Ortiz, Red Sox sign deal
David Ortiz and the Red Sox have agreed to a contract for next year with options for the following two years, a move that means the popular slugger will probably finish his career in Boston. Ortiz, the World Series Most Valuable Player last season, has helped lead the Red Sox to three Major League Baseball championships in the past 10 years. Affectionately known as “Big Papi,” he batted .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs in 137 games last season. The 38-year-old Dominican designated hitter has 431 homers during his major league career and has made nine MLB All-Star teams in 11 years with Boston. The Red Sox announced the deal Sunday night. It includes a club or vesting option for 2016, and a club option for 2017.
Mickey Duff dies at 84
Mickey Duff, the celebrated British boxing manager and promoter, has died. He was 84. The London Ex-Boxers’ Association says Duff, who was born in Krakow, Poland, died in his sleep early on Saturday. The association says on its Web site that “this is truly is the end of a golden era in British Boxing.” Duff, who moved to England in the late 1930s, won 61 of 69 professional fights before retiring from the ring at the age of 19. He went on to manage 16 world champions, including Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, Jim Watt and Alan Minter. In 1999, Duff was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which describes him as “one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished men in the history of the sport.”
Engelaar betters Rooney
Not to be outdone by Wayne Rooney’s dazzling long-range goal at the weekend, Dutch international Orlando Engelaar scored with a wonder strike from even farther away for A-League side Melbourne Heart. Engelaar’s audacious effort, his fourth of the season for his club, was similar to Saturday’s breathtaking effort by Rooney, which came in a 2-0 win for Manchester United against West Ham in the Premier League. However, whereas the England international hit his shot from inside the West Ham half, Engelaar tried his luck from just inside his own half on Sunday. The 14-time Dutch international glanced up and saw Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Liam Reddy off his line before executing a shot that arrowed into the net just under the crossbar. Mobbed by his teammates, he realized he had done something out of the ordinary. “Yeah, of course, you realize right at that moment you have done something special, that’s nice to remember,” Engelaar said after his side lost 2-1. Engelaar said there was an element of luck about his strike, which has become a hit on YouTube.
Busy week for NFL owners
NFL owners could be making plenty of news this week at their spring meetings. They will consider 13 playing rules proposals and seven bylaws. They will discuss expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, although a vote on such a move is uncertain. Some changes seem to be sure things: extending the height of the goal posts 5 feet to help determine if kicks are good; eliminating overtime in preseason games; placing fixed TV cameras on the goal lines, end lines and sidelines to help replay reviews. Perhaps the juiciest suggestions came from the Patriots. They want to move the line of scrimmage to the 25 for extra points, and to allow coaches to challenge any calls except on scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed.