The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » Sports Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:10:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cabrera homer lifts Tigers over Red Sox Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:01:33 +0000 BOSTON — Miguel Cabrera hit a tiebreaking home run in the ninth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and into Boston’s bullpen, lifting the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday for a three-game series sweep.

Boston’s the last major league team to be swept in a series of any length this season.

James McCann also hit a solo homer, and Victor Martinez had four singles, a walk and drove in two runs for Detroit, which has won five of seven.

Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia had solo homers for the Red Sox, who lost for the fifth time in six games to complete a nine-game homestand at 4-5.

Tigers rookie starter Michael Fulmer had another solid start, giving up three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 72/3 innings.

Cabrera hit his 21st homer off closer Brad Ziegler (0-1).

Bruce Rondon (4-2) got one out for the win. Justin Wilson got the final three for his first major league save because closer Francisco Rodriguez wasn’t used after working the past two days.

In the seventh, Fulmer gave up a solo homer to Bogaerts leading off and took a high-hop grounder from Jackie Bradley Jr. off the top of the right shoulder, but the 23-year-old right-hander stayed in the game.

The Red Sox knocked him out in the eighth, tying it on Mookie Betts’ RBI triple when center fielder Tyler Collins took a bad route before missing a diving attempt.

McCann made it 3-1 in the sixth, hitting a drive that caromed off a billboard above the Green Monster seats.

Before his previous two starts, Fulmer had a string of eight straight when he allowed one or no runs. He mixed mostly a fastball in the mid-90s with a sharp sider to keep the majors’ top-scoring team to one run over the first six innings.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs and nine hits in 51/3 innings.

In the third, Martinez singled after Ian Kinsler singled and Jose Iglesias doubled.

Pedroia homered into the center-field bleachers.

This story will be updated.

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Creech wins second straight women’s amateur title Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:51:17 +0000 ORONO — Staci Creech won her second Maine Women’s Amateur championship in a row Wednesday afternoon in sweltering conditions at the Penobscot Valley Country Club.

Creech, who is from Veazie and plays out of Bangor Municipal, pulled away in the final seven holes to win by 11 strokes. She led by only one stroke with seven holes to play.

Creech shot a 2-over par 75 Wednesday to finish with a three-day total of 215. Sixteen-year-old Bailey Plourde was next with a 226. She was only three strokes behind entering the day but shot an 8-over.

Plourde had pulled within one stroke after birdies on Nos. 9 and 10. But Creech, who had four bogeys in a row on seven, eight, nine and 10, took a four-stroke advantage with a birdie on 13 while Plourde bogeyed the hole.

Then Plourde shot a 9 on the par-3 14th and Creech had a secure lead.

This story will be updated

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Thunder pound away again, beat Sea Dogs 10-6 Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:34:17 +0000 The Trenton bullpen quieted a Sea Dogs offense that had overcome a four-run deficit and allowed the Thunder to pull away for a 10-6 Eastern League baseball victory Wednesday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs had taken a 6-5 lead in the third after falling behind 5-1 in the top of the inning, only to be held hitless for the next four innings by Travis Hissong (1-0) and Caleb Smith.

Four Trenton pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts, surpassing Portland’s previous high this season of 13, also against Trenton.

Andrew Benintendi, Nate Freiman and Jake Romanski all doubled for Portland in a five-run third. Ryan Court finished 3 for 4 and drove in two runs.

Dustin Fowler hit a three-run homer and a triple for Trenton, which took two of three in the series and remains in second place in the Eastern League East division. Reliever Ty Buttrey (0-9) took the loss for the Sea Dogs, who have lost seven of nine and Thursday begin a four-game series in Binghamton, N.Y.

Cito Culver also homered for Trenton, which banged out 31 hits in the final two games of the series after losing 5-2 Monday night in a game shortened to seven innings by rain.

This story will be udpated.

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Ben True to race at Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:23:20 +0000 North Yarmouth native Ben True, who fell short in his attempt to earn a berth at the Rio Olympics, will compete in TD Beach to Beacon 10K on Aug. 6, race organizers announced Wednesday.

True, 30, ran in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials earlier this month. He finished third in his last Beach to Beach appearance in 2014.

The Greely High grad, who now lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, placed fifth in the 5,000 meters and 11th in the 10,000 at the trials. The top three runners in each event earned spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

Bangor native Riley Masters also will be among the professional runners at the starting line in Cape Elizabeth. Masters, 26, also competed in the 5,000 meters at the Olympic trials, placing 16th. He was ninth at last year’s Beach to Beacon.

Eric Jenkins, a New Hampshire native who won the American category in 2015, will return this year to defend his title. The field also includes former U.S. Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman. Jenkins was fourth in the 5,000 meters at the Olympic trials.

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Bolt confident he can defend his gold medals in Rio Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 LONDON — Whatever controversy is raging in the Olympic world there’s one constant: Usain Bolt’s bravado and self-confidence.

It’s what is expected from the world’s fastest man and greatest showman.

“I know the sport needs me to win – and come out on top,” Bolt asserts, assessing the damage caused by the Russian doping scandal that has divided sports leaders.

As for his pursuit of a treble Olympic next month, Bolt adamantly responds: “I’m not going to lose one of the golds, for sure.”

In his last lengthy media appointment before heading to Rio de Janeiro, Bolt spent around two hours over a Jamaican lunch last week in London, discussing his Olympic challenge prospects and the challenges of life.

Bolt’s preparations for the defense of his Olympic titles (100, 200 and 4×100-meter relay) have been far from smooth, with a hamstring injury forcing him out of the Jamaican trials.

“I always have little doubts in my mind,” Bolt said. “But I’m focused and ready to go.”

Bolt expects Rio to be his last Olympics, but he still dangles the possibility of a trip to Tokyo.

“My coach always says ‘Usain you can always go on to the 2020 Olympics if you want,'” Bolt said. “So this is why he tells me to stop talking about retirement and just take it a year at a time.”

The power of athletics in attracting big audiences would be more difficult without its global superstar.

“People always say to me, ‘Usain when you leave the sport, the sport is going to go down,'” Bolt said. “But I’m not going to look at it like that. There are a lot of athletes stepping up.”

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Major league roundup: Indians win with three-run ninth Wed, 27 Jul 2016 03:45:58 +0000 CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor pushed an RBI single through a drawn-in infield with one out in the ninth inning Tuesday night, and the Cleveland Indians rallied for three runs in their final at-bat to stun the Washington Nationals 7-6 in a matchup of two first-place teams with sights on October.

Down two runs and three outs from their losing streak reaching a season-high four games, the Indians rallied against Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon (2-4), who didn’t get an out before he was pulled by Manager Dusty Baker.

With the bases loaded, Lindor fisted his base hit into right field and danced his way up the first-base line as the Indians celebrated an improbable victory.

Bryan Shaw (2-4) got two outs in the ninth and picked up the win as Cleveland won its first home game since July 10.

ROCKIES 6, ORIOLES 3: Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story had two RBI apiece in a four-run third inning, and visiting Colorado beat Chris Tillman to end Baltimore’s five-game winning streak.

Seeking to become the first 15-game winner in the majors, Tillman (14-3) gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings. He allowed a combined four runs over 28 innings in his previous four starts.

WHITE SOX 3, CUBS 0: James Shields allowed four singles in 72/3 innings and Adam Eaton homered as the White Sox beat the visiting Cubs at Chicago.

Shields (5-12) struck out five and continued an impressive turnaround from a terrible first three starts after being acquired from San Diego last month. Nate Jones finished the eighth and David Robertson worked the ninth for his 24th save in the White Sox’s fourth straight win.

MARINERS 7, PIRATES 4: Felix Hernandez settled down after a shaky start and picked up his first victory in more than two months as Seattle won at Pittsburgh.

Hernandez (5-4) gave up four runs, all in the first two innings, and struck out three in six innings in his first win since May 21. Steve Cishek worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save.

BRAVES 2, TWINS 0: Lucas Harrell pitched six innings, Adonis Garcia homered and Atlanta won at Minneapolis in a matchup of the worst teams in the majors.

This untimely meeting came nearly 25 years after the Twins beat the Braves in a World Series that’s often been mentioned among the most dramatic in history. The 1991 anniversary celebration was marked by Gene Larkin, who had the winning hit in the 11th inning of Game 7, throwing the first pitch.

BLUE JAYS 7, PADRES 6: Devon Travis scored the winning run on a wild pitch, and Toronto rallied for three runs in the 12th inning at home. Matt Kemp of the Padres hit a two-run homer in the top of the 12th.


METS, CARDINALS SPLIT: Bartolo Colon pitched three-hit ball for seven sharp innings and New York overcame another home run by Jedd Gyorko to win at home for a doubleheader split.

Gyorko homered in both ends and has connected seven times in nine games. His two-run shot helped St. Louis win the opener, 3-2.

MARLINS 5, PHILLIES 0: Tom Koehler pitched six innings of three-hit ball, helping Miami win at home.


YANKEES 6, ASTROS 3: CC Sabathia allowed two runs in 62/3 innings to help New York at Houston.

ANGELS 13, ROYALS 0: Tyler Skaggs pitched seven innings in his first big league start in two years and Yunel Escobar went 5 for 5 to help Los Angeles win at Kansas City, Missouri.

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Tigers sink knuckleballer Wright, top Red Sox Wed, 27 Jul 2016 03:12:10 +0000 Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run home run, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Tyler Collins each had a pair of RBIs and the Detroit Tigers roughed up knuckleballer Steven Wright to beat the Boston Red Sox 9-8 on Tuesday night.

With the game tied in the sixth, Collins drew a bases-loaded two-out walk, which allowed Justin Upton to score the deciding run.

On a night when both starting pitchers struggled to string together outs, Detroit and Boston combined for 22 hits. Alex Wilson (1-0) got the victory, and Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 29th save.

David Ortiz had a three-run home run, but Boston’s offense didn’t have enough to offset a rare poor outing by Wright, who gave up nine hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings. Wright was leading the AL in ERA entering Tuesday.

Robbie Ross Jr. (1-2) got the loss.

Detroit scored early for the second straight night, this time taking the lead on Cabrera’s 20th homer of the season.

That was followed by RBI singles from Collins and Jose Iglesias in the second inning that made it 4-0.

Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey was solid the first time through the order but lost some of his early command the second time around.

It started in the third when Boston nearly erased Detroit’s lead with one big swing by Ortiz. With Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts aboard, Ortiz connected on a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey to drive his 25th of the season over the right-field wall.

