Sports briefs for Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

From wire reports
Posted Dec. 14, 2012, at 5:26 p.m.

U.S. Open 2013 change puts men’s final on Monday

NEW YORK — The U.S. Open tennis tournament has extended its schedule to a Monday men’s finish next year after a fifth year of weather delays disrupted the event in September, the U.S. Tennis Association said on Friday.

The new program will feature a Sunday women’s final followed by the men’s title match on Monday, and provide a day’s rest between the semi-finals and finals for both the men and women, bringing the U.S. Open in line with the other grand slams.

The change, which affects just the 2013 event pending a decision on the years going forward, will abolish the Open’s controversial Super Saturday, that for nearly 30 years had the men’s semi-finals and women’s final scheduled on the same day.

The USTA, which had been harshly criticized by players over the scheduling, also announced an addition of $4 million to the prize money pool for the year’s final grand slam, bringing the total to $29.5 million.

Griffin III continues to practice with Redskins

Injured rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III practiced for a third consecutive day as the Washington Redskins prepared for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Griffin stretched with teammates and appeared to move well on his sprained knee during drills in the team’s indoor facility, according to reports.

Coach Mike Shanahan has said Griffin’s status for Sunday would not be determined until game time.

But Griffin, the NFL’s top-rated passer, has not worked with the first-team offense in practice all week, Fox Sports reported. Instead, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins has taken the first-team reps.

Griffin’s injury occurred last Sunday in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ win over Baltimore. Cousins relieved him and led Washington to the tying and winning points.

Cardinals sign Wigginton to 2-year contract

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed versatile Ty Wigginton to a two-year contract, according to a report.

The value of the contract is approximately $5 million, Fox Sports reported Friday.

The right-handed-hitting Wigginton hit .235 with 11 home runs in 360 plate appearances for Philadelphia in 2012.

Wiggington, 35, likely will fill utility and pinch-hitting roles for the Cardinals. He played first base, third and the outfield last season for the Phillies.

In 11 seasons in the majors, the journeyman has hit 11 or more homers nine times, including 24 with Tampa Bay in 2006. Wigginton has a career .263 batting average with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Houston, Baltimore, Colorado and Philadelphia.

Suzuki, Yankees close in on $13M deal

NEW YORK — Ichiro Suzuki and the New York Yankees closed in Friday on a $13 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The sides still had to finalize language and the deal will be subject to a physical, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not complete. Suzuki will get $6.5 million a year.

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 23, the 39-year-old Suzuki revived his career in New York. His batting average jumped from .261 with the Mariners, to .322 with the Yankees, with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals.

A 10-time All-Star, Suzuki has 2,606 hits in 12 major league seasons.

Also Friday, New York finalized a $12 million, one-year contract with Kevin Youkilis, who is expected to start at third base during the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery scheduled for next month.

Temple offers coaching job to Rhule

PHILADELPHIA — Temple has made an offer to New York Giants assistant Matt Rhule to become the Owls’ new head coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on anonymity Friday because Rhule had not yet formally accepted the position. Rhule was one of the final two candidates for the job.

The person said University of Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio withdrew from consideration.

The Owls are in the market for their third coach in four seasons, following Steve Addazio’s departure to Boston College last week. Temple went 4-7 this season after having three straight winning seasons and playing in two bowl games under Addazio and Al Golden.

The Giants play Sunday at Atlanta, which means Rhule might not be introduced as the new coach until next week, possibly as early as Monday.

Rhule has strong ties to Temple, a factor high on the university’s wish list after Addazio bolted after only two seasons. Rhule spent six seasons on the Owls’ coaching staff before joining Tom Coughlin’s staff as the Giants’ assistant offensive line coach.

La. Tech tapping Skip Holtz as new coach

RUSTON, La. — Louisiana Tech officials say they’ve hired Skip Holtz as their new football coach.

Holtz, whose hiring was announced Friday, replaces Sonny Dykes, who left to accept the head coaching job at California last week.

The 48-year-old Holtz is the son of Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz, who is known most for his long and successful stint at Notre Dame.

The younger Holtz most recently coached at South Florida, which fired him this month following a 3-9 finish to the 2012 season. Holtz was 16-21 in three seasons at South Florida.

Holtz is 88-71 overall in 13 seasons at Connecticut, East Carolina and USF.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/14/sports/sports-briefs-for-friday-dec-14-2012/ printed on July 31, 2014