Thursday's Sports In Brief

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Associated Press

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 5:00 AM

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after the 2013 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

A news conference was called for Saturday at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.

The 43-year-old is baseball's all-time saves leader with 608. He is regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in history, posting a record 42 postseason saves with an 0.70 ERA while helping the Yankees win five World Series championships.

Rivera missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice. The right-hander was hurt May 3 and had surgery the next month.

OSCAR PISTORIUS

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The former lead detective in South Africa's investigation of the murder case against Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has resigned from the police force, authorities said.

The decision by detective Hilton Botha to quit followed criticism for his bungling of the investigation into Pistorius' shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, as well as the revelation that he faced attempted murder charges for a 2011 case in which he fired at a vehicle.

The police came under scrutiny for the decision to assign Botha to a high-profile case involving a celebrity. South African police practices came under more intense criticism last week after a taxi driver was dragged from a police vehicle and later died in detention east of Johannesburg.

NBA

ATLANTA (AP) — A lawyer for a woman who says Michael Jordan fathered her teenage son is attacking the basketball Hall of Famer's allegation that her ex-husband has been established as the boy's dad.

Pamela Smith last month sued Jordan and asked that he take a paternity test and pay child support. Jordan has said he's not the father and filed a motion to have her lawsuit dismissed.

A lawyer for Jordan said in a court filing last week that Smith's divorce filings established her ex-husband as the father. The response also accused Smith of trying to get child support from more than one person. Smith's lawyer, Randy Kessler, says the ex-husband hasn't paid child support and hasn't been involved in the teen's life. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

NFL

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's mayor and Falcons owner Arthur Blank have agreed to financing terms for a new $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium to replace the 20-year-old Georgia Dome and keep the team's home games in the city's downtown, the two men said.

Mayor Kasim Reed said the city would provide $200 million of construction costs through bonds backed by the city's hotel-motel tax. The Falcons franchise, owned by Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, would provide $800 million and be responsible for construction cost overruns.

The Falcons would pay for up to $50 million in infrastructure costs not included in the construction budget and help retire the last few years of debt on the publicly-funded Georgia Dome.

NHL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL moved a step closer to realignment as the players' association approved a proposed plan that is set to go into effect next season.

Now the NHL will only need to get approval from team owners to put it in place. Fehr signed off on the plan after discussions with the union's executive board.

No official details of the changes have been released by the NHL, but it is widely believed that teams such as Detroit and Columbus will be put into more travel-friendly divisions in the Eastern time zone, and the Winnipeg Jets — formerly the Atlanta Thrashers — will leave the Southeast Division for a spot in the Western Conference. The change will put 16 of the NHL's 30 teams in the East.

NASCAR

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A furious Denny Hamlin says he won't pay the $25,000 fine leveled on him by NASCAR after his criticism of the Gen-6 race car.

The fine also leaves many of his fellow drivers wondering what they can say about their new cars without incurring NASCAR's wrath.

Hamlin compared the new race car unfavorably to last year's car, along with lamenting the overall quality of racing last week in Phoenix.

Although Hamlin's brief comments were barely noticed last weekend, NASCAR leveled a significant fine against him before an open test of the new car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

OLYMPICS

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's prosecutor-general is considering misuse-of-funds charges against the former deputy head of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Akhmed Bilalov was criticized by President Vladimir Putin for delays and cost overruns in building the ski jump complex for the Sochi Olympics. Putin learned last month that the cost of the ski jump had soared from $40 million to $265 million and was behind schedule.

Prosecutor's office spokeswoman Marina Gridneva was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the possible charges stem from travel expenses charged to a state company formerly headed by Bilalov that operates ski resorts in the Caucasus Mountains.

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