The Red Sox took the lead back an inning later on an RBI groundout by Brock Holt and RBI double by Betts.

The Tigers continued to get hits against Wright, and went back up 8-5 thanks a four-run fifth inning.

Boston kept chipping away and used Jackie Bradley Jr.’s home run and RBIs by Dustin Pedroia and Bogaerts to tie it in the sixth.


Tigers: OF J.D. Martinez, who has been sidelined since June 17 (non-displaced right elbow fracture) began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday night. … LHP Daniel Norris (right oblique strain) will have his next rehab start in Double-A Erie on Thursday. He has been on the disabled list since July 5.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said LF/C Blake Swihart (left ankle sprain) is “ramping up activities” but because of some residual discomfort is not yet ready for a rehab assignment. The next seven to 10 days will be pivotal for him to determine his next step, Farrell said.


Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.41 ERA) makes his 16th start of the year in Wednesday’s series finale. It will be his first career start against the Red Sox. He is coming off a no-decision in his last start Friday against the White Sox, in which he surrendered five runs in five innings.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-4, 6.70) will make his third start since being recalled from the DL on July 16. He made his lone appearance against Detroit last season, allowing just one run and three hits over seven innings.

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Sports Digest: Biddeford gets eliminated from softball Little League tourney Wed, 27 Jul 2016 03:11:19 +0000 Dominique Rinaldi hit a two-run triple to push Sayville Little League of New York into a five-run, first-inning lead on the way to a 6-4 win over Maine champion Biddeford in a Little League East Regional elimination game Tuesday at Breen Field in Bristol, Connecticut.

Biddeford scored on a sacrifice fly by Charlotte Donovan in the third inning, an RBI single by Anna Lavigne in the fourth inning and a two-run single by Lavigne in the sixth inning.

Laura Perreault also had a pair of hits for Biddeford.

SENIOR LEAGUE: Elizabeth Duanys drove in five runs in leading Jack Barry Little League, the host team, to a pool-play 15-4 victory over Maine representative Shaker Valley in the East Regional in Worcester, Massachusetts.


NECBL: Christopher Gaetano belted a three-run homer in the first inning and Zach Jancarski lined an RBI single in the second as the Sanford Mainers (23-14) beat the Swamp Bats 10-3 in Keene, New Hampshire.

 The Mainers’ Blaise Whitman was named NECBL Pitcher of the Week. Whitman, pitching out of the bullpen, worked six innings over two appearances with five strikeouts and a 0.50 WHIP. He allowed one walk and two hits, and also earned the win in a 3-0 victory against Winnipesaukee.

EMPIRE LEAGUE: Edwin Rolon and Nate Coranado stroked RBI singles as the Sullivan Explorers (23-23) broke a 6-6 tie with two runs in the eighth inning against the Surge (26-25) for an 8-6 win at Old Orchard Beach.

Brandon Cooksey led Old Orchard with two runs and two RBI on a pair of hits.

LITTLE LEAGUE: Scarborough, 3-0 in the tournament, advanced to the championship round of the state 11-12 doubled-elimination tournament with a 19-7 winners’ bracket victory over Biddeford in Orrington.

Biddeford (2-1) plays Lewiston (2-1), a 9-3 elimination game victor over Medomak Valley, in Thursday’s elimination game for the right to meet Scarborough in Friday’s championhsip round.


WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Brittany Gaetano, head coach at Drew University since 2010 and a former assistant at Amherst College, is the new head coach of the Colby College women’s basketball program. She starts on Monday.

Colby finished 15-11 last year and made the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals. The Mules return 11 players, but lost three starters to graduation.


NHL: The Nashville Predators signed restricted free-agent defenseman Petter Granberg to a two-year contract.

 The New York Rangers signed defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy, a third-round pick in 2015, on an entry-level contract.

 The Detroit Red Wings avoided arbitration and signed defenseman Danny DeKeyser to a $30 million, six-year contract.


MLS: The Seattle Sounders and Coach Sigi Schmid are parting ways after eight years.

Longtime Sounders assistant Brian Schmetzer is immediately taking over as interim head coach.

A two-time MLS Coach of the Year and a National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Schmid has amassed 228 regular-season victories to rank first in MLS history. Schmid’s 26 postseason wins in MLS put him behind only LA’s Bruce Arena (30).

– From staff and news services

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Trenton uses eight-run inning to crush Sea Dogs Wed, 27 Jul 2016 02:30:34 +0000 It only seemed appropriate on Harry Potter Night at Hadlock Field that a bit of wizardry overshadowed all the offensive pyrotechnics of a 15-4 victory by the Trenton Thunder over the Sea Dogs.

Forget the 27 hits and four home runs. The play of the night ended the fifth inning when Trenton second baseman Cito Culver turned a double play without using his glove.

With the score tied at 1 and a runner on first base, Thunder shortstop Tyler Wade ranged to his right to field a hard grounder in the hole. He quickly zinged a throw toward second with Culver covering.

“I went to reach for it with my glove,” said Culver, a 2010 first-round pick of the Yankees. “Well, with both hands, because I usually turn double plays with my hands together, but I kind of ran out of glove. My (right) hand was a little bit further, so it just went right into my hand.”

Potter could not have done better corralling a golden snitch.

Without hesitating, Culver relayed the baseball to first to complete the double play, then ran off the field into an electric Trenton dugout.

“I threw that hard,” Wade said. “It was a little wide. I thought he was going to take it with his glove. Then I saw him barehand it. That was an amazing play. I felt like that sparked a rally for us the next inning, gave us a little life and things went on from there.”

Portland's Nate Freiman slides into third base ahead of a tag attempt by Trenton third baseman Miguel Andujar for a triple.   John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Portland’s Nate Freiman slides into third base ahead of a tag attempt by Trenton third baseman Miguel Andujar for a triple. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

A little life? The next six Trenton batters hit safely. Culver himself delivered a two-run double to put the Thunder ahead for good 3-1 and came up again later in the inning to drive in two more runs with a single. In all, Trenton scored eight runs and sent 13 men to the plate in the sixth against Sea Dogs relievers Taylor Grover (1-3) and Williams Jerez.

“I don’t know how he caught it,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said of Culver’s wizardry. “That’s something I’ve never seen before. It was kind of fun to watch.”

The Sea Dogs had their moments. Andrew Benintendi, starting in left field for only the third time, produced two outfield assists and made a tough catch in what little foul territory there is adjacent to the visiting bullpen.

Benintendi first cut down Trenton’s Kyle Higashioka trying to stretch a leadoff single. After Mike Ford singled to center, Mark Payton hit a shallow fly in the gap. Benintendi raced over, reached across his body and gloved the ball at his shoe tops.

Looking up, Benintendi saw Ford remaining at second base, believing the ball had struck turf before leather. A long, easy throw to first base completed the double play, and brought Trenton Manager Bobby Mitchell out to argue in vain.

Benintendi also had two of Portland’s nine hits, raising his average to .281. The other top Red Sox prospect, Yoan Moncada, hit his eighth home run. Cole Sturgeon also homered for the Sea Dogs and Nate Freiman contributed a triple and a run-scoring single.

Coming off the disabled list and pitching for the first time in more than a month, Mike McCarthy started the game and delivered four scoreless innings. He faced only three batters over the minimum and had considerable help in the field.

In addition to Benintendi, catcher Danny Bethea threw out a would-be base stealer. But after Culver’s defense turned the game around, it was all Thunder.

Dante Bichette Jr. and Payton each homered. Wade, Ford and Lane Adams each had three hits as Trenton feasted on four Portland relievers for 14 of the team’s 18 hits. Portland pitchers also walked nine.

“It was definitely a lifter for us,” Culver said. “That’s all I try to do, is help my team as much as I can, make plays when I can, get hits when I can.”

So, did it sting?

Culver shook his head.

“I was pumped,” he said with a grin. “I didn’t feel anything.”

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,364. … To make room for McCarthy, the Sea Dogs placed right-hander Jacob Dahlstrand on the disabled list, retroactive to July 22. “He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery,” said pitching coach Kevin Walker. “It’s been a long road for him. This is a thing we do for all our starters, give them a little break during the season.”

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Major league notebook: Upton traded from Padres to Blue Jays Wed, 27 Jul 2016 01:13:18 +0000 TORONTO — Outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. was already in Toronto with the San Diego Padres when they traded him across the diamond to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

But joining his new team was a lot more complicated than walking down the hall.

The Blue Jays acquired Upton and cash from the Padres for minor league right-hander Hansel Rodriguez.

Upton couldn’t join Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins for an early afternoon press conference because he was at the nearest border crossing, in Buffalo, New York, being cleared to re-enter Canada.

When he arrived with the Padres on Sunday night, Upton was treated as a visitor. As a member of the Blue Jays, he needs a work visa to enter Canada.

WHITE SOX: Manager Robin Ventura insists he can work with pitcher Chris Sale despite Sale’s critical comments about him.

Sale is serving a five-day, unpaid ban after destroying throwback uniforms the team was supposed to wear for his start Saturday. Sale told in a story published Monday that he doesn’t regret standing up for what he believed and said Ventura should have stood up for his players.

Ventura shook off the comments and supported General Manager Rick Hahn’s decision to send Sale home after the incident.

CUBS: Closer Aroldis Chapman joined the team, arriving to a mixed reaction in Chicago and saying he couldn’t remember what management told him about off-field expectations and behavior.

After Chapman’s awkward introductory news conference, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, insisted Chapman understands what the Cubs expect of him after an offseason domestic violence incident.

When the Cubs announced the trade Monday with the New York Yankees, the team released a statement from its chairman, Tom Ricketts, saying they were aware of Chapman’s 29-game suspension to begin the season under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy and had spoken with Chapman.

NATIONALS: Washington reinstated first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the disabled list after he missed 13 games because of a strained left rib cage.

Zimmerman recently completed a rehab assignment at Class A Potomac, where he batted .417 (5 for 12) with a homer and five RBI. Zimmerman was batting only .221 with 12 homers and 38 RBI for Washington when he got hurt.

MARLINS: Second baseman Dee Gordon will be eligible for reinstatement from his 80-game suspension Thursday.

Gordon, last year’s National League batting champion, was suspended for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy.

CARDINALS: St. Louis put reliever Trevor Rosenthal on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right shoulder.

Manager Mike Matheny said Rosenthal recently mentioned he wanted to get checked for a possible problem. The former closer is undergoing tests that might show why he suddenly became so ineffective.

