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.
McKinnon in induced coma
Newcastle Knights forward Alex McKinnon has been placed in an induced coma after emergency surgery to a broken neck, the Australian rugby league club’s chief executive said. McKinnon was left with two fractured vertebrae in his neck after landing on his head in a tackle in a National Rugby League match on Monday. “He’s been in an induced coma just to help with the recovery from the surgery and to make sure there is no movement there,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley told News Ltd media. “The scans showed the spinal cord was not cut, but they are still determining what damage might have been done there. It’s just a real anxious time at the moment.” The Melbourne Storm tacklers — Jordan McLean and brothers Kenny and Jesse Bromwich — were put on report after the incident. McLean had been stood down for this weekend’s match against the Bulldogs in Perth and referred to a judiciary panel for a “dangerous throw” tackle, but the league decided to defer the hearing out of respect for McKinnon and his family.
Doctors face homicide trial
Three doctors are to be tried for negligent homicide after the death of AS Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini in a game in April 2012, a court in the city of Pescara announced on Tuesday. Pescara doctor Ernesto Sabatini, Livorno’s Manlio Porcellini and Vito Molfese of the emergency services will go on trial, starting on Dec. 1. According to a commission of experts interviewed as part of the investigation, the use of the defibrillator available at the stadium on the day of Morosini’s death could have saved his life. Morosini, who was playing for Livorno on loan from Serie A side Udinese, collapsed on the pitch during a Serie B game at Delfino Pescara 1936 on April 14, 2012. Morosini suffered from a cardiomyopathy, or a rare genetic heart muscle condition, according to a 250-page report into his death. He was also reportedly not helped by the fact that the ambulance attending to him was delayed because of a security car parked in front of an emergency exit.
Kewell to hang up his boots
Harry Kewell, acclaimed as Australia’s greatest-ever player, announced his retirement yesterday after 18 years in the game. The former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray star said it was time to call it quits. He is set to play his last game for Melbourne Heart in Australia’s A-League on April 12. “I felt it was the right time to go out on my terms,” the 35-year-old told a press conference. Kewell, whose latter years were beset by injuries, said fitness had not played any part in his decision to hang up his boots. “The body’s great. I wanted to be able to finish where I could still do things outside of football, all the things I couldn’t do as a footballer. I can do these things now,” he said. Kewell scored 17 goals in 56 internationals.
Porto Alegre bill passed
Lawmakers in southern Brazil have approved a bill that World Cup organizers say is needed to allow Porto Alegre to continue as one of the tournament’s 12 host cities. Tuesday’s approval came a day after Porto Alegre Mayor Jose Fortunati warned that the city was in danger of being excluded because of the delay in the vote. The bill authorizes tax exemptions for firms interested in funding temporary facilities at Porto Alegre’s stadium to house media, sponsors and technical teams. The first match in Porto Alegre is France versus Honduras on June 15.