Yankees offer record deal to lefty Sabathia

Baseball’s free-agent season opened Friday with the New York Yankees giving CC Sabathia a record offer for a pitcher.

The Yankees formulated a proposal to the big left-hander that would exceed Johan Santana’s $137.5 million, six-year contract with the New York Mets both in total and average, a baseball official familiar with the negotiations said.

Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner confirmed at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., that an offer was made to Sabathia, and that proposals will be forthcoming for pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.

Steinbrenner declined to give details about the Sabathia offer.


Pro Bowler Lynch to announce retirement

John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowler with the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will announce his retirement Monday in Tampa, Fla.

The hard-hitting safety had 1,277 tackles and 26 interceptions in 224 regular-season games.

Lynch played 11 seasons with Tampa Bay, winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers during the 2002 season.

He signed with the Broncos in 2004 and left in July after being bumped from his starting role. He signed with the New England Patriots in August but was cut two weeks later.

Also: Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney’s four brothers have agreed to sell a controlling stake of the team to him and his son, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Patrick and Art Rooney Jr. confirmed the deal in a story posted on the paper’s Web site. They and their other two brothers — Timothy and John — could get a total of $750 million after debt is taken out, according to the report.

New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie was charged with drunken driving in Little Falls, N.J., after a traffic stop Thursday night.

McKenzie was stopped after he cut through a gas station lot at about 9:30 p.m., said Little Falls police Lt. Salvatore Calafiore. A Breathalyzer test found McKenzie’s blood-alcohol level was above New Jersey’s legal limit of 0.08.

Five Florida State receivers will miss tonight’s homecoming game against Boston College for their roles in a midweek campus fight, coach Bobby Bowden said.

Taiwan Easterling, Bert Reed, Corey Surrency, Cameron Wade and Richard Goodman will sit out the crucial Atlantic Coast Conference game.


Stanford grabs lead in Ochoa Invitational

Angela Stanford shot a 6-under-par 66 in the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, to take a two-stroke lead over LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng.

Stanford had a 10-under 134 total. Tseng, No. 2 in the world behind Ochoa, shot her second straight 68.

Ochoa followed her opening 73 with a 71 on her home course, leaving her 10 strokes back.

Also: Ernie Els of South Africa and England’s Simon Dyson shared a two-stroke lead at the Singapore Open, with play delayed for a second day because of rain.

Els, who lost the tournament in a playoff in 2006 before missing the cut last year, was on the course early to complete his first-round 66, then re-emerged to shoot a 70 in his second round to move to 6-under 136 at the halfway mark.

Seve Ballesteros is improving following brain surgery on a malignant tumor and is likely to be released from intensive care next week.

The golfer’s condition “continues to improve,” Madrid’s La Paz hospital said in a statement.

Brady Exber followed his opening-round 6-under 66 with a par 72 to win the net division of the two-day Clark County Senior Amateur at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City by seven strokes over Steven Hakes (72-73–145).

John Garrett (73-68–141) took the scratch division by one stroke over Exber (68-74) and Harold Critcher (73-69).


Quick-strike Lightning: Melrose out as coach

Barry Melrose’s return to the NHL as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning lasted 16 games. Now the job belongs to assistant Rick Tocchet, who was once suspended from the league for his involvement in a sports betting ring.

Melrose was fired less than five months after he left the television booth to coach a team that finished with the league’s worst record last season.

The Lightning has lost three straight games, dropping to fourth in the Southeast Division with a 5-7-4 record.

Also: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa is expected to miss two weeks with a broken foot.

Bieksa leads Vancouver’s defense in scoring with 11 points in 13 games and the team in average ice time at 24:38.

Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa returned to Brazil after his mother died.

He flew to his hometown of Sao Paulo late Thursday after learning of the death of his mother, Ivete Barbosa. Team officials are not sure when Barbosa will return.

New York Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari received another cortisone shot for his ailing back and will have an “extended period of rest” while seeking additional opinions on treatment.

A federal judge in Miami rejected requests to delay the tax evasion trial of race-car driver Helio Castroneves.

U.S. District Judge Donald Graham said the March 2 trial date will stand. Lawyers for Castroneves and Penske Racing Inc. had sought a delay until November to ensure he could drive in the 2009 IndyCar Series that runs April to October.

The UNLV men’s soccer team dropped a 3-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match to Denver at Peter Johann Memorial Field.

Ben Haugland scored his third goal of the season in the fourth minute for the Rebels (8-8-1, 3-6-0).

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