Md. Racing Commission approves steroid limits
The Maryland Racing Commission gave final approval yesterday to regulations restricting the use of anabolic steroids and banning the use of toe grabs. In addition, the commission granted a request by the Maryland Jockey Club to raise the takeout on two types of wagers, the Pick 3 and the Pick 4, from 14 percent to 25.75 percent. In those wagers, a bettor has to select the winner of three or four consecutive races, respectively. Racing officials said the lower takeout was intended as a promotional incentive to attract wagers, but the amount of money bet on the two exotic wagers remained relatively low.
Manny Ramirez has rejected the Los Angeles Dodgers' one-year, $25 million contract offer, which would have given the slugger the second-highest average salary behind the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million a year). Ramirez, 36, is believed to be seeking a four- or five-year deal starting at $25 million per season. Owner Frank McCourt continued to express his interest in retaining the free agent but told the Los Angeles Times that the roster is playoff-caliber without him.
Padres: : Jeff Moorad has reached an agreement for his group to buy the franchise from majority owner John Moores. Moorad, who resigned last month as CEO of the Diamondbacks, will acquire 100 percent ownership during a period of up to five years, subject to approval by baseball owners. The deal values the team at $500 million. The sale, precipitated by Moores' difficult divorce from his wife, Becky, is expected to close by Opening Day.
Et cetera: : The Mets and Citigroup said that their $400 million naming rights deal for the new stadium is still on, despite a Wall Street Journal report yesterday that the banking company might be looking to back out. ... Third baseman Garrett Atkins agreed to a one-year, $7.05 million contract with the Rockies. ... Right-hander Justin Verlander and the Tigers agreed to a one-year contract worth $3,675,000. ... Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw 27 pitches in his first mound session this year as he rehabilitates an injured foot. ... Actor Kevin Costner says he has chosen the northeastern Illinois town of Zion for a new minor league team, which will be part of the Northern League in 2010.
Report: Clemens' DNA linked to blood in syringes
Tests have linked Roger Clemens' DNA to blood in syringes that his former personal trainer says he used to inject the pitcher with performance-enhancing drugs, The Washington Post reported yesterday, citing two unidentified sources familiar with the investigation. The sources said the DNA results are preliminary and subject to verification tests. The newspaper said Clemens voluntarily gave a DNA sample to federal authorities, according to the sources, and it still remains to be determined whether the syringes contained steroids or human growth hormone. Prosecutors have asked a federal grand jury in Washington to decide whether to indict the seven-time Cy Young Award winner on charges of lying to Congress when he denied using steroids or HGH.
Bonds: : A urine sample that Barry Bonds provided as part of the anonymous testing that baseball conducted in 2003 has tested positive for performance-enhancing substances, people familiar with the matter told The New York Times. Although the samples did not test positive under baseball's program, the samples were retested by federal authorities after they seized them in 2004 and now may become a key factor in Bonds' perjury trial, the people said.
Ray Allen hit a baseline three-pointer with 0.5 of a second left to give the visiting Boston Celtics (41-9) their 12th straight victory, 100-99 over the Philadelphia 76ers (23-24). Andre Iguodala had just hit a fall-away jumper for a 99-97 lead for the Sixers, who led the entire fourth quarter until the final basket.
Other NBA results: : LeBron James scored 33 and Cleveland (38-9) remained flawless on its floor by winning its 23rd straight home game, 101-83 over the Raptors (19-31). James became the fastest player in NBA history to reach the 12,000-point plateau. At 24 years, 35 days, he did it quicker than the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who was 25 years, 220 days, when he did it. ... Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) scored 35 and the host Nuggets (32-16) earned a 104-96 win over the Spurs (33-15), who played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Ginobili has a bruised hip, and coach Gregg Popovich gave Duncan and Parker the night off. ... Vince Carter had 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and the host Nets (22-27) defeated the Bucks (24-28), 99-85. ... Yao Ming scored 28 and the host Rockets (30-19) beat Chicago, 107-100, for their sixth straight win over the Bulls (21-28). ... Randy Foye scored 19, and the visiting Timberwolves (17-30) broke a three-game skid with a 116-111 victory over the Pacers (19-30).
NBA injuries: : All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson said he is optimistic he can play again this season for the Southeast Division-leading Magic, despite torn cartilage in his right shoulder. Nelson said he will decide during the next few weeks whether he will have surgery now on the labrum or hold off and attempt rehabilitation. ... Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul has a mild strain to his right groin and is listed as day-to-day.
Et cetera: : The Continental Basketball Association ended its season, forced to shut down two months early because of lagging ticket sales. The five-team CBA hopes to return in December, but commissioner Dennis Truax acknowledged that his league could be gone for good. ... Sheryl Swoopes, 37, might have played her last game. The Seattle Storm waived the three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and three-time Olympic gold medalist a day before her 2009 contract would have become guaranteed.
Raiders keep Cable; Warner's future up in air
The Oakland Raiders retained coach Tom Cable, removing the interim designation from his title more than five weeks after their season ended. Cable went 4-8 after replacing Lane Kiffin with Oakland (5-11). Cable rallied Oakland to back-to-back wins to end the season.
More NFL: : After leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, quarterback Kurt Warner said that he has no timetable for a decision on whether he will retire. Warner, who will turn 38 before next season begins, said he would "weigh everything." ... Former Redskins and Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams was promoted to coordinator of pro scouting for Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere: : Former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice, who was approached about becoming commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference, is not interested in the job, her spokesman said. ... Broadcaster Bob Costas has left HBO and joined the new MLB Network. The agreement does not affect Costas' relationship with NBC.