Dodgers sign Hiroki Kuroda
Fulfilling one of their major offseason goals, the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to terms with Japanese free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda on a three-year, US$35.2 million contract. Kuroda, who turns 33 in February, passed a physical examination on Saturday and was to be introduced yesterday at a Dodger Stadium news conference. "Kuroda was arguably the best starting pitcher on the free-agent market and will be a great addition to our staff," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "There was a lot of competition for a pitcher of his ilk, and we're thrilled that he's chosen to become a Dodger and to make Los Angeles his home."
Williams escapes uninjured
Atlanta Hawks forward Shelden Williams escaped without injury when he was carjacked at gunpoint before his NBA game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday. Two suspects were arrested with his car hours later. Douglasville City Police said two suspects were arrested at Arbor Place Mall in Douglas County, near Atlanta, Georgia. The suspects were in Williams' car and were attempting a robbery, according to an officer who answered the phone at the Douglasville Police Department. The officer, who declined to give her name, said one suspect was taken to a hospital after suffering dog bites from the police canine unit during the arrest. Fulton County Police spokesman Gary Syblis said Williams was approached by two men outside a barber shop. One man pulled out a gun and demanded Williams' keys to his 2008 Chrysler, Syblis said.
49ers beat Bengals 20-13
Shaun Hill passed for 197 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in his first NFL start, and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-13 on Saturday for just their second victory in 12 games. Frank Gore rushed for a season-high 138 yards, and Darrell Jackson had a season-high eight catches for 86 yards in a surprisingly effective San Francisco offense led by Hill, a six-year veteran backup who threw his first NFL passes only last week after Trent Dilfer got a concussion. With Alex Smith also sidelined, Hill was the only quarterback left in San Francisco -- and he improbably sparked the 49ers' league-worst offense to the club's first home victory since opening week in September. Hill went 21-of-28, hitting Vernon Davis with a precise touchdown pass 9 seconds before halftime and generally running the show with confidence.
Jenkins wins doping appeal
US sprinter LaTasha Jenkins has successfully won her appeal of a doping charge after a pair of slip-ups by two different European testing labs. In July 2006, Jenkins, who is believed to be the first to win an appeal against the US Anti-Doping Agency, tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. A three-member arbitration panel ruled in her favor after she complained that labs in Belgium and Germany did not follow proper World Anti-Doping Agency procedures during the handling of her samples, the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday. The panel ruled that both labs erred by not using two different technicians to the run the tests. Jenkins, 29, was awarded the bronze medal in the 200 meters at the 2001 World Championships when her US teammate and third-place finisher Kelli White was disqualified after revealing she used performance-enhancing drugs.
Torch to light up N Korea
The Olympic torch will pass through the capital of North Korea on its way to Beijing for next year's Summer Games. North Korea and China signed a formal agreement in Pyongyang on Saturday to allow the torch to pass through the city on April 28, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a report late on Saturday. Games organizers have planned a 137,000km torch relay route around the world, including a trip to the top of Mount Everest and visits to 20 cities on five continents. China is the closest thing North Korea has to a major ally.
Wilson leads in South Africa
Oliver Wilson shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the South African Open. Wilson was at 4-under 212 going into the final round, with halfway leader James Kingston in second place. Garth Mulroy was alone in third, two shots back. Mulroy had the best round of the day with eight birdies for a 64 on the windy 7,394-yard Pearl Valley Golf Estates, to make up for an opening-round 80. Defending champion Ernie Els equaled his opening-round score of 77, after he had hauled himself back into contention with a 70 on Friday. Els had three bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine, leaving him in 44th place.
Fighter found dead in cell
Ryan Gracie, a troubled member of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu dynasty, was found dead in a Sao Paulo prison cell on Saturday, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of theft, Brazilian officials said. The 33-year-old Gracie, who has competed in several international ultimate fighting events, was arrested on Friday after allegedly stealing a car at knifepoint, crashing it into a concrete wall and then trying to steal a motorcycle, police inspector Paulo Bittencourt told reporters. Gracie was a grandson of Carlos Gracie, one the creators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. More than 40 sons and grandsons of Carlos Gracie and his brother Helio have practiced the sport, helping popularize it around the world. Bittencourt said that during the jail's morning roll call, Gracie did not respond. "When I went to his cell, I saw him lying on his mattress," Bittencourt said. "He had no pulse and a reddish liquid was coming out of his mouth." The Agencia Estado news service quoted Gracie's physician Sabino Ferreira de Farias as saying that at the time of his arrest, the fighter was under the effect of antidepressant and anti-psychotic drugs.
■ RUGBY LEAGUE
Former star wins damages
A former Aboriginal star and five friends have been awarded thousands of dollars in damages after they were refused entry to a pub because it barred blacks, media reported. Former Newcastle Knights player Brett Grogan was barred from the Sydney Junction Hotel in Newcastle, north of Australia's biggest city, with a security doorman telling them "your kind aren't allowed in," the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. Grogan, 34, now an Aboriginal liaison officer for the state police, said the incident in May 2004 was the worst case of racism he had faced. A government administrative tribunal awarded Grogan and five others, including two women, a total of A$15,000 (US$13,150) after hearing the doorman was ordered by a night manager to enforce an NCP, or "No Coons Policy.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are planning to play a charity golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday. CNBC, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said that the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The negotiations are still being finalized, but the match pitting 15-time major champion Woods and Manning against five-time major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, CNBC said. “Discussions