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|AP source: Yanks thinking of not making $6M payment to A-Rod
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees are thinking about not making a $6 million payment to Alex Rodriguez if he hits six home runs and ties Willie Mays at 660 for fourth place on the career list.
Rodriguez signed a $275 million, 10-year contract with the team in December 2007 and a separate marketing agreement that called for $6 million payments for up to five milestone accomplishments designated by the Yankees. Each payment is due within 15 days of designation and is in exchange for rights such as using Rodriguez's name and image in selling licensed goods.
At the time of the marketing agreement, those accomplishments were contemplated to be tying the home run totals of Mays, Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), and breaking Bonds' major league record.
Rodriguez returns to the team next month after a season-long drug suspension and has three seasons and $61 million in guaranteed money remaining in his contract.
New York's thought process on the $6 million payment, first reported by the Daily News, was described to The Associated Press on Monday by a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized. The Yankees are thinking of letting any accomplishment pass without declaring it a milestone.
A failure to declare a milestone and make a payment likely would trigger a grievance on Rodriguez's behalf by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Barring a settlement, the case would be heard by an arbitrator.
Rodriguez's spokesman, Ron Berkowitz, declined comment.
A-Rod met last week with Rob Manfred, who headed the investigation of the Biogenesis of the America clinic that led to the player's suspension for violation of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.
"Occasionally when players have an issue, they have asked me for advice, come to see me, wanted to talk to me about something," Manfred said Monday. "I don't put a particular significance on this meeting. It was one of those things. A player wanted to come in. We had a brief meeting."
Rodriguez, a three-time AL MVP, turns 40 in July, and the Yankees have said they plan to shift him from third base to designated hitter.
|Hope Solo could be left off US World Cup roster
Goalkeeper Hope Solo faces the possibility of being left off the American roster for this year's Women's World Cup if she fails to complete tasks set for her by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which may include alcohol counseling.
The 33-year-old was suspended for 30 days last Wednesday for what the U.S. Soccer Federation called "an incident that occurred during the current WNT training camp" in Carson, California.
Asked whether she could be omitted from the team's World Cup roster, USSF President Sunil Gulati said Monday: "Look, that's possible. We hope that's not the case. We hope she's making progress and joins the team. That's certainly the goal, hers and ours."
Jerramy Stevens, Solo's husband, was driving a team vehicle when he was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence, a person familiar with the details of the arrest told The Associated Press last week. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they could not discuss the case publicly.
Solo was ordered to refrain from drinking alcohol last June after she was arrested on domestic violence charges at her sister's home in Kirkland, Washington. The charge was dropped this month.
Speaking on a conference call with U.S. coach Jill Ellis, Gulati said he had to speak carefully because of the involvement of "health-related issues." Asked whether Solo had been asked to undergo alcohol counseling, Gulati said "I think neither of us denied or confirmed that."
"She's been given time to deal with some issues, and we think that in this period she'll certainly start that process, and we'll evaluate," he said.
Gulati said the length of the suspension was determined during conversations he had with Ellis and USSF Secretary General Dan Flynn.
"Thirty days seemed to be the appropriate suspension under our rules and given the circumstances," he said. "So there are a number of things that Hope is being asked to do in that 30 days. We're not going to get into the specifics of that. And then we'll evaluate where things stand at the end of that period and make the decision going forward."
Solo will miss exhibition games at France (Feb. 8) and at England (Feb. 13). She could return for the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal in March.
"The situation warranted a consequence, and we thought it was reasonable," Ellis said. "This is important for us to be able to focus the players that we have on these games and then allow Hope some time to sort of reflect on some things. So I think as far as the specifics, like Sunil said, we're not going to get into those, but Hope and I had some very good conversations and I'm optimistic about moving forward."
Ellis said forward Alex Morgan was "fully integrated back into this training camp" reinjuring her left ankle Oct. 17 during a game against Guatemala at the CONCACAF Women's Championship. Morgan, who has 49 goals in 77 international appearances, was sidelined for seven months after injuring the same ankle during training in October 2013.
"She's coming along great. We're very excited about where she is," Ellis said.
|Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant will have surgery Wednesday on his torn right rotator cuff, likely ending his 19th season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant seriously aggravated a lingering shoulder ache while dunking last week in New Orleans. The star guard and the Lakers decided Monday on surgery, which typically requires several months of rehabilitation.
The Lakers will announce a timetable for Bryant's recovery after surgery, but coach Byron Scott anticipates losing the third-leading scorer in NBA history for the rest of the year.
"Kobe is probably not going to play" again this season, Scott said.
"We all know how tough he is," Scott added after Monday's practice. "He's a trooper, so we pray for him that his return will be sooner rather than later."
The 36-year-old Bryant's torn rotator cuff is likely his third straight season-ending injury. He missed the 2013 playoffs with a torn Achilles tendon, and he played just six games last season before breaking a bone near his left knee. His famously resilient body has finally worn down from the accumulated grind of nearly two decades and several lengthy postseasons with the Lakers, including five NBA title runs.
