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Originally published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 9:18 PM

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Yankees' Rivera says he will be ready by opening day | A.M. Briefing

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera expects to be ready by opening day. "I don't see why not," Rivera said Wednesday. "We have at least...

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Baseball

Yankees' Rivera says he will be

ready by opening day

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera expects to be ready by opening day.

"I don't see why not," Rivera said Wednesday. "We have at least three months, four months to that point. I'll be ready."

Rivera, 43, plans to begin throwing soon in preparation for spring training. His surgically repaired right knee is still not at 100 percent, though Rivera said he is regaining strength.

He will be joined by two other veterans on the Yankees' reshuffled roster — Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro.

Youkilis, a longtime rival with the Red Sox, will sign a one-year, $12 million deal upon completion of a physical. The Yankees are also close to hammering out the details of a new contract for Ichiro, who flourished after his trade from the Mariners last summer.

"Those two guys are veterans," Rivera said. "Good players, too. They know the game."

Dodgers may pass Yankees

with $200M-plus payroll

The Los Angeles Dodgers are on track to become only the second major-league team with a $200 million payroll and could end the New York Yankees' streak of 14 years as baseball's biggest spender.

The Dodgers are at $214.8 million for 21 signed players next season, according to a study of their contracts by The Associated Press.

The Yankees have led each year since the Baltimore Orioles edged them by $200,000 in 1998, and New York has been at $200 million-plus every season since 2005.

Soccer

Messi scores 2 more goals

Lionel Messi scored two goals for the seventh straight game he started, raising his total for the year to 88, as defending champion Barcelona won 2-0 at second-tier Cordoba in the first leg of the fifth round of the Copa del Rey.

Messi scored in the 11th and 74th minutes. Last weekend, the three-time FIFA Player of the Year broke Gerd Mueller's record of 86 goals in a year for club and country, set in 1972.

Timbers acquire Johnson, Kocic

The Portland Timbers acquired former Oregon State forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic from Toronto FC for goalkeeper Joe Bendik, the third pick in the 2013 SuperDraft and allocation money. Johnson, 28, has 27 goals in six MLS seasons with four clubs.

Dempsey U.S. player of year

Clint Dempsey has been voted the U.S. national team player of the year award for the second straight year and third time overall. Dempsey had six goals in nine games for the U.S. this year, giving him 30 goals in 91 international appearances.

Chivas USA hires coach

Chivas USA hired Jose Luis Sanchez Sola of Mexico's Primera Division as its coach. Known as "El Chelis," Sanchez Sola, 53, said he wants to implement a more appealing style of play for the MLS team's fans.

Wambach helps U.S. beat China

Abby Wambach scored twice to become only the second American woman to reach 150 international goals, and the United States beat China 4-0 in an exhibition game in Houston. Carly Lloyd and Amy Rodriguez also scored to help the Americans extend their unbeaten streak to 22. Former Huskies star goalkeeper Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart each played a half before 15,643 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Golf

Report: Watson next U.S. Ryder Cup captain

Larry Nelson, a three-time major champion with a 9-3-1 record in three Ryder Cup appearances, said he's disappointed he wasn't named U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

Golf Digest reported the PGA of America plans to make Tom Watson the next U.S. captain. It would be the second time Watson, 65, was Ryder Cup captain. The first time was 1993.

NHL

League, union meet separately

The latest round of NHL labor talks ended with the two sides in different rooms from each other.

The players union and league negotiators met separately with federal mediators in suburban New Jersey, holding discussions that didn't appear to have moved the sides any closer to a deal to save the hockey season.

Colleges

Big East may implode

The presidents of the Big East's seven Catholic, non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools are expected to decide on their future in the Big East in the coming days and it "would be an upset" if they remained in the league, sources told ESPN. The seven schools are DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova.

Elsewhere

• Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero scored in the first half and Brazilian team Corinthians beat Egypt's Al-Ahly 1-0 in Toyota, Japan, to advance to the final of the Club World Cup.

Greg Norman withdrew from the Australian PGA in Coolum because of food poisoning after only two holes.

Colleen Walker, a nine-time winner on the LPGA Tour, died Tuesday in Valrico, Fla. She was 56 and died of a cancer recurrence.

• Olympic star Ryan Lochte won two gold medals as the United States dominated the first day of the short-course world swimming championships in Istanbul.

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