A day after Alex Rodriguez tried to explain his use of performance- enhancing drugs, Derek Jeter responded.
“We’re here to support him through it,” the New York Yankees’ captain said Wednesday. “I don’t condone what he did. We don’t condone what he did. And Alex doesn’t condone what he did. And I think at this point now it’s our jobs to try to help him be as comfortable as he can on the field and try to move past this.”
With all the focus on Rodriguez, Jeter bristled at those who continue to group all players together.
“One thing that is irritating and it really upsets me a lot is when you hear everybody say, ‘It was the steroid era. Everybody was doing it.’ You know, that’s not true. Everybody was not doing it,” he said.
•Shea Stadium demolished: The circular modern stadium that hosted two World Series title winners but was criticized for its lack of charm and amenities, met its end. It was 44. The last remaining part of the Flushing, N.Y., ballpark, the section 5 ramp, was knocked down at 11:25 a.m.
•Red Sox owner wants salary cap: Boston Red Sox owner John Henry renewed his call for a salary cap after an off-season in which the Yankees added three free agents for $423.5 million.
•Johnson avoids arbitration: The Atlanta Braves agreed on a $2.825 million, one-year contract with second baseman Kelly Johnson, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. Johnson, who made $430,000 last season, was asking for a salary of $3.3 million in arbitration.
•Willingham agrees to contract: Outfielder Josh Willingham and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $2.95 million contract for 2009, avoiding an arbitration hearing. His new one-year deal calls for performance bonuses of $25,000 each for 525, 550, 575 and 600 plate appearances.
•Aybar, Rays agree on terms: Willy Aybar and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a $2.6 million, two-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The utilityman hit .253 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 95 games with the A.L. champion Rays in 2008.
■Maddux returns as instructor: Four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux rejoined the San Diego Padres as a spring training instructor. Though his position is only temporary, Maddux hopes it will lead to a permanent coaching job. Maddux, who is eighth all time with 355 career wins, retired in December after 23 big league seasons.
•Nationals prospect lied about age: A top baseball prospect from the Dominican Republic who received a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals lied about his age and name in what team president Stan Kasten called “an elaborate scheme.”
In July 2006, to much fanfare, the Nationals signed a 16-year-old shortstop named Esmailyn “Smiley” Gonzalez. A Major League Baseball investigation determined Gonzalez is actually Carlos David Alvarez Lugo, born in November 1985 – meaning he is really 23.
Thunder call off trade after failed physical
The Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded their trade with New Orleans, sending center Tyson Chandler back to the Hornets.
Chandler failed a physical, and the Thunder backed out of the deal that would have sent Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith and second-round pick DeVon Hardin to New Orleans.
•Wade sues wife, attorneys: Dwyane Wade sued his estranged wife and two of her lawyers over accusations the Miami Heat star contracted a sexually transmitted disease through an extramarital affair. In the lawsuit, Wade is seeking at least $50,000 in damages from each defendant.
•Blazers come from behind for win: Brandon Roy had 24 points, including two key layups in the final minutes, and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Memphis Grizzlies 94-90 at Portland.
•Lakers’ big fourth quarter nets win: Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol added 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers roared from behind in the final 5 minutes for their 13th victory in 15 games, 129-121 over the Golden State Warriors at Oakland, Calif.
Tar Heels top Wolfpack with big second half
Tyler Hansbrough scored 27 points to help third-ranked North Carolina beat North Carolina State 89-80 at Chapel Hill, N.C.
Danny Green added 19 points for the Tar Heels (24-2, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who pulled away in the second half to win their 10th straight game.
•Illinois scores 33 in loss: Talor Battle made four free throws in the final 16 seconds to lead Penn State to an ugly 38-33 win over No. 18 Illinois at Champaign, Ill. The Nittany Lions (19-8, 8-6 Big Ten), committed 13 turnovers and made just 28 percent of their shots.
•Butler runs out of time on road: Avery Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Wisconsin- Milwaukee appeared to benefit from a clock malfunction in the closing seconds of a 63-60 victory over No. 21 Butler at Milwaukee.
Leipheimer continues bid for third straight title
Mark Cavendish won the mountainous fourth stage and Levi Leipheimer moved closer to his third straight Tour of California title at Clovis, Calif.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who began the day in fourth place, also finished in the main field, remaining 30 seconds behind Leipheimer.
•Armstrong’s missing bike found: Lance Armstrong’s time-trial bike was found in Sacramento, Calif., four days after it disappeared from the Team Astana truck after he used it before Stage 1 of the Tour of California. Officers said a local resident brought the custom bike, worth about $10,000, to police headquarters.
•Title fight returns to Montreal: Undefeated WBC champion Timothy Bradley, Jr. will face WBO titleholder Kendall Holt in a light welterweight unification bout at the Bell Centre on April 4.
The fight between the two Americans will be the most significant boxing match held in the predominantly French-speaking city since Roberto Duran defeated Sugar Ray Leonard on June 20, 1980, to claim the welterweight title in the “Brawl in Montreal” at Olympic Stadium.