McNeiece, Willard win GCI 50K ultramarathon

CRANBERRY ISLES, Maine — Brian McNeiece of Narragansett, R.I., won the seventh and final edition of the Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultramarathon on Saturday.

The 41-year-old McNeiece led 154 finishers with a time of 3 hours, 31 minutes and 43 seconds to win the 2013 Road Runners Club of America national championship for the 31.1-mile distance.

Jason Bui, 33, of Ayer, Mass., was second in 3:34:42, followed by the top women’s finisher, 34-year-old Lindsay Willard, 34, of Somerville, Mass., who placed third overall in 3:40:36.

The top Maine men’s finisher was race co-director Gary Allen, 56, of Cranberry Isles, eighth overall in 3:58:30, while Brigid Smith-Franey, 32, of South Portland was the top Maine women’s finisher, placing 11th overall in 4:10:37.

49ers may work better deal for Brown

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarrell Brown fired his agent after losing $2 million in easy bonus money due to an oversight this season, but it appears that the team may figure out a way to help the player.

Brown was scheduled to make $2.925 million in the final year of a six-year deal, but unbeknownst to him, there was an escalator clause that stipulated that he participate in a voluntary workout program with the team. Because Brown trained at his home in Texas, as usual, his contract reverted to the $925,000 base salary.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh hinted Sunday that the 49ers are probably considering something that addresses the situation.

“Well, don’t want to break a long-standing policy and that’s not to discuss contracts in the media; I don’t think it’s anybody’s best interest to do that,” Harbaugh said. “But, this is maybe an exception to the rule. And just think that there’s a solution there. Don’t know that it’s any one particular thing. But, I think we’ll explore all those options and find the solution.

Martinez resigns as Marlins’ hitting coach

First-year Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned on Sunday amid allegations he abused players verbally and physically.

The team announced the move following Sunday’s game.

“We’ve accepted Tino Martinez’s resignation as hitting coach postgame today,” said Larry Beinfest, Marlins president of baseball operations, in a news conference, according to the Miami Herald.

According to the Herald report, Martinez admitted he grabbed rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich by the front of his jersey in early May and “overreacted” and “probably” swore with others in his attempt to be firm with some of the Marlins’ young players.

“I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior,” said Martinez, 45. “I think I was frustrated at times, the way players were behaving and, certain ways they were doing things. When I asked them to do something and they wouldn’t do it, whatever it may be, I thought the way to get through was by being firm with them, and I probably used some four-letter words.”

Martinez, who played 16 years in the majors, disputed media reports that he grabbed Dietrich by the neck.

According to the Herald, Martinez had shown a pattern of abusive behavior from the beginning of spring training and often made threats.

Former sprint cyclist Zabel admits to persistent doping

BERLIN — Former sprint cyclist Erik Zabel admitted on Sunday to years of doping, including EPO, cortisone and blood doping, days after he was named in a French Senate inquiry as a drugs offender.

Until Sunday, Zabel, who was among the finest sprinters in his sport, had previously admitted to only a brief experimental week with the blood booster EPO in 1996.

But in an interview of Monday’s edition of Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the German, who topped the points classification of the Tour six times until his retirement in 2008, said he had used banned drugs and illegal methods from 1996 until 2003.

“It was doping for much longer, for many years. I never had a structured doping plan, never had any experts around me and I never saw myself as a super doper,” Zabel told the newspaper.

“When you take everything together — EPO, cortisone (a steroid hormone) and even blood doping, then it’s quite a lot,” he said.

Zabel was named in the French report along with several other riders including the top two in the 1998 Tour de France — Italian Marco Pantani, who died of a drug overdoes in 2004, and German Jan Ullrich.

Ullrich himself ended years of vehement denials in June, admitting he underwent blood doping procedures.

Matsui officially retires as a New York Yankee

Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui was afforded an emotional farewell to Major League Baseball on Sunday, ending his glittering career as a New York Yankee after re-signing with his old team for less than two hours.

Matsui’s final game in the majors was for the Tampa Bay Rays last year but the Yankees signed him to a one-day contract so he could end his career at the team where he enjoyed his greatest success.

“I’d like to thank the Yankees organization, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this opportunity,” Matsui said through a translator. “I officially announced my retirement last year, but to be able to come back in this manner. At the time, I never really imagined having this type of opportunity.

“To become a member of the Yankees and retire as a Yankee, I’m just so humbled and honored.”

After moving to the United States following a decade with the Yomiuri Giants, Matsui spent seven seasons with the Yankees between 2003 and 2009, batting .292 with 140 home runs and 597 runs batted in.

A two-time All-Star, his crowning moment was in 2009 when he helped the Yankees win the World Series and he was named as the Most Valuable Player.

Ryan: Sanchez, Smith will split first-team reps

Mark Sanchez opened the New York Jets’ training camp practicing with the first team on Friday, but head coach Rex Ryan said second-round pick Geno Smith will get plenty of opportunity to get repetitions with the starters as the competition for the starting job heats up.

“We’ll have a method to the madness or whatever. He’ll certainly get an opportunity to run with the ones,” Ryan said over the weekend. “The way we split up routes, or reps, sometimes you’ll see the ones versus the threes. Sometimes you’ll learn a lot from the threes.

“If a guy’s stepping up and he can compete against (the ones), you feel pretty good about it. Maybe he’s not a three for long. Maybe you move guys up. But, they’re just reps right now. Obviously, I think if it’s a live scrimmage rep, I think that’s probably a little different. But right now it’s more of an introductory-type thing. Whether it’s with the ones or the twos or whatever, both guys are going to be given equal reps with the ones and twos.”

Ryan also said Smith has been working on zone-read formations in which the mobile rookie looked comfortable, although he has yet to work in live tackling situations.

“I’m not so sure we (could have) tackled him,” Ryan said Saturday. “That looked pretty good.”

Camby agrees to join Rockets

Free-agent center Marcus Camby reached agreement with the Houston Rockets on a one-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Camby’s deal is worth the veteran minimum $1.4 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. He became a free agent when the Toronto Raptors bought out his contract after he was acquired from the New York Knicks in the Andrea Bargnani trade.

The 39-year-old Camby, drafted No. 2 overall by the Raptors in 1996 and a veteran of 973 NBA games, will join centers Dwight Howard and Omer Asik on the Houston roster.

Camby averaged 1.8 points in 24 games for the Knicks last season.