Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Valenzuela retires at 49
Patrick Valenzuela, the jockey who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness aboard Sunday Silence, is retiring after a 33-year career marred by no fewer than a dozen suspensions or jockey's license revocations because of substance-abuse problems.
Valenzuela's agent, Tom Knust, said Friday that the 49-year-old rider made the decision to quit after recent surgery to remove his gall bladder, in addition to battling weight and knee problems.
"We talked the last three days," Knust told The Associated Press by phone. "He seems so much more relaxed now that he's made the decision. He sounded like at peace with things."
He said Valenzuela wasn't home Friday and was unavailable to talk. Knust said the jockey is interested in staying in the sport, possibly with a job in broadcasting.
Valenzuela had been riding at 120 pounds for the last year, but he had to hit the sweat box daily to reach that weight. Jockeys who can't make the weight assigned to a horse lose the mount.
Valenzuela rode 4,333 winners in his career, including seven Breeders' Cup races, and had purse earnings of $163,893,554, ranking 19th on the all-time list among jockeys. Valenzuela won 12 races worth $1 million in his career, including the Pacific Classic in August at Del Mar aboard Acclamation.
Lexington native Cowgill traded to A's
Former Kentucky and Henry Clay star Collin Cowgill was traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Oakland Athletics as part of a five-player deal Friday night. Cowgill, an outfielder who was named the Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year after batting. 354 at Triple-A Reno, was traded along with right-handed prospects Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook to the A's for big-league lefty Trevor Cahill and lefty Craig Breslow.
Tigers to be Dotel's record 13th team
Octavio Dotel is on the verge of an unusual record. The 38-year-old reliever has reached an agreement with the Detroit Tigers on a one-year deal, with a team option for 2013. When he takes the mound for the Tigers next season, Dotel will be playing for a record 13th major-league franchise. The 38-year-old Dotel is currently tied with Matt Stairs, Mike Morgan and Ron Villone after appearing in a game with 12 franchises, according to STATS LLC. Detroit did not announce financial terms of the contract. Dotel had a 3.50 ERA in 54 innings last season for Toronto and St. Louis, helping the Cardinals win the World Series.
■ Two months after becoming the youngest starting pitcher to win a team's opening playoff game, Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore agreed to an eight-year contract with the Rays that could be worth up to $39.75 million. The 22-year-old made his major-league debut for the Rays in September, going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three appearances, including one start.
■ Ian Stewart, who hit 25 homers two years ago for the Colorado Rockies but last year batted only .156 as he battled injuries and was demoted to Triple-A, was traded along with minor-league pitcher Casey Weathers from the Rockies to the Cubs for infielder DJ LeMaheiu and outfielder Tyler Colvin on Thursday. The Cubs are counting on Stewart to regain his form and take the third base spot vacated when Aramis Ramirez left for free agency.
■ The New York Yankees signed right-hander Freddy Garcia to a one-year contract. The 35-year-old Garcia went 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 26 appearances in his first season with the Yankees in 2011.
■ In court papers filed late Thursday, government lawyers urged a federal judge to sentence home run king Barry Bonds to 15 months in prison for his conviction of obstructing justice by providing evasive testimony to a federal grand jury probing the BALCO steroids scandal in December 2003. Prosecutors called Bonds' denials of ever using performance-enhancing drugs "patently false."
Browns say McCoy suffered concussion
Cleveland Browns Coach Pat Shurmur defended his team's handling of quarterback Colt McCoy's head injury in a loss to Pittsburgh. McCoy sustained a concussion from a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison in the fourth quarter Thursday night. McCoy was replaced for two plays by backup Seneca Wallace before coming back in and throwing an interception. Shurmur said McCoy didn't show any symptoms of a concussion until after the game. McCoy's father, Brad, told the Plain Dealer that his son should not have gone back in the game. He said his son felt nauseated and "didn't even know who he was."
Texans' Johnson to miss another game
Houston Texans star receiver Andre Johnson will sit out Sunday's game at Cincinnati with a strained left hamstring. Johnson hurt himself in last week's 17-10 win over Atlanta. Johnson was playing his second game after missing six with a right hamstring injury.
■ Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew was fined $25,000 by the NFL for abusive conduct toward an official in Sunday's game at New Orleans.
Price shoots hole-in-one, shares lead
Nick Price had a hole-in-one and teamed with fellow Champions Tour player Mark Calcavecchia for a 9-under 63 and a share of the lead with PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele on Friday in the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla. Price also made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole in the modified alternate-shot format. Bradley and Steele played the final six holes in 7 under in the first round on Tiburon Golf Club's Gold Course. Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker were a stroke back, and Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas were two shots back. The 12 two-man teams will play a better-ball round Saturday and close with a scramble Sunday in the $3 million event.
Ailing McIlroy five shots back in Dubai
No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy had two late bogeys Friday to finish with a 1-under 71 and 7 under at the Dubai World Championship. McIlroy is five shots behind Alvaro Quiros of Spain. McIlroy must win to have any chance of claiming the European money title ahead of Luke Donald. McIlroy has been fatigued by a "mild case of dengue fever" he believes he picked up when playing tournaments in South Korea or China at the end of October and early November. Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes, generally in tropical areas, and can cause fever, rash and joint pain.
Grubb finds new job with Hamlin
Joe Gibbs Racing has grabbed championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb for driver Denny Hamlin. Grubb takes over for Mike Ford, the only crew chief Hamlin has had at NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series level. Hamlin dropped off considerably last season, a year after he fell short in the 2010 season finale of dethroning five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin had just one victory in 2011 and finished ninth in points. So JGR made a run at Grubb once he was let go by Tony Stewart.
The last word
After spraining his left ankle in the second quarter against the Browns on Thursday night, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned in the second half to throw for 178 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown strike to Antonio Brown with 2:52 remaining that sealed a 14-3 victory. Roethlisberger said:
"I'm proud of him and glad he scored because I wouldn't have been able to make it down there if we had to run another play."