Northwestern back to play fifth season
• Northwestern says running back Venric Mark was granted a medical hardship waiver by the Big Ten and is eligible to return for a fifth season in 2014. Mark, who played as a true freshman in 2010, was limited to three games last season because of injuries. He broke an ankle against Wisconsin on Oct. 12 and missed the remainder of the year. Mark rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior.
• Indiana coach Kevin Wilson has promoted Kevin Johns to offensive coordinator, apparently expecting Seth Littrell to take the North Carolina job.
• Louisiana Tech hired Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator. Diaz served the past two-plus seasons in the same post at Texas.
• A source says Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark is taking over the program at UAB. The source spoke to the Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity because UAB hasn’t announced the hiring. Jacksonville State announced Tuesday Clark is leaving the program for an unspecified job. UAB said in a news release that the Blazers will announce their new coach this afternoon.
Angry union players want A-Rod ousted
• Several angry major-league players wanted Alex Rodriguez kicked out of their union after he sued it last week, but staff lawyers told them expulsion was not allowed. The players spoke Jan. 13 during a Major League Baseball Players Association conference call after Rodriguez sued the union and Major League Baseball to overturn an arbitrator’s decision suspending him for the 2014 season and postseason.
• The Philadelphia Phillies and left-hander Antonio Bastardo agreed to a $2 million, one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. Bastardo was 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA and two saves in 48 relief appearances last year before he was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis drug case. Bastardo had asked for $2.5 million in arbitration, while the Phillies offered $1,675,000. The 28-year-old Bastardo is 15-11 with a 3.65 ERA and 11 saves in 208 career games, including five starts. In other moves Tuesday, the Phillies signed former All-Star outfielder Bobby Abreu and right-hander Chad Gaudin to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training.
• Outfielder Justin Maxwell and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,325,000. Maxwell gets a substantial raise from the $492,500 he made last year. He was asking for $1.7 million and the Royals had offered $1,075,000.
• Fans attending Seattle Mariners games at Safeco Field will have to walk through metal detectors starting with the 2014 season opener.
Red Wings goalie out at least one week
• Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was ruled out for at least a week after injuring his left knee again, putting his spot on the U.S. team for the Winter Olympics in doubt. Howard insisted Tuesday he is not concerned about missing the Sochi Games, saying he wants to get healthy “for this organization.”
• Former Formula One driver and Paralympic handbike champion Alessandro Zanardi, 47, will return to auto racing this year. BMW Motorsport says the Italian will drive one of its cars in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series. The BMW Z4 model will be specially modified for Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a 2001 CART series accident in Germany.
— From wire reports