A 75-YEAR-OLD WOMAN was taken to a Cleveland hospital after being hit in the face with a foul ball by Daniel Murphy of Washington.

Muir West was sitting down the right-field line – and may have been blinded by the sun – when she was struck by the hard shot from Murphy in the first inning of the Indians’ game at Progressive Field. Fans sitting in her section immediately called for security and medical personnel.

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NFL notebook: Falcons cut return specialist Hester Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:52:22 +0000 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Star return specialist Devin Hester was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday following an injury-shortened 2015 season.

The 33-year-old Hester is a three-time All-Pro who set an NFL record with 20 career returns for touchdowns. He began his career with the Chicago Bears before signing a three-year, $9 million deal with Atlanta before the 2014 season.

A turf toe injury knocked out most of his season in 2015. He had 269 total return yards during the last five games of the year. He had surgery in January, preventing him from full participation in offseason workouts.

GM Thomas Dimitroff said the decision to release Hester – two days before the first practice of training camp – was about more than the toe injury.

“He passed his physical,” Dimitroff said. “It was a football decision for us at the very end. Not to be evasive about it, we wish him all the luck.”

LIONS: Anquan Boldin is joining the Lions, according to messages on the free-agent receiver’s Twitter account.

Boldin tweeted that he’s excited to reunite with Detroit Coach Jim Caldwell, and he hopes he can help the Lions reach the postseason. Boldin played the past three seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, but prior to that he was with Baltimore for three seasons. In Boldin’s final season with the Ravens, they won the Super Bowl with Caldwell as offensive coordinator.

BROWNS: Wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, has a quadriceps injury that will keep him out of training camp for at least two weeks.

PACKERS: As his teammates opened practice, Jordy Nelson, Green Bay’s talented receiver, said a minor issue with his left knee contributed to a delay in his long-awaited return. He will have to wait a little longer to return to practice after having missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Titans: The Titans agreed to a contract with offensive lineman Will Campbell.

HALL OF FAME: Pro Football Hall of Fame coaches John Madden and Marv Levy are among the presenters chosen to welcome the eight-person Class of 2016 at the induction ceremonies on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

Madden will speak on behalf of the late quarterback Ken Stabler, who played for Madden with the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s. The quarterback died in 2015 at the age of 69.

Levy will be the presenter for offensive lineman Dick Stanfel, who died last year at 87.

The others inductees, and their presenters: Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. (daughter, Lisa DeBartolo), Tony Dungy (Donnie Shell), Brett Favre (wife, Deanna Favre), Kevin Green (Dom Capers), Marvin Harrison (Jim Irsay), and Orlando Pace (son, Justin Pace).

WASHINGTON: Linebacker Junior Galette tore his right Achilles tendon and is out for the season.

Galette missed last season with a torn left Achilles tendon. This latest injury came while preparing for camp.

COLTS: Defensive lineman Arthur Jones blames himself for the failed drug test that led to a four-game suspension.

After arriving at camp, Jones told reporters he had not checked the ingredients of a supplement he was taking or check the supplement with the league office.

Jones was suspended Friday for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.

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NBA notebook: Stoudemire decides to retire as a Knick Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:38:19 +0000 NEW YORK — Amar’e Stoudemire’s greatest NBA success was in Phoenix, where as Steve Nash’s pick-and-roll partner he was one of the NBA’s most fearsome finishers.

But he chose to leave the league as a member of the Knicks, the franchise that was mired in a lengthy playoff drought before he signed in 2010 and revitalized the franchise.

Stoudemire retired Tuesday after signing a contract with the Knicks with much less fanfare than the $100 million deal he inked six years ago to halt the team’s downward spiral.

“Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple,” he said in a statement. “Once a Knick, Always a Knick.”

Stoudemire, 33, was a six-time All-Star, but battled knee injuries after his sensational first season in New York, when he became the first Knicks player to be voted an All-Star starter since Patrick Ewing in 1997.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Portland agreed to a four-year deal with restricted free agent Maurice Harkless.

The Blazers acquired Harkless in a trade with the Orlando Magic and he averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 78 games last season. He filled a key role late in the regular season when Meyers Leonard injured his shoulder, and averaged 12 points over the final 11 games.

Wizards: Washington re-signed shooting guard Bradley Beal, a 23-year-old restricted free agent.

The No. 3 overall draft pick in 2012, he averaged a career-high 17.4 points in his fourth season, pairing with John Wall to form one of the NBA’s most dynamic young backcourts.

CAVALIERS: Coach Tyronn Lue was rewarded for the greatest run by a Cleveland team in more than a half-century.

Lue was given a multiyear contract extension with the Cavaliers, who promoted him halfway through a season that ended with a historic comeback and NBA championship.

A former assistant, Lue took over when David Blatt was fired in January and led the Cavs to an unexpected title, the city’s first pro sports team to win it all since the Browns in 1964.

Terms of Lue’s extension were not immediately disclosed.

HEAT: Shooting guard Dion Waiters signed a $5.93 million, two-year contract and he’ll compete for a starting job as Dwyane Wade’s replacement.

Waiters was one of the top free agents left on the market. He became an unrestricted free agent when Oklahoma City rescinded a $6.8 million qualifying offer. The second year of his Miami deal includes a player option.

Wade, a 12-time All-Star, signed a $47 million, two-year deal with Chicago.

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Rose Bowl won’t move for national semifinals Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:14:57 +0000 CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany doesn’t envision the Rose Bowl abandoning its New Year’s Day spot to accommodate the College Football Playoff semifinals.

He said there might be “some movement from the bowls” but not by the Rose Bowl.

“I realize the challenge,” Delany said Tuesday. “There may be changes in the offing but I wouldn’t expect those changes to impact the Rose Bowl.”

The College Football Playoff is considering moving future semifinals off New Year’s Eve after ratings for last season’s games plunged. Bill Hancock, the playoff executive director, said two weeks ago that commissioners who comprise the playoff management committee are open to adjusting future schedules.

“We have some good options,” he said, adding they are “getting close” to a resolution.

ESPN drew record ratings for the inaugural playoff following the 2014 season, starting with the Rose Bowl that kicked off around 5:30 p.m.

But the semifinal ratings fell 36 percent last season, the first of eight times during a 12-year contract with the network that places the semis on New Year’s Eve. Many people were at work last December when the Orange Bowl between Oklahoma and Clemson started at 4:30 p.m.

“One option could be finding a different day for the semifinals when they’re not in the Rose and Sugar Bowls,” Hancock said.

This season the semifinals are again on New Year’s Eve but on a Saturday. Next year they will be played on New Year’s Day.

But move the Rose? Don’t count on it, and the same goes for the Sugar Bowl.

“I don’t see it happening,” Hancock said. “We’ve been studying whether New Year’s Eve on a weekday is the best day for the semifinals. And considering all that, I don’t see it changing the Rose Bowl.”

]]> 0 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:18:14 +0000
Federer will sit out rest of year to protect left knee Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:02:28 +0000 Roger Federer is sitting out the rest of this season, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and U.S. Open, to protect his surgically repaired left knee.

Federer wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that he needs “more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year.”

“The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover,” Federer said.

The owner of a record 17 Grand Slams titles turns 35 on Aug. 8, so the reference to “another few years” might give his fans increased hope of seeing Federer continue to wield a racket for quite some time.

His agent, Tony Godsick, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Federer plans to “be ready for the start of next year.”

Federer is the first member of tennis’ so-called “Big 4” – a group that also includes No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal and 2012 gold medalist Andy Murray – to pull out of the Rio Games, where that sport’s competition starts Aug. 6, a day after the opening ceremony.

Federer often has spoken about how much the Olympics mean to him, in part because he met his wife, Mirka, when both were athletes at the 2000 Sydney Games. Federer won a silver medal in singles for Switzerland four years ago in London and teamed up with Stan Wawrinka to win a gold medal in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In Brazil, Federer was expected to play singles, doubles with Wawrinka and mixed doubles with Martina Hingis.

He is the second big draw who will be missing from the Rio tennis tournament: Maria Sharapova won’t be there because she’s serving a two-year doping ban.

The arthroscopic procedure Federer had on his knee in February, repairing torn cartilage, was his first operation. Federer said he got hurt while preparing a bath for his twin daughters.

He’s also had back issues this season, missed the French Open to end his record 65-appearance streak at major tournaments and didn’t win a title of any sort in 2016 – the first year since 2000 that he will finish without at least one trophy.

So after participating in every Grand Slam tournament from the 2000 Australian Open through the 2016 Australian Open, Federer will sit out two of the last three this year. He is a five-time champion at the U.S. Open and was the runner-up there to Djokovic last year.

Federer, who has spent more weeks at No. 1 than anyone in the ATP computerized rankings, sits at No. 3, having gone 21-7 this season. Depending on how other players fare, Federer’s ranking will tumble the rest of the year.

Federer hasn’t played since losing to Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon semifinals early this month.

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 20:19:53 +0000
Masters champ Willett struggling with his game Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 +0000 SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Since winning the Masters, Danny Willett has taken his green jacket to Wimbledon, thrown out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game and enjoyed the celebrity that goes with being a major champion. Add in fatherhood and it’s been a couple of fun months.

Willett’s golf game is another story.

He has played in seven tournaments since winning at Augusta and has only one top 10 finish, a third at the BMW PGA Championship in his native England on the European Tour. He tied for 37th in the U.S. Open, finished tied for 53rd in the British Open and missed three cuts.

The goal for this week at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club is to get his game going again.

“I think it’s settled down a bit now. … We are trying to get back down to work and knuckle down because we have got a very important second half of the season coming up,” said Willett, 28, who will play in the Olympics and Ryder Cup this year.

“Yeah, like I said before, it’s time to move on a little bit from what we did in April. It was fantastic and yeah, it’s changed my life, but we need to get back to the kind of form that we took into that week and hopefully then move forward.”

Willett never had a chance in the British Open, simply based on tee time. He had an afternoon draw in the opening round, got the worst of the weather and never recovered.

“You look at the weather conditions were pretty brutal over there,” Willett said. “Rory (McIlroy) was the tee time behind us and I think he finished the best from our side at 4 under, I think. To shoot the scores the boys shot would have been virtually impossible from the times that we played.”

The weather – other than the heat – should not be a problem this week. The battle will be to find the fairways on this tree-lined venue and the center of the rolling greens at this course that last played host to the PGA in 2005, when Phil Mickelson won with a 4-under total.

