National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó Mark Teixeira and Bobby Abreu have plenty in common. Smooth swings, sharp eyes, opposite-field power.
And something else now, too.
As the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels prepare to meet for the American League pennant, starting tonight, both sluggers can easily recall what life was like in the other dugout.
“That team over there, just like us, expects to win every game they play,” said Teixeira, who left Los Angeles last offseason for a free-agent contract with the Yankees. “They’re so professional. They do everything right. They’re meticulous.”
And better than ever, perhaps, with Abreu in the lineup.
“It’s going to be something. Very interesting,” said Abreu, who spent 21/2 seasons in New York. “I was there, and it gives you a lot of emotions, but right now I represent the Angels.”
Teixiera batted .292 and led the AL with 122 RBIs, tying Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena for the home run crown with 39.
Then, in a division series sweep of Minnesota, Teixeira hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning of Game 2.
“He never puts his head down,” teammate Robinson Cano said before the Yankees worked out Wednesday. “That’s a guy that you want to follow.”
LOS ANGELES ó Clayton Kershaw will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League championship series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Manager Joe Torre says he went with the 21-year-old left-hander because he came up big in the Dodgers’ division-clinching win against Colorado on Oct. 3.
Kershaw pitched six scoreless innings in that game, striking out his first five batters and retiring his first 11 in a row.
Torre announced his rotation for the NLCS on Wednesday.
The defending World Series champion Phillies will start left-hander Cole Hamels tonight at Dodger Stadium.
ST. LOUIS ó Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a bid led by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts, but Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh’s participation had complicated the effort. The group will move forward without him.
– ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó It didn’t take long for Ryan Abshagen to discover how many Buffalo Bills fans are unhappy with their team and want owner Ralph Wilson to make sweeping changes.
In a little more than a week, Abshagen, an unemployed 18-year-old from New Freedom, Pa., raised enough money ó $1,402 and counting as of Wednesday ó through an Internet campaign to rent a billboard and advertise a message of discontent for everyone in Buffalo to see.
“I honestly never thought it would ever be this big,” Abshagen said. “Fans are disgruntled. It’s out there. It’s big. People are going to hear about it.”
CHARLOTTE ó Larry Brown became the first major target in the NBA’s zero-tolerance policy toward criticizing its replacement referees.
The Bobcats coach was hit with $60,000 in fines on Wednesday and the Charlotte organization was fined another $60,000 after Brown’s ejection from an exhibition game.
The NBA fined Brown $35,000 for verbally abusing game officials and failing to leave the court in a timely manner. He was fined another $25,000 for publicly criticizing the referees.
LOS ANGELES ó John Wooden celebrated his 99th birthday Wednesday.
The former UCLA coach and Hall of Famer is confined to a wheelchair after a series of minor health setbacks in recent years.
One of Wooden’s last public appearances came in July when he gathered with current Bruins coach Ben Howland and several of his former players at a luncheon celebrating Wooden’s recognition by a national magazine as the greatest coach in American sports history.
Wooden, whose wife Nell died in 1985, is looked after by his daughter, son, several grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Wooden won a record 10 national championships at UCLA, including seven in a row.