AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Already an outcast in cycling after a massive doping report, Lance Armstrong absorbed hits much closer to home Wednesday: to his wallet and his heart.
Armstrong was dumped by Nike, Anheuser-Busch and other sponsors, and he gave up the top spot at Livestrong, his beloved cancer-fighting charity known for its yellow wrist bracelets, a week after an anti-doping agency released evidence of drug use by the seven-time Tour de France winner.
Armstrong stepped down as chairman of Livestrong in an attempt to minimize the damage caused by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report. USADA banned Armstrong from the sport for life and has ordered that his Tour titles be stripped, which could come before the end of the month.
DETROIT (AP) - Alex Rodriguez was dropped from the Yankees' starting lineup again, this time with New York facing elimination and his future with the team still to be resolved.
Trailing 3-0 in the AL championship series against Detroit, the Yankees also benched slumping center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Rodriguez, only 3 for 23 in this postseason, was out of the lineup for the third time in New York's nine playoff games, spurring speculation that the Yankees might try to trade the star third baseman in the offseason even though he has $114 million and five years remaining on his contract - and a no-trade clause.
``We will go forward. Alex will go forward,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Game 4 was postponed because of a forecast of heavy rain. The game was rescheduled for Thursday.
DETROIT (AP) - Derek Jeter will have surgery on his broken left ankle, and the New York Yankees say the star shortstop could need four to five months to completely recover.
The Yankees said that Jeter will be operated on Saturday by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. The timetable the team announced means Jeter likely would be ready to return sometime between the start of spring training in mid-February and late spring training in mid-March.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Carlos Beltran's availability for Game 4 of the NL championship series was uncertain after the St. Louis Cardinals slugger left Wednesday's game with a strained left knee.
Subbing for Beltran in right field, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat to help the Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens haven't completely abandoned hope of having Ray Lewis back in uniform this season.
Lewis tore his right triceps in Sunday's game against Dallas and was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday. Although coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the 37-year-old linebacker is out for the year, the Ravens placed Lewis on injured reserve with the ``designated to return'' tag.
Wednesday's move makes Lewis eligible to return in six weeks. He does not count against the 53-man roster.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Jonathan Vilma practiced for the first time with the Saints in 2012 following months of rehabilitation on his surgically repaired left knee and the suspended linebacker could play this weekend.
Interim head coach Aaron Kromer says the Saints are eager to get Vilma back on the field as soon as he's ready, which could be this Sunday at Tampa Bay.
The linebacker is appealing his season-long suspension in connection with the league's bounty investigation of New Orleans to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Vilma also is challenging his punishment in federal court.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The NFL is again urging a federal judge to avoid interfering in Commissioner Roger Goodell's efforts to discipline four players for the Saints' cash-for-hits bounty pool.
In a response to papers the players filed earlier this week, the NFL says its collective bargaining agreement with the players' union gives Goodell the power to handle discipline involving conduct detrimental to football ``at his discretion.''
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan is considering the players' request to overturn varying suspensions to Saints linebacker Jon Vilma (full season), Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (seven games) and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (one game).
The players also want Berrigan to appoint a ``neutral arbitrator'' to handle any discipline in the matter.
NEW YORK (AP) - NHL labor negotiations will resume Thursday after the players' union reviewed management's proposal and saw it as only a small step forward to ending the monthlong lockout.
The NHL made the proposal Tuesday in what it said was an attempt to preserve a full 82-game schedule. The league publicly released the plan Wednesday.
NHL players' union head Donald Fehr met with players to formulate the union's response. In a letter to players and agents, he said the management plan would cost his members more than $1.6 billion over six years.
LARISSA, Greece (AP) - The world's oldest profession is giving a whole new meaning to love of the game.
Players on a cash-strapped Greek soccer team now wear pink practice jerseys with the logos ``Villa Erotica'' and ``Soula's House of History,'' two bordellos it recruited as sponsors after drastic government spending cuts left the country's sports clubs facing ruin.
Other teams have also turned to unconventional financing. One has a deal with a local funeral home and others have wooed kebab shops, a jam factory and producers of Greece's trademark feta cheese.
But the amateur Voukefalas club - whose players include pizza delivery guys, students, waiters and a bartender - has raised eyebrows with its flamboyant sponsorship choice.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky freshman forward Nerlens Noel has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season for the Wildcats.
NCAA spokesman Cameron Schuh said the 6-foot-10, 228-pound Noel was ``cleared to practice and play'' following a probe into the funding of unofficial visits to Kentucky.
Schuh did not provide any details or findings of the NCAA's investigation.
NEW YORK (AP) - Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas has won Sportswoman of the Year honors from the Women's Sports Foundation.
The gymnast beat out Lindsey Vonn, London Olympians Serena Williams, Missy Franklin, Allyson Felix, and Paralympians Jessica Long and Tatyana McFadden.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore did not practice because of a bruised hip and coach Steve Spurrier said his junior star might not start Saturday against No. 3 Florida.
Spurrier had said Lattimore was running well earlier in the week, but the injury kept him out of Wednesday's workout. Lattimore arrived at practice let and watched from the sidelines.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s sister said Wednesday that NASCAR's most popular driver could be back racing next week at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
Earnhardt will miss his second consecutive race Sunday at Kansas because of two concussions suffered in a six-week span.
VIENNA (AP) - Juan Martin del Potro outlasted Daniel Brands of Germany 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) at the Erste Bank Open in the top-seeded Argentine's first match since recovering from a right wrist injury that sidelined him for a month.
STOCKHOLM (AP) - Nicolas Almagro of Spain advanced to the quarterfinals of the Stockholm Open, beating Marius Copil of Romania 6-4, 7-6 (4).
MOSCOW (AP) - Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup by beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 6-3.
Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden upset second-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.