Sports briefs: Boston pitcher Ryan Dempster to sit out season
baseball • Boston Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster plans to take this season off, a decision that surprised teammates and will cost the 16-year veteran $13.25 million in salary. Dempster said Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla., that he is stepping away for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family. But he left a slight opening to play in 2015.
Dempster, whose contract expires after this season, finished his only year with the Red Sox with an 8-9 record and a 4.57 ERA and didn't get a start during their postseason run to a World Series title.
• A.J. Burnett and the Philadelphia Phillies completed a contract Sunday that guarantees the pitcher $15 million for 2014 and $22.5 million over two seasons. The 37-year-old Burnett, who pitched for Pittsburgh for the last two seasons, chose the Phillies over the Pirates, he said, because of the proximity of the team to his home in Monkton, Md.
Nishikori retains U.S. indoor title
Tennis • Kei Nishikori of Japan successfully defended his title at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, beating Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (0) in Memphis, Tenn.
Nishikori won his fourth career title along with the $103,100 winner's check. He became the first back-to-back winner since Tommy Haas won in 2006 and 2007.
Lamar fires Knight
college basketball • Lamar has fired coach Pat Knight, son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, with the Cardinals having won just six games the past two seasons.
Lamar is 3-22 and 2-11 in the Southland Conference this season.
Knight was 29-62 overall during his three seasons with Lamar. He guided the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament and a 23-12 record in his first season, closing the regular season with six straight victories and winning the Southland tournament title.
Lamar is 6-50 the past two seasons.
Former assistant Tic Price will serve as the interim coach.
From wire reports