Dodgers spend most
Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers have knocked Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees off baseball’s payroll perch, part of an offseason spending spree that has the average salary approaching US$4 million for the first time. The Dodgers are ending the Yankees’ 15-year streak as baseball’s biggest spenders and as of Tuesday had a projected payroll of US$235 million, according to a study of all major-league contracts. New York, which last failed to top the payroll rankings in 1998, was a distant second at US$204 million. After that, it was another huge gap to Philadelphia at US$180 million, followed by Boston at US$163 million and Detroit at US$162 million. Houston is last at US$45 million, up from US$27 million at the start of last year, and Miami at US$48 million remains 29th.
Mets may keep Matsuzaka
Daisuke Matsuzaka appears to have earned a place in the rotation for the New York Mets after the Major League Baseball team paid him US$100,000 on Tuesday to retain his rights. The Mets had until Tuesday to release the 33-year-old Japanese right-handed pitcher or pay him the money. The move came a day after Matsuzaka scattered three hits and walked three in six innings of work in a 5-3 victory over the St Louis Cardinals, leaving him with a pre-season earned-run average of 3.86, with 17 strikeouts in 18-2/3 innings, walking four and allowing 21 hits. Matsuzaka was competing for the fifth and final starting spot in the Mets’ rotation. After coming from Japan to join the Boston Red Sox, Matsuzaka helped the team win the 2007 World Series and spent six seasons with Boston. He stands 53-40 in major-league play, with a 4.52 earned-run average.
Stiff neck stops Darvish
Japanese ace pitcher Yu Darvish will not take the mound for the Texas Rangers’ season opener on Monday because of a stiff neck, the Major League Baseball club announced on Tuesday. The Rangers have not announced who is to replace Darvish as their opening-day pitcher against visiting Philadelphia. Darvish says that the problem came because he slept in a bad position one night last week, but the team is concerned there might me more to it than that. “He has not shown the progress that we would like,” Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “We want to start ruling out things at this point. At this stage we’re open to it being more than just sleeping wrong.” The 27-year-old right-hander went 13-9 with a 2.83 earned-run average in 32 starts last year.
Malkin may be sidelined
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin could miss the remainder of the National Hockey League regular season with a foot injury, the team announced on Tuesday. Malkin was injured on his first shift on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to St Louis, but finished the game. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who would not say which foot was injured, said he was hurt on a play moving to the net and that doctors have not indicated that any surgery would be needed. Bylsma said Malkin will be sidelined for at least two weeks and possibly as long as three, which would be until the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Malkin, 27, has played in 60 games this season, missing 12 games over a span in December and January with a unspecified lower-body injury. The Russian has scored 23 goals and set up 49 others for the Penguins this season.