Oakland A's sack manager
The Oakland Athletics sacked manager Ken Macha on Monday, just two days after the team was swept aside 4-0 in the American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers. Macha led the Athletics to the AL West title with a 93-69 record followed by a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in the AL division series. But the 56-year-old will still join Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Florida Marlins' Joe Girardi, San Francisco's Felipe Alou, Washington Nationals' Frank Robinson and Texas Rangers' Buck Showalter on the baseball unemployment line. A former player for the Montreal Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays, Macha posted a record of 368-280 in four seasons at Oakland.
Ashes arrive in Australia
The Ashes arrived in Australia for only the second time yesterday just over a month before the hosts resume battle with England to regain the fabled urn. The 10cm-high artifact was sealed in a protective case and had its own seat in business class as it arrived in Sydney for a three-month tour before returning to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in January. The urn, reclaimed by England after an 18-year spell of Australian domination last year, will be the centerpiece of the Ashes Exhibition opening in Sydney on Saturday before traveling to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Hobart. A welcoming party that included former Australian captains Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Mark Taylor were on hand to see the case descend to the tarmac at Sydney's international airport.
Malkin to make debut
Evgeni Malkin, a 20-year-old star Russian center who left his homeland to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins, will make his National Hockey League debut in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the club announced. Malkin will return from a dislocated left shoulder to face the New Jersey Devils. He resumed training last week and because no surgery was needed has been cleared by the team's medical staff. The 2006 Russian Olympian deserted Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the Russian League during the off-season in order to play in the NHL, ditching a club for which he produced 36 goals and 55 assists in 132 games the past three seasons. Malkin was selected second in the 2004 NHL Draft but suffered the shoulder injury in his first exhibition game on September 20 against Philadelphia after colliding with teammate John LeClair and landing awkwardly on the ice.
■ Rugby union
Tawake sacrifices finger
Fijian-born rugby player Jone Tawake has had a finger amputated in the hope of ensuring his fitness for next year's World Cup in France. The 24-year-old ACT Brumbies No. 8, capped by Australia at under-19 and under-21 level, had the ring finger on his right hand removed in an operation in Canberra last week, media reported yesterday. Previous attempts to repair a dislocation had resulted in a severe infection. "It was a big decision," said Tawake, a former Waratahs forward weighing 118kg and standing 1.87m. "I thought about my rugby future, especially with my history of injuries, and I couldn't afford to have any more time off. With the World Cup next year, I wanted to give myself every chance and to do that I needed a good pre-season," he said. Tawake is on the fringes of Wallaby team selection.