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Around & About / News and notes

Taurasi flunks second test

WNBA star Diana Taurasi's backup doping sample came back positive and she faces a possible two-year ban, Turkish news reports said Monday.

The Turkish basketball federation did not immediately confirm the reports by the Dogan News agency and private NTV news channel. Neither news outlet cited a source. The Phoenix Mercury standout and former Connecticut star tested positive for the banned stimulant modafinil while playing in Turkey's professional league.

An official at Taurasi's Turkish club, Fenerbahce, also would not confirm the report and said the team had not been notified of the result.

"[We've] seen those reports, but there is no official report," Taurasi's lawyer Howard Jacobs said. "It's disconcerting that it would come out before they finished the process. The earliest we would know would be tomorrow."

Taurasi was tested following a league game Nov. 13 and the positive result was confirmed last month.

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Rangers add two hurlers

Former NL Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb and left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes are now part of the Texas Rangers pitching staff.

The AL champions, who lost former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in free agency, introduced the two pitchers Monday. Webb and Rhodes agreed to one-year contracts last month but had to pass physicals to complete the deals.

Webb, the 2006 Cy Young winner with Arizona who hasn't pitched since the 2009 season opener because of shoulder surgery, will get $3 million with a a chance to earn $5 million in bonuses.

Rhodes, the 41-year-old reliever coming off one of his best seasons in a 20-year major league career, will get $3.9 million with a club option for $4 million in 2012 that could become guaranteed.

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Beckham sits and waits

David Beckham is still waiting for the Los Angeles Galaxy to approve a loan to a European club, with Tottenham among the clubs eager to sign the former England captain.

Beckham announced two weeks ago that he needed to keep playing during the winter to stay in contention for an England recall. But the Major League Soccer club said Beckham wouldn't be allowed to go to Europe during the offseason and it expected him and the rest of the team back at the end of January for the season-opener on March 15.

The Galaxy's reluctance comes after Beckham injured an Achilles' tendon last March while playing in the offseason for AC Milan. He missed the first six months of the Galaxy season.

Tottenham wants Beckham even if he would only play two months for the Premier League club.

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Isner gets speedy victory

No marathon tennis match this time. John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut, 6-3, 7-6 (5), Monday at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, in the first rematch since their 11-hour epic at Wimbledon.

Isner overcame Mahut in 90 minutes to give the U.S. an insurmountable 2-0 lead over France. The match lasted 9 1/2 hours and 161 games less than their previous record-breaking encounter.

The Wimbledon match, the longest in professional tennis history, stretched over three days and finished at 70-68 in the fifth set.

From News and wire service reports.

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