Lance Armstrong pleaded guilty to careless driving for hitting two parked cars with his SUV in Aspen, Colo., a crash his girlfriend originally tried to take the blame for, a prosecutor confirmed Wednesday.

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Armstrong pleads guilty, fined

Lance Armstrong pleaded guilty to careless driving for hitting two parked cars with his SUV in Aspen, Colo., a crash his girlfriend originally tried to take the blame for, a prosecutor confirmed Wednesday.

The cyclist entered his plea by mail under a plea agreement with prosecutors, closing the case and avoiding a court appearance. Two other charges, failing to report an accident and speeding too fast for conditions, were dismissed under the agreement, which was first reported by the Aspen Daily News.

Court records show Armstrong paid $238.50 to cover court fees and a $150 traffic fine.

Auto racing

Patrick wrecks main car

Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin wrecked during Daytona 500 practice in Daytona Beach, Fla. Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet sustained enough damage that she was forced to switch to a backup car and will have to start at the back of the field in the second of two qualifying races Thursday. Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota was repairable.

Patrick and Hamlin started the pileup by making contact coming out of the second turn. Casey Mears, Michael Annett and Jeb Burton also were involved.

Patrick called it “the nature of pack racing” while Hamlin said “you always have to give a little bit extra room in practice.” But neither driver took full blame, with Hamlin calling it a “miscalculation one way or another on one of our parts.”


Cabrera cleared for workouts

The Detroit Tigers said Miguel Cabrera has been cleared for hitting and throwing by doctors and could be ready for opening day as he recovers from surgery on his right foot.

In other spring-training news:

• First baseman Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $13.9 million, two-year contract.

• Colorado defeated catcher Wilin Rosario in salary arbitration. Rosario was given a $2.8 million salary instead of his $3.3 million request. Teams lead players 6-3.

• The Baltimore Orioles are finalizing a one-year deal with free-agent infielder and former All-Star Everth Cabrera.

• Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Ryan Howard will start at first base this season, despite plans to rebuild the team and attempts to trade the declining slugger.

Some of baseball’s biggest names helped boost the sale of the second batch of century-old baseball cards to $225,000 at a Maine auction.

Troy Thibodeau of Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford said the 800 cards sold included a Ty Cobb that fetched $5,000 and a Walter Johnson for $2,500. A baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig brought $5,000.


Venus Williams falls

Second-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and fourth-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia followed defending champion Venus Williams to an early exit at the Dubai Tennis Championships in United Arab Emirates.

By contrast, top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania and third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark scored straight-set victories to advance.

Williams, with three career titles in Dubai, lost 6-4, 6-2 to 11th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.


Clarke named European captain

Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland was picked as captain of the European team for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

Overwhelming player support and healthy respect for him on both sides of the Atlantic made Clarke a unanimous choice.

The five-man selection panel included Europe’s last three captains — Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley. All three guided the team to victory, in very different ways, to give Clarke a hard act to follow.

Cristiano Ronaldo ended a three-game scoreless streak, putting Real Madrid ahead in the first half of a 2-0 win over host Schalke in the first leg of the Champions League’s second round. In another game, Danilo converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute to give Porto a 1-1 tie at Basel.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said safety Avery Sebastian, who played three seasons at California, will play for the Irish next season.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Sebastian, who graduated from Cal in December, played in seven games last season, starting one.


• Rocked by a recent spate of high-profile suspensions, UFC announced a multimillion-dollar anti-doping plan. UFC said all fighters will be subject to random performance-enhancing drug testing, effective July 1.

• Oilers defenseman Martin Marincin scored the lone shootout goal in the 12th round, and host Edmonton snapped a two game skid with a 4-3 victory over the struggling Boston Bruins. The teams had gone 0 for 23 in the tiebreaker before Marincin broke the deadlock.

• The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Nick Schultz to a multiyear contract extension.

• Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun upset top-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 in chilly conditions in the second round of the Delray Beach (Fla.) Open.

• The NCAA placed West Virginia’s athletic department on two years’ probation for recruiting violations involving illegal text messages and phone calls in 14 sports.