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Headlines from around the world in sports

Gymnast Douglas wins female athlete of the Year honors

Teenager Gabby Douglas was selected as the Associated Press’ female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced yesterday. Douglas became the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title, gymnastics’ biggest prize.

In a year filled with standout performances by female athletes, those of the pint-sized gymnast shined brightest. Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31, received 48 of 157 votes, seven more than Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze in London. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open two years after her career was nearly derailed by a series of health problems, was third (24).

Britney Griner, who led Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title, and skier Lindsey Vonn each got 18 votes. Sprinter Allyson Felix, who won three gold medals in London, and Carli Lloyd, who scored both U.S. goals in the Americans’ 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold-medal game, also received votes.

NHL

Amid lockout, players vote toward dissolving union

TORONTO – NHL players are a step closer to dissolving their union.

The Canadian Press says NHL Players’ Association members voted this week to give the union’s executive board the power to file a “disclaimer of interest” until Jan. 2.

The news agency, citing an unidentified source, said the vote drew more than the two-thirds of support needed. The union declined comment, saying it’s an internal matter.

If the executive board files the disclaimer, the union will dissolve and become a trade association. That would allow players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL.

Negotiations between the league and union have been at a standstill since talks ended Dec. 6. The NHLPA now appears set to follow the lead set by NFL and NBA players. Both dissolved their unions during lockouts last year.

NFL

Bears’ Urlacher to miss
third straight game tomorrow

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Linebacker Brian Urlacher will miss his third straight game because of a hamstring injury when the Chicago Bears visit the Arizona Cardinals tomorrow.

The eight-time Pro Bowl pick was officially ruled out yesterday. He has not played since Dec. 2.

NFL

Kaeding signs with Miami; Carpenter placed on IR

DAVIE, Fla. – Former Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding signed with the Miami Dolphins, who placed kicker Dan Carpenter on injured reserve because of a right groin injury.

Kaeding joined the Dolphins yesterday. Carpenter, who went 22-for-27 on field-goal tries this season, first appeared on the injury report Thursday.

NFL

Governor: State of New York, Bills reach stadium deal

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Buffalo Bills reached an agreement with Erie County and the state on a lease deal for the Ralph Wilson Stadium that will keep the NFL franchise in western New York.

Cuomo told a packed news conference at the team’s headquarters in Orchard Park that the lease keeps the Bills in Orchard Park at least through the first seven years of the 10-year pact.

The agreement includes $130 million in renovations for the nearly 40-year-old stadium, with the Bills providing $35 million and the state and county covering the other $95 million.

BASEBALL

Source: Pierzynski set for one-year deal with Texas

A person familiar with the situation said catcher A.J. Pierzynski passed a physical, clearing the way for a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

That person spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday because the Rangers had not added Pierzynski to their 40-man roster. With the Major League Baseball office closed for Christmas, the deal won’t become official until at least next week.

The deal comes after the Rangers lost catcher Mike Napoli in free agency.

Pierzynski, who turns 36 later this month, hit .278 with a career-high 27 homers and 77 RBI, matching a career best, in 135 games for the Chicago White Sox last season.

BASEBALL

Twins sign Harden to
minor-league contract

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins signed injury-hampered right-hander Rich Harden to a minor-league contract with an invitation to compete for a spot on the staff in spring training.

The move was made yesterday. The 31-year-old Harden missed the entire 2012 season after surgery on Jan. 31 to repair the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.

BASEBALL

Cubs agree to one-year
contract with Schierholtz

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs said they have agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

The team announced the agreement yesterday. The deal calls for Schierholtz to earn $2.25 million plus an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses.

Schierholtz was traded from San Francisco to Philadelphia last season in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants at the July 31 non-waiver deadline. He batted .257 with six homers in 114 games.

The Phillies declined to tender Schierholtz a 2013 contract offer, making him a free agent.

BASEBALL

Brewers sign LHP Gorzelanny

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers signed left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny to a two-year contract yesterday.

The 30-year-old Gorzelanny went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA and one save in 45 games with Washington last season, a stint that included one start. He posted a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched out of the bullpen following the All-Star break.

Gorzelanny worked at least two innings in 19 of his 44 relief appearances last season, his first as a full-time reliever.

Overall, Gorzelanny is 44-45 with a 4.41 ERA and two saves in 193 games (111 starts) during eight seasons with Pittsburgh, the Cubs and Washington.

TENNIS

Referee reinstated
after murder case dropped

LOS ANGELES – A tennis referee whose career was almost ended by a charge that she murdered her husband with a coffee cup has been reinstated after the charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Lois Goodman’s attorneys said yesterday in Los Angeles that the U.S. Tennis Association approved her to resume judging matches in 2013. The organization confirmed her reinstatement.

She was suspended after her arrest last August while preparing to work as a line judge at the U.S. Open in New York.

Prosecutors dropped the murder case Nov. 30, saying they had received additional information and were unable to proceed because of insufficient evidence.

ALPINE SKIING

Schild out three months
after knee surgery

INNSBRUCK, Austria – Marlies Schild of Austria will be out three months following knee surgery and won’t be able to defend her world slalom title in her home country in February.

The Austrian ski federation said Schild had surgery yesterday in Innsbruck for a torn collateral ligament in her right knee. Schild was hurt Thursday during training at the World Cup slalom in Are, Sweden.

The world championships are Feb. 5-17 in Schladming.

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