Sports Extra

MLB

10-team MLB postseason will have to wait ... for now

NEW YORK – Negotiators for baseball players and owners said there is no set deadline for an agreement to expand the playoffs to 10 teams this season.

The sides have said for weeks a deal is likely. When players and owners signed their agreement for a new labor contract in November, the section covering the postseason established a March 1 goal for deciding whether the playoffs would increase by two teams for 2012 or 2013.

But in recent days both sides said negotiations would continue beyond Thursday if they needed time. The sides spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the talks have not been public.

The deal would establish a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

Steinbrenner? Lower payroll? Yankees are looking inward

TAMPA, Fla. – New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said it’s his goal to lower the team’s payroll to $189 million over the next few years.

Under baseball’s new labor contract, the luxury tax threshold will be at $189 million after the 2013 season.

Steinbrenner said this season’s payroll is around $210 million. He feels the Yankees can be successful at a lower level with a strong player-development system.

The Yankees were hit with a $13.9 million luxury tax last season. New York’s final 2011 payroll was $212.7 million.

NFL

Sides give closing arguments as jury deliberates Cox’s fate

CASTLE ROCK – Jurors in the sexual assault trial of former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox on Thursday saw video of him expressing shock that the alleged victim was pregnant and that he was accused of raping her.

Cox is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment over Labor Day weekend 2010. Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Thursday morning, and the jury deliberated for about four hours before leaving for the day, after closing arguments concluded early in the afternoon.

In the portion of a videotaped interview that detectives did with Cox the night he was arrested, Lone Tree Police Department Detective Steve Hipp informs Cox that his DNA indicates he impregnated the woman. Cox then sits back and says, “Are you serious?”

“I never raped nobody,” Cox told the detective as both spoke in loud voices. “I’m losing it because, seriously, I never touched this girl.”

The interview ends with Cox asking: “I’m going to jail? You’re kidding me. What am I supposed to do? I didn’t.”

Later, Hipp testified that he took Cox to a holding cell where Cox later asked him, “What if she jumped on me when I was passed out?”

Cox was arrested after the alleged victim realized she was pregnant and contacted police. The woman testified Wednesday, saying she had a fuzzy memory of what happened that night and suspected she had been drugged after waking up feeling sick the next day.

Cox is being tried on one count of sexual assault while the victim was physically helpless and one count of sexual assault while the victim was incapable of determining the nature of the conduct. He faces two years to life in prison if convicted. He did not testify.

NASCAR

Penske gets out of Dodge, will switch to Fords in 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Penske Racing will switch from Dodge to Ford in NASCAR competition beginning in 2013, a move the team believes will help Roger Penske finally win a Sprint Cup championship.

Penske said Thursday his drivers will compete with Ford Fusions in the Sprint Cup Series and Ford Mustangs in the Nationwide Series. He said the multiyear deal calls for Penske to field two Cup cars and two Nationwide cars, and he hopes to eventually move one of his Nationwide teams up a level to create a three-car Cup program.

Associated Press