Cats' Cousino on Baseball America pre-season honor roll
Kentucky sophomore center fielder Austin Cousino — the 2012 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year — has been voted second-team Baseball America pre-season All-American by MLB scouting directors, it was announced Thursday.
Cousino is the first UK player to earn pre-season All-America honors through Baseball America and the annual MLB scouting directors vote since Chris Bisson was a third-team honoree in 2010. Baseball America annually asks major-league scouting directors to make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential.
Also, Cousino and junior southpaw Corey Littrell were named second-team All-Americans by Louisville Slugger and third-team pre-season All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Sophomore two-way star A.J. Reed, a 6-foot-4 left-hander and first baseman, was named a third-team pre-season All-American by the NCBWA.
Cousino had one of the best seasons in program history as a freshman in 2012. Cousino started 62 games in center field and as the leadoff hitter, batting a team-high .319 (83-for-260) with 61 runs, 20 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 41 RBI and 15 steals. Defensively, he shattered the UK single-season record for putouts by an outfielder, getting 142, and led the club with eight outfield assists.
WINTER X GAMES
Snowmobile rider dies from injuries
Caleb Moore was a Texas kid drawn to the snow, rehearsing complicated tricks on a snowmobile into a foam pit at home. With his younger brother following along and constantly pushing him, Moore quickly rose to the top of the sport.
The innovative freestyle snowmobile rider, who was hurt in a crash Jan. 24 at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday. He was 25. Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson confirmed his death, the first in the 18-year history of the X Games. "He lived his life to the fullest. He was an inspiration," Lawson said.
A former all-terrain vehicle racer, Moore switched over to snowmobiles as a teenager. He won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze last season when his younger brother, Colten, captured gold. Caleb Moore was attempting a backflip last week when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face first into the snow with his snowmobile rolling over him.
Kansas State keeping Snyder awhile
Bill Snyder turned 73 in October, so it was only natural that folks would start wondering just how long the maestro of Manhattan would remain on the sidelines. Kansas State delivered its answer Thursday: As long as he wants.
Snyder signed a new five-year contract that includes an increase in base compensation to $14.75 million over the life of the contract. The deal replaces one signed in 2009.
"As I have stated so often we came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged," Snyder said in a statement. "We have continued to make daily improvement as a football program and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue."
Snyder, who was voted AP's Big 12 coach of the year after going 11-2 this past season, will make $2.75 million for the 2013 season, with annual increases of $100,000 through the 2017 season.
■ Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fell in love with Manti Te'o and said all his energy went into pretending to be the woman the Notre Dame linebacker came to know as Lennay Kekua.
Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old mastermind of the elaborate hoax that embarrassed Te'o and left him looking gullible, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the Dr. Phil Show, the first part of which aired Thursday.
Tuiasosopo said Te'o knew nothing of the scam, and doesn't believe he ever suspected Kekua was fake. "He had no involvement," Tuiasosopo said. "He did not know anything."
Tuiasosopo said he built the online persona of Kekua, a nonexistent woman who Te'o said he fell in love with despite never meeting in person. Tuiasosopo then killed off the character last September.
"I pretty much had this escape of Lennay and this was where my heart had pretty much invested, not just time, but all of my energy went into this," Tuiasosopo said.
He said he felt Kekua was a part of him, and grew feelings and emotions for Te'o that he could not control.
Romanowski becomes owner, sponsor
Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski has purchased a minority interest in Swan Racing and his Nutrition53 brand of nutritional supplements will be the primary sponsor for driver David Stremme for 10 Sprint Cup races.
The team recently was purchased by Swan Energy CEO Brandon Davis, who then sold a piece of the team to Romanowski, who started 243 consecutive games and five Super Bowls during a career that spanned from 1988-2003. "I am thrilled to jump into the NASCAR world as a part owner and as a sponsor," said Romanowski, who played primarily for the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. "Brandon has a vision for how to build a championship contender and I'm eager to be part of it."
Singh withdraws after antler admission
Citing a back injury, Vijay Singh withdrew from the Phoenix Open on Thursday, a day after saying he used deer-antler spray but was unaware that it contained a banned substance.
Meanwhile, twice major winner Mark O'Meara believes Singh should be suspended by the PGA Tour. O'Meara, competing at the Dubai Desert Classic, said he had a lot of respect for his friend Singh but that his situation should be no different to those who have been banned before.
"Probably he should be suspended for a couple of months, and I don't know what the PGA Tour Commissioner is thinking, but people have had to pay the price before and he should be no different," O'Meara told reporters.
■ David Beckham's latest stop in his globe-trotting career is Paris-Saint Germain, with the former England captain signing a five-month contract Thursday and pledging to donate his salary to a children's charity.
Beckham joined the French club after rejecting other offers. No details were given on how much the 37-year-old star will be paid or which charity will get the money. "It's something we (decided) together; it's one of the things we talked about from the start. But this all happened so quick," Beckham said.
Beckham's glamorous career has seen him win titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
■ The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in a trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta.
The 29-year-old infielder, a career .295 hitter, will earn $7 million this season, then $11 million each of the following three years.
The last word
Toronto Coach Dwane Casey, a former UK assistant, was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday for criticizing officials who didn't call a foul on the Hawks late in the Raptors' loss at Atlanta. Said Casey:
"I'm tired of this. I'm tired of losing games because of missed calls at the end of the game. I know the league's going to come down on me for this, but I don't care. Guys have fought their hearts out, played their hearts out and at the end of the game we get cracked, apology, go back to Canada."