Review Category : National Sports

Orioles Sign Pitcher Bud Norris, Infielder Ryan Flaherty

iStockphoto(BALTIMORE) — The Baltimore Orioles avoided arbitration with starting pitcher Bud Norris and infielder Ryan Flaherty by agreeing to one-year contracts, the club announced on Monday.

Norris will receive $8.8 million in guaranteed money, according to the Baltimore Sun. Last season, the 29-year-old went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 starts. He struck out 139 batters and walked 52 in 165 1-3 innings of work.

In 312 at-bats in 2014, the 28-year-old Flaherty batted .221 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. He walked 22 times while striking out 68.

The Orioles won the American League East division crown last year with a record of 96-66. They swept the Detroit Tigers in the AL Divisional round, but fell to the Kansas City Royals in four games in the AL Championship series.

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Raiders Bring Back Woodson

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca.) — The Oakland Raiders are bringing one of the most recognizable names in franchise history back for another season.

The Silver and Black announced via Twitter Monday that Charles Woodson had signed a one-year deal that will see him play his 11th season in Oakland.

Woodson, 38, left the Raiders in 2006 to spend seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He earned his first Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 2010.

Last season, Woodson led the Raiders with four interceptions.

Woodson was drafted fourth overall in 1998 by the Raiders after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan.

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Lance Armstrong: I Would Dope Again

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(NEW YORK) — Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted he would cheat again if the circumstances were right.

“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to do it again,” Armstong said in an interview with the BBC. “If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again.”

Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, after years of denying any wrongdoing, that he did dope while winning seven straight Tour de France championships.

Armstrong blames the culture of racing back in the 2000s, during which time he claims the vast majority of cyclists were using some sort of performance-enhancing substance to get an advantage.

“When I made that decision, when my teammates made that decision, the whole peloton made that decision, we get it,” Armstrong said. “It was a bad decision in an imperfect time, but it happened.”

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was removed as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, the charitable organization he founded, after evidence proved he cheated.

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Reds Agree to 4-Year Contract with C Devin Mesoraco

Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Devin Mesoraco agreed to a four-year contract extension, the club announced late on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Reds selected Mesoraco with the 15th overall pick in the 2007 MLB amateur draft. Last season, the 26-year-old batted .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in 440 at-bats. He was named to his first All-Star team in 2014.

“This is another example of rewarding a player we drafted and developed,” Cardinals president of baseball operations and general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to sign him for the next four years and expect him to be an integral part of the team.”

Mesoraco was set for arbitration this off-season, but his new contract will keep him in Cincinnati through the 2018 season.

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Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) — Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue provided a candid view of the NFL under the leadership of current Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL ownership.

Tagliabue expressed concern for the league and of Goodell in a GQ article that profiles the current commissioner. Among the chief concerns Tagliabue noted was Goodell’s obsession with the NFL gaining profit and finding larger revenue streams; even at the expense of the game itself. Goodell has stated that he would like the NFL to be a $25 billion industry by 2027.

There has been an increasingly hostile relationship between Goodell and NFL players. Goodell has handed out uneven punishment to players for on-field and off-field infractions, depending on his attitude towards the offending party.

Where Goodell handed out Draconian punishments to the New Orleans Saints in the wake of the Bountygate scandal, he seemingly did a favor to the Baltimore Ravens organization by suspending Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident with his now wife, Janay Palmer.

Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to hear appeals for Bountygate, sees this as a major flaw.

“If they see you making decisions only in economic terms, they start to understand that and question what you’re all about,” he said. “There’s a huge intangible value in peace. There’s a huge intangible value in having allies.”

Tagliabue served as commissioner from 1989, succeeding Pete Rozelle, through 2006, when Goodell took over.

“We haven’t talked much since I left. It’s been his decision,” said Tagliabue. “Bountygate didn’t help.”

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Berdych Upsets Nadal In Quarterfinals

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTRALIA) — The 2015 Australian Open has had a major upset.

In straight sets, Tomas Berdych defeated No. 3 ranked Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6, Tuesday to move on to the semi-finals.

“I was ready for everything and I think that was the difference,” Berdych said. “I started pretty well, but when you’re playing Rafa you have to keep going to the last point.”

Berdych, a 29-year-old from the Czech Republic, had lost 17-straight times to Nadal. The 18th time, Berdych was focused, showing little emotion during the match and kept Nadal off balance.

“I’m feeling ok, just was not my day,” said Nadal, the 2009 winner of the Australian Open. “I didn’t play with the right intensity, the right rhythm and the opponent played better than me.”

Berdych will face Andy Murray in the next round.

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Lakers Star Kobe Bryant Set for Shoulder Surgery

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff, the team announced on Monday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed the diagnosis, which was made last week.

The 16-time All-Star will undergo surgery to repair his shoulder on Wednesday. No timetable has been given for his return.

The 36-year-old Bryant injured his shoulder during the second half of the Lakers’ 96-80 loss to the Pelicans last Wednesday night in New Orleans, when he went for a two-handed slam dunk.

In 35 games this season, Bryant is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Last season, he played in just six games because of injuries to his knee and Achilles.

Bryant has won five NBA championships during his 19-year career with the Lakers.

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Report: N.Y. Yankees Preparing to Challenge A-Rod

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) — The New York Yankees are preparing to contest the validity of a marketing contact with third baseman Alex Rodriguez, according to ESPN.

In 2007, Rodriguez entered into a deal with the Yankees that would pay the 14-time All-Star a bonus for each milestone home run he reached.

Rodriguez is six homers away from tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list, which will make him eligible for a $6 million bonus. The bonus is part of the 10-year, $275 million extension he signed with New York.

The Yankees are devising legal arguments against paying the bonus, because of Rodriguez’s steroid revelations and year-long ban he received from Major League Baseball.

Rodriguez will also receive an extra $6 million each if he ties Babe Ruth at 714 home runs, Hank Aaron at 755 home runs, and Barry Bonds at 762 home runs, and breaks Bonds’ all-time record.

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Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict Recovering from Microfracture Surgery

David Lee/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It is unknown when one of the NFL’s top linebackers will see the field again as Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals is recovering from microfracture surgery.

Microfracture surgery is a procedure performed on knees that have suffered cartilage damage. It is viewed as a serious surgery that has derailed the careers of various athletes in other sports, including football.

Still, the surgeon who performed the procedure, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, is hopeful Burfict will be ready to go by training camp.

“I don’t see any reason, if this thing heals like we want and we think it will, why he won’t be back like he was,” ElAttrache told the NFL Network. “Microfracture has a bad connotation, but there are plenty of guys who have come back and been able to play like before. But it’s not really news when it works out.”

Burfict was limited to just five games in 2014, but in 2013 he recorded an NFL-high 171 tackles.

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