After returning at nearly full strength in training camp, Bryant sat out eight games to rest in the last month and played on a strict minutes limit. He still dealt with assorted aches and setbacks before he injured his shoulder.
Bryant met with Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday, determining his injury's extent and deciding on surgery. He is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games this season, but shooting a career-worst 37.3 percent in a wildly inconsistent season.
The Lakers reacted to the news with disappointment and respect for Bryant, who was selected to the All-Star game for the 17th time last week.
"Kobe is a warrior," Lakers forward Carlos Boozer said. "He's strong, and he's going to attack rehab like he always has."
The Lakers also discouraged speculation that Bryant's career might be over. He is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season, and he is under contract for $25 million next year.
"I think he's done everything that you can possibly do in this league, and I think at times, we don't appreciate all the stuff that he's been able to accomplish," Scott said. "I don't think we appreciate how tough he is, all the injuries and other things that he's played with, to be able to come back the way that he's come back. I don't see Kobe as the type of guy that wants to leave his legacy on (these) terms. I think he wants to go out on his own terms. We'll just have to wait and see."
The Lakers (12-33) are in the midst of another aimless season, losing eight straight heading into Tuesday's visit from Washington. The 16-time NBA champion franchise is almost certain to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.
The Lakers also owe a first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns to complete their disastrous trade for Steve Nash, who played just 65 games in the last three years and never suited up this season. But Los Angeles will keep the pick this summer if it lands in the top five, providing ample incentive for fans to hope the Lakers' collapse is total.
Bryant wasn't at the Lakers' training complex Monday, and he didn't attend their loss to Houston on Sunday night. Scott plans to speak with Bryant throughout the week to see what he's thinking about his future, but he hopes Bryant isn't ready to quit.
"With the Achilles last year, everybody said he was done," Scott said. "He came back and I think the first month of the season, he proved to everybody that he still has a lot left in the tank. I think he still has that hunger and that competitive nature to come out and prove it again. After the surgery, I'll talk to him and see how it is. We'll talk and we'll go from there."
|Patriots owner makes strong defense of team
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the league once the Patriots are found to be not guilty of breaking any rules regarding using under-inflated footballs in the AFC championship game.
A conclusion Kraft is certain will occur.
In an unscheduled statement, Kraft strongly defended his team's actions and integrity Monday night.
"I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots did nothing wrong in this process that was in violation of NFL rules," Kraft said at the team's first media availability in Arizona.
"If the (Ted) Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to coach (Bill) Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they've had to endure this week," Kraft added, at times sounding angry.
"I'm disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation."
The NFL has said evidence shows the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC title game victory over Indianapolis. The league is still determining why the balls were underinflated.
NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss are leading the probe. Wells was the investigator in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and has said the current investigation could last a while.
Belichick and Brady followed Kraft to the podium, but basically left any comments on the investigation to their boss.
When asked if he was upset by the accusations and jokes of which he was the subject, Brady said: "I've moved past those initial feelings and I want to move forward."
But moving away from the deflated footballs theme will be particularly difficult on Tuesday, which is media day, when just about any question has been fair game in the past.
So Kraft came out swinging before then with a speech tinged with emotion - and fire.
"Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys," said Kraft, who has three Super Bowl titles and three other trips to the big game since 2001.
"They are part of my family. Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years. I've never known them to lie to me. That's why I'm confident in saying what I just said.
"It bothers me greatly their reputations and integrity - and by association that of our team - has been called into question this week."
This hardly is the first time the Patriots have been under such scrutiny. Most famously was 2007, their undefeated regular season. Revelations that New England videotaped New York Jets coaches' signals during a game cost Belichick a $500,000 fine, and the team was fined $250,000 and stripped of its 2008 first-round draft choice by the NFL.
During this year's playoffs, Ravens coach John Harbaugh accused the Patriots of being deceitful with some alignments on offense. The NFL exonerated Kraft's team of any wrongdoing.
Now, Kraft has taken the offensive.
"I, and our entire organization," he said, "believe strongly in the integrity of the game and the rules of fair play are properly, equitably and fairly enforced."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
|Visitation, memorial service set for Hall of Famer Banks
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs say a public visitation and memorial service for Hall of Fame slugger Ernie Banks will be held Friday and Saturday in the city.
The visitation is scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, with the memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church. Limited public seating will be available.
Banks died Friday at 83 after a heart attack, according to an attorney representing his family. Known as "Mr. Cub," Banks is remembered as much for his boundless enthusiasm despite playing on mostly losing teams as his 512 home runs and two MVP awards.
|New York Times Homepage
|A Resilient Madison Keys Ousts Venus Williams at the Australian Open
In a match that felt like a changing of the guard, Keys, an unseeded teenager, defeated the 34-year-old Williams to reach the semifinals in Melbourne.
|Mormons Seek Golden Mean Between Gay Rights and Religious Beliefs
Mormon leaders tried to stake out a middle ground in the escalating battle between gay rights and religious freedom on Tuesday, demanding that both ideas, together, be treated as a national priority.
|Sheldon Silver to Be Replaced as Speaker of New York State Assembly
Facing federal corruption charges, Mr. Silver will be replaced on an interim basis by Joseph D. Morelle, the majority leader. An election for a permanent replacement will be held Feb. 10.
|Sports of The Times: One Question for the N.F.L.: Why Insist on a Media Day Charade?
