Diskerud goal gives United States 2-2 tie at Russia
Mix Diskerud scored his first international goal in the third minute of injury time, giving the United States a 2-2 tie against Russia on Wednesday in an exhibition game at Krasnodar.
Michael Bradley, who scored in the 76th minute, sent a long ball into the penalty area toward Terrence Boyd, who was battling defender Sergei Ignashevich. The ball rebounded off Ignashevich to Diskerud, who had entered in the 87th minute. He bounced a 20-yard, right-footed shot in off a hand of goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.
The 22-year-old, whose mother is from Arizona and who grew up in Norway, was playing just his third game for the U.S. He was a member of the American Olympic team that failed to qualify for the London Games.
Fedor Smolov, making his Russian national team debut, gave the hosts the lead in the ninth minute following a giveaway by Danny Williams. Bradley tied it on a 19-yard volley, his 11th international goal.
Roman Shirokov put Russia back ahead 2-1 when he converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute after a foul by Clarence Goodson, who pushed over Artem Dzyuba in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard following a free kick.
The 27th-ranked United States, missing regulars Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Steve Cherundolo, are preparing for the final round of qualifying next year for the 2014 World Cup. They finished the year at 9-2-3 with a .750 winning percentage that tied their best, set in 2005.
The ninth-ranked Russians are 4-0-2 since former England coach Fabio Capello took over last summer.
Jozy Altidore started for the U.S. after he was dropped from the roster for last month’s World Cup qualifiers following poor performances against Jamaica in September, and Timmy Chandler started at right back. Chandler had not played for the Americans since last November, uncertain whether he wanted to commit to the U.S. program.
Even phone calls stop between NHL and union
NEW YORK — Now the NHL and the locked-out players’ association aren’t even talking by phone.
With the lockout about to enter its third month, communications between the fighting sides have come to a halt with no clear sign of what the next step will be or when it will be taken.
“No, we have not communicated today,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Wednesday in an email. “No meetings scheduled, and no plans to meet.”
After four straight days of negotiations in New York last week, talks broke off angrily Friday night. Discussions resumed on Sunday, solely regarding player contract terms, but that meeting ended after only 90 minutes.
The union contends that the NHL doesn’t want to get back together yet.
“The players remain prepared to resume negotiations at any time,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said.
At this point, no decisions have been made to call off any more games, Daly said. So far, 327 games — all those scheduled through Nov. 30 and the New Year’s Day outdoor Winter Classic — have been cancelled by the NHL.
More could be coming soon if a deal isn’t reached. It is believed that an agreement would need to be in place by the end of next week for the season to get under way on Dec. 1.
That is starting to look unlikely because of the mere fact that the sides are unable to find common ground on the big issues keeping them apart. It is more than just finances preventing a deal. The disagreements over player contract terms have emerged as just big an impasse.
The NHL wants to limit contracts to five years, make rules to prohibit back-diving contracts the league feels circumvent the salary cap, keep players ineligible for unrestricted free agency until they are 28 or have eight years of professional service time, cut entry-level deals to two years, and make salary arbitration after five years.
Affeldt, Giants complete $18 million, 3-year deal
SAN FRANCISCO — Jeremy Affeldt wanted it some job security — and the reliable reliever got it.
The left-hander and the World Series champion San Francisco Giants completed an $18 million, three-year contract Wednesday. Bobby Evans, the team’s vice president of baseball operations, said the deal had been finalized to keep Affeldt in the Bay Area.
“We are so happy to be back with our San Francisco family,” said Affeldt, in San Francisco for his physical and meetings.
The 33-year-old Affeldt went 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 67 appearances covering 63 1-3 innings this season for the Giants.
When the season ended, he publicly said he wanted to stay but would not accept a one-year deal because he wanted to provide some stability for his family — he has a wife and three young sons. Affeldt also was a key member of the bullpen during the club’s 2010 run to the franchise’s first championship since 1954.
“I’m glad it got done,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He is such a key swing guy who can be used in the sixth inning on. That was an important sign for us. I’m excited to have the crazy left-hander back. He’s getting better with age, his stuff, his command. He is a more complete pitcher now than when we got him. He’s doing what you want your players to do: keep getting better.”
General manager Brian Sabean called re-signing Affeldt one of his top offseason priorities. Affeldt lives on the West Coast in his hometown of Spokane, Wash., so re-signing with the Giants was appealing from that standpoint as well.
“It’s great to retain such a big piece to our bullpen puzzle,” Sabean said.
He has spent the past four of his 11 major league seasons with San Francisco, going 10-9 with a 2.73 ERA in 237 1/3 innings and 184 outings.
