Irabu joins Fighting Dogs
Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has reached an agreement to play for a team in a Japanese independent league. The 40-year-old Irabu will pitch for the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku-Kyushu Island League, team officials said on Saturday. Irabu signed with the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League in April and posted a 5-3 record with an ERA of 3.58. He made 10 starts with 65 innings pitched and struck out 66 batters while walking only 19. Irabu started his career with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League and joined the Yankees in 1997 on a US$12.8 million, four-year contract. After three seasons with the Yankees, Irabu played for the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers before returning to Japan to play for the Hanshin Tigers in 2003, helping the team win the Central League pennant. A year ago, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a bartender after drinking 20 mugs of beer at a bar in Osaka. Police said he admitted the assault.
‘Maco’ dies after bus crash
Panamanian super bantamweight Jose “Maco” Arboleda died from injuries suffered when the bus he took to training crashed over a cliff, media reported. Arboleda, who was 27, suffered stomach and lung injuries in the crash on Friday morning and died 22 hours later, the Panamanian newspaper El Siglo said on its Web site. He had a 23-4 record with nine knockouts and two draws.
Ballan wins Tour of Poland
Italy’s Alessandro Ballan, of the Lampre team, won the 66th edition of the Tour of Poland in Krakow on Saturday after the seventh and final stage. The 136km stage, from Rabka to Krakow, was won by Germany’s Andre Greipel of the Columbia squad. World champion Ballan wasn’t assured of victory before Saturday’s mountainous finale, having only an 11-second lead over closest rival Advald Boasson Hagen of Norway, who had won the two of the earlier stages of the race. But the Norwegian failed to make any impression on the peloton and Ballan could breathe easy with Daniel Moreno Fernandez of Spain eventually edging Boasson Hagen for second spot overall, 10 seconds behind. “The fifth stage leading out of Krynica was decisive. I won that and took the yellow jersey,” Ballan said. “It was my first victory since the world championships last year and it’s an important victory because I have had some health problems and a mediocre season.”
Dropout may play in Israel
The foreign odyssey of the basketball trailblazer Jeremy Tyler will probably begin in Israel. Tyler, a 211cm prospect from San Diego, is on the cusp of signing with Maccabi Haifa, which finished in second place in Israel’s top division last season. “We are very close,” said Sonny Vaccaro, an adviser to Tyler. “Everyone is in agreement. His agents need to formalize everything.” Tyler, 18, became the first player to drop out of high school to play basketball professionally outside the US. He had originally committed to Louisville, but instead took the road of Brandon Jennings, who played in Rome last season and became the No. 10 pick in the NBA draft. Tyler will play two seasons abroad before being eligible for the 2011 draft. He will team with the former Southern California forward Davon Jefferson, who starred for the team last season as it finished runner-up to the traditional power Maccabi Tel Aviv. “It’s a good situation,” Tyler said on Friday, “but I’m not sure at this point.”