“I think if you finish anywhere near, I don’t know, 6-, 7-, -under par, personally I think that would be a very good golf score for four rounds around this golf course,” Willett said. “I could be massively wrong, but from what we saw yesterday, that’s how it kind of sits.”

As far as Willett is concerned, this might be the best field of the year, and the event is wide open, at least judging by what has happened this year in the majors. He won the Masters as an unknown, even though he was ranked No. 12 in the world.

Dustin Johnson finally broke through at the U.S. Open after knocking on the major door for five or so years, and 40-year-old Henrik Stenson won his first major at the British Open with a record score to hold off Mickelson.

“It just goes to show the strength and depth throughout golf at the moment,” Willett said. “Yeah, there is two, three, four, of the best players in the world that are playing some particularly good golf right now. But it just goes to show on a week-to-week basis that if anyone who is really there pitches up with their A game, they have got a good chance of winning.”

The last player to win the Masters and PGA in the same year was Jack Nicklaus in 1975.

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 20:19:07 +0000
Olympic notebook: More Russians barred from Rio Tue, 26 Jul 2016 23:50:47 +0000 MOSCOW — At least 105 athletes from the 387-strong Russian Olympic team announced last week have been barred from the Rio Games in connection with the country’s doping scandal.

International federations in canoeing, sailing and modern pentathlon ruled out eight on Tuesday, including an Olympic gold medalist. Rowing added 19 athletes to three that had previously been announced. Swimming also has barred some athletes. Some appeals are likely.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Russian media that Putin discussed the issue with his national security council.

“The topic of the recent International Olympic Committee ruling relating to Russian athletes was raised ahead of Putin’s planned meeting (Wednesday) with the Russian Olympic team,” Peskov said.

The vast majority of the Russian athletes who miss out are in track and field, where 67 athletes were ruled out when a ban on the Russian team was upheld at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.

TWO DAYS after describing the housing at the Olympics as “dangerous,” Australian athletes and staff started moving into the athletes’ village.

A team spokesman said up to 60 delegation members, evenly split between athletes and staff, were checking in.

n The Olympic team of Belarus branded the athletes’ village unsanitary, complaining about having no hot water, only sometimes cold water, and a failing sewage system. The country’s Olympic committee posted pictures on its website of dirty windows and a filthy shower.

THE U.S. women’s basketball team continues its pre-Olympic tour with a three-city exhibition series that wraps up Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

The Americans will face France on Wednesday at the University of Delaware, play Canada on Friday in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and host Australia on Sunday.

CUTS WILL be a major concern in Olympic boxing when the 250 male fighters will compete without headgear for the first time since the 1980 Games in Moscow.

“I don’t think it was a good idea, taking off the headgear, because we’re still amateur,” U.S. light flyweight Nico Hernandez said. “I got cut on both eyes before. I got stitches and stuff from head-butts. I just don’t think it’s as safe for the amateur boxers. But I also like it because you can have more peripheral vision and you don’t get as hot. I’ve had a lot of fights without now, so I’m used to it.”

TWO INDIAN competitors proclaimed their innocence after testing positive for banned steroids just days before they were to leave for the Olympics.

Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was to represent India in the 74-kilogram category, said his food supplements were spiked, causing the positive test. Inderjeet Singh, who was a medal hope in the shot put, was told by India’s National Anti-Doping Agency that he tested positive for a banned steroid.

THE COURT of Arbitration for Sport opened two temporary offices in Rio de Janeiro to handle doping cases.

Usually used as a higher court after an initial sanction of an athlete, CAS said “for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games” it will be used as “a first-instance authority.”

]]> 0 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:00:05 +0000
Creech leads by three strokes at Maine Women’s Amateur Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:01:33 +0000 ORONO — Defending champion Staci Creech of Veazie will take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Maine Women’s Amateur golf championship Wednesday.

Creech, 43, shot a 2-under 71 on Tuesday at the Penobscot Valley Country Club to finish the second round of the three-day tournament at 6 under.

Bailey Plourde, 16, of Newcastle, is in second place at 3 under. Plourde shot a 1-over 74 after starting the day in a first-place tie with Creech.

They are the only two golfers under par after two rounds. Lori Frost is in third place at 6 over. Sarah Hansen and Kristin Kannegieser are tied for fourth at 11 over.

Creech, who was the only golfer to shoot under par Tuesday, had three birdies and a bogey.

Plourde, who won the Maine junior championship last week, had three birdies and two bogeys, and also had a double-bogey on the fifth hole.

]]> 0 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:16:47 +0000
Bogeys aside, Ted Brown wins Maine Open Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:35:54 +0000 MANCHESTER — After a bogey on the third hole Tuesday, Ted Brown chucked his ball into the woods. After his round was done and Brown was the Maine Open champion, he spoke of the moment as if it was something everybody does.

“I don’t ever play a ball I make a bogey with. That’s just the way I play,” Brown said. “It’s on to the next one. There’s no need for it.”

Brown ended up tossing two bogey balls in the final round but those were the exceptions. A strong front nine at the Augusta Country Club staked Brown to the lead and steady play on the back nine clinched it.

Brown finished at 7 under in the two-day tournament, one shot better than Jon McLean and Nicholas Pandelena.

A Canadian who has lived in Virginia since graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003, Brown began the day tied for the lead with Jason Thresher and Josh Eure at 4 under. Eure and Thresher both struggled Tuesday, particularly on the back nine. Eure was even on the day and finished tied for seventh, and Thresher was 3 over on the day and tied for 22nd.

Brown’s back-nine struggles were limited to a bogey on 13, and par putts after long birdie tries didn’t fall on 10, 11 and 12.

“I just didn’t make any putts. A couple of the wedges weren’t as close and I just didn’t make any putts. That’s really the only difference,” Brown said.

Brown said he was glad to birdie 16 because it pulled him back to even on the back nine. At the time, Brown had no idea there were players in the clubhouse at 6 under, and the putt had given him back the lead.

“It was nice to birdie 16. You know, with that back pin, both guys in my group ended up bogeying it. It’s one of those holes, you’ve got to hit a good shot,” Brown said. “That was good, to get back even on my back nine, but I had no idea where I stood until I got to the scorer’s table. I never asked or anything. I really didn’t know … I’m not going to change my game. I might if I knew but there’s no point. Out here I’m trying to birdie every hole.”

Brown started his day strong, with birdies on holes one, two and four wrapped around the bogey on three. Brown picked up another birdie on six. After his tee shot on the 358-yard hole went approximately 300 yards to the middle of the fairway, Brown chipped within a few feet of the pin, setting up an easy birdie putt.

This was the second Maine Open for Brown, who tied for fifth in 2013. After playing on the Tour last year (“I played my way off that nicely,” Brown said with a laugh) he hasn’t played much competitive golf this year. The Maine Open was just his second tournament of the year. The first was last week, when he tied for 10th at the Greater Bangor Open.

Brown’s next tourney starts less than 24 hours after winning the Maine Open, when he begins play in the New Hampshire Open. It’s a whirlwind golf tour of the Northeast, and Brown was happy to leave Augusta a winner.

“I haven’t really played much this year,” Brown said. “I came up with a couple buddies to have some fun. We’ll go play New Hampshire, then head back (home).”

Jack Wyman was the top amateur, finishing tied for seventh at 4 under. Shawn Warren was the top Maine pro, tied for 15th at 2 under.

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 21:10:38 +0000
Maine football picked to finish 9th in CAA Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:23:05 +0000 BALTIMORE — Joe Harasymiak has a reliable sounding board as he makes the transition from defensive coordinator to head coach at the University of Maine.

That would be Jack Cosgrove, who stepped down last November after 23 years as the Black Bears’ head football coach. Cosgrove now works as the senior associate director of athletics at Maine.

But discussions between the two rarely touch on the fundamentals of football.

“A lot of it has been everything (else),” Harasymiak said. “That has been the biggest change for me. As an assistant you watch film. Now it is 95 guys (to be in charge of). Everyone is on me. When I reach out to Coach Cos it has not been (about) football stuff.”

The first-year coach has plenty of work to do after Maine finished 3-8 last season. On Tuesday, the Black Bears were picked to finish ninth of 12 teams at the Colonial Athletic Association’s football media day at M&T Bank Stadium. The poll was compiled from votes by league coaches and sports information directors.

“We can’t get too caught up on where people pick us,” said Harasymiak, who at 30 is the nation’s youngest Division I head coach.

Maine’s Pat Ricard, an all-CAA preseason pick on the defensive line, noted that the Black Bears were picked to finish eighth in 2013 but won the CAA title. Last season Maine was 3-5 in the league.

“It is nothing new to us. We are always picked near the end,” said Ricard, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior from Spencer, Massachusetts. “It just shows we need more respect.”

So far Harasymiak is getting high marks from his players.

“He is a player’s coach,” Ricard said. “He cares about us. (The staff) has a lot of energy and passion for the game.”

Maine will begin training camp Aug. 5 and opens the season Sept. 1 at UConn.

One of Harasymiak’s biggest decisions in camp will be to choose a starting quarterback. Contending are senior Dan Collins and junior Drew Belcher, both of whom saw extensive action in 2015.

“We look to make a decision after our first scrimmage in camp,” Harasymiak said. “We want one guy to take the job and run with it.

“I think we will be more of a pro-style offense (with) different forms, different sets. We are just going to play more complementary football. Maine has always been known as defense first.”

The Black Bears will have to replace Trevor Bates, an all-CAA defensive lineman who had 14.5 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks last season. Bates was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round.

“Trevor is an absolutely amazing player,” Ricard said. “He is hard to replace but I feel we are confident in the players we have.”

Another key loss is Bruce Johnson, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent. Johnson was honored after last season as the top center in FCS.

Maine will begin CAA play at home on Sept. 24 against James Madison, picked to finish third behind Richmond and William & Mary. The Black Bears end the regular season at home against New Hampshire on Nov. 19.

“This league that we play in is special,” said UNH Coach Sean McDonnell. “We had four teams in the (national) playoffs last year, should have been five. We are the most competitive league in the country at the FCS level.”

Five CAA teams were ranked in the Athlon Sports Preseason FCS Top 25 poll: Richmond (4), William & Mary (13), James Madison (14), Towson (18) and Villanova (20).

JMU, William & Mary and Richmond shared the league title last year with 6-2 records. All three made the FCS playoffs, along with New Hampshire.

