Pariah Bonds trains Giants
Barry Bonds, branded a drugs cheat and shunned by MLB because of his links to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative doping scandal, has returned to the San Francisco Giants as a spring training hitting coach. The face of MLB’s notorious steroid era, Bonds looked much slimmer as he entered the Scottsdale Stadium field in Arizona where the Giants are holding their pre-season training camp. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said they “welcome” Bonds’ return, but did not go into details about what his role would be during his one-week stint. “We would always have a welcome mat out there for him,” Bochy said on Monday. Asked about his controversial career and the use of performance-enhancing drugs, US baseball’s home run king refused to respond directly, saying only: “I have already been to court.” Bonds said he hopes to work with some of the club’s younger players. “I only have seven days, but I welcome younger guys and veterans to pick my brain,” he said.
Zenit sack coach Spalletti
Top Russian Premier League side Zenit St Peterburg have sacked Italian manager Luciano Spalletti, reports said yesterday. Russian media said the decision was taken on Monday at a meeting of Zenit’s executive board. There was no official confirmation, but the reports said prominent former Russian soccer player Sergei Semak had been named interim manager. Spalletti, 55, took charge of the side in December 2009 and took them to two league titles, but owner Gazprom wanted more than domestic success and in 2012 the club bought Brazil star Hulk and Belgium’s Axel Witsel in the biggest transfer buys in the history of Russian soccer. However, Zenit found European success hard to come by. The final straw for Gazprom appears to have been a 4-2 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals first leg that may end this season’s campaign for the club. A humiliating 0-0 home draw at the weekend to lowly Tom of Tomsk of Siberia likely sealed Spalletti’s fate.
Root to miss World T20
England batsman Joe Root will miss the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh after fracturing his thumb, with Ian Bell set to replace him, the International Cricket Council said on Monday. Root suffered the injury during England’s one-day series clincher in the West Indies and the council said in a statement that it has approved Bell as his replacement ahead of the tournament, which begins on Sunday. Root scored his first international limited-overs ton in the three-match series in the West Indies, which England won 2-1. He played all three games and was hurt in the series decider after being struck on the thumb by a Ravi Rampaul delivery.
Strootman out of World Cup
AS Roma’s Dutch international Kevin Strootman will miss this year’s FIFA World Cup after being ruled out for the rest of the season with ruptured knee ligaments, the Serie A Club said on Monday. The 24-year-old will undergo surgery on his left knee and recovery could take between four and six months. “It’s a small catastrophe because Kevin was in his best form for both the national team and Roma,” Dutch coach Louis van Gaal was quoted as saying on the Netherlands Football Federation Web site. Strootman initially suffered a knock in the Netherlands’ friendly with France last week. He was in Roma’s starting line-up against SSC Napoli on Sunday, but collapsed in the 12th minute and was carried off on a stretcher.