NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 15-game suspension of Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton.

Thornton appealed the ban last week after he was sanctioned for punching and injuring an unsuspecting opponent against Pittsburgh on Dec. 7. He knocked Brooks Orpik's feet from under him and landed gloved punches to his head. Orpik was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.

Bettman heard Thornton's appeal at a hearing in New York on Friday. The commissioner's decision was announced Tuesday.

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Thornton will forfeit $84,615.45. Thornton and the NHL Players' Association still can appeal to a neutral arbitrator.

SOCCER U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey will return to Fulham of the English Premier League on a two-month loan from Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders. The 30-year-old midfielder passed a medical test with the Cottagers last week, and the loan to the West London club was completed Tuesday. No dates were announced for when Dempsey will join Fulham. But he is expected to come back before the Sounders opener in March against defending MLS champion Sporting Kansas City.

Dempsey scored 60 goals in 225 games for Fulham from 2007 to 2012, including 50 goals in 184 Premier League matches. He spent a season at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to MLS in August. Dempsey appeared in 12 games for Seattle and finished with just one goal and one assist.

Swansea striker Michu will undergo surgery on his right ankle and is likely to be sidelined for six weeks. The 27-year-old Spaniard has scored 28 goals since joining the Premier League club from Spain's Rayo Vallecano in 2012.

Penn State midfielder Mallory Weber and defender Brittany Basinger were named to the 20-player U.S. roster for the CONCACAF women's under-20 championship tournament. Nittany Lions head coach Erica Walsh will be an assistant under first-year head coach Michelle French.

The tournament, to be held from Jan. 9 to 19 in George Town, Cayman Islands, will feature eight nations divided into two groups of four. The United States opens group play Jan. 9 against Costa Rica, faces Jamaica on Jan. 11, and finishes against Guatemala on Jan. 13.

BASEBALL Highly touted Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka may get his wish to pitch in the United States. Tanaka's club, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, has decided to post him, making him available to major-league teams, Asian newspaper Sponichi reported. The 25-year-old went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made three moves in their bullpen, re-signing J.P. Howell and adding Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe.

Howell signed a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option. The 30-year-old lefthander had a 2.03 ERA while going 4-1 in 67 relief appearances.

Perez signed a one-year deal. The five-time all-star was 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA and 25 saves in 30 chances for Cleveland, but the 28-year-old's season was shadowed when he was arrested after drug agents followed a package containing marijuana to his Ohio home. He and his wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Wright, who signed a one-year deal, was 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 66 games for Tampa Bay in 2013.

The 34-year-old Uribe had just five errors in 9001/3 innings and his .983 fielding percentage was second among major leaguers at third.

ARENA FOOTBALL The Orlando Predators named Rob Keefe as coach for the 2014 season. Keefe, most recently the defensive coordinator for the Utah Blaze, coached the Spokane Shock in 2010 when they won the AFL title.  

- Staff and wire reports