Pudge Rodriguez to retire
Fourteen-time All-Star Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who caught in more games than any other MLB player, will retire on Monday, the Texas Rangers said on Thursday. Rodriguez, 40, has scheduled a news conference in Arlington, Texas, where he began his 21-year career with the Rangers in 1991 as a 19-year-old. The Puerto Rican-born catcher last played in the major leagues last year with the Washington Nationals. Rodriguez caught 2,427 games with the Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and the Nationals. He batted .300 or better in 10 seasons and ended his career with a .296 average and 311 homers. Rodriguez was the 1999 AL MVP with the Rangers and the 2003 NL Championship Series MVP with the Marlins, who went on to win the World Series that year.
Howard to have back surgery
Dwight Howard will undergo surgery for a bad back, ending his season with the Orlando Magic and likely eliminating him from playing for the US at the London Olympics, the team said on Thursday. Magic general manager Otis Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that the 26-year-old center was to have surgery to fix a herniated disk yesterday in Los Angeles. “After consulting with the two doctors, it’s in his best interests to have surgery sooner rather than later,” Smith said. “Basically, the situation is not getting better. I’m not saying it got worse. It’s just not getting better.”
Saudi doping hearings done
The International Equestrian Federation has completed hearing doping cases involving horses ridden by members of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic jumping team. The federation said its tribunal heard cases involving Khaled al-Eid and Abdullah Sharbatly on Wednesday and Thursday, and aims to deliver verdicts within 30 days. Al-Eid was the 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medalist and Sharbatly won silver at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Al-Eid’s horse Vanhoeve and Sharbatly’s mount Lobster 43 both tested positive for two anti-inflammatory medications at World Cup events in Riyadh and al-Ain in Abu Dhabi respectively, from November last year to February.
Aybar re-signs with Angels
Gold Glove shortstop Erick Aybar signed a four-year, US$35 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, keeping him with his only MLB club through 2016. Aybar signed the deal on Thursday, passing on the chance to try free agency this winter. The switch-hitting leadoff man posted career highs of 10 homers, 59 RBIs and 30 stolen bases last season, while winning his first Gold Glove. Aybar will get a US$1 million signing bonus.
Man finishes Atlantic trip
A UK-based Colombian rower completed his solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean in Guyana on Thursday, after battling strong winds that blew far him off course. Nicolas Carvajal Uribe, 31, arrived at the wharf in Georgetown at 7:17pm with an escort from the country’s coast guard, a journalist witnessed. “I’m happy to be on land, finally,” Carvajal said. Carvajal left the Canary Islands on Jan. 26 and had hoped to finish his journey in Barbados, but changed plans after being pushed south by strong winds. The rower has said in a statement his aim was to cross the Atlantic “completely unsupported and under nothing but my own power in a rowing boat” to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. He said that he had so far collected about US$40,000.