The Baltimore Sun

MLB payrolls drop by $47M from 2008


The recession has hit baseball salaries. Teams cut payrolls for their active rosters and disabled lists by $47 million from Opening Day in 2008 to the first day of this season, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. That comes out to a decline of 1.7 percent. The drop is the first since 2004 and just the second since the 1994-1995 strike. Sixteen of the 30 clubs cut payroll. Among those who lowered spending - the mighty New York Yankees. While the Yankees led the major leagues with a $201.4 million payroll, they trimmed salaries by $7.6 million from the start of last season. Others cut more, led by the San Diego Padres ($30.9 million). The 14 who increased salaries were led by the Tampa Bay Rays ($19.5 million). The Orioles' Opening Day payroll of $67.1 million ranked 23rd among the 30 teams and went down slightly from last year's $67.2 million. The Washington Nationals' $59.3 million payroll ranked 27th but was $4.3 million more than last season.

Yankees: : Joba Chamberlain pokes fun at Hall of Famer Yogi Berra in a police video of his DUI arrest in October. The Daily News, the New York Post and Newsday each reported that the video, uncovered by, shows the pitcher, 23, making fun of Berra's diminutive stature. "He might not be as tall as the front of your car," Chamberlain said of Berra to the Nebraska state trooper who arrested him. Chamberlain also says in the video that "opening a door and saying please and thank you" are not part of the norm in New York. Chamberlain pleaded guilty last week to drunken driving and was given nine months probation and a $400 fine.

Diamondbacks: : Ace Brandon Webb will skip his next start because of shoulder stiffness. Manager Bob Melvin said Yusmeiro Petit will take Webb's scheduled start Saturday night at home against the Dodgers. Webb experienced stiffness in his shoulder during Arizona's 9-8 victory over Colorado on Monday.

Mariners: : Star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was cleared to begin playing in his comeback from a bleeding ulcer that caused severe fatigue. Suzuki will be the designated hitter in an extended spring training game with minor leaguers in Arizona on Thursday. Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said Suzuki will play three games before being re-evaluated.

Et cetera: : The Athletics claimed right-hander Dan Giese off waivers from the Yankees, then optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. ... The Royals claimed third baseman Travis Metcalf off waivers from the Rangers.

Pitt's Blair says he'll declare for NBA draft

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DeJuan Blair guaranteed Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon a year ago that he would play a full college career. One exceptional season changed all that. Blair said he will declare for the NBA draft and has begun hiring representatives, ending any possibility that the All-America center could return for his junior season.

More NBA draft: : Arizona State All-America sophomore guard James Harden said he will hire an agent and enter the draft. ... Arizona forward Jordan Hill said he will forgo his senior year and make himself eligible for the draft. ... Wake Forest sophomore guard Jeff Teague is declaring for the draft but will not hire an agent, giving him the option to return to school.

Et cetera: : Michigan State guards Korie Lucious and Chris Allen will undergo surgery Friday after each broke his right foot during the team's 89-72 loss to North Carolina on Monday in the NCAA title game. Recovery is expected to take eight weeks. ... Ex-Memphis assistants John Robic and Orlando Antigua and director of basketball operations Rod Strickland were hired to join new Kentucky coach John Calipari. ... Siena coach Fran McCaffery has a new eight-year deal. McCaffery had two years left on his contract. ... Mark Trakh resigned as Southern California women's coach. ... Hawaii ousted women's coach Jim Bolla, who had been investigated after he allegedly kicked a player in practice.

Taylor seems open to Dolphins return

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A relaxed Jason Taylor sounded more amenable to returning to the Miami Dolphins as he took a short break from running his annual football camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Taylor, 34, was flattered to hear that current Dolphins such as linebacker Joey Porter and quarterback Chad Pennington have expressed their support for him to get back in an aqua-and-orange uniform. "It's great that [Porter] wants me to come back, and I know there are things we can do together," said Taylor, who was released by the Washington Redskins in February after one injury-hampered season.

More NFL: : A Chicago woman pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting the pregnant girlfriend of former Bears safety Shaun Gayle. Marni Yang entered the plea in Waukegan, Ill. ... An Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman said Bengals cornerback Leon Hall was arrested just after 3 a.m. Sunday in southwest Ohio and charged with drunken driving. ... Linebacker Robert Thomas signed with the Redskins.

Women's lacrosse: : Freshman Emily Coady had a hat trick to lift visiting UMBC (7-7) to an 11-10 win over American (2-11).

Tennis: : Top-ranked Serena Williams was upset by No. 95 Klara Zakopalova, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in the first round of the WTA Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella, Spain. Williams was coming off a loss to No. 8 Victoria Azarenka in the Sony Ericsson final Saturday. Zakopalova will next face fellow Czech Renata Voracova.

Soccer: : Branislav Ivanovic scored his first two goals for Chelsea to lead the Blues over host Liverpool, 3-1, in the first leg of the European Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona routed visiting Bayern Munich, 4-0. ... Francisco Maturana resigned as Trinidad and Tobago's national coach, one week after a 3-0 loss to the United States in a World Cup qualifier.

Auto racing: : Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing has shuttered the No. 8 car driven by Aric Almirola because of a lack of funding. ... AJ Allmendinger picked up a sponsor, Hunt Brothers Pizza, that will keep his Richard Petty Motorsports No. 44 entry running at least until September.

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