Affeldt dealt with two bizarre, non-baseball injuries the past two seasons.
In late April, he sprained his right knee and went on the disabled list after he reached out to catch his son, Walker, as the 60-pound 4-year-old jumped off the couch to hug his arriving father.
On Sept. 8, 2011, the pitcher sliced his non-throwing hand nearly to the artery while separating frozen hamburgers during an outdoor barbecue with his family on an off-day. The paring knife he was using pushed through a hamburger patty and deep into his hand. Affeldt came within a millimeter of an artery and underwent surgery about eight hours after the injury to repair nerve damage in his pinkie.
A’s manager Melvin will welcome back Bartolo Colon
OAKLAND, Calif.— Bartolo Colon will be welcomed back to the Oakland Athletics with no hard feelings — at least by newly crowned AL Manager of the Year Bob Melvin.
Melvin said Wednesday he is “thrilled” the right-hander will return to the club next year after his 2012 season ended with a 50-game suspension Aug. 22 for testing positive for testosterone.
Colon received a $3 million, one-year contract Nov. 3, though he still has five games remaining on his suspension when the 2013 season starts. While the new deal includes incentives for starts and innings, he also has potential bonuses for relief appearances — though Melvin said Colon would prepare as a starter and will be “embraced” by the reigning AL West champions.
“He’s gone through his penalty,” Melvin said. “It’s one thing if it’s a guy who might be a little bit of a bad guy, but his is a true gentleman, a great guy who just made a mistake. He’ll be embraced back here again. He was very important for us. Guys like that can kind of get lost in the shuffle when they’re not here and you get to the postseason, but he was a key guy for us, he really was.”
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.
A’s general manager Billy Beane said finding a veteran pitcher to be part of a young rotation — and for the financial value — Colon was the perfect fit.
Melvin said he last spoke to Colon about three weeks after the suspension began, and they will talk again before the start of spring training in February.
“I don’t need to talk to Bart. I will call him at some point in time,” Melvin said. “I got very close to him, and we had a nice conversation and he was very remorseful when all that went down. I think in the back of his mind he was hoping this situation would arise for him again, and it did.”
Armstrong’s cancer foundation drops his name
AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong’s cancer fighting charity has formally dropped him from its name and will officially be known as the Livestrong Foundation.
The move is the latest of several by the charity to separate itself from its founder, who has been stripped of his seven Tour De France titles. The U.S. Anti-doping agency revealed evidence of performance-enhancing drug use by Armstrong and his teammates.
Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane said Wednesday the name change was approved by the Texas Secretary of State on Oct. 30. Armstrong had previously stepped-down as chairman of the foundation and last week resigned from its board of directors.
McLane said the charity’s supporters recognize its already popular Livestrong brand, which the foundation has used for several years to raise money for cancer survivors programs.
Lindsey Vonn released from Colorado hospital
Lindsey Vonn has been released from a hospital in Vail, Colo., on Wednesday, two days after being admitted for intestinal pain.
Vonn’s publicist Lewis Kay says in an email that she’s “feeling much better and “resting comfortably at home.” He’s not sure when the four-time overall World Cup champion will return to skiing.
Kay says doctors were still trying to determine what caused of her illness, but she’s responded well to treatment. Kay says it’s not clear “when she will be able to return to the mountain” but will “update as her health improves.”
Vonn’s ski technician Heinz Haemmerle said Tuesday that Vonn hadn’t trained in more than two weeks. She was in Colorado to prepare for the upcoming World Cup races in Aspen on Nov. 24.
Pele undergoing physiotherapy after hip surgery
SAO PAULO — A Brazilian hospital says Pele is undergoing physiotherapy following surgery on his right hip.
Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo said Wednesday that Pele remains in good condition and is already walking around his room.
The hospital said the Brazilian soccer great underwent “total arthroplasty,” a procedure aimed at restoring proper function to his hip. The surgery was performed Saturday.
Pele, who turned 72 in October, is expected to leave the hospital this week.
It isn’t clear if he will be able to attend the Confederations Cup draw on Dec. 1.
Pele won three World Cup titles with Brazil and scored nearly 1,300 career goals, most of them with Brazilian club Santos.
Three-time gymnastics world champion Memmel retires
Chellsie Memmel is done with competitive gymnastics, this time for good.
The three-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist announced her retirement Wednesday. Her career had been hampered by a series of injuries, and her latest comeback ended in May when she failed to qualify for the U.S. championships.
“It’s sad to be officially be done competing and done doing gymnastics,” Memmel said. “I’m proud of everything that I was able to accomplish.
From wire sources