Harasymiak was on Cosgrove’s staff for five seasons, the past two as defensive coordinator.

“He is the reason Maine is what it is to be completely honest with you,” Harasymiak said of Cosgrove. “He is Maine football. He kept it sustained for a long period of time. I can’t replace him. That is not possible.”

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 22:08:59 +0000
Tom Caron: Hanley Ramirez’s move to first has been pleasant surprise Tue, 26 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 In 2015, Hanley Ramirez tried to become a left fielder. It didn’t work.

That season, Ramirez arrived at spring training looking like an NFL linebacker, and he treated baseballs like a linebacker crushing a running back in the early going. He hit 10 homers in April, tying a Boston Red Sox record for most home runs through April 30.

Then he had a collision with a wall while trying to catch a ball in left at Fenway Park. He would hit only nine homers the rest of the season. Sox fans spent the offseason figuring out ways the team could get rid of him and the remaining three years on his contract.

Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s president of baseball operations, undoubtedly would’ve jumped at the right deal to move Ramirez. That deal never came. So the decision was made to move him to first base.

That move has been one of the great success stories of 2016. He has made the transition to first base better than most anticipated, with just three errors and a fielding percentage of .995.

On Sunday, he wasn’t at first. He was the designated hitter as David Ortiz got a much-needed day off. Ramirez delivered as the Big Papi fill-in for the day, crushing a home run as the Sox held on to beat the Twins 8-7 to salvage a split of the four-game series.

Is Ramirez the DH of the future? As we all know, Ortiz is retiring after the season.

“You got more chance to work in the cage, look at videos, see what happened in the last at-bat, why you missed that pitch and what you’ve been doing wrong,” Ramirez said after the win. “You only have to focus on one thing, just hitting. At first, you have to play offense and defense. But it doesn’t make any difference to me.”

After a two-hit day, it was easy to speculate on Ramirez’s potential move to DH. He was asked about that on his first day at training camp this spring. At that time, no one thought he could become an above-average defensive player at first.

“What if I win the Gold Glove?” Ramirez replied.

We thought he was joking. He probably was, but he might just be among the Gold Glove finalists at first base in the American League.

Not everyone is cut out to be a full-time DH. It seems easier – just take four or five at-bats a game and relax – but many players can’t handle the down time in between the at-bats.

Hanley can, and his manager knows it.

“He has the mental capacity and the capability of staying focused at-bat to at-bat,” John Farrell said on Sunday. “Some guys, you put them in the DH hole, it’s out of their comfort zone where they’re in the game defensively. He’s able to stay fresh with each and every at-bat he’s there.”

Not many fans thought we’d be talking about the mental capacity of Ramirez at this point of the season … at least not in a positive light. Yet here we are, with Ramirez getting it done at the plate and in the field.

If the Red Sox are going to make any sort of deep run in the playoffs – still a very big if considering the pitching issues that continue to pop up far too regularly – the Sox are going to need consistent middle-of-the-lineup power from both sides of the plate. Ortiz has given them that all year. If Ramirez can provide the right-handed power behind Ortiz, this team will score enough runs to overcome any pitching deficiencies.

Getting above-average defense, especially from first base, is an unexpected bonus.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 23:00:49 +0000
Major league roundup: Error gives O’s win in the 10th Tue, 26 Jul 2016 04:00:48 +0000 BALTIMORE — Adam Jones scored the winning run in the 10th inning on a low throw to the plate by pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Jones reached on a one-out single off the third-base bag and took third on a single by Jonathan Schoop. Manny Machado followed with a comebacker to Lyles, who fumbled the ball before throwing home.

Catcher Nick Hundley caught the ball near the ground and lost the handle while attempting to tag the sliding Jones.

Lyles (2-3) was charged with an error on the play.

Getting two RBI from Jones, the Orioles climbed a season-high 18 games over .500 (58-40) and improved to 37-14 at home.

Chaz Roe (1-0) worked the 10th for the win.

Nolan Arenado homered for the Rockies, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Colorado outfielder David Dahl went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts in his major league debut.

BLUE JAYS 4, PADRES 2: Aaron Sanchez pitched seven shutout innings to win his 10th consecutive decision and Kevin Pillar had three hits in a win at Toronto.

Making their first appearance in Toronto, the Padres were held scoreless until Alex Dickerson hit a two-run homer off Bo Schultz in the ninth.

Dickerson’s drive extended San Diego’s team-record streak of games with at least one home run to 23.


BREWERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Martin Maldonado hit a three-run homer and Milwaukee went deep four times, spoiling the major league debut of Arizona pitching prospect Braden Shipley in a victory over the Diamondbacks.

WHITE SOX 5, CUBS 4: Tyler Saladino hit a game-ending RBI single for the host White Sox.

J.B. Shuck sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single against Mike Montgomery (3-5), who was acquired in a deal with Seattle last week. Shuck advanced on Dioner Navarro’s sacrifice and Saladino followed with a bouncer into center field.

PHILLIES 4, MARLINS 0: Jeremy Hellickson dominated Miami for a second straight start, throwing six innings of one-hit ball at Miami.


YANKEES 2, ASTROS 1: Austin Romine hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning to make a winner of Michael Pineda, and the New York bullpen did just fine without star closer Aroldis Chapman in a win at Houston.

ANGELS 6, ROYALS 2: Albert Pujols drove in four runs and Hector Santiago won his fifth consecutive start in a win at Kansas City, Missouri.

Pujols leads the majors with 26 RBI in July.

RANGERS 7, ATHLETICS 6: Adrian Beltre hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth inning as host Texas won its third straight.

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 00:22:43 +0000
Olympics notebook: Seven Russian swimmers banned Tue, 26 Jul 2016 03:41:06 +0000 RIO DE JANEIRO — Swimming governing body FINA has ruled seven Russian swimmers ineligible to compete at the Olympics, including three it says were linked to recent allegations of a major doping cover-up by Russian authorities.

Reigning world 100-meter breaststroke champion Yulia Efimova is among four Russian swimmers who FINA says were withdrawn by the Russian Swimming Federation because they previously served doping bans.

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday restricted athletes with previous doping bans from representing Russia.

FINA says three more swimmers were identified by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren when he examined evidence that Russian government officials ordered the cover-up of hundreds of doping tests.

They are 2008 Olympic silver and 2012 bronze medalist Nikita Lobintsev, bronze medalist Vladimir Morozov and world junior record holder Daria Ustinova.

RUSSIAN DOPING whistleblower Yulia Stepanova is appealing her ban from the Olympics, saying it was based on incorrect information and dubious legal grounds.

Stepanova sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee contending she never said she wouldn’t compete for the Russian team, as the IOC stated. The IOC would not make any exception for her to compete under a neutral flag.

She says the IOC’s ban of any Russian athlete who has previously served a doping ban is not permitted – a ruling the Court of Arbitration for Sport made in 2011.

Stepanova was an 800-meter runner who got caught for doping, but later came forward to expose the Russian doping system.

Both the World Anti-Doping Agency and track’s governing body, the IAAF, recommended she be allowed in the Olympics.

ATHLETES VILLAGE: Despite a delay of several days, the head of the Australian delegation said she expects her 700 athletes and officials to move into housing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Wednesday.

Australia refused to check in at the Athletes Village when it officially opened Sunday, complaining about water leaks, gas leaks, electrical faults and filth that delegation head Kitty Chiller said “endangered” athletes.

“It’s looking like, according to our plan, that we will be able to move everybody in on Wednesday,” Chiller said, speaking Monday at Rio’s Olympic Park.

Sidney Levy, CEO of the Rio organizing committee, said half of the 31 apartment buildings in the village complex were ready on Monday.

GYMNASTICS: Apparently all reigning Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas needed to overcome a so-so performance at Olympic Trials is quality time with national team coordinator Martha Karolyi.

Karolyi praised Douglas for her steady improvement during a recently completed national training camp, and said Douglas will likely be given an opportunity to defend the gold medal she won in London four years ago.

Douglas made the five-woman team at Olympic Trials two weeks ago despite finishing eighth in the all-around. Karolyi said she believed Douglas would respond to extended time under Karolyi’s watch following a turbulent period in which Douglas parted ways with her coach.

Karolyi said there is a “very, very strong possibility” Douglas will be entered in the all-around.

Douglas finished second behind teammate Simone Biles at the 2015 world championships. No female gymnast has repeated as Olympic champion since Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia did it in 1968.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 23:41:06 +0000
Sports Digest: Biddeford again manages to stay alive with 7-1 win Tue, 26 Jul 2016 03:12:58 +0000 SOFTBALL

Biddeford again manages to stay alive with 7-1 win

Charlotte Donovan pitched a four-hitter and Chantelle Bouchard hit a two-run double as Biddeford again avoided elimination from the Little League Softball East Regional with a 7-1 win Monday over Worcester, Massachusetts, at Bristol, Connecticut, on Monday.

The Maine champions scored five runs in the second inning, aided by four errors. Bouchard capped the outburst with a double that drove home Donovan and Kerri Scott.

Donovan allowed a run in the first inning but was in control the rest of the way. She struck out 11 and walked only one.

Biddeford plays another elimination game Tuesday.

SENIOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL: Kate Shubert had a pair of hits and drove in two runs as Shaker Valley rolled past Elmwood, Rhode Island, 11-0 in a game shortened to three innings in a New England East Regional game at Worcester, Massachusetts.

Julia Gregoire went the distance for Shaker Valley, surrendering one hit while striking out five.

Shaker Valley will face the host Jack Barry team at 9 a.m. Tuesday.


EMPIRE EAGUE: The Sullivan Explorers (22-22) opened up an early 6-0 lead in a 10-4 win over the host Old Orchard Beach Surge (26-24).

Jordyn Van Atta had three hits, including a double, for Old Orchard Beach and Brian White had two singles.

JUNIOR LEGION: Hunter Owen and James DiBiase had two-run singles in a five-run fifth inning as South Portland pulled away to defeat Gray-New Gloucester 7-1 in the Junior Legion state tournament championship game at Waterville.

South Portland will represent Maine in the Junior Legion regional tournament at Rockland, Massachusetts, starting Aug. 5.


WNBA: League president Lisa Borders said she hopes that rescinding the fines imposed for wearing black warm-up shirts in solidarity for shooting victims will lead to a fresh start on social activism for the players and their union.

Borders said rescinding the fines was decided on Friday, hours before the Rev. Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network, said they would pay the fines.

