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Originally published Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 7:40 PM

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Hideki Matsui retires

Free-agent slugger Hideki Matsui has retired from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that earned...

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Baseball

Hideki Matsui retires

Free-agent slugger Hideki Matsui has retired from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that earned him a World Series MVP with the New York Yankees and three Central League MVPs in Japan.

Matsui announced his retirement Thursday at a news conference in New York that was conducted only in Japanese and broadcast live in his home country.

Nicknamed Godzilla, the 38-year-old Matsui batted .282 with 175 homers and 760 RBI for the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. Before joining the Yankees in 2003, Matsui played 10 seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

Always cool under pressure, Matsui hit a grand slam in his first game at Yankee Stadium and had six RBI in his finale with the Yankees — Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.

Fisk pleads guilty

Hall of Fame baseball catcher Carlton Fisk pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge, two months after police found him asleep in his pickup truck in a suburban Chicago cornfield.

Fisk, 64, was sentenced to one year of court supervision and must pay $1,250 in court costs. He also must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and counseling.

Fisk's attorney, Stephen White, said in Will County court that Fisk wanted to accept responsibility for what he did.

"He stepped up to the plate," White said.

New Lenox police found Fisk unconscious in the truck on Oct. 22 and said there was an open bottle of vodka on the floor. New Lenox is about 35 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.

Tennis

Murray loses in straight sets

Andy Murray's 2013 season got off to a shaky start with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Janko Tipsarevic in the opening match of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Two early breaks in each set helped Tipsarevic dispatch the third-ranked Murray. The Serb next faces Nicolas Almagro, a late replacement for Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament with a stomach bug.

"It's not every day that you get to play a Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist," said Tipsarevic, who is ranked No. 9. "I know it's an early-season tournament but I can tell you that the six of us take this very seriously."

"I knew I could beat Andy as I have beaten him before," he added. "He's a totally different animal now as he won a Grand Slam and Olympic gold, so beating him here has given me confidence. Both of us have very similar games, so it's great to come out on top."

In Thursday's other match, fifth-ranked David Ferrer defeated sixth-ranked Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4 to set up a semifinal against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who won the tournament last year. Ferrer easily won the first set after jumping to a 5-0 lead. He broke serve early in the second.

Soccer

Beckham ponders offers

Nearly a month after leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy, David Beckham is considering "a number of serious proposals" but is in no rush to find a new team.

He has been linked to clubs in France, Australia and Asia in what would be the final chapter of the illustrious career of the 37-year-old midfielder and former England captain.

A "host of clubs" have made offers, Beckham's management company said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday, but it remains "early days in the process."

Beckham ended his five-year stint in the United States by helping the Galaxy win the MLS Cup on Dec. 1.

He has said it's unlikely he will return to the English Premier League, where he starred for Manchester United from 1993 to 2003. Beckham is also reported to have ruled out a move to Australia's A-League.

The French sports newspaper L'Equipe said Thursday that Monaco, an ambitious French second-division club, has ended talks with Beckham, although his advisers have refused to comment.

Elsewhere

• Olympian Jilleanne Rookard won the women's 3,000 meters speedskating event and Emery Lehman took the men's 5,000 on the opening day of the U.S. Long Track National Championships.

Rookard was timed in 4 minutes, 11.88 seconds over 7 ½ laps at the Utah Olympic Oval. Maria Lamb, a 2006 Olympian, finished second at 4:12.61.

Lehman, 16, set a personal best in winning the 12 ½-lap men's race in 6:27.06. Jonathan Kuck was second at 6:27.14.

The Winter World Cup and world sprint teams will be decided Monday, the final day of the meet.

• Wild Oats XI won the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in Australia for the sixth time, breaking its own record time.

The super maxi skippered by Mark Richards crossed the finish line at Constitution Dock in Hobart at 7:23 a.m. Friday. The boat left Sydney on Wednesday and finished in 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds. That was 17 minutes faster than the mark set by Wild Oats XI in 2005 for the 723-mile race.

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