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Sports in brief

SPORT

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EARNHARDT JR. RAVES ABOUT NEW CUP CAR

CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR spent almost a year developing its 2013 car in hopes the "Gen 6" model will dramatically improve the racing.

After his first test drive Tuesday, NASCAR's most popular driver approved.

"This sport is going to be revolutionized again with this car," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

That's a ringing endorsement for NASCAR, which stumbled out of the gate with the launch of its 2007 Sprint Cup car and never recovered. Drivers were mixed on the "Car of Tomorrow" during its development and the messaging reflected the varying opinions.

When Kyle Busch won the CoT's debut race at Bristol, he panned the car in his victory celebration on live television. He didn't let up in postrace interviews, likening the car to driving a milk crate.

NASCAR worked on orders from chairman Brian France to develop a racier 2013 model, which will officially debut at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.

CYCLING

Armstrong sought sealing of records

Lance Armstrong resisted turning over records sought by U.S. Postal Service investigators, then tried to keep the inquiry under seal and out of the public eye, according to released court documents. In 2011, Postal Service officials investigating Armstrong and his teams for doping wanted records from his team management groups, financial statements, training journals and correspondence with former training consultant Michele Ferrari. He eventually complied with the subpoena but as recently as October asked the courts to keep the inquiry private.

BASEBALL

Youkilis headed to ex-team's enemy

Kevin Youkilis and the Yankees reached a deal, AP reported, returning the hard-nosed three-time All-Star to the AL East. The one-year contract for $12 million is pending a physical. Youkilis was a star for the rival Red Sox for nearly a decade before being traded to the White Sox last season.

THREE-TEAM TRADE: The Indians traded outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and acquired prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer from the Diamondbacks. Centerfielder Drew Stubbs went from Cincinnati to Cleveland as part of the nine-player swap. The Indians also got right-handers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from Arizona, sent infielder Jason Donald and about $3.5 million to the Reds and shipped lefty reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to Arizona. The Diamondbacks got shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius from Cincinnati.

GOLF

Ryder Cup captain revealed Thursday

The PGA of America is bringing a mystery guest to the Today show: Its next Ryder Cup captain. Golf Digest reported on its website that it would be Tom Watson. The PGA of America said it would reveal the U.S. captain for the 2014 team during a segment Thursday of NBC's morning show, followed by a news conference. NBC is the longtime broadcast partner of the Ryder Cup.

ET CETERA

TENNIS: Rafael Nadal said he'll play in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this month after a six-month break to recover from a knee injury. Nadal has not played since a stunning second-round loss to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.

Times wires

Sports in brief 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:30pm]
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  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC

    College

    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.