Pittsburgh is out to get at least a portion of its band back together. Of their seven free agents, the Pirates are eager to re-sign three: Right-hander A.J. Burnett, outfielder Marlon Byrd and shortstop Clint Barmes. That leaves Justin Morneau, John Buck, Kyle Farnsworth and Jeff Karstens at least on the backburner -- and, most likely, out. Burnett's case is by far the most intriguing -- because he has gone on the record that he will either pitch for the Pirates or retire. A heck of a negotiating stance, should he decide to continue his career. In all likelihood, the Bucs will make his the qualifying offer of $14.1 million and he will accept -- buy both sides time to negotiate a new deal if he decided to go on. The five-day exclusivity window is a non-issue with Burnett, given his Bucs-or-out stance. (MLB.com) Comment
Cincinnati lost in more ways than one Thursday night, as Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, one of the league's most dominant defensive players, may be out for a while. Atkins left the Bengals' 22-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins with a right knee injury Thursday night. NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reports, via a Bengals source that early indications are that Atkins has torn his right ACL. Atkins stayed down on the field for a long time after the injury, and had to be helped off the field by teammates. The two-time All-Pro player was carted off the field and taken to the locker room after. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Atkins will get an MRI on his knee Friday to confirm the injury, per a separate Bengals source. "If anyone can come back, he can," the source added. (NFL.com) Comment
There it is, at long last: A definitive remark. Carmelo Anthony, trying to quell those who have criticized him about touting his free agency, made his boldest statement yet about wanting to remain in orange and blue. Speaking to the TNT crew before Thursday's game, Anthony said, "I want to retire in New York, I mean, let's just be quite frank." Anthony had created something of a firestorm when he said he was definitely going to opt out of his contract because he "wanted to be a free agent." ... "I think a lot of people jumped the gun when I said I wanted to be a free agent," he said. "And yeah, I want people to come play in New York. I want them to want to play in New York. I want New York to be that place where guys want to come play." Anthony said this week he has a "big black book" to recruit free agents. (New York Post) Comment
Rory McIlroy takes a swing in the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Gio Bernard stepped things up a notch on Thursday as the Bengals faced the Dolphina.