Federal authorities search locker as part of Bernie Fine investigation

Federal authorities have searched a locker in the Syracuse University basketball center in their investigation of former assistant coach Bernie Fine, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case.

Three men, including two former Syracuse ballboys, have accused Fine of molesting them as minors.

The official confirmed the search at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center happened Wednesday. The official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because it's an ongoing investigation, would not say what agents sought or what they recovered from the locker.

Fine's office on campus was searched Tuesday morning, and his suburban home was searched last Friday. The U.S. Attorney's office in northern New York, which is leading the investigation, has not said what it sought or found.

ETC.

MLB players ratify five-year labor deal

Major League Baseball players ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement that runs through the 2016 season and ensures 21 consecutive years of labor peace.

Players said they approved the deal this week during their annual executive board meeting.

The deal, signed last week, starts blood testing for human growth hormone and institutes restraints on signing bonuses for amateur draft picks and international players coming to the big leagues.

Owners may hold a telephone conference call to approve it rather than wait for their next meeting, in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Jan. 11-12.

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The agent for Aramis Ramirez would not confirm or deny an Internet report that the third baseman visited with the Angels this week but reiterated what he told The Times on Monday, that the Angels are one of four or five teams with serious interest in Ramirez.

Agent Paul Kinzer said he expects to begin fielding offers over the next week for Ramirez, a 14-year veteran who could give the Angels something they have lacked for almost a decade: a legitimate power threat at third base.

Ramirez, 33, hit .306 with a .361 on-base percentage, .510 slugging percentage, 26 home runs and 93 runs batted in for the Chicago Cubs last season. He has a career .284 average and .342 on-base percentage with 315 homers and 1,122 RBIs.

Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said he's "doing due diligence" on Ramirez, who is looking for a deal in the three-year, $42-million range, but would not go into detail about negotiations.

The Angels were interested in Ramirez in July, but Ramirez made it known he would not waive his no-trade clause and finished the season with the Cubs. Kinzer said Ramirez would be open to playing on the West Coast.

— Mike DiGiovanna

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he will have surgery Friday to remove polyps from his vocal cords. He said the operation will prevent him from speaking for about a week.

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Forward Mike Grier is retiring after a 14-season NHL career that featured stints with four teams, including two stops with the Buffalo Sabres. The 36-year-old announced his retirement in a release issued by the NHL Players' Assn. Grier was a free agent after completing a one-year deal with the Sabres last season.

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Center David Krejci signed a three-year contract extension with the Boston Bruins. Krejci, 25, was a key to the team's run to the Stanley Cup championship last season with an NHL-best 23 points in the postseason. He is signed through the 2014-15 season.

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Defending champion Lee Westwood birdied the last hole for a four-under-par 68 and a share of the first-round lead with Masters winner Charl Schwartzel at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Robert Karlsson (69) was alone in third.

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Will Claxton shot two-under 70 in windy conditions at La Quinta for a one-stroke lead over Matt Jones and Harris English after the second round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament. The top 25 in the six-round event at PGA West will earn 2012 PGA Tour cards. Claxton had a 10-under total.

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Christine Song shot two-under 66 on LPGA International's Legends Course, taking a two-stroke lead over Stephanie Kono after the second round of the 90-hole LPGA final qualifying tournament at Daytona Beach, Fla. Song had an eight-under 136 total. Kono, an amateur, had a 71 on the Legends Course.

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Brad Keselowski was rewarded for a breakthrough season at NASCAR's top level with a contract extension from Penske Racing for himself and his crew chief. The team said the extensions for Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe were for multiple years, although the specific length and financial terms were not disclosed.

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Newman-Haas Racing, the team that carries the name of late actor Paul Newman, has decided not to enter cars for the 2012 IndyCar season. Team officials said the economic climate no longer enables the team to compete.

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The U.S. soccer team will start its 2012 schedule with an exhibition against Venezuela at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 21, then play at Panama four days later. The games announced Thursday are not on FIFA fixture dates, meaning the U.S. will field players from Major League Soccer and Scandinavian clubs on winter break. The team will prepare with a training camp, which probably will be held in Carson and in Arizona.

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