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POSTED February 27, 2012 8:24 p.m.


AP SOURCE: RED SOX C VARITEK TO RETIRE THURSDAY: A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that Boston Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek has decided to retire.

The Boston Globe first reported Varitek's decision on Monday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Varitek had not made an announcement. Varitek is expected to make it official Thursday at Boston's spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla.

Varitek turns 40 in April. The three-time All-Star spent all 15 of his big league seasons with the Red Sox.

The Red Sox signed catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach to one-year deals this winter. New Boston general manager Ben Cherington offered Varitek an invitation to camp, but the Red Sox had been practicing for more than a week without him.

AP SOURCE: 7 DODGERS BIDDERS TO INTERVIEW WITH MLB: NEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the process tells The Associated Press that seven bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers, including Magic Johnson and Stan Kroenke, will interview with baseball's ownership committee in the next step toward selling the bankrupt team.

The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the talks were to be confidential.

Major League Baseball is considering groups for approval before owner Frank McCourt selects the winner of the auction, which is likely to be for more than $1 billion. The sale is to be completed by the end of April.

Johnson's group includes former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners.

Other groups include Alan Casden, Steven Cohen, Leo Hindery, Jared Kushner and Stanley Gold.


BRYANT HAS 'NASAL FRACTURE' FROM ALL-STAR HIT: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers say Kobe Bryant has a "nasal fracture" after he was smacked in the nose by Dwyane Wade during the NBA All-Star game.

The team said on its website Monday that a CT scan revealed the extent of the injury, and the star guard will be re-evaluated by an ear, nose and throat specialist when he returns to Los Angeles.

Bryant was bloodied during Sunday night's game in Orlando, Fla., which the West won 152-149. He was knocked to the floor by Wade and examined after the game.


USGA HEAD: EXPECT US OPEN AT OLYMPIC TO BE TOUGHER: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — If USGA executive director Mike Davis has his way, the record low scores at last year's U.S. Open at Congressional are unlikely to travel to the West Coast.

Davis said Monday at San Francisco's majestic Olympic Club that the course will be "the hardest start in a U.S. Open" when players tee off June 14. The unleveled Lake Course in the serene setting just across the street from the Pacific Ocean will play at 7,170 yards — 373 yards longer than the last time the tournament hosted the national championship in 1998 — including the 670-yard 16th that could be the longest Par 5 in Open history.

Windy conditions and the threat of the city's famous fog also could make the hilly course even tougher.

SF WATERFRONT PLANS FOR AMERICA'S CUP SCALED BACK: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Organizers of sailing's most prestigious event are dramatically scaling back plans to renovate San Francisco's dilapidated waterfront.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday that two little-used piers near the city's downtown will no longer be refurbished to house America's Cup sailing teams. Instead, all teams will be located on a single pier in an industrial part of San Francisco a couple of miles from the city center.

Lee says the change won't affect the number of race days or alter the planned course with views of the city's skyline.

He says the original plan was scratched because it was too complex to complete the planned renovations in time for the races this summer and next year.


DJOKOVIC WINS ON RETURN TO ACTION IN DUBAI: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Novak Djokovic shook off the rust to beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4, 6-2 Monday and reach the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships in his first match since winning the Australian Open.

The top-ranked Serb has not played a match in nearly four weeks — and it showed. He broke the 72nd-ranked German to go up 1-0 but had to save two break points in the fourth game. Stebe pushed the set to 5-4 and deuce before Djokovic hit his first ace and another good serve which the German returned long.

Djokovic had an easier second set, breaking twice. He won the match with his third ace and another serve that Stebe couldn't return.

Djokovic, going for a fourth consecutive Dubai title, is 8-0 this year.


KNEE INJURY SIDELINES MILLER FOR REST OF SEASON: Bode Miller will undergo another surgery on his balky left knee and miss the remainder of the World Cup season.

The five-time Olympic medalist had a minor arthroscopic procedure performed on the knee earlier this month with the hope of quickly returning to the circuit. But when Miller recently arrived back in Europe, he experienced more discomfort.

The U.S. ski team didn't release a date for Miller's next surgery.

Miller says he will return to training, "as soon as possible. I'm still having fun and as long as skiing is enjoyable, I'm going to continue to do it."

The 34-year-old Miller had four podium finishes this season, including a win on the challenging Birds of Prey downhill course at Beaver Creek in December. He was 10th in the overall standings.


US ANNOUNCES TEAMS FOR BMX SUPERCROSS WORLD CUPS: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Olympic silver medalist Mike Day is among 10 riders chosen by USA Cycling on Monday to represent its funded team in the opening rounds of the BMX Supercross World Cup.

Day is joined on the men's team by Corben Sharrah, David Herman, Connor Fields and Nic Long, who earned the bronze medal at last summer's Olympic test event.

Arielle Martin and Brooke Crain, the top two finishers at the final World Cup last season, are joined by national champion Alise Post, Amanda Carr and Amanda Geving on the women's team.

The World Cup season starts March 30-31 in Chula Vista, Calif. The second round is April 13-14 in Randaberg, Norway.

Both events count toward the BMX nations ranking, which determines the number of starters for each country at the Summer Olympics. The U.S. men and women are currently positioned to send a full contingent of riders to London.

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