Commissioner Bud Selig expects to expand baseball’s postseason field to 10 in 2012

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig expects the playoffs to expand from eight teams to 10 for the 2012 season.

Selig went public last fall with his support for expanded playoffs, and the matter is subject to collective bargaining with the players’ association.

“I would say we’re moving to expanding the playoffs, but there’s a myriad of details to work out,” Selig said Thursday in New York at his annual meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors. “Ten is a fair number.”


Selig said scheduling is the major issue of discussion, including how many games the new wild-card round would be. The two wild-card teams in each league would meet, and the winners would advance to the following round against division winners.

“The more we’ve talked about it, I think we’re moving inexorably to that,” he said.


NFL rejects law firm’s request for conflict-of-interest waiver

The NFL rejected a law firm’s request for a conflict-of-interest waiver to represent a group of players seeking to join the antitrust fight against the league. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league notified the firm, later identified as Barnes & Thornburg of Indianapolis, about the denial.

Aiello said it would be inappropriate to allow the firm to work with players in a claim against the NFL while one of its partners represents the league in music licensing for shows on NFL Network and NFL Films.

“While we do not know the specifics of the claims that would be asserted or the players who would be involved, we cannot consent to the firm’s request to grant a waiver,” Aiello said in an email to the Associated Press.

Standout Michigan sophomore guard Darius Morris has declared for the NBA draft, though he has not hired an agent. Morris, who attended Los Angeles Windward, is eligible to return for his junior season if he withdraws his name from draft consideration by May 8.

Garrett Willis had a run of six consecutive birdies in a seven-under-par 64 and led by one shot after the first round of The Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C. Arjun Atwal, Matt Bettencourt, Chad Campbell and Tim Herron were tied for second in the PGA Tour event at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Rafael Nadal cruised past Santiago Giraldo, 6-3, 6-1, setting up a quarterfinal match against Gael Monfils at the Barcelona Open. Monfils beat Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 7-6 (7). David Ferrer beat Victor Hanescu, 6-3, 6-2, and will play Jurgen Melzer next.

Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki rallied for a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Andrea Petkovic and a place in the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals at Stuttgart, Germany. Wozniacki was 4-1 down and one point from falling 5-1 behind before she broke Petkovic’s serve. Wozniacki next plays Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who beat Kristina Barrois, 7-5, 6-3. Sam Stosur also rallied, advancing with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) victory over Vera Zvonareva. Stosur next plays Julia Goerges, who edged Sabine Lisicki, 6-4, 6-4.

Melanie Oudin of the United States advanced with a walkover win against Polona Hercog of Slovenia, and Dinara Safina defeated Alize Cornet, 6-1, 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix SAR at Fez, Morocco.

Veteran marketing executive Laurel J. Richie was hired to lead the WNBA, becoming the league’s third president as it enters its 15th season. Richie brings more than three decades of experience in consumer marketing, corporate branding, public relations and corporate management, NBA Commissioner David Stern said. Richie has worked for Ogilvy and Mather and served most recently as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Girl Scouts of the USA. She replaces Donna Orender, who resigned in December.

Major League Soccer said the Galaxy will decide whether to attempt to re-sign David Beckham based on soccer ability and not celebrity. MLS President Mark Abbott said “there have been so many benefits” to the league’s acquisition of Beckham, who is in the final season of a five-year, $32.5-million contract.

The midfielder turns 36 next month, and he has been criticized for leaving the Galaxy twice to play on loan with Italy’s AC Milan. He sat out most of the 2010 season after tearing an Achilles’ tendon while playing in Italy. Beckham will travel next week to London for the royal wedding April 29. The Galaxy plays at Dallas on May 1, but Abbott said the league does not have an issue with Beckham’s schedule.

A judge sentenced Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly to probation after he pleaded guilty to a 2008 drug possession charge in Houston in a deal with prosecutors. Jolly was accused of possessing at least 200 grams of codeine, a controlled substance, after he was arrested outside a Houston club three years ago.

Lynn Chandnois, a 1950s special teams star for the Pittsburgh Steelers whose average on kickoff returns ranks second only to Gale Sayers in NFL history, died Tuesday. He was 86. Michigan State, where Chandnois was a two-way standout in the late 1940s, said Chandnois died in Flint, Mich., where he lived. Other details were not disclosed.

Chandnois played seven seasons for the Steelers after they drafted him No. 8 overall in 1950. He averaged 29.6 yards on kickoff returns, behind only the 30.6 averaged by Sayers. Chandnois made the NFL’s all-star game twice and had a league-high 1,593 all-purpose yards in 1953.