Sports briefs for Jan. 15, 2013

Posted Jan. 15, 2013, at 7:04 p.m.

Francona’s book takes shot at Red Sox owners

Terry Francona’s upcoming book, which will be released later this month, takes some shots at the Boston Red Sox owners, according to excerpts published by WBZ in Boston.

The implication is the owners don’t love baseball and put ratings and attendance above everything else.

One except describes a meeting with Theo Epstein (then the Red Sox general manager), Francona (then the Red Sox manager) and the ownership group of Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner and John Henry:

“Werner talked about slumping television ratings and whined, ‘We need to start winning in more exciting fashion,’” according to an excerpt, which later quoted Epstein as saying, “They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing from what we set out to be. … (That) was evidence to me of the inherent tension between building a baseball operation the way I thought was best and the realities of being in a big market … which had gotten bigger than any of us could handle.”

Spurs being sued by fan for resting players

The San Antonio Spurs are being sued by a lawyer who claims the team violated the state’s deceptive and fair trade practices law when they sent home several of their best players so they could rest rather than play in a game against the Miami Heat in November, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Larry McGuinness filed a class action suit on Monday in Miami-Dade County. The suit stated head coach Gregg Popovich “intentionally and surrepticiously” sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green back to San Antonio without the knowledge of the league, the team and the fans attending the Nov. 29 game in Miami.

McGuinness contends that he and other fans “suffered economic damages” as a result of paying a premium price for a ticket with the expectation of seeing those star players.

Popovich sent the players home to rest them for their fourth game in five days.

The NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 for sending the four players home, and the NBA is not named in the suit.

Proud McGinley named first Irish Ryder Cup captain

ABU DHABI — Paul McGinley was beaming with pride on Tuesday after being appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the biennial match against the United States next year.

The 46-year-old Irishman, who holed the winning putt in the 2002 match at The Belfry, was the unanimous choice of the Players Committee at a meeting in Abu Dhabi and becomes Ireland’s first skipper in the history of the event launched in 1927.

Committee chairman Thomas Bjorn said five names were discussed, McGinley, 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sandy Lyle.

“This is a position I’m really thrilled to be in. It’s also a very humbling experience and I can’t wait to get into the role of captain and to working with the players,” a misty-eyed McGinley told a news conference.

Johnson, Rodgers drop out of Pro Bowl

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not participate in the Pro Bowl later this month.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson has been named to replace Johnson, who has an injury.

Rodgers said on his weekly radio show he won’t play in the Pro Bowl because of multiple unspecified injuries, according to ESPNWisconsin.com.

“I didn’t pass my physical,” Rodgers said.

Also, Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth has been added to the AFC squad for the Pro Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 27 in Honolulu.

Whitworth will replace Denver’s Ryan Clady, who will be unable to play because of an injury.

Browns reach agreement on stadium naming-rights deal

The Cleveland Browns and FirstEnergy Corp. announced a long-term partnership on Tuesday in which the team’s venue will be called FirstEnergy Stadium.

Since it was completed in 1999, the Browns home field has been known as Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Terms of the naming-rights agreement were not disclosed. The deal is contingent upon approval from Cleveland City Council. Once approved, the Cleveland stadium will become the 23rd of 31 NFL venues to have entered into a naming-rights agreement.

As part of the naming-rights agreement, FirstEnergy becomes the official energy partner of the Cleveland Browns. In addition, the partnership consists of both interior and exterior stadium signage, use of Browns trademarks, event sponsorships, as well as a full complement of media assets, including TV, radio, print and digital.

Nadal to return next month at Brazil Open

French Open champion Rafa Nadal will make his long-awaited comeback from injury at next month’s Brazil Open, the ATP confirmed on Tuesday.

The Mallorcan former world number one has been sidelined with a knee injury since last year’s Wimbledon tournament and his hopes of returning at the Australian Open were hit by illness.

It will be Nadal’s first appearance on the tour in South America since 2005.

The tournament is staged indoors in Sao Paulo.

Oilers’ Sutton probably out for the season

One day after the Edmonton Oilers acquired defenseman Mark Fistric from Dallas in exchange for a third-round pick in the upcoming drafft, the Oilers said defenseman Andy Sutton is not expected to play this season because of his knee problems.

“We don’t believe Andy will be playing this year,” general manager Steve Tambellini said, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Sutton’s serious knee injury may end his career, and there is a chance he will have a managerial role with the Oilers if he can’t play.

Sutton, 37, signed a one-year, $1.75 million extension with the Oilers last February. He had 10 points in 52 games in 2010-2011, and he was signed because of his toughness and leadership. But he has since had surgery on his knee and is still recovering.

His status is part of the reason the Oilers acquired Fistic, 26. Fistic’s salary is $1.45 million for this season, according to the Journal, and he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.

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