Sports

Leading Off

Owner of record HR ball ready to cash in

Matt Murphy can't wait until his cell phone bill returns to normal. His phone hasn't stopped ringing since the 21-year-old Queens native caught Barry Bonds' record-setting 756th home run ball on Aug. 7 in San Francisco. "I deal with it," Murphy said. "I'm not a quiet person, but I don't like to be the center of attention all the time. Every once in a while, it's OK. But I don't like to be 'that guy.' " Murphy posed for photographers Wednesday next to his glass-encased baseball and No. 755 at Sotheby's, which is working with SCP Auctions on the sale. After Sept. 15, things should calm down -- that's when the online auction ends. By then, Murphy could be about $500,000 richer.

A-Rod feeling A-OK

Alex Rodriguez tested his sore right ankle with a few jogs in right field about an hour before game time, then ran toward the dugout, up a runway and into the New York Yankees' clubhouse. "I've got to talk to the manager," he said, never stopping as he went through the door. A few minutes earlier, Joe Torre had said his limping slugger likely would be limited to pinch-hitting duty Wednesday. But A-Rod talked his way back into the starting lineup against the Seattle Mariners as the designated hitter after being sent downtown for an MRI exam. Then he put on quite a show. Rodriguez homered twice in an eight-run seventh, becoming the first Yankees player to connect two times in one inning since Cliff Johnson on June 30, 1977, at Toronto. Rodriguez has 48 home runs this year and 512 in his career, tying Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 17th place. His first homer came less than a minute after the Yankees announced the MRI exam revealed a sprain and a bruise. A-Rod was injured in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 12-3 victory when he slid into Adrian Beltre and the third baseman toppled onto his right leg, rolling A-Rod's ankle.

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