January 26, 2009|By From Sun staff and news services

Reports: Torre takes swings at Yanks in book


Joe Torre takes some harsh swings at Alex Rodriguez, Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees in a book due out early next month, according to New York newspaper reports. The Yankee Years reveals that Rodriguez was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates and the star slugger developed an obsession with shortstop Derek Jeter, the New York Post and the Daily News reported. Torre, who managed the Yankees from 1996 through 2007 before taking over the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, also says he was betrayed by Cashman, New York's longtime general manager, the Daily News reported on its Web site. Torre had a hot-and-cold relationship with Yankees ownership, including George Steinbrenner, but Cashman was thought to be a consistent ally. At the annual New York baseball writers' dinner last night, Cashman told reporters that Torre called him earlier in the day. "I woke up today and saw the newspapers, and I was surprised," Cashman was quoted as saying on Newsday's Web site. "I'm glad Joe gave me a call from Hawaii. It certainly made me feel better." The book, co-authored by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, is due out Feb. 3 and is being published by Doubleday.

Blue Jays:: The team confirmed to the Associated Press that it fired Bart Given as vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager.

S. Williams into quarters in Australian Open


Serena Williams, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after her fourth-round opponent, Victoria Azarenka, retired because of illness today in Melbourne. Azarenka won the first set 6-3 and Williams was leading 4-2 in the second set when Azarenka retired. Williams next faces 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who advanced earlier after her opponent, Zheng Zie, injured her wrist and retired in the first set. Gilles Simon advanced to the men's quarterfinals when fellow Frenchman and longtime friend Gael Monfils retired after three sets. Simon, seeded No. 6, was leading 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 when No. 12 Monfils withdrew with what appeared to be an injured right hand or arm. Simon, into the second week of a major for the first time, will next play top-ranked Rafael Nadal or 2007 Australian Open runner-up Fernando Gonzalez. In the opening women's match, Carla Suarez Navarro reached the quarterfinals after a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 21 Anabel Medina Garrigues in an all-Spanish match. Roger Federer had a narrow fourth-round win over Tomas Berdych yesterday. Federer, who prevailed, 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, will next face Juan Martin del Potro, seeded eighth, who advanced, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, over No. 19 Marin Cilic. Defending champion Novak Djokovic was pushed in a 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory over 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis. He will next play Andy Roddick, who ousted No. 21 Tommy Robredo, 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.

Abbott earns men's title at U.S. championships

figure skating

Jeremy Abbott won his first title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, a month after taking the gold at the Grand Prix final in South Korea. Not only did he end the stranglehold Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir had on U.S. men's skating, but he has to be mentioned as a serious medal contender at the world championships in Los Angeles in March. Abbott finished with 241.89 points, more than 13 points ahead of training mate Brandon Mroz. Lysacek was third, failing to win a third straight title. But the real disappointment was Weir, who was fifth and could miss the worlds. Weir, who won national titles from 2004 through 2006, was weakened by the flu during his training.

Ovechkin clinches win for East in All-Star Game


The NHL All-Star Game in Montreal was settled in the newest of ways in hockey's oldest city. The Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin sealed the Eastern Conference's 12-11 victory over the Western Conference with a goal in the third round of the shootout. It capped the busiest of nights for the NHL's reigning Most Valuable Player, who also had a goal and two assists. The biggest cheer of the night went to hometown hero Alex Kovalev, the Canadiens star who earned MVP honors with a pair of breakaway goals and then an additional one in the shootout against Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.

Armstrong places 29th in first comeback race

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