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GOLF-MCILROY

McIlroy learns lesson

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy says the pressure of meeting expectations as golf's No. 1 player got the best of him when he quit and walked off the course last week. He says he has learned his lesson and "it won't happen again."

McIlroy met with the media today for the first time since he quit after eight holes Friday at the Honda Classic.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland says he does have soreness in his lower right wisdom tooth. But that wasn't enough to keep him from finishing the second round, even if it meant shooting the highest score of his career.

He says his swing is the problem, and not his switch to Nike equipment.

McIlroy says he needs to be tougher when things aren't going his way.

WBC-NEWS

Hosmer gets the call...Cuba beats defending champs

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will replace the injured Mark Teixeira (teh-SHEHR'-uh) on the United States team at the World Baseball Classic. The Yankees slugger strained his forearm while swinging off a tee on Tuesday.

Hosmer is expected to be on hand for tonight's exhibition game against the Colorado Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The U.S. opens group D play of the World Baseball Classic on Friday night against Mexico in Phoenix.

FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — Alfredo Despaigne hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, helping Cuba defeat two-time defending champion Japan 6-3 Wednesday to finish first in Group A of the World Baseball Classic. It sets up a second-round showdown with Group B runner-up the Netherlands on Friday.

Japan will face Group B winner Taiwan in the second round.

MLB-HOT STOVE

Hughes getting better

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes says he is scheduled to throw off a mound Saturday for the first time since being sidelined by a bulging disk in his upper back three weeks ago.

He made 25 throws from 60 and 90 feet during his third level-ground throwing session today.

Hughes was hurt Feb. 18 during a defensive drill in spring training.

NFL-NEWS

Broncos defender guarantees Super Bowl win

UNDATED (AP) — Denver's star pass-rusher Von Miller is already guaranteeing a Super Bowl title for the Broncos next season. Miller said he's dedicating the season to his 6-year-old cousin who recently emerged from a coma after a car accident in West Texas that also injured his mother and 8-year-old brother.

On Monday, Miller tweeted: "You can post this where ever.. Denver broncos will win the Super Bowl" in the 2013 season. He added hash tags "4UJEREMIAH" and "IGUARANTEEIT58."

Also in the NFL, three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2005 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne Merriman says he intends to file retirement papers, a decision confirmed by the Buffalo Bills. The decision comes a week before he was eligible to become a free agent, and after spending parts of the past three seasons in Buffalo.

The Minnesota Vikings have released wide receiver Michael Jenkins, who played two seasons of the three-year contract he signed with the Vikings after the lockout ended in 2011. He was due a roster bonus of $2.425 million on March 16 and a base salary of $825,000 for 2013. The decision frees up $3.25 million of salary-cap space.

TOP-25 MEN'S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE

Titles on the line

UNDATED (AP) — A number of college basketball's regular-season conference races are still being contested heading to the final weekend of the regular season. That could change some tonight.

Fifth-ranked Georgetown can wrap up its first Big East title since 2008 with a victory over visiting Villanova. Led by player of the year candidate Otto Porter Jr., the Hoyas have won 11 in a row and are looking to post their longest winning streak in more than 12 years.

Also in the top 10 tonight, sixth-ranked Miami has lost two of three but can still clinch its first ACC title with a win over visiting Georgia Tech, and No. 7 Michigan will be trying to keep alive hopes of sharing the Big Ten title when it takes the court at Purdue.

Outside the top 10, No. 11 Florida can wrap up its second SEC title in three years with a win over visiting Vanderbilt. Mountain West champion and 12th ranked New Mexico plays at Nevada, while 13th-ranked Oklahoma State will be out to keep alive slim hopes of sharing the Big 12 title when it takes on Iowa State on the road. Sixteenth-ranked Saint Louis can clinch at least a share of the Atlantic 10 crown with a win at Xavier. No. 17 Syracuse drags a three-game losing streak into its home game against DePaul. No. 21 VCU needs a win against visiting Richmond to remain in the A10 hunt, and 23rd-ranked UCLA heads into its outing at Washington State tied for the Pac 10 lead with No. 19 Oregon.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Heat hoping to stay hot

UNDATED (AP) — The Heat will be looking to extend a franchise-record 15-game winning streak tonight when they host Orlando. Miami's run of success has helped open a seven-game lead over Indiana in the NBA's Eastern Conference race. At 44-14 they are just a game and a-half behind Western Conference leader San Antonio for the best record in the league. The Spurs will be chasing a third straight W this evening when they host the Chicago Bulls.

Also tonight, Carmelo Anthony's status is up in the air for New York's game at Detroit due to a knee problem, Indiana hosts Boston, Brooklyn plays at Charlotte, Utah is at Cleveland, Atlanta is home to Philadelphia, Portland plays at Memphis, Washington is at Minnesota, the L.A. Lakers visit New Orleans, Dallas is home to Houston, Phoenix hosts Toronto, Sacramento is at Golden State and the L.A. Clippers entertain Milwaukee.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Blackhawks eyeing 30 in a row

UNDATED (AP) — One night after securing a point in their 29th straight game with a 5-3 victory over visiting Minnesota, the NHL-leading Blackhawks host a Colorado team that sits second to last in the Western Conference standings. Chicago is 20-0-3 this season and rides a franchise-record 10-ame winning streak into its meeting with the Avalanche.

Also on the ice tonight, Toronto hosts Ottawa, San Jose skates at Calgary and Pacific Division leader Anaheim is home to Phoenix.

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