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Around & About / News and notes

No Indy race for Danica

Danica Patrick became a worldwide sensation as a rookie at the Indianapolis 500, challenging for victory and becoming the first woman to lead laps in the showcase race.

Those Indy days are fading fast.

Patrick's shift to stock cars is long under way and her ties to IndyCar were cut even further Monday -- she said she won't run in this year's Indy 500.

Her focus is entirely on NASCAR, and on May 27 she'll race in the Coca-Cola 600. She said skipping the Indy 500 was a "business decision."

"I hope to do it in the future, the Indy 500 that is, and maybe it will be a double," she said. "But at this point in time, after a lot of conversations, it's just going to be the Coke 600 and I think it's going to be a big challenge. It just is something that didn't work out, as far as the business side of things. ... For this year, it just didn't happen."

Patrick led 19 laps late and finished fourth in 2005. She was a career-best third in 2009.


Astros ponder new name

New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering changing the name of the franchise as well as its uniforms. Crane says the team will conduct a study to decide whether or not to change the name.

Any changes wouldn't happen until 2013 when Houston makes the move from the National League to the American League.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Omar Vizquel and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year contract. The veteran infielder, who turns 45 on April 24, would be headed into his 24th major league season if he makes the team out of spring training. Vizquel provided a positive clubhouse influence for the Chicago White Sox the past two seasons and a reliable option off the bench.

The Mariners and Yankees finalized their four-player trade that sends Michael Pineda, an All-Star in his rookie season, to the Yankees in exchange for Jesus Montero, one of the top young slugging prospects in baseball.


Big East grows again

Navy will announce today it's joining Big East football in 2015, a person with knowledge of the decision said Monday night.

The Big East has been courting Navy, a football independent, for months and service academy officials had made it known they liked the idea of joining.

But when the Big East added Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, SMU and Central Florida as full members in December, the Midshipmen were not ready to get on board.

Those schools are scheduled to begin competing in the Big East in 2013.

The Big East wants to end up with a 12-team football conference, split into eastern and western divisions, and hold a league championship game.

From News Staff and wire service reports