Thu, Mar 18, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Sport Briefs

AGENCIES

■FOOTBALL

Packers sign Aussie

Looking for another potential solution to their recent punting problems, the Green Bay Packers have signed former Australian Rules footballer Chris Bryan. The 28-year-old Bryan played as a ruckman in the Australian Football League for Carlton in 2005 and 2006 and for Collingwood from 2007 until he was de-listed last year. The left-foot punter will wear No. 9 for Green Bay. The Packers have been struggling to find a consistent punter for several seasons. They didn’t make a qualifying offer to last year’s punter, Jeremy Kapinos, and signed former University of Kentucky punter Tim Masthay to a reserve/future contract in January.

■BASEBALL

Knoblauch beat partner

Former major league baseballer Chuck Knoblauch has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault on his common-law wife. Court records show that Knoblauch entered his plea on Tuesday in exchange for deferred-adjudication probation. Successful completion of his one-year probation could mean the conviction on the assault of a family member would be expunged from the record. Knoblauch was fined US$1,000. His attorney didn’t return a telephone call on Tuesday. Knoblauch’s wife said in a criminal complaint that he hit her in the face and choked her at their Houston home in September. The 41-year-old played for the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals from 1991 to 2002. In 12 seasons, the four-time All-Star batted .289 with 98 home runs and 615 RBI.

■GOLF

Zhang returning to action

China’s Zhang Na, once one of the country’s top earning sportswomen, returns to action at the Ladies Indonesian Open in Bali this week after spending much of the last year sidelined with a back injury. Zhang won four times in her first year on the Japanese LPGA Tour in 2007, taking home nearly US$1 million and looking set to make a breakthrough for her country in women’s golf before the back injury laid her low. “My back does not hurt, I’m able to hit well and stretch my swing to the limit, so I’m fine physically but I need to be a little more confident as I’ve been laid off for about a year,” the 28-year-old said in a Ladies Asian Golf Tour release. Zhang said she intended to go to qualifying school for the Japanese tour this year.

■GOLF

Star’s sister to make debut

Ryo Ishikawa’s 13-year-old sister, Yoko, will make her Japan LPGA Tour debut at this week’s T-Point Ladies tournament. Just a year out of elementary school, Ishikawa has accepted an invitation to play at the ¥70 million (US$773,450) event in Kagoshima, southern Japan, organizers said yesterday. Ishikawa quickly declared she wanted to follow in her multimillionaire brother’s footsteps and turn professional after some initial butterflies over entering the field. “I didn’t know whether to accept [the invitation],” she told Japanese media. “I was so nervous about whether it was okay for me to play. My target will just be to avoid making a lot of bogeys. I will concentrate on my driving. I don’t want to shoot an 80. I’ve begun to really feel I want to turn pro.” Ryo, who in 2007 became the youngest player to win on the Japanese men’s tour as a 15-year-old, offered some advice to help soothe his sister’s nerves. “Dad used to tell me just to let rip with the driver when I was young and that it was too early to worry about my score,” the 18-year-old told Nikkan Sports.“He’ll be saying the same thing to Yoko. According to our mum, dad is pretty soft on her.”

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