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Headlines from around the world in sports

BASEBALL

Dodgers’ Ramirez injures thumb; status uncertain

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez could be sidelined for more than two months or maybe just two weeks because of an injured left thumb.

“They’ve painted both pictures, and it’s a pretty big window,” Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said yesterday. “We’re guessing.”

Ramirez was hurt diving for a ball while playing third base Tuesday night in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. He helped the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico, 3-0.

Ramirez was set to have an MRI when he returns to the Dodgers’ camp yesterday. Mattingly said a mild sprain would likely leave the All-Star infielder out for a couple of weeks, but a major injury would make it much longer.

BASEBALL

Diamondbacks trade
SS McDonald to Pirates

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks traded shortstop John McDonald to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named and cash.

McDonald found himself the odd man out in a crowd at the position. Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist are expected to share the spot when the season begins, with top prospect Didi Gregorius waiting at Triple-A Reno.

The 38-year-old McDonald came to Arizona along with Aaron Hill in a trade that sent Kelly Johnson to Toronto in August of 2011. Known as a defensive specialist, McDonald played in 89 games for the Diamondbacks. He hit .230, seeing time at second base and third base as well as shortstop.

McDonald has spent parts of 14 seasons in the majors with Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto and Arizona.

NFL

Bears part ways with
veteran linebacker Urlacher

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bears are parting ways with veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher after 13 years.

General Manager Phil Emery said yesterday that the team couldn’t agree on a contract with Urlacher, for years the heart and face of the franchise. He is now a free agent after missing the last four games of the season with a hamstring injury.

The eight-time Pro Bowler started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was the AP’s defensive player of the year in 2005.

NFL

Giants’ Manning considers reworking contract for Cruz

NEW YORK – Quarterback Eli Manning said he’ll consider reworking his contract if it would help keep leading receiver Victor Cruz on the New York Giants.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP indicated the Giants haven’t asked him to redo his contract to open cap space. Manning, who spoke at a sponsor event in New York yesterday, said he’ll consider anything that helps the team.

The Giants recently allowed Cruz to enter restricted free agency, placing a first-round tender on him. However, New York has the right to match any offer he receives.

NFL

Owners tweak Rooney Rule

PHOENIX – The NFL is looking to make the Rooney Rule more effective after eight available coaching jobs and seven for general managers did not go to a minority candidate.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said yesterday at the owners meetings “we were disappointed in the results this year.” But the league will make some tweaks that Goodell hopes will “make sure we get the right candidates better training and we really are doing a better job of getting them in front of the people who are making the decisions.”

The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, was named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who steadfastly pushed the league to require every team to interview at least one minority candidate every time there is a coaching or general manager opening.

NFL

Pro Bowl returning to Hawaii week before Super Bowl

PHOENIX – The Pro Bowl will return to Honolulu next January and again will be played the week before the Super Bowl.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said yesterday at the owners meetings that the all-star game he once considered scrapping has been scheduled for Aloha Stadium on Jan. 26. He adds that Hawaii will be included “on some sort of rotational basis” in any future Pro Bowl scheduling.

Goodell says he was encouraged by the level of performance in this year’s game, won 62-35 by the NFC.

NHL

Selleck suspended two games for fight during debut

NEW YORK – Florida Panthers rookie Eric Selleck was suspended yesterday for two games without pay for instigating a fight late in his NHL debut against Carolina.

Selleck came off the bench to fight Carolina forward Kevin Westgarth with 2:58 left in the Panthers’ 4-1 win Tuesday night.

That triggered an automatic one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the last five minutes. The second game was added for leaving the bench during a legal line change.

GOLF/SKIING

Woods went public with
Vonn to devalue photos

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods said he went public with his relationship with Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn to devalue any photos of sports’ latest power couple.

The star athletes simultaneously posted messages on their Facebook pages saying they are dating. Woods included four studio photos of himself and Vonn.

He said being chased by photographers can be dangerous to his two children. He also said yesterday at Bay Hill that by publishing his own pictures of his new girlfriend, the paparazzi would not be able to make as much money on whatever photos they get. Woods referred to them as “stalkarazzi.”

It’s the first confirmation from Woods of a relationship since his wife divorced him in 2010.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Butler, Creighton, Xavier
join new Big East

NEW YORK – Butler, Creighton and Xavier are moving to the new Big East.

They will join the so-called Catholic 7 basketball schools who left to start a new conference and are keeping the Big East name. The league also announced yesterday its completed broadcasting deal with Fox.

Butler and Xavier are leaving the Atlantic 10. Creighton departs the Missouri Valley Conference.

They join Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

New 10-year contract
for New Mexico’s Alford

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico basketball Coach Steve Alford agreed to a new 10-year contract that could bring him up to $2 million per season including base salary, bonuses and incentives. The new contract will take Alford through the 2022-23 season.

UNM Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs announced the deal yesterday prior to the team’s practice at the NCAA tournament in Salt Lake City, where they play Harvard today.

TENNIS

Hewitt advances in Sony

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Three-time Grand Slam winner Lleyton Hewitt advanced to the second round of the Sony Open, beating Joao Sousa of Portugal, 6-1, 7-6 (3), yesterday.

Hewitt, the 32-year-old Australian who once topped the world rankings, made his first start in the event since 2009. The wild-card entry is 91st in the world. He has been injured much of the past three years, undergoing hip surgery and operations on his left foot.

Xavier Malisse of Belgium beat American qualifier Rajeev Ram, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

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