Soriano to leave Yankees
Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games in 46 chances this year as a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, has opted out of his contract with the Major League Baseball club, the team said on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Dominican right-hander was due US$14 million next year, but will instead take a US$1.5 million buyout as he seeks a new deal with another club. The Yankees are expected to make a qualifying offer of more than US$13 million to Soriano in order to receive some sort of compensation should he sign with another club. Soriano went 2-1 with a 2.26 earned-run average this past season as the Yankees won the American League East division title, but were swept by Detroit in the league championship series.
White sacked for doping
The Orica-GreenEDGE team has sacked sports director Matt White after he admitted to doping while riding with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal cycling team. White voluntarily stood down from the position last month pending an inquiry when he admitted doping after being named in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s dossier on Armstrong. The 38-year-old was also sacked from his position as elite men’s road coordinator at Cycling Australia last month for the same reason. “Orica-GreenEDGE is a clean team and our commitment to being clean has been a foundation principle of the team since the day of its inception,” team owner Gerry Ryan said in a statement. “Professional cycling is at a crossroads. The future of the sport is being determined by what we do today. [We] will not step back from taking any necessary decision to protect the integrity of the sport and the team, and to restore the confidence of cycling fans around the world.”
England’s Ashton banned
Chris Ashton will miss England’s opening autumn Test match against Fiji after a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel announced on Wednesday that they have banned him for a dangerous tackle. The Saracens wing has been suspended for a week after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Northampton’s Vasily Artemyev in a Premiership match on Saturday. The citing’s level 1 status was the equivalent of an off-pitch yellow card, increasing Ashton’s tally for the season to three and yielding an automatic disciplinary hearing. The suspension has been timed to run from Sunday, specifically to prevent Ashton from playing against the Fijians six days later, as England have not released him to play for his club this weekend.