New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera plans to announce this weekend he'll retire after this season, a source said Thursday.
Rivera returned to Panama this week for a personal matter and is expected to rejoin the team Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
There's a good chance he'll pitch Saturday for the first time this spring. The 43-year-old tore a knee ligament while shagging fly balls during batting practice May 3 and had season-ending surgery in June.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was cleared to resume baseball activities after offseason ankle surgery and is expected in training camp Friday. St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal will undergo ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and expects to miss the season. He made the decision after visiting Dr. James Andrew. Furcal strained the ligament near the end of last season and missed the Cardinals' playoff run. The Chicago White Sox agreed on a five-year, $32.5 million deal with Chris Sale, who was 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 2012. Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run double off Giants closer Sergio Romo in the ninth inning, and Jason Grilli escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half to help Italy beat Mexico 6-5 in the opening game of Pool D in the World Baseball Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz. Left fielder Edgar Gonzalez lost Rizzo's deep fly ball in the sun. Robinson Cano had three hits and three RBIs, and Hanley Ramirez added a massive homer in the Dominican Republic's 9-3 win over Venezuela as Pool C play in the WBC began in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
San Diego released linebacker Takeo Spikes in its first major move under new general manager Tom Telesco. Spikes has played 15 NFL seasons, including the last two with the Chargers. He's never been on a playoff team. He earlier played with Cincinnati, Buffalo, Philadelphia and the 49ers. Tennessee and Rob Bironas agreed on a two-year contract, keeping the veteran kicker off the free agent market. Kansas City waived right tackle Eric Winston, just days after putting the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank agreed to financing terms for a retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. Reed said the city will provide $200 million of construction costs through bonds. Blank will provide $800 million and be responsible for cost overruns. Reed must get the blessing of the city council.
Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 by NASCAR for criticizing the new Gen-6 car after last week's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix, but he said he won't pay. "I'm not OK with it," said Hamlin, who'll appeal the fine.
He placed third in the race. Unpaid fines may be deducted from a driver's purse. U.S. women's soccer goalie Jill Loyden broke a bone in her hand and will miss three months.
The Americans will use either former Stanford star Nicole Barnhart or Ashlyn Harris for the rest of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The U.S. (1-0) plays China on Friday. Calvin Borel claimed win No. 5,000 aboard Hezunusal in the sixth race at Oaklawn Park (Ark.).