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Sports briefs for Dec. 9, 2013

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Thayer records 1,000th career harness racing win

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Harness racing driver Shawn Thayer mastered the mud at Scarborough Downs on Saturday to record his 1,000th career victory.

Thayer, a Hermon native, directed a member of his stable roster, Itsallaboutmike, to the victory in the third race with a 2:05.3 time in the muddy mile.

The pacing horse is owned by Marc Reynolds of Hermon.

Thayer has been a regular participant along the Maine harness racing circuit for two decades and was the driving champion at Scarborough Downs last season.

Thayer will help close out the season at Scarborough Downs over the next two weekends with racing beginning at 12:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Dubuc, Harzewski capture bowling titles

BANGOR — Brandon Dubuc of Auburn won the U20 title and Jakob Harzewski Dixmont captured the U15 crown during the Maine State Junior Gold Bowlers tourney at Family Fun Bowling Center Sunday.

Dubuc recorded a 953 total pinfall for five games while Harzewski notched a 992.

Becka Reynolds of Lewiston rolled a 909 to earn a berth for the North Pointe National Junior Golf Championships in July in Buffalo while Nathan Boothby of Augusta recorded a 972 to earn a spot in U15.

Pitcher Halladay announces retirement

ORLANDO, Fla. — Roy Halladay, who won 203 games in his 16-year career, announced his retirement Monday.

Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The right-hander spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Blue Jays from 1998-2009 then played four years with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Halladay, 36, underwent shoulder surgery this past season and went just 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA in 13 starts. He finishes his career with 203-105 record and a 3.38 ERA.

Despite having shoulder surgery, Halladay said having a degenerative disc in his back is what ultimately made him decide to retire.

Neal suspended 5 games for hit on Marchand

The NHL suspended Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal five games for kneeing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head during Saturday night’s game.

The five-game ban is the maximum allowable following Neal’s telephone hearing with the league’s Department of Player Safety.

Neal, 26, clipped Marchand with his knee after Marchand fell to the ice during the first period of the game. Neal was assessed a minor penalty on the play. He then scored a goal just seven seconds after his penalty expired.

“With a clear view of Marchand and plenty of time to avoid him, Neal skates directly through Marchand’s head with his left knee,” league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “It is our belief after viewing this incident that this is more serious than simply not avoiding contact with a fallen player.”

Welker not expected to play Thursday

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker is not expected to play Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers because he sustained his second concussion in the last four games.

Because of the NFL’s testing protocol for concussions, Welker will not be cleared in time.

Welker was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans when he was hit hard by safety Bernard Pollard. He finished with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Welker also had a concussion Nov. 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

This season, Welker has 73 catches for 778 yards with 10 touchdowns.

Mathieu’s season comes to end for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s rare for a rookie to win over the hearts and minds of veterans as quickly as safety Tyrann Mathieu did with the Arizona Cardinals.

But the third-round pick impressed everyone with his work ethic and passion for the game. That’s why many players were somber after finding out that Mathieu suffered tears in his left ACL and LCL last Sunday against the Rams.

Mathieu will undergo surgery within the next 10 days or so, and he’s expected to miss at least a portion of training camp.

Mathieu will be difficult to replace. He has been the team’s nickel cornerback since the start of the season and moved into the starting free safety job six weeks ago.

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