EX-MLB PLAYER RYAN FREEL FOUND DEAD IN FLA. HOME: Ryan Freel, a former Major League Baseball player known for his fearless play but whose career was cut short after eight seasons by a series of head and other injuries, was found dead Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound, sheriff's office spokesman Shannon Hartley wrote in an email Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.
"RIP Ryan Freel!! Great teammate, great guy,n loved his family!" former Cincinnati Reds teammate Sean Casey tweeted. "Such a sad day today with his passing!Awful news!Prayers are with his family!"
The speedy Freel spent six of his eight big league seasons with the Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals.
"Really hurt by his passing!" Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said on Twitter. "You'll never will be forgotten."
Freel drew attention in 2006 when he was quoted by the Dayton Daily News as saying he had an imaginary friend, Farney. "He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him," Freel was quoted as saying. "Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell 'em I'm talking to Farney."
NORTHWESTERN DEFEATS BROWN 63-42: Northwestern was without two of its starters on Sunday. The Wildcats responded by spreading the offense around.
Six players scored at least eight points apiece as the Wildcats ended nonconference play with a 63-42 victory over Brown.
Dave Sobolewski scored 14 points to lead Northwestern and Kale Abrahamson, Alex Marcotullio and Tre Demps each had nine points for the Wildcats (9-4) in their final game before Big Ten play begins.
"That just shows we're running our offense well," Sobolewski said about the scoring balance. "Without Drew (Crawford) and Reggie (Hearn), we're going to need other guys to score. Having six guys over eight points is huge for us. If we get that consistent scoring from that many different guys, I think we'll win a lot of games.
Sean McGonagill, a native of nearby Brookfield, Ill., scored 20 points to lead Brown (3-6), which has lost three straight and five of six. It was the Bears' first game since Dec. 8, when they lost 84-57 at No. 22 Notre Dame.
PENN STATE STIFLES NEW HAMSHIRE 72-45: Playing for the first time in eight days prompted Penn State coach Patrick Chambers to set one goal on Sunday: Play harder than New Hampshire.
"I think we did that," Chambers said after Penn State limited New Hampshire to 22.6 percent shooting (12 of 53) during a 72-45 victory.
Jermaine Marshall scored 15 points and Sasa Borovnjak 11 for Penn State (7-4), which used a 32-5 first-half run to open a commanding 34-8 lead against the Wildcats (4-7).
UK PAPER SUING LANCE ARMSTRONG OVER LIBEL CASE: Lance Armstrong is being sued for more than $1.5 million by a British newspaper over the settlement of a libel action, which followed doping allegations against the cyclist that it published.
The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $485,000) in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concluded this year that Armstrong led a massive doping program on his teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.
The Sunday Times announced in an article in its latest edition that it has issued legal papers against Armstrong.
"It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent," the paper said in a letter to Armstrong's lawyers. "Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false."
The paper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said its total claim against Armstrong is "likely to exceed" 1 million pounds ($1.6 million).
"The Sunday Times is now demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case," the paper said.
SSC LOOKING FOR ASSISTANT COACH: South Suburban College is looking to hire a softball assistant coach for the 2013 season. The coach should have a background in pitching. Interested candidates can e-mail resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday. For details, call (708) 596-2000, ext. 2575.