Choi Ji-man suspended
Seattle Mariners prospect Choi Ji-man has been suspended for 50 games after the first baseman tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, Major League Baseball said on Thursday. South Korean Choi was on the Mariners’ 40-man roster and was hitting .394 with one home run and five RBIs in 10 games for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate Tacoma this season. The 22-year-old tested positive for methandienone and his suspension was effective immediately, MLB said. “I do not know what I could have taken that caused me to test positive,” Choi said in a statement. “I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance.”
Kaneria match probed
Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the US with banned spinner Danish Kaneria. Kaneria was given a lifetime ban for spot-fixing in an English county game, which under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules effectively bars him from playing anywhere in the world. However, he represented the Houston Eagles in a series of Twenty20 games last weekend in Houston, Texas, with Test players Wahab Riaz and Nasir Jamshed taking part for rivals the Boom Boom Blasters. Other Pakistani players involved in the games were Fawad Alam, Abdul Razzaq and Shahzaib Hasan. “We are looking into how these players featured in these matches — authorized or unauthorized — without our permission,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed said on Thursday. The USA Cricket Association could also have questions to answer as banned players such as Kaneria are not allowed to play in any match under the auspices of an ICC member country’s association.
Trott set for more time off
England batsman Jonathan Trott is set to take another break from cricket due to the same stress issues that forced him to quit the recent Ashes series, according to a report on Thursday. Trott decided to pull out of England’s tour to Australia after the first Test in Brisbane with what the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) described as a “stress-related illness.” The 32-year-old spent four months away from the game working with a psychologist and the ECB’s medical team in a bid to rebuild his career. Trott later described his Ashes exit as a case of “burn-out” and said he hoped to return to England duty this season. However, according to a Daily Mail report on Thursday, he has had to step away from the firing line again after just one Championship match for his England county Warwickshire, in which he scored 37 and 26 against Sussex. According to the Mail, “his anxiety levels have been so high that he felt he had no choice for his own wellbeing.”
Ferguson to sell wine
Legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is to auction off part of his wine collection worth an estimated ￡3 million (US$5 million), Christie’s announced on Wednesday. The collection of about 5,000 bottles contains many fine and rare wines, including Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundies and Finest First Growth Bordeaux ranging from the 1986 to 2011 vintages. The collection of Britain’s most successful soccer manager of all time is to be sold in three auctions: Hong Kong on May 24, London on June 5 and an online sale running from June 9 to 23.