Sports briefs: Dec. 15

December 15, 2012 

Baseball

Yankees close in on Suzuki, finalize deal with Youkilis

Ichiro Suzuki and the New York Yankees closed in Friday on a $13 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The sides still had to finalize language and the deal will be subject to a physical, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not complete. Suzuki will get $6.5 million a year.

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 23, the 39-year-old Suzuki revived his career in New York. His batting average jumped from .261 with the Mariners to .322 with the Yankees, with five homers, 27 RBI and 14 steals.

A 10-time All-Star, Suzuki has 2,606 hits in 12 major-league seasons.

Also Friday, New York finalized a $12 million, one-year contract with Kevin Youkilis, who is expected to start at third base during the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery scheduled for next month.


Golf

Father-Son Challenge returns

When Larry Nelson won the last Father-Son Challenge with son Drew, the runner-up duo included a high school freshman just beginning to grow into his body and his swing.

Look at Dru Love now. The son of Davis Love III stands 6-foot-3, a five-time Georgia state champion now trying to crack the lineup of a No. 1 Alabama team that includes a U.S. Amateur semifinalist and two second-team All-Americans. And if you think he's big, check out Arnold Palmer's partner this week. Grandson Will Wears is a 6-foot-5 high school senior who plays basketball during Pennsylvania's winter season.

"Yeah, it's been a while," Nelson said Friday.

After a three-year absence, the scramble event returns this weekend at Grande Lakes Orlando's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

• Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari beat Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto and China's Wu Ashun 2 and 1 in the Royal Trophy on Friday to help Europe take a 31/2-1/2 lead over Asia after the opening foursomes matches.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano birdied nine of the 14 holes in a 5-and-4 victory over Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and South Korea's Bae Sang-moon.

Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts and Germany's Marcel Siem edged India's Jeev Milkha Singh and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat 1 up, and Miguel Angel Jimenez and playing captain Jose Maria Olazabal, both from Spain, halved the final match with South Korea's Y.E. Yang and K.T. Kim. After four fourball matches Saturday, the event will conclude Sunday with eight singles matches.

• Spain's Sergio Garcia birdied five of his first 12 holes in the Johor Open on Friday for a share of the lead in the suspended second round. Garcia was 9 under overall with eight holes left when darkness forced the suspension of play in the Asian Tour event at rainy Horizon Hills. American David Lipsky also was 9 under after finishing off a first-round 63 in the morning. He was unable to start the second round before play was stopped.

Charl Schwartzel shot an 8-under 64 Friday, surging into a share of the lead after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship. The South African is tied with first-round leader Gregory Bourdy of France, who had a 65. Schwartzel won in Thailand last weekend, his first title since the 2011 Masters.


NBA

Wall almost ready for return

The Washington Wizards say guard John Wall is ready to begin "ramping up his activity level" as he recovers from a stress injury to his left knee cap. The former No. 1 overall draft pick was re-examined Friday by Dr. David Altchek, who said Wall is showing improvement but that there is still some irritation in the knee.

The doctor said Wall has been treated with three lubricating injections. He did not give a timetable for Wall's return to the lineup.

Shawne Williams, a first-round NBA draft pick in 2006, has been arrested on drug charges after an officer patrolling a mall smelled marijuana coming from a car in the parking lot. The officer asked Williams to get out of the Porsche on Thursday night. Police reported finding a partially smoked marijuana cigar, another blunt and a bottle of codeine cough syrup not prescribed to Williams.


Tennis

No more 'Super Saturday' for 2013

The U.S. Open tennis tournament is moving the women's final to Sunday and men's final to Monday in 2013, building in a day of rest ahead of each title match for the first time. The U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the Grand Slam event played in New York, is announcing the changes Friday — but only for next year.

The moves end the tradition of "Super Saturday," when both men's semifinals and the women's final all were on the schedule. The USTA is scrapping its Saturday night session in 2013. Rain forced the USTA to postpone the men's final from its scheduled Sunday slot to Monday the last five years.


College football

Holtz new Louisiana Tech coach

Skip Holtz wasn't without a head coaching job for long. He was introduced as Louisiana Tech's new coach Friday, less than two weeks after he was fired by South Florida .

Holtz replaces Sonny Dykes, who left to accept the head coaching job at California last week. Louisiana Tech went 9-3 under Dykes this season, with a potent offense that averaged 51 points and 578 yards per game, but was surprisingly left without a bowl bid after balking at an early invitation to the Independence Bowl.


Horse racing

Maryland live racing preserved

A 10-year Maryland horse racing agreement has been reached to end uncertainty after live racing in the state neared collapse in 2010. Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Friday the agreement for racing at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. It was reached among the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Racing Commission. The governor says next year's season will include 146 days of live racing days at the major Maryland tracks.


High school basketball

Rockcastle senior scores 1,000th point

Rockcastle County senior point guard Michaella Hunter poured in 29 points in the Lady Rockets' 61-56 win over Adair County en route to her 1,000th career point. Hunter was one of only two Lady Rockets in double digits.

Sidney Harris scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Lincoln County in an 85-78 win over Scott County.

• Bath County's 6-foot-2 forward Sarah Price had 22 points, 22 rebounds and five blocks against Menifee County. The freshman led all scorers in Bath County's 65-55 win.

• Junior Cory Pitts more than made the difference in Magoffin County's 59-58 win over Pikeville. The center's 38 points accounted for more than half of the Hornets' total.


The last word

Golfer Tom Watson will be 65 when he assumes the role of captain of the United States' Ryder Cup team. He doesn't see his age as a problem. Said Watson:

"The idea of being captain for a team of youngsters will be questioned. 'Why is Watson, being the old guy, being the captain?' I deflect that very simply by saying: 'We play the same game."'

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