NBA: Michael Jordan finally spoke out about racial tensions in America in hopes of easing conflicts between blacks and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner announced he is giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and another $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The high-profile Jordan has been notoriously silent over the years when it comes to his opinions on politics or social justice issues, which has drawn some criticism.


NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. warned that his return to NASCAR could take longer than planned. NASCAR’s most popular driver is scheduled to miss his third consecutive race this Sunday with concussion-like symptoms. Replacement Jeff Gordon will race the No. 88 car again this weekend at Pocono.


NHL: Forward Stefan Noesen, 23, agreed to a one-year contract to stay with Anaheim.

n Philadelphia avoided arbitration with Brayden Schenn, 24, signing the forward to a four-year contract.

– From staff and news services

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Major league notebook: White Sox say Sale will start Thursday Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:59:14 +0000 CHICAGO — White Sox ace Chris Sale will start on Thursday against the crosstown Cubs in his first appearance since he was suspended for five days for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The White Sox announced Sale’s punishment on Sunday after the left-hander was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension cost Sale $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700.

The 27-year-old Sale is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA this year. There is a possibility he could be traded before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver deadline, though it would take quite an offer to get the White Sox to move him.

RANGERS: Slugger Prince Fielder is expected to have season-ending neck surgery for the second time in three years.

Fielder got a second opinion Monday, and General Manager Jon Daniels says Dr. Drew Dossett recommended surgery. That was the same as Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles said last week after an MRI showed a herniation between Fielder’s C4 and C5 disks.

ASTROS: Cuban shortstop Anibal Sierra will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus as part of his minor league contract with Houston.

The 22-year-old played for Avispas de Santiago from 2012-14 in Cuba. He appeared in 91 games, playing 47 games at second base and 26 games at shortstop.

BREWERS: Will Middlebrooks went on the 15-day disabled list after the third baseman left Sunday’s game against the Cubs with a strained lower right leg.

Middlebrooks signed with Milwaukee in the offseason. He was hitting .111 with no homers and one RBI in 10 games since being called up from Triple-A on July 4.

CARDINALS: Matt Carpenter is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment this week.

Carpenter has been sidelined since July 6 with a strained right oblique.

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Pomeranz loses second straight start with Sox Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:57:48 +0000 BOSTON – Justin Verlander gave the Detroit Tigers a quality start Monday night, and they capitalized. They could use more of that in a tightening AL Central race.

Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, Verlander pitched six solid innings and the Tigers beat the Red Sox 4-2 to spoil Drew Pomeranz’s second start with Boston.

Victor Martinez and James McCann also drove in runs for the Tigers. Detroit pulled within 5 1/2 games of idle AL Central-leading Cleveland.

“I think it’s start by start,” Verlander said. “You tend to string starts together, occasionally. I’m not thinking about the last one that happened, just thinking about the next one.”

Verlander (10-6) allowed one run and five hits and struck out five to pick up the victory. He is 3-0 in his last five starts.

Francisco Rodriguez earned his 28th save.

Pomeranz (8-8), recently acquired from the San Diego Padres, gave up four hits and struck out seven in six innings. Both of the runs he allowed came via Iglesias’ homer.

Boston, which had scored 46 runs in its last six outings, failed to homer Monday. That ended a streak of 15 straight games with at least one.

Pomeranz entered Monday’s start looking to bounce back from his dismal Boston debut last week against San Francisco, in which he gave up five runs in just three innings.

He was cruising through five innings Monday, allowing just two hits. That changed in the sixth when Iglesias crushed Pomeranz’s fastball high over the Green Monster in left for a two-run homer to put the Tigers up 2-1.

It was the first career homer in Fenway for Iglesias, who started his career in Boston before being traded to Detroit in 2013.

“When I was here I never had the opportunity to do that so I was really happy to do that against them,” he said.

Iglesias scored his second run of the game in the eighth, trotting across home plate on Martinez’s single off reliever Clay Buchholz to make it 4-1.

“I had a good curveball tonight. I was locating my fastball a lot better,” Pomeranz said. “I was in a lot better counts all night. I really made one bad pitch.”

Boston loaded the bases on three straight singles off Justin Wilson to begin its half of the eighth. A single by Sandy Leon pulled the Red Sox within 4-2, but Wilson settled down to get an out and Rodriguez came on to help end the rally.

Boston’s hitters had several long at-bats against Verlander, pushing his pitch count above 40 through just two innings. In the second, Travis Shaw lined a double into the right-field corner, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr.


Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who has been sidelined since July 1 with a right neck strain, began a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo on Sunday night.

Red Sox: CF Mookie Betts returned to the lineup Monday after missing a pair of games with right knee soreness. … Manager John Farrell said RHP Craig Kimbrel (left knee surgery) is progressing and looked good in a short bullpen session. He could make a rehab start this weekend.


Red Sox management is keeping its ears open to trade offers, but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said it’s not something he believes must happen to make a postseason push. He thinks the bullpen, which has been battered by injuries, will bounce back when Junichi Tazawa and Kimbrel are back to full strength. “I think we’re in position where we’re open-minded, but not a necessity,” Dombrowski said.


Tigers C Jarrod Saltalamacchia made his first return to Fenway Park since he left in free agency in 2013 to join the Miami Marlins. The Red Sox honored him with a video tribute after the second inning. “I feel like Boston gave me my second chance,” he said. “I was in Texas, sitting in Triple-A and they traded for me, gave me an opportunity to play here – kind of resurge, resurrect my career.”

]]> 0, 26 Jul 2016 00:22:10 +0000
Commentary: Rice’s offer is worth taking Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:33:03 +0000 And so Ray Rice says he will donate his entire salary to organizations focused on domestic-violence prevention if an NFL team signs him as the training camp clock goes tick, tick, tick.

Predictable reaction: Eye-roll. Smirk. Maybe pfft!

I hope it happens. Seriously.

Is Rice driven by ego, self-preservation and insincerity? Perhaps. Maybe highly likely. So what? Where is the harm?

Rice has a family to support, including his wife, Janay, the woman he slapped in an elevator in Atlantic City in 2014, captured in the infamous video that effectively destroyed Rice’s NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.

Rice’s return can give a voice to an average of three women killed every day by an intimate partner in the United States as well as the nearly 20 people per minute who are physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

And the NFL could use some positive news, dealing with a tarnished image of players and domestic violence.

The point is that Rice is trying to do some good here. He’s owned up to his crimes, and obviously needs the work.

“All the scrutiny that I’ve got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing,” Rice told USA Today Sports this past week. “Me donating my salary is something that’ll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there’s a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It’s raising awareness.”

Will it also raise eyebrows? Of course it will, much like the cynical shots aimed at Michael Vick when he became an unlikely advocate, speaking up against animal cruelty. Yep, same guy as dog-killer Michael Vick, who served a year and a half of his 23-month sentence in a federal prison for his role in a dog-fighting operation.

As a dog lover and owner, I supported Vick’s redemption road as well. What he did was despicable. What Rice did was despicable. But all anyone can do with their life is move on and try to live a better one.

Vick has done as much with his conflicted image. He appeared before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in December, lobbying for passage of an animal-rights bill that would allow police officers to rescue dogs or cats from vehicles if it reaches an unsafe temperature.

Rice is looking for his redemptive journey as well, though he faces other challenges, mostly performance-based. Vick had some mileage left in his playing career. Quarterbacks are always at a premium.

Running backs are not in a league that is pass-happy. Rice has some very strong negatives, including the fact that he is pushing 30 and had a spotty 3.1 yards per carry average the last time he took the field in 2013. The fact that he was once a the three-time Pro Bowl running back amounts to ancient history.

Rice’s chance at redemption is a long one, but it merits consideration.

“I’d say give him a chance,” said Carol Wick, former CEO of Harbor House, a domestic-violence shelter in Central Florida.

But like many people, Wick raises concerns about sincerity.

“It’s always hard when you look at a situation like that and you see the person is trying to do something for themselves to get back into the NFL. … Abusers are always self-serving.”

Statistics indicate that 50 percent of abusers can change. By all accounts, Rice is in the positive half of that 50-50 population. Give it a coin flip.

Better yet, give the man a chance, give the man a job, so he can do some good in this world.

Whether he’s truly sincere of not, the end game is a good thing.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 22:33:03 +0000
PGA Championship: Are expectations too high for Spieth? Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:20:44 +0000 SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Jordan Spieth walked with purpose down the long corridor toward his locker, not stopping to look at the photos and scorecards that cover more than a century of golf history at Baltusrol.

Maybe that was just as well.

History has proven to be his toughest opponent this year, and it was bound to be a losing battle.

Dating to 1934 when the Masters began, Spieth is among 14 players who have won two majors in one year. Only five of those players ever won a single major the following year, and it’s an elite group – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods.

Woods is the only player to win two majors in consecutive seasons.

Spieth is not trying to salvage his season at the PGA Championship. All but four players would love to have his year of two victories and a close call at the Masters. The exceptions are the three major champions and Jason Day, the only three-time winner on the PGA Tour this year.

It only seems like a struggle for Spieth because of endless comparisons with last year.

That’s what led Spieth to try to reason with the media, and perhaps to remind himself, of the reality he is facing.

“I think it’s been a solid year, and I think had last year not happened I’d be having a lot of positive questions,” Spieth said after the British Open. “Instead, most of the questions I get are comparing to last year and, therefore, negative because it’s not to the same standard. So that’s almost tough to then convince myself that you’re having a good year … when the questions I get make me feel like it’s not.”

Trouble is, last year did happen. Comparisons were inevitable.

Graeme McDowell recalls his magical season in 2010 when he won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and delivered the winning point from the final match at the Ryder Cup. He ended the year by taking down Woods at his own tournament in California. It was tough to back up a year like that.

“It feels like a disappointment, like a certain young American who’s having the same issue,” McDowell said, smiling because it was clear he was speaking about Spieth. “It’s the same way when you shoot 62. It’s very hard to come out on the golf course and back up a 62. That’s the micro version. The macro version is coming off a year like that trying to replicate it. Obviously, there’s a lot of traps.”

Are the expectations too high? Is the scrutiny too much?

“The kid is not having a bad year,” McDowell said.

“But he’s in a different stratosphere now. He’s in the Tiger stratosphere, where every shot he hits is going to be questioned, every move he makes is going to be questioned. It’s something he has to get used to.”

And there’s another sobering reality that Spieth will have to consider: History suggests he might never have another season like last year.