Marshawn Lynch responded to question after question by saying, “I’m here so I won’t get fined,” drawing attention to the rule that players must be available to reporters at the Super Bowl.
|On Golf: Tiger Woods and Robert Allenby Draw Focus as PGA Tour Events Lack Top Players
With many top players — like Tiger Woods — missing from recent PGA Tour events, off-the-course news has dominated the golf reports.
|Quote of the Day
"The people who influence you are the people who believe in you."
"We often repent of our first thoughts, and scarce ever of our second."
"If you are afraid of being lonely, don't try to be right."
"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun."
|How to of the Day
|How to Move Forward
It's easy to get yourself stuck in a rut, and even if you want to move forward with your life, you may not know where to start. Before you can gain any momentum, you'll need to know which behaviors you have to drop and which you'll need to pick up. Once you gain an understanding of this, you can begin taking the first few steps forward into a better tomorrow.
|How to Take Care of Butterflies
Captivating, colorful butterflies make the world a more beautiful place, don't you think? There's something magical about witnessing their life cycle, which is why raising butterflies from the caterpillar stage is a popular classroom experiment. You start with baby caterpillars, feeding them lots of leaves and taking care of the chrysalis they make to protect themselves while they transitions into butterflies. When the young butterflies emerge months later, they need plenty of space to stretch their wings and learn to fly. Finally, adult butterflies can be released outside to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and flowers.
|How to Liquify Honey
In its raw state, honey contains many beneficial enzymes offers a healthy sweetness to those who've grown unhappy with overly-processed foods and candies. Over time, though, honey will thicken and form a solid mass of crystals. This is a natural process and shouldn't affect the taste of the honey at all. Once the honey has crystallized, there are several ways to get it back to its silky-smooth, liquefied state.
|How to Install a Hard Drive
The hard drive is the primary storage location for all of your computer’s data. If you run out of that storage, installing a new drive may be the most practical solution. If your computer is dead, you may need to replace your old failed hard drive. In either case, you can do it yourself instead of taking your computer into a repair shop.
|How to Make Cookie Cutter Appetizers
Many parents are trying to find innovative and creative ways to feed their kids vegetables, from hiding them inside a dish to making them a part of the meal. You probably have not thought about using vegetables to decorate food. This may be just the thing you need to supply nutrition in a palatable way.
Makes 1 serving.
|Healthy Desserts: Fruit Salad with Lemon-Cinnamon Syrup
5 / 5 Stars | 6 Reviews
"Lemon-cinnamon syrup turns this fruit salad into a refreshing dessert."
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|Healthy Soups and Stews: The Ultimate Chili
4.49 / 5 Stars | 281 Reviews
"Combine browned ground beef, tomatoes and kidney beans in a slow cooker in this chili seasoned with chili powder, cumin, basil and Worcestershire sauce."
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|Healthy Main Dishes: Fettuccini Alfredo II
3.76 / 5 Stars | 28 Reviews
"Smooth, creamy and heady with garlic cooked slowly in milk, this cream sauce is enriched with cream cheese and thickened with cornstarch and Parmesan cheese. Toss with hot noodles and sprinkle more cheese and a bit of parsley over the top."
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|Healthy Makeover Recipes: Healthier Alfredo Sauce
3.75 / 5 Stars | 3 Reviews
"This healthier version of traditional alfredo sauce uses less butter and cream. The addition of zucchini adds color, flavor and texture."
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|Healthy Side Dishes: Cajun Corn and Bacon Maque Choux
4.63 / 5 Stars | 38 Reviews
"Maque Choux (pronounced 'mack shoe'), a colorful dish of fresh corn, green bell peppers, chopped tomato, bacon, and green onions, is the traditional Cajun version of succotash."
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|S. Korea pushes for DMZ peace park
It's been over six decades since the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established, creating a buffer zone between North and South Korea that's often referred to as the world's most tense border.
|Storm wallops New England
Icy water floods and large snowdrifts have hit parts of the American Northeast.
|Your miles are going to cost you more
It's amazing what (literal) lengths some people will go to earn frequent flier miles. Take Ben Schlappig. Over his lifetime, he's accrued about four million miles. Half of those, he estimates, were earned on "mile runs" -- trips taken for the sole purpose of earning points.
|Man charged in Craigslist killings
A south Georgia man was charged Tuesday with murder in the death of a couple who went missing last week after contacting a car seller on Craigslist, police said.
|Who poisoned Putin critic?