuable Player Tuesday
Rollins claims close MVP vote

NEW YORK — Back in January, when Jimmy Rollins was making bold predictions, he left one out. Not only were his Phillies the team to beat in the NL East, he was headed for an MVP season.

Rollins won the National League MVP award Tuesday, edging Matt Holliday in a close race after propelling Philadelphia to its first playoff berth in 14 years with his speed and steady all-around play.

"It never crossed my mind that I would go out there and win an MVP," Rollins said on a conference call from California.

The Gold Glove shortstop received 16 of 32 first-place votes and finished with 353 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Holliday, the left fielder who led Colorado's surprising charge to the World Series, got 11 first-place votes and 336 points. Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder came in third, with five first-place votes and 284 points.

It was the closest election for NL MVP since Atlanta third baseman Terry Pendleton beat out Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds by 15 points in 1991.

Rollins batted .296 with 30 homers, 94 RBIs and 41 steals from the leadoff spot.


U.S. FALLS TO SPAIN: Israel Rodriguez had 19 kills Tuesday as Spain rallied from a set down to beat the United States at the volleyball Men's World Cup in Japan.

The top three teams in the tournament will qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Clayton Stanley recorded 14 kills for the U.S. (1-2), which won the opening set 25-21 before dropping the next three sets 20-25, 25-27, 20-25.

"We started a little better but had trouble sustaining our level," said U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon. Guillermo Falasca added 18 points for Spain, which improved to 1-2 in the first round.


TYSON REPORTS: Mike Tyson reported to jail in Phoenix Tuesday, an open-air facility near a dog pound and trash dump where he'll serve a one-day sentence for a DUI conviction.

The 41-year-old boxer pleaded guilty Sept. 24 to one count of felony cocaine possession and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence.


WRECK KILLS SIX: A van driven by former University of Alabama football star Siran Stacy was struck by a pickup at an intersection in Dothan, Ala., and six people were killed, including Stacy's wife and four of his children, state troopers said Tuesday.

The driver of the second vehicle also was killed, said Dorris Teague, a spokeswoman for the state troopers.

Stacy, 39, a star running back for Alabama during 1989-91, was listed in stable condition in surgical intensive care at Flowers Hospital in Dothan.


KLITSCHKO FIGHT SET: IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko and WBO titleholder Sultan Ibragimov will fight Feb. 23 in Madison Square Garden to unify two of the four heavyweight world titles.

Regarded by many as the best of the current heavyweights, Klitschko (49-3, 44 knockouts) tops the independent IBO rankings. Ibragimov (22-0-1, 17 knockouts) pounded out an unanimous decision against Evander Holyfield last month.


RODDICK TO LEAD U.S.: Andy Roddick will lead the United States against defending champion Russia in the Davis Cup final.

The sixth-ranked Roddick, who has never won a Davis Cup title, was selected along with No. 13 James Blake and the top-ranked doubles pair of Bob and Mike Bryan.