- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014


NEW YORK (AP) - Several angry major league players wanted Alex Rodriguez kicked out of their union after he sued it last week, but staff lawyers told them expulsion was not allowed.

The players spoke Jan. 13 during a Major League Baseball Players Association conference call after Rodriguez sued the union and Major League Baseball to overturn an arbitrator’s decision suspending him for the 2014 season and postseason.

Details were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports and later confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the call. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

The union and Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz declined to comment on Tuesday.

NEW YORK (AP) - Entering a big league ballpark will be a bit like going through an airport by 2015.

Major League Baseball told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by then, either with handheld metal detection or walk-through magnetometers.

The Seattle Mariners announced that fans entering Safeco Field will have to walk through metal detectors starting with this year’s opener.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Outfielder Bobby Abreu signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and will be invited to spring training.

The 39-year-old Abreu was a two-time All-Star with the Phillies in 2004-05. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 2006 and didn’t play in the majors last year.



NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is suggesting potential changes in the extra point, saying that the play is too automatic with a success rate of nearly 100 percent.

Since few teams attempt 2-point conversion plays until desperation hits late in games, Goodell is wondering if the league can add excitement by making some major adjustments to the extra point, suggesting perhaps making a touchdown worth seven points instead of six, with teams having the option to run a play for another point.

But failing on that play would cost them a point.

HONOLULU (AP) - NFL great Jerry Rice picked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn as the anchors of his Pro Bowl team.

Rice made the selections after winning a coin toss against Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

The decision left Sanders with Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions hired Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator.

The grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi has been an offensive assistant for New Orleans since 2007.

NEW YORK (AP) - Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron tweeted his support for Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman, who has received criticism for his rant against San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree following Seattle’s victory over the 49ers in Sunday’s NFC championship game.

Aaron told Sherman to “hang in there & keep playing as well as you did Sunday. Excellent job - you have my support.”

Sherman thanked Aaron in a tweet, saying “your support is greatly appreciated and very humbling.”

ATLANTA (AP) - Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez was named to his 14th and final Pro Bowl as a replacement for San Francisco’s Vernon Davis.

The Falcons had a disappointing 4-12 finish after the 37-year-old Gonzalez postponed his retirement for one year. He trails only Jerry Rice in career catches and ranks fifth in yards receiving and sixth in touchdown catches.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Arizona Cardinals front-office executive Jason Licht to help coach Lovie Smith transform a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in more than a decade into a championship contender.

The struggling franchise plans to formally introduce Licht as the fifth GM in club history at a news conference Thursday.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the funding plan for a new Vikings football stadium, eliminating a legal obstacle that threatened a last-minute derailment of the project.



SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Russian security officials are hunting three potential female suicide bombers, one of whom is believed to be in Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will begin next month.

Police leaflets seen by an Associated Press reporter at a central Sochi hotel contain warnings about three potential suicide bombers. A police letter said that one of them, Ruzanna Ibragimova, a 22-year-old widow of an Islamic militant, was at large in Sochi.


Shaun White is heading to the Winter X Games after all.

The two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist informed ESPN that he plans to compete in Aspen, Colo., this weekend. White initially said he was skipping the annual event to rest for next month’s Sochi Olympics.


Freestyle skier Emily Cook is going to her third Olympics after landing a spot on the U.S. team on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old aerialist finished 19th at the 2010 Games and 11th in 2006. She also was nominated to the 2002 team but missed because of an injury. She was given a spot on this year’s freestyle team after the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association went through dozens of calculations and possibilities.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - Olympic speedskater Tucker Fredricks has asked his family not to attend the Sochi Winter Games in Russia next month so he can concentrate on skating and not worry about their safety.

The athlete from Janesville will be competing in his third and last Olympics after finishing 12th in the 2010 Vancouver Games. His father, Dan Fredricks, told The Janesville Gazette that his son is worried about the family’s security.



MELBOURNE, Australia - Rafael Nadal bucked the trend of top players bowing out of the Australian Open on Wednesday, beating Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2 to advance to the men’s semifinals one match after defending champion Victoria Azarenka’s 18-match winning streak at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament ended in a 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to Agnieszka Radwanska.

Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic lost in five sets to Stan Wawrinka in a quarterfinal the previous night.

Azarenka’s defeat followed the fourth-round exits of top-ranked Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and leaves 2011 French Open champion Li Na as the only major winner remaining in the women’s draw.

Radwanska next plays No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, who won the last eight games in a one-hour, 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal rout of No. 11-seeded Simona Halep.

Li, a two-time finalist in Australia, will play 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the other semifinal.



SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame is ending its 17-year relationship with Adidas and switching to Under Armor with a 10-year deal it calls the biggest of its kind in the history of college athletics.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the school will begin wearing Under Armour apparel for 2014-15. He did not disclose terms.



DETROIT (AP) - Correctly predicting the outcome of every game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is no layup. There’s now a $1 billion prize waiting for anyone able to pull off the feat this spring.

Quicken Loans Inc. announced that it will team with investor Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway on the “Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.”

The Detroit-based mortgage lender says any qualified entrant who correctly predicts the winners of every game in the tournament will be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million. A winner also can elect to receive an immediate $500 million lump-sum payment or share in that payment if there’s more than one perfect bracket submitted.

It’s a safe investment by Buffett’s group. ESPN has run a tournament challenge for the past 16 years and has never had a perfect bracket in over 30 million entries, including by President Barack Obama, according to the network.



MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade missed his third consecutive game when the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics.

It is his longest absence of a season in which the team has been particularly cautious about overworking his knees.

It’s the 12th time Wade has been held out in 42 games overall. The Heat are 24-6 when he plays and are 6-6 when he is not in the lineup.

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