Bonds plaque missing
The commemorative plaque honoring Barry Bonds’ record 756th home run has gone missing from AT&T Park. San Francisco Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter says the club is in the process of replacing the plaque that hung on the brick facade inside the ballpark beneath the flag court area in right-center field until a few days ago. The team is reviewing video in an effort to determine what might have happened, Slaughter said. Bonds, the seven-time National League Most Valuable Player, broke Hank Aaron’s home run record on Aug. 7, 2007, at home in San Francisco. The slugger has not played since that season, finishing his 22-year major league career with 762 career homers.
Berdych wins in Barcelona
World No. 6 Tomas Berdych was given a tough workout by Nikolay Davydenko at the Barcelona Open on Tuesday before seeing off the former third-ranked player 3-6 7-5, 6-4 to secure a berth in the last 16. Czech Berdych, who had a bye into the second round and is seeded three on the clay at the Real Club de Tenis, served poorly against the 31-year-old Russian, who had won nine of their 11 previous matches. After having his service broken twice in losing the first set, Berdych managed to turn things around to edge the second, before lifting his game in the decider and sealing victory with a ninth ace. Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis provided the surprise of the day when he thumped former world No. 7 and 12th seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain, who won the event in 2010, 6-3, 6-4. Rafa Nadal was due to begin his bid for an eighth Barcelona title in nine years with a second-round clash against unseeded Argentine Carlos Berlocq yesterday.
Ferrari pinpoint problem
The rear-wing problem that wrecked Fernando Alonso’s hopes of winning in Bahrain last weekend was caused by a rare component failure within the drag reduction system (DRS), Ferrari said after an investigation. “It’s the first problem of its kind on this system seen on the three years during which it has been used,” the Italian team said on their Web site. “The failure is not something that causes concern for the long term.” The DRS is a driver-operated adjustable flap that can be opened to provide more speed for overtaking in certain designated zones on the circuit. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said Sunday’s failure had prevented the Spaniard, who had been in second place, from fighting Red Bull’s eventual winner Sebastian Vettel for the victory.
Bobcats fire coach Dunlap
Mike Dunlap was fired as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday after turning around the NBA club following the worst season in league history. Dunlap was named coach of the Bobcats last June, replacing Paul Silas after Charlotte went 7-59, the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Under Dunlap this past season the Bobcats went 21-61 and edged Orlando by one game to avoid the worst record in the NBA. However, that was not enough for Dunlap to keep his job, Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said after a meeting with team general manager Rich Cho. “Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with coach Dunlap to reflect on this season,” Higgins said. “As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position.”