Rivera tells Yankees he’ll be back next season
NEW YORK — All-time saves leader Mariano Rivera plans to pitch for the New York Yankees next year.
Rivera told the Yankees this week that he’ll return from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the season. The closer turns 43 next month.
Rivera has 608 career saves. He tore a ligament in his right knee in early May while shagging fly balls during batting practice. Rivera vowed right away to pitch again, but recently said he wasn’t sure.
Rafael Soriano earned 42 saves this year for the AL East champions while filling in for Rivera. Soriano recently opted out of the final season of his three-year contract and will likely seek a long-term deal in free agency.
Athletics, Colon agree on 1-year deal
OAKLAND, Calif. — Suspended pitcher Bartolo Colon is getting a second chance with the Oakland Athletics, agreeing to terms on a $3 million, one-year contract that includes potential performance bonuses.
The AL West champions made the announcement Saturday. The 39-year-old Colon was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 22 after testing positive for testosterone. The ban will run five games into the 2013 season.
The former Cy Young winner went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland last season, his 15th in the majors.
Indians send RHP Rogers to Jays for Aviles, Gomes
TORONTO — The Cleveland Indians have traded right-hander Esmil Rogers to the Toronto Blue Jays for infielders Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes.
The deal was announced Saturday.
Rogers split time last season with Cleveland and Colorado, going 3-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 67 combined games. The 27-year-old is 11-12 lifetime in the majors with a 5.95 ERA.
Aviles never played for Toronto. He was acquired on Oct. 21 in a deal that sent reliever David Carpenter to the Red Sox and allowed John Farrell to become Boston’s new manager.
The 31-year-old Aviles played in 136 games for Boston last season, batting .250 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs.
Gomes played 43 games with Toronto last season, his first in the majors. He hit .204 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
FIS rejects Vonn’s request to race against men
Lindsey Vonn’s request to compete in a men’s World Cup downhill race has been rejected by the International Ski Federation.
The FIS council met Saturday in Oberhofen, Switzerland, and “confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other,” adding in a statement that “exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules.”
Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, wanted to enter the men’s downhill on Nov. 24 at Lake Louise, Alberta, six days before the women race on the same course.
“It’s very clear,” FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “It’s called the men’s World Cup and the ladies’ World Cup. The men race the men’s World Cup and the ladies race the ladies’ World Cup. FIS and World Cup points are not transferrable from one circuit to another.”
The FIS statement said Vonn “is welcome to submit a request to the organizing committee and jury to be a forerunner” for the races. Forerunners test the course before races for safety and visibility.
Vonn has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories in Lake Louise, which is often dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her dominance there.
Vonn approached the FIS with the request in early October. Following discussions between Vonn, coaches and sport leaders, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) petitioned the FIS council to consider her request to enter a men’s race at some point in her career.
NHL labor talks resume after more than 2 weeks off
NEW YORK — After more than two weeks apart and the hockey season hanging in the balance, the NHL and the players’ association are returning to the bargaining table Saturday after more than two weeks off.
The hope of a full season being played is already gone, and so is the popular New Year’s Day Winter Classic. If real progress isn’t made soon, the NHL could be looking at its second lost campaign since 2004.
For the first time since Oct. 18, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr agreed to meet at a secret location Saturday afternoon. The two have been talking by phone during the week and found enough common ground to get together face-to-face.
The lockout reached its 49th day Saturday, but at least there is a glimmer of optimism the season can be saved. There have already been 327 games canceled — including the outdoor Winter Classic that was wiped out Friday — and the NHL has said it will be impossible to play a full season.
The labor dispute, which began Sept. 16, forced all games from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30 to be called off. It isn’t known if any of those games will be rescheduled if a new deal is reached soon, but an NHL deadline has already passed that would have allowed each team to play all 82 games. The season needed to start by Friday for that to happen, but the only hockey activity that day was the cancellation of the outdoor game at Michigan Stadium between the host Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Harvick wins at Texas; Nationwide title chase tied
FORT WORTH, Texas — Kevin Harvick became a five-time NASCAR Nationwide winner at Texas, leading 127 of 200 laps on Saturday night.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had the most important finish, battling an ill-handling car that slid around the track all night and still managed to finish fourth.
That got his No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford even with Elliott Sadler for the Nationwide points lead with two races remaining.
Sadler was sixth, only two spots behind Stenhouse, on the final restart with 18 laps left at the 1½-mile high-banked track. But the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevy started slipping back, and lost the points lead after dropping out of the top 10 with three laps left. He finished 11th.
Ferrer takes on Janowicz for Paris Masters title
PARIS — At the start of the year, Jerzy Janowicz couldn’t afford to travel to the Australian Open. Now he’s in line for a major payday, with only David Ferrer standing in the way of his first career title.
Janowicz beat Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to become the first qualifier in eight years to reach the Paris Masters final. Ferrer, the only seed in the semifinals at No. 4, outlasted Michael Llodra 7-5, 6-3.
No. 1 Wozniacki vs. No. 2 Petrova in Sofia
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki reached the Tournament of Champions final after beating Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday.
In today’s final, Wozniacki will play second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia, who defeated Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-7 (8), 6-1, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes.
Supported by an enthusiastic crowd in Sofia’s Arena Armeec Hall, Pironkova matched Wozniacki at the start of the first set.
Tied 4-4, the Dane won seven consecutive games to lead 6-4, 5-0.
By wire sources