2012 Olympics may be out
MLB commissioner Bud Selig wasn’t optimistic about major leaguers participating in the Olympics, casting the sport’s bid to return to the games in doubt. MLB owners were briefed by Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation, at a meeting on Thursday. Baseball will not be a part of the 2012 Olympics in London but was hoping to be back in 2016. The International Olympic Committee wants MLB players available for the games. Selig said MLB would be “flexible.” “We want to do everything to help, and Harvey knows that,” Selig said. “But this is not rocket science. You can’t stop a season in August and tell your fans, ‘We’ll see you in two-and-a-half or three weeks.’ That would not play well. Look, you’d then be playing [Major League] baseball almost to Dec. 1. So it’s just pragmatism takes over.”
Barrera to fight Amir Khan
Former multiple world champion Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico will fight British lightweight Amir Khan on March 14. The 34-year-old Barrera, who returned from a short-lived retirement in November by knocking out Sammy Ventura in his first lightweight bout, will be the biggest name opponent so far of Khan’s 20-fight career. The 22-year-old Khan, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, rebounded from a first-round loss in September to win the WBA international lightweight title last month.
Gebrselassie wins in Dubai
Haile Gebrselassie has won the Dubai Marathon, but fell short of breaking his own world record on the flat and fast course. The 35-year-old Ethiopian finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 29 seconds Friday, well ahead of countryman Deressa Chimsa who came in second. Bezunesh Bekele Sertsu of Ethiopia was the women’s winner in 2:24:01. The race had offered a US$1 million bonus for breaking the world record of 2:03:59 set by Gebrselassie in Berlin in September.
Red Sox, Youkilis make deal
The Boston Red Sox and infielder Kevin Youkilis agreed to a four-year contract on Thursday, a Major League Baseball official said. The deal would reportedly guarantee Youkilis about US$41 million, with a $13 million club option for 2013 or a US$1 million buyout. The deal buys out Youkilis’ last two years of arbitration eligibility and delays his chance to become a free agent by at least two years. Youkilis had filed for arbitration earlier Thursday, a formality that would be negated if he passes a physical and the long-term deal was finalized. Youkilis finished third in American League MVP voting last season.
Dodgers release Jones
Andruw Jones, a US$36.2 million bust with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was released by the team on Thursday. Heralded as the answer to the Dodgers’ power-hitting void when he signed his rich two-year contract in December 2007, Jones was injured part of last season and was mostly ineffective otherwise, hitting only .158 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 75 games. The 31-year-old center fielder reported to spring training overweight, then was booed roundly by fans as he struggled at the plate during the season. He had knee surgery in May and finished the season on the bench as the Dodgers won the National League West and beat the Chicago Cubs in the NL divisional series before losing to Philadelphia in the NL Championship Series.