Yanks drop six-man rotation
The New York Yankees have decided six pitchers in their starting rotation is one too many, manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday. “We feel we need to get it down to a five-man rotation and go with it,” Girardi told Major League Baseball’s Web site. The decision could leave either A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes in a reduced role. There is only one spot open in a five-man rotation because the previous odd-man out, Ivan Nova, apparently has pitched well enough recently to earn a starting spot with C.C. Sabathia, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.
Former Mexico player killed
Authorities say former Mexico defender Ignacio Flores Ocaranza was killed in a late-night roadside attack that left his van riddled with bullets. The attorney general’s office for the state of Morelos said Flores was killed at a gas station late on Wednesday, and two of his brothers were wounded, apparently with rounds from an assault rifle. The motive is unknown. The office said in a statement on Thursday that the member of Mexico’s 1978 World Cup team was visiting his aging mother in the city of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City. Flores played for Cruz Azul in the 1970s and 1980s and won five Mexican titles.
Players told to act proper
With the English Premier League season starting against the backdrop of civil disorder in England, soccer authorities are urging players to set a better example to youngsters. A crackdown on bad behavior on the pitch was launched on Thursday, including an attempt to eradicate unacceptable criticism and abuse of referees by players and managers. English Football Association chairman David Bernstein said the “Get on with the Game” initiative is “even more important in the light of what is happening in wider society.”
Voeckler to go against horse
French Tour de France hero Thomas Voeckler is set to pit his cycling skills against horse and jockey at a race course in Sables d’Olonne, France, next week, it was announced on Thursday. Voeckler, who rides for Europcar, had the hosts of the world’s premier cycling event dreaming of the first home winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985, when he spent 10 days in the yellow jersey last month. In the end the former French champion finished a commendable fourth overall, and nearly three weeks later he is still riding a wave of popular support that will see him take on top French jockey Eric Raffin on Wednesday. Such challenges between horses and cyclists are not uncommon, although Voeckler will have the benefit of racing on an asphalt track which has been built parallel to the grass at the race course.
Blood tests for all at worlds
Every athlete at the upcoming track and field world championships is to undergo a blood test in what the sport’s governing body says is an “unprecedented anti-doping program.” The IAAF said samples would be collected at a doping control station at the athletes’ village beginning on Thursday and analyzed at an onsite doping laboratory and again in Lausanne, Switzerland, after the championships. It is the first time “a heterogeneous population of nearly 2,000 elite athletes competing in a major sports event will be blood tested under the same optimal conditions, within the same time period,” the IAAF said.