Buehrle latest free agent to reach deal with Marlins
The Miami Marlins plucked another free-agent prize Wednesday, reaching a deal with four-time All-Star pitcher Mark Buehrle for $58 million over four years. Manager Ozzie Guillen praised Buehrle over and over at baseball's winter meetings. They were together on the Chicago White Sox this season, and Guillen was eager to have the left-hander on his side next year.
"This kid is special," Guillen said. "He pitched in the big scenarios, big moments, very tough city to pitch. When people love you in Chicago, that means something."
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The Marlins have been the busiest team by far in the majors this week, spending $191 million on three prime free agents. They previously landed a pair of All-Stars: shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell. Plus, they've been pursuing slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson.
The 32-year-old Buehrle has been one of the majors' most durable and effective pitchers for more than a decade. He has reached double figures in victories and thrown over 200 innings in each of the last 11 seasons, all with the White Sox. Buehrle was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA this year and won his third straight Gold Glove.
■ Wanting to add a backup infielder following injuries to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez last season, the New York Yankees won negotiating rights to shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions in Japan's Pacific League. New York has 30 days to reach an agreement with Nakajima. Nakajima hit .297 with 16 homers and 100 RBI this season for the Lions, captaining the team. He attracted attention in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when he batted .364 with six walks and six RBI in seven games as Japan won the title.
Mercy girls hold off Lexington Catholic
Mercy, fifth in the girls' basketball coaches' pre-season rankings, used a 14-3 run that spanned the second and third quarters to take control in its 61-51 home victory against No. 15 Lexington Catholic. The Lady Knights, who trailed 33-20 at that point, never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Jaguars got 21 points and five rebounds from Whitney Hartlage. Christine Roush had 11 points to go with nine steals.
Alex Botkin led Lexington Catholic with 15 points, 13 rebounds and four steals. Rachel Blake had 13 points and six rebounds.
■ Boone County's Sydney Moss, a 5-foot-10 senior who has signed with Florida, had 38 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots in a 75-66 home loss to Princeton (Ohio). The Lady Rebels led by eight after the first quarter and trailed by one entering the fourth.
All-Star football game on tap Sunday
The Best of the Bluegrass East vs. West high school all-star football game is Sunday at St. Xavier High School. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
Many of the top seniors from the Greater Louisville area will take on many of the top seniors from the rest of Kentucky.
The Kentucky at-large team, coached by Shawn Berner of Fort Campbell, includes Lexington Catholic receiver Adam Bush, Tates Creek defensive lineman T.D. Jemison and Bryan Station linebacker Everett Talbert, along with Bowling Green state champs Scooter Hollis (QB) and Joe Manley (OL), Glasgow stars Hunter Bowles (tight end) and Jalen Sublett (running back), East Jessamine defensive end Seth Hunt and Perry Central linebacker Matt Robinson.
The Greater Louisville team, coached by LaKunta Farmer of Doss, includes quarterbacks DeMichael Jackson of Jeffersontown and Alex Mattingly of St. Xavier, receivers Kiante Northington of Butler, Quintez Sutton of Manual and Cornelius Bolden of Central (who had the game-winning TD catch in the 3A finals), running back Jeremy Harness of John Hardin, safety Travon Spencer of Fern Creek, linebacker Michael Brooks of Collins, and defensive lineman Patrick Graffree of Central Hardin.
Former Oldham County, EKU runner seeks spot on U.S. bobsledding squad
Former Eastern Kentucky University sprinter Dallas Robinson took his first step toward his dream of competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia by winning two gold medals and one silver in an America's Cup tour bobsledding event last weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y. Robinson, who attended Oldham County High School, served as brakeman for pilot Nick Cunningham as the duo won both two-man races.
"Dallas really helped me out and made my job a lot easier by giving me the best pushes of the competition," Cunningham said of the 6-foot-4 Robinson, who played football at Morehead State before transferring to EKU to run track exclusively.
Robinson, the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year for EKU in 2005, was taking part in his first major bobsled competition. He picked up his silver medal in the four-man event. The America's Cup tour helps athletes earn points toward their international rankings.
Robinson was the subject of a New York Times feature in 2008, at which time he was training to become an Olympic sprinter. Now he's on a different path.
"I believe I'm going to end up in the Olympics," Robinson said at the time. "I don't know how I'm going to get there. But I guess if the mountain were smooth, you wouldn't be able to climb it."
Donald aims for money titles, history
Top-ranked Luke Donald will be encouraged by the memory of his father while making a run at history this weekend. Donald, who turned 34 on Wednesday, is on the cusp of becoming the first golfer to win both the European Tour and American money titles in the same season. It would rank as his greatest achievement, he said, and one the Englishman would like to win for his late father Colin, who "taught me everything he knew."
Donald's father died last month, days before the birth of Donald's second daughter, Sophia Ann.
"When someone leaves you, you are always reminded of them in certain ways," Donald said. "I'm sure he'll be there with me. I'm not sure if I'll specifically try to think about my father, but, yeah, it would be nice to win one for him."
Donald, who's already won the U.S. PGA Tour money title, is in a duel with No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy for the European money title. The Northern Irishman trails Donald by just under $1 million, so to capture the title he must win the Dubai World Championship and hope that Donald finishes outside the top nine.
Donald could have clinched the title on Sunday, but McIlroy won the Hong Kong Open to keep the European Tour's end-of-season Race To Dubai alive. Donald welcomed the chance to go head-to-head with McIlroy, whom he considered a friend and rival.
"I think there is nothing really easy in life. You have to kind of earn those successes, and I fully expect Rory to play well and put some pressure on me," Donald said. "It's made me more focused this week and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
NKU expected to join Atlantic Sun
Northern Kentucky is expected to accept an invitation Thursday to join the Atlantic Sun Conference, putting the school in Division I collegiate sports, The Kentucky Enquirer reported. The school currently competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in Division II.
The last word
After all these years, Michael Vick is really, finally, absolutely going to start sliding, he promises. He's missed the last three games because of broken ribs. Vick said Wednesday:
"I'm sliding now, I'm getting down, I've made my mind up. There's going to be times when I can't get those extra yards, but I have to get down. ... I get too caught up in the game sometimes, but that leads to you being sidelined and not being accountable for your team on Sundays and not being out there."