Warriors exercise option to keep Nellie
The Golden State Warriors exercised the option Tuesday to keep coach Don Nelson under contract for the 2008-09 season. The two sides reworked Nelson's deal last September, giving the coach a raise in exchange for turning the third year of his contract into a team option. The Warriors (39-23) have put together one of their best seasons in years, and the team decided to guarantee Nelson a reported $5.1 million for next season. Golden State began the day in eighth place in the tough Western Conference, 2½ games ahead of Denver for the final playoff spot. Nelson, 67, is the second-winningest coach in NBA history with 1,271 wins, trailing only Lenny Wilkens (1,332) on the all-time list. During his second stint with Golden State, he has guided the Warriors to a combined 81-63 regular season record. He helped the team end a 12-season playoff drought last year when the Warriors became the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series. After the upset against Dallas, Golden State lost a five-game series in the second round to Utah.
Stanislaus' Loretelli honored by CCAA
Cal State Stanislaus outfielder Kyle Loretelli was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Baseball Player of the Week on Tuesday. The former Beyer High and Modesto Junior College player batted .500 in four games, and also was walked five times. He hit three home runs to help the Warriors win three of four games against Chico State and move up from 23rd to 16th in the Division II poll.
Red Sox might head to Japan minus ace
Time is running out on Red Sox ace Josh Beckett's slim chance of traveling to Japan to pitch in Boston's first two regular-season games. Beckett, who led the majors with 20 wins last season, has yet to pitch in a regular exhibition game, and his back injury might keep him from doing that. The Red Sox have two exhibition games against Japanese teams before facing the A's in games that count March 25 and 26. Beckett hasn't been able to stretch since he felt back spasms while throwing his first warmup pitch before Saturday's game against Florida. The right-hander threw a total of six warmup pitches and left before the game started. "I don't think we know (for sure) yet" whether Beckett will pitch in Japan, ESPN.com quoted manager Terry Francona as saying. "But we're certainly not going to rush him back to pitch a game March 24 if he's not ready. And I think if you look at it with common sense, he's not going to pitch over there."