Virus To Delay Nadal’s Comeback
BARCELONA, Spain — Just when Rafael Nadal had recovered from a knee injury, a stomach virus has delayed his return to tennis by a couple of months.
Nadal announced Friday he will miss next month’s Australian Open and probably won’t play again until the end of February. The Spaniard said he needs time to recover from the virus that already prevented him from coming back this week at Abu Dhabi.
Nadal has been sidelined since June with a knee injury, which forced him to miss the London Olympics and U.S. Open. He had planned to rejoin the ATP tour at the Qatar Open in Doha next month before the Jan. 14-27 Australian Open, but pulled out of both.
While he is expected to recover from the virus in time for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, Nadal and his team said he wouldn’t have the proper preparation for a five-set event.
Nadal stressed that his decision had nothing to do with the tendinitis in his left knee. That injury prompted him to take a break following a second-round loss to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.
The former No. 1 hopes to return at a tournament in Acapulco, Mexico, starting Feb. 27.
Urbina Out of Jail, Back in Baseball
CARACAS, Venezuela — Former major league pitcher Ugueth Urbina returned to baseball Friday after serving 7 1/2 years in prison for the attempted murder of five workers on his family’s ranch.
Before taking the field in his native Venezuela to play for the Lions of Caracas, Urbina described himself as “more mature” and said he was “very excited to play baseball again.”
“I’m excited to be here,” Urbina told reporters at the University Stadium in Caracas, where the Lions played the Zulia Eagles.
The 38-year-old pitcher was released from prison Sunday after serving roughly half of his 14-year sentence for attempted murder during a dispute over a gun on Oct. 16, 2005 at his family’s ranch 25 miles from Caracas.
Urbina, who pitched for the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies, has repeatedly denied involvement with the incident that landed him in prison, saying he was sleeping at the time of the attack.
INDIANS: Cleveland sold its regional TV sports network and telecast rights for Indians baseball games to Fox Sports Media Group, in a deal announced Friday. While no financial terms were released, The Plain Dealer reported that Fox Sports is paying an estimated $230 million for SportsTime Ohio and $400 million over 10 years to broadcast the games.
Canadian Hockey Team To Tour Here
TAOS — For the first time, a Canadian high school ice hockey team will travel to New Mexico to play against the top high school club teams in the state. The St. Thomas Aquinas Saints, from Kenora, Ontario, are coming 1,800 miles to play Taos, Cibola, Los Alamos and El Paso high schools from Jan. 4-6 in Taos.
Hockey is not a sanctioned sport at the high school level in New Mexico, but several schools have formed club teams.
Saints general manager Mike Favreau arranged the trip with Taos coach Brian Greer, and the two are talking about sending New Mexican teams to play in Canada in the coming years.
OLYMPICS: Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Olympic champion sailor Ben Ainslie were honored with knighthoods by Queen Elizabeth II in her New Year list.