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Sports briefs for Feb. 10, 2013

By Joe McLaughlin, BDN Staff

Jay Williams says players smoked pot before games

Former NBA player and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams told the New York Times in an interview that that some of his Chicago Bulls teammates smoked marijuana before games during the 2002-2003 season.

“I didn’t know how to handle it at first,” Williams said, according to the Times report. “I didn’t know how to be around it. Guys were on the bench, trying to kick it to girls in the stands, having ball boys run over. I mean, some guys were high.”

“There were guys smoking weed before games. Guys asking in the middle of the game, ‘Do you smell popcorn?’ “

Williams also said players gambled.

Williams’ only season in the NBA was with the 2002-03 Chicago Bulls, and he averaged 9.5 points. Williams battled depression and considered suicide following a motorcycle accident in 2013 that ruined his pro career.

Ko becomes youngest winner of women’s European Tour event

Teenager Lydia Ko became the youngest winner of a women’s European Tour golf event when she took victory at the New Zealand Women’s Open in Christchurch on Sunday.

The New Zealander cried with joy after winning her third professional title from 12 events at the age of 15 years, eight months and 17 days.

“I didn’t cry at the Canadian Open so I don’t know why I cried here,” Ko said. “I guess it meant more. It is our national open so to win means a lot.”

Ko, who made a three-foot putt on the final hole to finish on 206, one ahead of American Amelia Lewis, beat the record set by South Korean Amy Yang, who was aged 16 years, six months and eight days when she won the Ladies Masters in Australia as an amateur in 2006.

Ko became the third amateur to win on the women’s European Tour, after Gillian Stewart, at the 1984 European Open, and Yang.

Orioles reach deals with three pitchers

The Baltimore Orioles reached one-year contracts with All-Star closer Jim Johnson and pitcher Jason Hammel after going to arbitration, according to multiple reports on Sunday.

Also, the team is close to a two-year, $5.8 million deal with right-hander Darren O’Day to avoid arbitration.

Johnson will make $6.5 million and Hammel will get $6.75 million after Friday’s arbitration hearings.

Johnson can earn an additional $50,000 in performance bonuses. He saved a club-record 51 games last year, which also led the major leagues. He was 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in winning the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year award. He asked for $7.1 million and the team offered $5.7 million. He made $2,775,000 last year.

Hammel can also make $300,000 in performance bonuses based on games started and innings pitched. Hammel went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 20 starts in 2012. He asked for $8.25 million and the Orioles offered $5.7 million. He made $4.75 million last season.

O’Day’s contract would pay him $2.2 million this year and $3.2 million in 2014. The team also has a $4.25 million option for 2015 with a $400,000 buyout as part of the deal.

O’Day was 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 69 relief appearances. In exchanging arbitration figures, O’Day asked for $3.2 million and the team offered $1.8 million.

Indians sign Matsuzaka to minor league deal

The Cleveland Indians signed right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract, CBS Sports reported Sunday.

Matsuzaka can earn up to $4 million if he makes the major league club, according to the report. He will also be reunited with manager Terry Francona, who managed him with the Boston Red Sox.

Matsuzaka made just 11 starts last year for Boston after having Tommy John surgery in 2011. He went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 2012.

In six years with the Red Sox, Matsuzaka was 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA over 116 starts.

Greek Cup basketball final halted due to crowd violence

ATHENS — The Greek Cup final between arch rivals Olympiakos Piraeus and Panathinaikos was stopped on Sunday after a player was hit with a flare and fans invaded the court as the showpiece descended into farce.

Olympiakos’ American centre Kyle Hines was struck on the back with a flare in the warm-up at the neutral Elliniko Indoor Court venue with a restricted crowd of just 1,800 supporters.

Hines was not seriously injured, however, and was able to start the match.

But with Panathinaikos 26-17 ahead 13 minutes into the Athens derby encounter, the match referee ordered the players off the court after fans proceeded to fire flares at each other and rip up seats before spilling on to the court to fight running battles with each other and police.

After a 30-minute delay while authorities got the situation under control, organizers announced that the stadium would be completely cleared out and that the match would continue in front of Hellenic Basketball Federatio officials, club officials, journalists and security staff.

Rodgers wants to be a Packer at least 8 more years

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers envisions himself as a Green Bay Packer for at least as long as Brett Favre was the team’s signal caller.

Favre spent 16 years with Green Bay until finishing his career with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers told the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Saturday that he wants to stay with the Packers for just as long, if not longer than Favre.

“I’ve had eight great years there, the last five as a starter,” Rodgers said. “Hopefully I can give them another eight plus years of playing at a high level.”

In eight years, Rodgers will be 37 years old.

Rodgers has two years left on his contract, so he will need another long-term deal with the Packers to make it to 2020.

“We’ll see what happens with that, I’m not stressing about it,” he said. “I think the Packers would like me to be around for a few more years and I’d love to finish my career there.”

Reds sign Galarraga to minor league deal

The Cincinnati Reds signed veteran pitcher Armando Galarraga to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday.

The six-year veteran has pitched for the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers. Galarraga nearly threw a perfect game with the Tigers in 2010, only to have umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly rule a runner safe on what would have been the 27th out.

The 31-year-old right-hander was with Houston last season, compiling an 0-4 record with a 6.75 ERA in five starts.

For his career, Galarraga has a 26-34 record with a 4.78 ERA in 91 starts and nine relief appearances.

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