Sports Briefs February 29, 2012

Jason Varitek set to retire

Jason Varitek, who has been the Red Sox catcher since 1997, will announce his retirement from Major League Baseball this Thursday. Varitek, 39, was offered a minor league position but has not been at the team’s spring training this season. He has struggled since the team last won the World Series in 2007, batting only .218. Last year he batted only .220 in just 68 games. Varitek helped the Red Sox win two World Series championships in 2004 and 2007. His list of achievements also include being a three-time all-star, a Silver Slugger Award winner, a Gold Glove winner, and he has also caught four no-hitters, a MLB record. Varitek served as captain of the team since 2005.  His 1,488 games as catcher with the Red Sox is a club record.

Braun’s suspension overturned

Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension was overturned last Thursday by baseball arbitrators. The NL’s reigning most valuable player won his appeal of a 50-game suspension triggered by a positive drug test in October. Braun, 28, is believed to be the first MLB player to win such an appeal. In December, ESPN reported that he had tested positive for synthetic testosterone during last season’s playoffs. Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBI last season, helping lead the Milwaukee Brewers to Central Division champions and into the league championship series.  This should come as a big relief to the Brewers, as Braun signed a huge contract last season. Last April, Braun signed a five-year, $105 million contract extension, on top of the eight-year, $45 million deal that runs through 2015, so he will remain a Brewer at least until the 2020 season.

Burress hopes to sign with Eagles

After the New York Jets have indicated they will not be resigning wide receiver Plaxico Burress for the 2012 season, the one-time Giant will now be looking to join his third NFL franchise. The Michigan State alum recently told a Philadelphia radio station that he would like to reunite with his childhood friend, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.“Nothing else would make me happier.” The wide out told the Brian Baldinger and Harry Mayes Show. If Burress were to sign with Philly, it would be his first trip back to the NFC East division since 2008, his last year with the New York Giants. He would join an already impressive receiving corps that boasts DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and another former Giant, Steve Smith.

Driver gains 130K Twitter followers after wreck

While popular belief tells racing fans that NASCAR drivers carry few items in their car with them during the race, Brad Keselowski decided to have his iPhone ride shotgun in Daytona. The race was delayed for some time after a freak accident involving a truck carrying jet fuel. As were many fans and drivers during the delay, Keselowski was bored and took to the Twitterverse to update his followers on when the race would resume.“#NASCAR prez says hopefully we’ll be back racing in 30 minutes.” The Miller Lite car driver tweeted.  During the delay, he also took questions from his followers regarding the battery life left in his phone and updates regarding the continuation of the race. As a result of his headline-grabbing tweets, Keselowski gained 130,000 followers. CNET writer Amanda Kooser expects NASCAR to “put its foot down” if tweeting from the track catches on.

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