Spieth didn’t just win two majors. He came as close as anyone to being the first to capture the calendar Grand Slam. He missed the British Open playoff by one shot and was runner-up to Jason Day in the PGA Championship.

Spieth doesn’t believe that last year was as good as it will get, nor should he. He doesn’t turn 23 until Wednesday. His career is just getting started, and the last thing any young player wants to hear is that his best – results, not necessarily performance – is behind him.

“If that’s a valley,” Spieth said of his season to date, “then that’s going to be a lot of fun when we get back up to a peak.”

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 22:20:44 +0000
Sea Dogs beat rain, Thunder Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:07:05 +0000 If Sea Dogs second baseman Yoan Moncada was bothered by his five-strikeout performance Sunday, he certainly didn’t show it Monday at Hadlock Field.

Moncada started a nifty double play in the first inning to help Portland starter Kevin McAvoy out of a jam and then lined a 97 mph fastball into center field to snap a 1-for-20 slump and set the tone for a 5-2 Sea Dogs victory over the Trenton Thunder in an Eastern League game shortened by rain.

“I didn’t change anything,” Moncada said through interpreter/shortstop Mauricio Dubon. “A bad day is going to happen. It’s baseball. Yeah, I felt happy I got a base-hit my first time at bat, but it’s not going to be the last time I get five strikeouts.”

Rain started to fall in the top of the seventh as McAvoy (7-5) was retiring 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. The downpour became heavy and was accompanied by thunder and lightning.

After a delay of 54 minutes, and with the possibility of more rain, the umpiring crew in consultation with both managers declared the game complete.

McAvoy walked the game’s first batter and fell behind the second, Dustin Fowler, before Moncada picked off Fowler’s hard grounder and, from a considerable distance, backhanded a flip to Dubon to start the double play.

McAvoy retired the next four batters and ran into trouble only in the third, when Trenton scored both its runs with help from a walk and two singles. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk the rest of the game, and struck out four.

“I think that was huge for (McAvoy),” catcher Jake Romanski said of the early double play. “He could relax a little bit. He wasn’t so uptight. It helped him get back in the zone.”

The Sea Dogs broke through in their half of the third against Trenton starter Will Carter, who was making his Double-A debut. Cole Sturgeon led off with a walk. Rainel Rosario then beat out a chopper over the mound and Moncada was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Dubon hustled to avoid a double play, allowing Sturgeon to score.

Then Andrew Benintendi punched a humpbacked liner to center. It looked as if a charging Fowler might make the catch with a diving attempt. Instead, it bounced past him for a two-run triple.

“The ball got in on me a little bit, so obviously I didn’t square it up the best I could,” said Benintendi. “It was a tough play and he was trying to make a good play and it was just fortunate for us that it got by him.”

With the infield pulled in to prevent Benintendi from scoring, Nate Freiman’s grounder to short squirted through Trenton’s Tyler Wade to make it 4-2.

The Sea Dogs added another run in the sixth on a two-out double by Sturgeon that scored Cody Decker.

NOTES: Romanski took a foul ball off his right foot in the exact spot he was hit early in Sunday’s game. … Moncada became the fourth Sea Dog in franchise history to fan five times in one game. The other three: Sean Coyle (2014), Brandon Moss (2006) and Nate Rolison (1999). … Announced paid attendance was 4,167. … Red Sox special assistant Jason Varitek is in town working with Portland catchers through Wednesday.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 23:36:22 +0000
NFL notebook: Browns receiver Gordon conditionally reinstated Tue, 26 Jul 2016 01:49:44 +0000 CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon’s curious and complicated career has taken a new turn.

He’s getting yet another chance.

The talented but troubled wide receiver has been reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who met face to face with Gordon last week and said he believes the 25-year-old can “make the right choices” going forward.

Gordon has been banned since February 2015 for multiple violations of the league’s drug policies. He will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016-17, but he’s allowed to join the team in its upcoming training camp and can participate in meetings and conditioning work. The league said once Gordon meets clinical requirements, he can take part in preseason activities, including practices and games. The Browns have their first practice of training camp Friday.

It’s a fresh start for Gordon, who emerged as one of the league’s rising stars in 2013 before several missteps led to his banishment.

As long as he stays clean, Gordon, who met with Goodell in New York on July 19, is eligible to return to the team on Oct. 3 and play in the Oct. 9 home game against New England. That’s also the game in which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will return following his suspension for Deflategate.

CONCUSSION PROTOCOL: The NFL and the players association have announced a new policy regarding game-day concussion protocol and discipline for clubs that violate the procedure.

Under the new policy jointly announced, the NFL and NFLPA “will follow a strict and fair process to investigate incidents and determine appropriate discipline, including club fines and possible forfeiture of draft picks.”

The league and the players union will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations. The probe won’t reach medical conclusions; it will only determine if the protocol was followed. An arbitrator will handle cases where the league and union disagree and report to the commissioner.

TEXANS: Houston put star defensive end J.J. Watt on the physically unable to perform list less than a week before training camp begins.

The move, which was expected, comes after Watt recently had back surgery. The NFL sacks leader last season with 171/2 is expected to be ready for the season opener.

DOLPHINS: Receiver Greg Jennings is retiring after a decade in the National Football League.

The 32-year-old Jennings finishes his career with 571 catches for 8,291 yards and 64 touchdowns. He spent last season with the Miami Dolphins, making just 19 catches for 208 yards and a score, playing in all 16 games. Jennings also spent two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. But he’s best known for his seven years with the Green Bay Packers.

49ers: Offensive tackle Anthony Davis says he plans to return to the NFL after announcing his retirement a little more than a year ago.

PACKERS: Receiver Jordy Nelson won’t practice when the Green Bay Packers begin training camp on Tuesday.

Nelson was one of six Packers placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday.

Nelson is coming back from a torn right ACL injury that kept him out for the 2015 season.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 21:49:44 +0000
Yankees trade closer Chapman to the Cubs Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:17:05 +0000 CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs acquired hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, giving the NL Central leaders a boost as they try for their first World Series title in more than a century.

The Cubs paid a steep price, parting with top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres and versatile pitcher Adam Warren in the four-player package going to the Yankees. Chapman also faced a domestic violence allegation in the offseason that cost him a 29-game suspension, and the left-hander is eligible for free agency after this year.

But there is no doubting the talent of the 28-year-old Chapman, who went 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 20 saves in 31 games with New York. He threw a 105.1 mph fastball to Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy last Monday night, matching the fastest since Major League Baseball began tracking speeds in 2008.

With lefty-batting sluggers Bryce Harper of Washington and Brandon Belt of San Francisco possibly looming in the playoffs, the addition of Chapman gives Cubs Manager Joe Maddon one of the majors’ top assets when in need of a late strikeout.

“Obviously, we are aware of the circumstances surrounding Aroldis Chapman’s suspension earlier this season,” Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said. “I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.”

New York had won six of eight heading into Monday night’s game at Houston, but it still faces long odds of getting to the playoffs. All-Stars Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are still at the back of the bullpen, allowing the Yankees to trade Chapman now and still consider trying for the postseason depending on how they fare ahead of the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“This was an easy call, and this was the right call,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. “Easy because we traded from an area of strength, and we are excited with the players we received for a player who was only under control for two more months.”

The Yankees made the decision to trade Chapman after his agents said he would not agree to a new contract that would start in 2017, a person familiar with the talks said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statement on those talks was authorized.

If New York slips back any further, it could engage in a rare sell-off for the franchise. Miller, who is signed through 2018, also could be traded. Outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitcher Ivan Nova are eligible for free agency after the season and could be sought by contenders.

“I think when the right buy or sell circumstance presents itself, this department will be making a recommendation to ownership and they will tell us what they want,” Cashman said.

Chapman quickly turned into one of baseball’s most dominant relievers when he broke into the majors in 2010 with Cincinnati. He threw the 62 fastest pitches in the major leagues last season, ranging from 103.92 to 102.36 mph.

Chapman saved 146 games with a 2.17 ERA in six years with the Reds before he was traded to New York last December after a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers fell through when it was learned Florida police investigated an accusation of domestic violence involving the Cuban pitcher.

Prosecutors declined to file charges, citing conflicting accounts, and Chapman was suspended for the first 29 games of the season, losing $1,856,557 of his $11,325,000 salary. He was the first player penalized a finite number of games under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Chapman and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also got into a heated argument in the ninth inning of a July 2014 game, but Rizzo said last month he was fine with the idea of acquiring the reliever as Chicago tries to reach the World Series, which it hasn’t won since 1908.

]]> 0 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:18:10 +0000
Biddeford wins again in Little League Softball regional Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:57:28 +0000 BRISTOL, Conn. — Charlotte Donovan pitched a four-hitter and Chantelle Bouchard hit a two-run double as Biddeford again avoided elimination from the Little League Softball East Regional with a 7-1 win Monday over Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Maine champions scored five runs in the second inning, aided by four errors. Bouchard capped the outburst with her double that drove home Donovan and Kerri Scott.

Donovan allowed a run in the first inning but was in control the rest of the way. She struck out 11 and walked only one.

Biddeford, which improved to 2-1 in the regional, plays another elimination game Tuesday afternoon.

]]> 0 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 14:57:28 +0000
Michael Jordan pledges $2 million to help ease racial tensions Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:46:03 +0000 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he is giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers,” Jordan said in a statement. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

Jordan’s father was killed in 1993 in a botched carjacking in North Carolina. Daniel Green and his friend Larry Demery were convicted of killing 56-year-old James Jordan along U.S. 74 and dumping his body in South Carolina. Both were sentenced to life in prison.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late,” Jordan said in the statement. “I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.”

Jordan won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and became one of the most popular and respected basketball players in the world.

After retiring, he became the majority owner of the Hornets in 2010.

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family,” Jordan said. “I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.”

Jordan said he chose the Institute for Community-Police Relations because its policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. He gave to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, to support its work in support of reforms aimed at building trust and respect between communities and law enforcement.

While Jordan said the contributions alone won’t be enough to solve the problem, he added: “I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference. We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities.

“The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 14:59:27 +0000
Creech, Plourde take lead in Maine Women’s Amateur Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:06:18 +0000 Defending Maine Women’s Amateur champion Staci Creech and recently crowned Maine girls’ junior champion Bailey Plourde set the bar very early in Monday’s opening round of the Maine Women’s Amateur at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono.

