A-Rod will try to play through hip injury



Alex Rodriguez will attempt to play this season with an injured right hip, hoping to avoid surgery and a four-month rehabilitation period. A cyst in the hip was drained Wednesday, and the New York Yankees third baseman will skip playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Still, he has a torn labrum that might need an operation. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Associated Press yesterday: "[The injury can be treated] conservatively, which would imply rest, exercise and treatment. Or you can treat it aggressively, which is by surgery. At this point, we are going to go the conservative route." The diagnosis by Dr. Marc Philippon, in Vail, Colo., was another jolt to the three-time American League Most Valuable Player, who last month acknowledged that he used banned drugs from 2001 to 2003.

More Yankees: : Mariano Rivera threw off a mound in Tampa, Fla., and the closer, who had offseason shoulder surgery, said he expects to be ready for Opening Day. He said he hopes to make his spring training debut around March 17.


Ripken: : CalTube is baseball's latest Internet innovation. Former Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. and will announce today that they are teaming to launch, an instructional Web site that will charge $29.95 for a subscription and $9.95 for an individual lesson.

Et cetera:: Ichiro Suzuki went hitless but defending champion Japan received a two-run homer from Shuichi Murata in a 4-0 win over China in Tokyo in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic. ... The Nationals' Shawn Hill was scratched from his scheduled exhibition start against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., because of right forearm tightness. ... The Giants released outfielder Dave Roberts. ... Left-hander Dennys Reyes and the Cardinals agreed to a two-year deal.

Search for 2 players, other man scaled back


The search for two NFL players and a third man missing in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida was scaled back, but charter boat operators said they still hoped to recover the men's remains. The Coast Guard called off its search Tuesday for Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former South Florida player William Bleakley. The friends have been missing since their boat overturned on a fishing trip Saturday in rough seas. A fourth man, Nick Schuyler, was rescued by the Coast Guard on Monday.

Cowboys:: The same day Dallas cut wide receiver Terrell Owens, the team also released safety Roy Williams after seven seasons full of hard hits and criticism about his coverage skills.

Et cetera:: The Jets are telling employees on the business side of their operations to take two weeks of unpaid leave this offseason. ... Bills running back Marshawn Lynch pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to a misdemeanor gun charge and was sentenced to community service and probation. ... The Broncos agreed to a deal with quarterback Chris Simms. ... The Patriots acquired wide receiver Greg Lewis and a seventh-round draft choice in 2010 from the Eagles for a fifth-round pick, the AP reported. ... The Redskins signed punter Dirk Johnson. ... George McAfee, a college and pro football Hall of Famer who was a star for the Bears and at Duke, died Wednesday at age 90.

With Ovechkin out, Capitals lose to Leafs



New Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Gerber made 37 saves in a 2-1 victory over the host Washington Capitals, who played without NHL goal leader Alex Ovechkin. Lee Stempniak and Pavel Kubina scored in the third period for the Maple Leafs, who saw an immediate dividend from the trade-deadline decision to claim Gerber off waivers from the Ottawa Senators. Gerber had a shutout until the final minute. With Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore pulled, Alexander Semin scored for Washington with 39 seconds to play. The Capitals have lost the first three games of their four-game homestand. It didn't help that Ovechkin missed the fourth game of his four-year NHL career. He was scratched with a bruised right heel, the result of a shot taken off the skate during practice Wednesday. He said he would "probably" play Sunday against Sidney Crosby and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

Penguins 4, Panthers 1: : After missing four games because of a groin injury, Crosby had a goal in his return to the lineup to help Pittsburgh beat host Florida.

Allenby's 66 gives him lead in Honda Classic

et cetera

Robert Allenby shot a 4-under-par 66 in the first round to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. By the time darkness suspended play, six players, Sergio Garcia among them, were one shot behind.


NBA: : Chris Paul had 27 points and 15 assists, and the host Hornets (38-22) increased their winning streak to six with a 104-88 victory over the Mavericks (37-25). ... An overflow crowd spilled out of the main chapel at Hennessy-Bruno Funeral Home in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., to remember Johnny "Red" Kerr, who died of prostate cancer last week at age 76. Kerr played 12 seasons in the NBA. His final one, 1965-66, was with the Baltimore Bullets. ... Forward Drew Gooden joined the Spurs after buying out his contract this week with the Kings.

Olympics: : Jim Scherr resigned as chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Stephanie Streeter, a member of the board of directors.

Swimming:: Dara Torres won the 50-meter freestyle in the Austin (Texas) Grand Prix in her first competition after the Beijing Olympics. Torres, 41, who won three silver medals in Beijing, took first place in 24.91 seconds.

College basketball: : Maryland sophomore forward Jerome Burney will be out for the rest of the season because of a broken bone in his right foot. Burney appeared in nine games. ... Louisville senior forward Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances) was named the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year and also was part of the 11-member All-Big East team.

College football: : Former Miami coach Larry Coker was hired to lead the new Texas-San Antonio program.