Chief says union has no issues with A-Rod
• Union head Tony Clark says the players’ association has no issues going forward with suspended New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and the players’ association in January in an effort to overturn a season-long suspension, then dropped the lawsuit this month. “The page has been turned,” Clark said Monday after holding the union’s annual spring training meeting with Yankees’ players. Rodriguez will be 39 when eligible to return next year and has three seasons and $61 million left in his record million, 10-year contract with the Yankees. “Alex is a member of the players’ association,” Clark said.
• Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington finally has a contract past this season. General manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers have added a year to Washington’s contract through 2015. Washington is the team’s winningest manager with 611 wins over seven seasons, and led Texas to its only two World Series appearances. The Rangers had last extended Washington’s contract in January 2012, when two years were added through 2014.
• Outfielder Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles have finalized an $8 million, one-year contract, a deal that puts him on track to become the team’s regular designated hitter. The 33-year-old, who served a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement, can earn an additional $750,000 in bonuses based on days on the active 25-man roster: $150,000 each for 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180.
Union official sees no rise in bullying
• The players’ union representative from the Miami Dolphins says the fallout from their bullying scandal is overblown because every NFL team has a similar locker-room culture. Long snapper John Denney, a nine-year veteran, said he hadn’t read the investigative report on the Dolphins case. But any harassment among players is nothing new, he said. Denney, at 35 the Dolphins’ oldest player, said behavior among players was no different last year than when his NFL career began in 2005. Bullying of rookies was common then, he said.
• The Oakland Raiders signed special teams standout Taiwan Jones to a three-year extension that keeps him under contract through 2017. Jones still had one year remaining on his rookie deal but was allowed to negotiate an extension for the first time this offseason.
• The Chicago Bears have re-signed safety Derrick Martin and center Taylor Boggs to one-year contracts.
Tennis star Federer beats Becker in Dubai
• Roger Federer began his campaign for a record sixth Dubai Championships title with a 6-1, 6-4, win over Benjamin Becker of Germany. The eighth-ranked Federer has never dropped a set to Becker in four matches played. Federer and top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who will play his first match today, have won nine of the last 11 titles in Dubai.
• The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed Fedor Tyutin on injured reserve after the defenseman was hurt playing for Russia in the Olympics. Tyutin injured an ankle and is expected to miss two or three weeks. He has four goals, 20 assists and 30 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Blue Jackets this season. Columbus also recalled defenseman Dalton Prout from their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass.
• The Florida Gators are taking their turn as the newest No. 1 in what coach Billy Donovan calls a revolving door atop the AP college basketball poll, their first time on top of the rankings since they repeated as national champions in 2007. The Gators (25-2) moved up one place, replacing Syracuse (25-2), which lost twice last week and dropped to fourth. Wichita State (29-0) and Arizona (25-2) both moved up one place to second and third.
— Associated Press