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In Brief

BASEBALL

Police investigate Cubs’ Castro for sexual assault

Chicago police are investigating an allegation that Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro sexually assaulted a woman last fall.

Castro has not been charged with a crime, and police otherwise declined comment. “It’s an ongoing investigation,” officer John Mirabelli said Friday.

Castro, 21, was unavailable for comment, but his attorneys said the allegation is false.

“We are aware of certain allegations that have been made against our client, Starlin Castro. We have thoroughly investigated this matter, and we are confident that these allegations are baseless,” attorneys Jay Reisinger and Michael Gillespie said. “Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.”

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer declined to discuss the allegation in any detail.

Castro was chosen to the All-Star team last year in his first full major league season, when he batted .307 and led the National League with 207 hits. The Cubs are expected to build their team around him.

Also: The Cubs traded right-hander Andrew Cashner to the San Diego Padres for first baseman Anthony Rizzo and minor league right-hander Zach Cates. San Diego also received minor league outfielder Kyung-Min Na in the deal.

Cashner was slated to be the Cubs’ fifth starter last season but strained his shoulder in early April and made only seven appearances, including one start.

Shortstop Ronny Cedeno and the New York Mets agreed to a $1.15 million, one-year contract. Cedeno, who turns 29 next month, hit .249 with two home runs and 32 RBIs last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He figures to back up Ruben Tejada after the departure of All-Star Jose Reyes, who agreed to a $106 million, six-year deal with the Miami Marlins.

The world champion St. Louis Cardinals retooled their staff while Dave Duncan takes a leave of absence that could lead to his retirement, elevating Derek Lilliquist to pitching coach and Dyar Miller to bullpen coach. Lilliquist filled in as pitching coach when the 66-year-old Duncan took a leave of absence in August to be with his wife, Jeanine, after surgery to remove a brain tumor.

GOLF

Byrd takes early lead in defense of Kapalua title

A new PGA Tour season began with a familiar name atop the leaderboard at Kapalua.

Defending champion Jonathan Byrd ran off six straight birdies early in his round and opened with a 6-under-par 67. That gave him a one-shot lead in the Tournament of Champions on a breezy, splendid afternoon in Hawaii.

Byrd hasn’t won since his playoff victory a year ago in the season opener. He’s trying to become the third player in the past eight years to win in consecutive years at Kapalua.

Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Martin Laird and Michael Bradley opened at 68.

The winners-only field has only 27 players, the fewest since it moved to Kapalua in 1999. Lucas Glover withdrew because of a sprained knee from a paddle board accident.

Also: Paul Casey dislocated his right shoulder while snowboarding in Colorado, sidelining him for the first two months of the year and damaging his chances of qualifying for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. The 20th-ranked Englishman said he doesn’t need surgery and “should be back hitting balls in a few weeks.”

Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen shot an 11-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Africa Open in East London, South Africa. The South African had nine birdies and an eagle to lead Retief Goosen (68) and three others. Oosthuizen missed equaling Richard Sterne’s course record by a shot, moving to 15-under 131 overall at the European Tour’s season-opening event.

The oceanfront mansion Tiger Woods’ ex-wife purchased for $12.3 million has been demolished and she is planning to build a new home.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Elin Nordegren plans to build on the North Palm Beach, Fla., lot she bought last year. The lot is about 140 miles southeast of Woods’ home in Orlando.

The newspaper reported the mansion that was demolished was a two-story, 17,000-square-foot-home built in 1932. It had a swimming pool and an elevator.

MISCELLANEOUS

Wranglers allow first three goals, final two in loss

The Wranglers rallied from a three-goal deficit before losing to the Colorado Eagles 5-3 in an ECHL game at Loveland, Colo.

Las Vegas allowed three goals — two on the power play — to fall into a 3-0 first-period hole. But forward Eric Lampe, forward Scott Campbell and center Geoff Paukovich followed with goals for the Wranglers for a 3-3 tie. Las Vegas then gave up the final two goals.

Lampe extended his point-scoring streak to 14 games and tied the Wranglers’ all-time record for longest point-scoring streak, held by center Adam Miller last season.

Also: The NHL said it won’t go forward with its realignment plan and modified playoff format next season after the players’ association refused to agree to the changes. The changes were recently approved by the NHL’s board of governors.

The league said it will maintain its current alignment and playoff format next season.

Sacramento Kings power forward Chuck Hayes is expected to miss three to four weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. He was injured in a 103-100 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday when he reached in and fouled Milwaukee center Drew Gooden in the second quarter.

Taylor Broekhuis and Taylor Stewart each scored 16 points, and Air Force survived a slow start in a 68-54 nonconference basketball victory over Chicago State at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Falcons (9-4) trailed by five early against the Cougars (0-15), but shot 65 percent in the second half to pull away.

The vice president of the WBA called for a rematch of the light-welterweight title fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson after questions were raised about the legitimacy of the American’s victory. The WBA is studying images of an unidentified man accused by Khan of interfering with the judges and leaning over WBA supervisor Michael Welsh during the controversial fight Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C.

Gael Monfils upset Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Qatar Open in Doha to line up an unexpected all-French final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after Roger Federer pulled out of the tournament with back spasms. Monfils, who had beaten Nadal once before in nine meetings, used a strong first serve and chased down nearly every shot to win, 6-3, 6-4.

The match was overshadowed by Federer withdrawing 30 minutes before his match against Tsonga. The 16-time Grand Slam winner said his back had not improved since beating Andreas Seppi in three sets Thursday.

Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters quit her semifinal because of an ailing hip, the second top player in the Brisbane International to sustain an injury leading up to the year’s first major.

Clijsters won the first set 7-6 (4) against Daniela Hantuchova, but was broken at the start of the second set and needed treatment after the third game. She came back onto the court for one game before walking to the net and telling Hantuchova she couldn’t continue after falling behind 3-1.

The Czech Republic will meet France in the final of the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, advancing with a 2-0 victory over Denmark after No. 2-ranked Petra Kvitova beat No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in three sets and Tomas Berdych defeated Frederik Nielsen.

Kirk Hafen resigned as Virgin Valley High School’s football coach after 21 years at the helm. Hafen was 166-66 as head coach and won a Class 3A state title in 2006 and a 2A championship in 1994.

“It’s kind of a transition period going into a new league, and I’m pretty close to retiring from teaching,” Hafen said. “I just thought it might be a good time.”

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