Sports briefs: Obama includes gays in U.S. Olympic delegation
olympics • President Barack Obama named openly gay athletes to the delegation that will represent the U.S. next year at opening and closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, sending a clear signal to Russia about its treatment of gays and lesbians.
Tennis champion Billie Jean King will join the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony, while Caitlin Cahow, a women's ice hockey player and Olympic medalist, will represent the U.S. at the closing ceremony.
The decision follows a campaign by gay rights groups urging the White House to include gays and lesbians in the delegation in hopes of drawing attention to Russia's national laws banning "gay propaganda."
Japanese pitcher has MLB fever
Baseball • Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka wants to move to Major League Baseball next season but his Japanese team doesn't want to let him go. MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball's new posting system caps the fee for players at $20 million, less than half what Japanese teams received for pitchers Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League during the regular season.
• The New York Yankees were hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill, pushing their total past the $250 million mark since the penalty began in 2003. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only other team that exceeded the MLB tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million.
• Second baseman Brian Roberts and the Yankees agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract. An All-Star in 2005 and 2007, the 36-year-old had spent his entire 13-year major league career with Baltimore. He has not played a full season since 2009 because of injuries.
From wire reports