National sports briefs: Rodriguez calls SI writer to apologize

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2009

Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. ó Alex Rodriguez has called Sports Illustrated’s Selena Roberts to apologize for critical comments he made in an ESPN interview.
Roberts was co-author of the Feb. 7 article on SI’s Web site that reported he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids during baseball’s anonymous 2003 survey.
“I know this lady from Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts, is trying to throw things out there that in high school I tried steroids. I mean, that’s the biggest bunch of baloney I’ve ever heard in my life,” he told ESPN, adding that “this lady is coming out with all these allegations, all these lies.”
Roberts said Sunday that Rodriguez called her last Wednesday. She didn’t want to comment on the call until Rodriguez holds a news conference after arriving at spring training Tuesday.
– PEORIA, Ariz. ó San Diego reliever Heath Bell was bothered by comments from, of all things, a video game console. Now the heir apparent to Trevor Hoffman credits his Nintendo Wii Fit game for helping him lose 25 pounds.
Bell reported to camp at a svelte 245 pounds. He received an extra boost when he began playing video games with his children this offseason. At the time, Bell weighed 270 pounds.
“It said I was obese,” Bell said. “If you’re obese, it makes (your character on screen) obese. I was disappointed that I was that big. I literally took the game to heart. I did the work, but I kind of credit the Wii Fit.”
– NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. ó Ivan Rodriguez said he might sign with the Florida Marlins, Houston Astros or New York Mets.
– FORT MYERS, Fla. ó Boston outfielder J.D. Drew is still bothered by back stiffness from a herniated disk that limited him in 2008.
– CLEVELAND ó Tony Graffanino agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Cleveland.
– PEORIA, Ariz. ó Ryan Rowland-Smith, the Seattle’s promising left-hander, will stay in spring training rather than play for his native Australia in the World Baseball Classic.
– PEORIA, Ariz. ó Erik Bedard declared himself fine after he threw for 12 minutes in the bullpen, his first work off a mound in front of Mariners eyes since having season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder last September.
– FORT MYERS, Fla. ó Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer will be limited as spring training opens. He had surgery Dec. 22 to remove a blockage from one of his kidneys.
– PHOENIX ó Juan Pierre still wants to know if he has a role with the Dodgers. His situation remains in limbo until Manny Ramirez signs with a team.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ó The final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was washed out by rain and raging wind, leading to the first Monday finish in this event since 2000.
Dustin Johnson has a four-shot lead as he tries to join Anthony Kim as the only players under 25 with two wins.
– BOCA RATON, Fla. ó Mike Goodes, who turned pro two years ago, shot a 66 on Sunday to win his first career Champions Tour title at the Allianz Championships.
– BOCA RATON, Fla. ó Mark O’Meara said Tiger Woods looks better than ever and is ready to return to the PGA Tour, but he stopped short of saying the world’s No. 1 player would be at the Accenture Match Play Championship that starts Feb. 25.
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Cam Ward made 36 saves for his third shutout in 10 starts, and Eric Staal had a goal and two assists in Carolina’s 3-0 victory over Buffalo. Chad LaRose and Sergei Samsonov also scored.
Ward has four shutouts overall this season and 10 in his NHL career.
With 61 points, the ninth-place Hurricanes moved within three points of Buffalo and Florida, who hold down the final two playoff spots.
– PITTSBURGH ó Michel Therrien, his team fading less than a year after making the Stanley Cup finals, was fired as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ coach and replaced by minor-league coach Dan Bylsma.n ANAHEIM, Calif. ó Ilya Kovalchuk scored three goals in a 6:51 span of the second period to help Atlanta beat Anaheim 8-4.
– DETROIT ó Jordan Leopold scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give Colorado a 6-5 victory over Detroit.
– SUNRISE, Fla. ó Mike Green’s NHL-record goals streak for defensemen ended at eight games, but Alexander Ovechkin scored three times to give Washington a 4-2 victory over Florida.n NEWARK, N.J. ó David Clarkson scored his second goal on a power play with 3:32 to play in New Jersey’s 6-5 victory over San Jose.
– NEW YORK ó Mike Richards’ short-handed tally sparked a four-goal second period in Philadelphia’s 5-2 rout of the New York Rangers.
Richards, who leads the NHL with five short-handed goals this season, became the first NHL player to score three 3-on-5 goals in a career.
CULVER CITY, Calif. ó Authorities say Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch has been arrested on a weapons possession charge. Lynch was arrested Wednesday for possession of a concealed firearm.
MILAN, Italy ó David Beckham hurt his hamstring in AC Milan’s 2-1 loss to Inter Milan on Sunday, days after his MLS team cut off talks of transferring him to the Italian side.
PARIS ó Amelie Mauresmo won her first WTA Tour title in two years, outlasting Elena Dementieva 7-6 (9-7), 2-6, 6-4 at the Open GDF Suez.
– ROTTERDAM, Netherlands ó Andy Murray overcame an injured Rafael Nadal (right knee) 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 to win ABN Amro tournament.
– SAN JOSE, Calif. ó Radek Stepanek won his second ATP title this year, rallying to beat Mardy Fish 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the SAP Open.