Thursday Sports in Brief

February 18, 2022 GMT

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — The threat to opening day on March 31 appeared to intensify Thursday when the drawn-out talks to end Major League Baseball’s lockout ended just 15 minutes after they had resumed following a four-day break.

What was supposed to be the second day of spring training workouts instead was the 78th day of the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history. After just the sixth meeting on core economics since the lockout began on Dec. 2, the sides had differing interpretations of the brevity: The union didn’t read much into the short session, and management attributed the lack of length to having nothing to talk about.

While there is a session scheduled for Friday on non-core issues, there is no set date for the resumption of the main talks.

OLYMPICS

BEIJING (AP) — Anna Shcherbakova won a stunning gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Beijing Games on Thursday night, while teammate Kamila Valieva tumbled all the way out of the top three after a mistake-filled end to her controversial Olympics.

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Shcherbakova performed a near-flawless free skate to leap over the 15-year-old Valieva, the leader after the short program, who threw up her arms in resignation and disgust after her program. Russian teammate Alexandra Trusova won silver with her quad-packed program while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto held onto the bronze medal.

The trio will get medals. The IOC had said they wouldn’t hold a medal ceremony if Valieva placed in the top three.

Valieva was left sobbing in the kiss-and-cry area after her scores were read.

AUTO RACING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Brad Keselowski celebrated a sweep of the Daytona duels as he debuts with his new team.

Keselowski took an ownership stake in Jack Roush’s organization and rebranded as RFK Racing. Keselowski drove the flagship No. 6 Ford to a win in the first 150-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500.

Chris Buescher won the second race for RFK and he and Keselowski will start side-by-side on the second row Sunday.

A team owned by Floyd Mayweather Jr. qualified for the Daytona 500, and 52-year-old Greg Biffle came out of semi-retirement to make the field for upstart NY Racing. Biffle will be the oldest driver in the field when he makes his 15th start in the 500.

PARIS (AP) — Michael Masi will be replaced as Formula One’s race director following the late controversy surrounding the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last December, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said Thursday.

Motorsport’s governing body reached its decision after conducting a detailed analysis of the wild ending at the season finale, where Red Bull driver Max Verstappen won his first world title after overtaking Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton on the last lap.

The 44-year-old Masi is staying with the FIA but in an undetermined role.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

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Michigan has once again made Jim Harbaugh one of the highest paid coaches in college football.

Harbaugh’s reworked five-year contract with the school, obtained Thursday through a records request, runs through the 2026 season and guarantees he will make more than $7 million annually.

Harbaugh’s salary starts at $7.05 million next season and goes up each subsequent year.

If the Wolverines repeat as Big Ten champions in 2022 and go back to the College Football Playoff, Harbaugh would make $2 million in performance bonuses. Harbaugh would earn another $1 million bonus if he can lead the school to its first national title since 1997.

Harbaugh’s contract also includes the university contributing $1 million per year to his retirement plan.

GOLF

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phil Mickelson has told a journalist writing a biography on him that he recruited three other “top players” for the Saudi-backed golf league and they paid attorneys to write the operating agreement for the proposed league.

In another inflammatory moment for the six-time major champion, Mickelson said his end game is more about a chance to reshape the PGA Tour than for the Saudi league to succeed.

His comments came from an interview with Alan Shipnuck, whose book on Mickelson is due in May. Shipnuck posted a story based on the phone interview on “The Firepit Collective” website.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A devastating fire swept through the century-old clubhouse Thursday at Oakland Hills Country Club, the suburban Detroit course that housed artifacts of some of golf’s biggest stars and the championships they won there.

Flames ripped through the roof at the sprawling, multi-story clubhouse. It was built in 1922 and housed irreplaceable memorabilia and art from the nine major championships and the Ryder Cup that Oakland Hills has hosted over nearly a century.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known. Fire officials said the 110,000-square-foot clubhouse was among the largest wood structures in Michigan.

COURTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A former Los Angeles Angels employee was convicted Thursday of providing Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs the drugs that led to his overdose death in Texas.

Eric Kay, 47, was convicted on one count each of drug distribution resulting in death and drug conspiracy. He faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 28.

Skaggs’ widow, Carli, and his mother, Debbie Hetman, hugged as the verdict was announced. Kay took off his jacket and tie and was placed into handcuffs, nodding toward his family and friends in the courtroom.

A 10-woman, two-man jury revealed the verdict after deliberating for no more than three hours following an eight-day trial.

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