Teeing off in the first group, Creech, from Bangor Municipal, and Plourde, from Samoset, each shot a 4-under-par 69 to take the lead. Creech had five birdies and an eagle (on the par-5 13th hole) to offset three bogeys. Plourde scored six birdies and only two bogeys.

Sarah Hansen (Val Halla) followed with a 74 – three birdies and four bogeys – and Stephanie Rodrigue (Fox Ridge) shot a 75. Kristen Kannegieser (Martindale) and Lori Frost (Bangor Municipal) each had a 76.

Creech, who lives in Veazie, won by seven strokes a year ago at Biddeford-Saco Country Club. Plourde, from Newcastle and Lincoln Academy, won the junior championship by four strokes last week at Val Halla.

Creech, Plourde and Hansen are scheduled to tee off at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the final group. The tournament concludes Wednesday.

]]> 0 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:12:40 +0000
Three share first-round lead at Maine Open Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:01:11 +0000 MANCHESTER — Joshua Eure didn’t expect shooting a 4-under 66 at Augusta Country Club would give him a share of the lead after the first round of the Charlie’s Maine Open on Monday.

But the lingering disappointment of a bogey on the par-5 18th to finish his round squashed some of the wonder of joining Ted Brown and Jason Thresher atop the leaderboard.

“That was a little bit of a sour taste to finish the day,” Eure said. “That makes it a little bit more sour to bogey 18. It’s an easy par 5.”

After a morning logjam at the top of the leaderboard, Eure, Brown and Thresher turned in their low scores later in the afternoon.

Brown, of Glen Allen, Virginia; Eure, of Crofton, Maryland; and Thresher, of West Suffield, Connecticut, played as clouds moved in and winds started to pick up in the afternoon.

Five of their predecessors shot 3-under 67 under more sunlight and less wind in the morning session, including the top Mainers, Sean Warren of Cape Elizabeth and Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta.

Overall, Eure was pleased with his performance, and with good reason. He birdied the second, fourth, eighth, 10th and 14th holes before missing a couple putts on the final two holes to fall back into a tie.

“I made a couple of decent wedges inside of about 60 (for the birdies on the back nine),” Eure said. “I missed a 7-footer on 17 and another 7-footer for par on 18. But other than that I putted pretty solid, no three-putts. I just gave myself a lot of good opportunities, just a bunch of two irons off the tee to keep it in front of me, keep it in play.”

Brown had a more consistent round. He birdied the first hole, and didn’t have a bogey in his round. He also turned in birdies on 6, 9 and 10.

“I hit it in play off the tee,” he said. “There are some holes out here where you can get in trouble. I hit it in play. You do that, you’ll have a wedge in your hand every hole.”

Thresher started on the back nine and bogeyed 10, but recovered quickly with birdies at 11 and 12, both par 4s. He then birdied 1, 4, and the par-5 fifth before a double-bogey at the par-3 seventh brought him back to 4 under.

Warren, now a pro on the New England PGA Tour, won the 2004 Maine Open as an amateur. He and Oliver joined Colin Brennan of Methuen, Massachusetts; Jeff Martin of Warwick, Rhode Island; and Spencer Mellon of Oakmont, Pennsylvania, in second place.

Oliver carded four birdies and a bogey at 9 to join the pack lurking one stroke behind the leaders.

“Really the only mistake I made was on nine. I missed into the right rough. I was so out of position, I really couldn’t save anything,” Oliver said. “Other than that, I was good off the tee and hitting it into spots where I could make some putts, and stay away from three-putts, too.”

Defending champion Matt Campbell of Clifton Park, New York, was among eight golfers two shots back at 2-under 68, along with 2013 champion Evan Hemerling, and amateurs Ricky Jones of Thomaston and Jack Wyman of South Freeport.

Last year at ACC, Campbell was tied for 23rd place when he started his second round. He birdied seven of his final 11 holes on the second day to win the tournament.

“It’s the same as what I shot last year (in the first round),” Campbell said. “I think the fairways are a little firmer (than last year), but overall… (the course) is pretty similar, I think. The greens are rolling good.

“You just can’t shoot yourself out of it today. Two under is probably going to be a few shots back like it was last year. You just got to go and play good one tomorrow.”

Christopher DeForest had the day’s lone ace, firing a hole-in-one on the 197-yard seventh hole. He is among seven golfers three shots back at 1-under 69, along with Pittston native Ryan Gay, and amateur Sam Grindle.

Thirteen-time Maine Amateur champion Mark Plummer shot 2-over 72. Matt Hutchins, who won the Maine Amateur earlier this summer, and amateur Luke Ruffing also were 2 over. Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield finished at even-par 70.

]]> 0, 25 Jul 2016 23:03:02 +0000
NFL clears Peyton Manning of HGH allegations Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:52:09 +0000 The NFL says it found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with human growth hormone or other prohibited substances as alleged in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America last year.

The league said the quarterback and his wife, Ashley, fully cooperated in the seven-month investigation, providing interviews and access to all records sought by investigators.

The NFL is continuing its investigation into allegations made against other NFL players in the documentary, which the league said involves “different lines of inquiry and witnesses.”

Those other players – all of them linebackers – provided the league with sworn affidavits, but the NFL wants to interview them in person.

In stark contrast, Manning, who retired a month after Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50, welcomed the probe.

In December, Al-Jazeera reported that an intern at an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic was secretly recorded suggesting that Manning’s wife received deliveries of HGH in 2011 while the quarterback was recovering from neck fusion surgery. The intern, Charles Sly, recanted his statements, which were recorded without his knowledge.

Manning angrily denounced the report, calling it “completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage,” and insisting he never took shortcuts in his return to football after missing 2011 with neck problems.

]]> 4, 25 Jul 2016 21:40:54 +0000
Creech won’t surprise anyone at Maine Women’s Amateur Mon, 25 Jul 2016 03:33:48 +0000 Staci Creech isn’t playing as much golf these days.

That is what happens when you move to Maine from North Carolina, as she did two years ago with her husband Karlton – the athletic director at the University of Maine.

Her lack of playing time, though, isn’t simply a matter of climate change. Creech is taking graduate courses at UMaine and had a summer class.

“I’m always trying to grow and learn,” she said, as she looks to earn a Master’s degree in literacy.

But when the state’s top female golfers tee off Monday in the Maine Women’s Amateur championship at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono, there’s no secret who’ll be the favorite. Creech won last year’s tournament by seven strokes.

“I see her scores and she’s consistently a good player,” said Mary Brandes, who recently won the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association senior championship.

“It’s her thing. At our level, that consistency is hard to come by.”

Creech may also have the advantage of knowing the course better than others. While she plays out of Bangor Municipal, she ventures over to “Penobby” occasionally. She played a round on the Donald Ross designed-course early last week.

“It’s very definitely going to be whoever has the short game going the best,” she said. “The greens are very challenging. All Donald Ross courses have challenging greens. Hitting is going to matter, but it’s definitely the short game, chipping and putting that’s going to determine who is the best.”

She’ll face challenges from Leslie Guenther (the 2014 Maine Women’s Amateur champ from Norway Country Club), Kris Kannegieser (the Martindale CC golfer who shot a 72 at Biddeford-Saco), Falmouth’s Brandes and 16-year-old Bailey Plourde (the Lincoln Academy senior who won the girls’ junior amateur last week).

Missing will be Emily Bouchard, a two-time women’s amateur champ who finished second last year. She works now an air traffic controller and won’t play in the tournament.

“Staci is a very good golfer and will certainly be tough to beat there,” said Kannegieser. “She’s tough to beat anywhere. But there are a lot of good players this year. Staci may be the cream of the crop, but there are a lot of really good golfers in the state.”

Brandes said there may be a surprise, like Creech last year. “There’s always that possibility that a young kid or a college student can come in and have a nice game,” she said. “No one saw Staci coming. Look, sometimes it’s that player that you don’t know about that has a nice couple of rounds.”

Creech said the pressure to repeat won’t be a factor.

“I try not to put any pressure on myself,” she said. “Golf is a game of ups and downs. Hopefully I’m on an up. I try to put golf in perspective. I see this as a great opportunity but there is no need to put any pressure on myself.

“If I win or lose, it’s not going to change how things are going or how grateful I am for all the things in my life.”


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Olympic notebook: Australians won’t move into Rio village yet Mon, 25 Jul 2016 03:32:37 +0000 RIO DE JANEIRO — The head of Australia’s delegation said Sunday its 700 athletes and staff would not move into rooms at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for at least two days, citing electrical and plumbing problems in the sprawling Athletes Village less than two weeks before the start of the troubled South American games.

“Electricity and water is not a good combination,” Kitty Chiller, the head of the Australian delegation, told reporters.

She said this was her fifth Olympics, and she came down hard on village preparations.

“I have never experienced a village in this state – or lack of state – of readiness at this point in time,” she said.

Australia’s protest came as the 31-building village, which will house 18,000 athletes and officials at the height of the games, opened officially on Sunday. It was not clear how many athletes were housed in the village on the first day.

This is the latest problem for the games, which have been hit by the Zika virus, security threats, water pollution and severe budget cuts.

Chiller and Australian team spokesman Mike Tancred described a wide array of plumbing, electrical and cleaning issues. Tancred said 10 of the 31 buildings were determined to be inhabitable.

OLYMPIC TORCH: A man was wrestled to the ground and detained Saturday after he tried to steal the Olympic torch as it passed through the Brazilian town of Guarulhos.

In the video on news portal G1, the unidentified man is seen trying to break through the line of security guards accompanying the torch bearer at the 40-kilometer mark of the parade in Sao Paulo state. The man was taken away and the torch bearer continued the run.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Kevin Durant scored 19 points, Klay Thompson added 17 and the U.S. rolled to a second straight blowout exhibition victory, 106-57 over China, in Los Angeles.

DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in his hometown, and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and seven rebounds in another impressive performance to open the Americans’ pre-Olympic tour.

While they’re still learning their teammates’ tendencies and solidifying player rotations, the newly assembled U.S. players looked remarkably cohesive for long stretches against an overmatched opponent with no current NBA players.

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and led a strong defensive effort with three blocks for the Americans.

After opening its showcase tour by trouncing Argentina in Las Vegas on Friday, the U.S. posted another rout at a packed Staples Center.

The Americans haven’t lost a game since the 2006 world championships. They’re 47-1 in exhibitions since NBA stars took over the roster in 1992, going undefeated since 2004.

Jordan got the exhibition off to a rousing start with a blocked shot on China’s first possession and an alley-oop dunk on the other end.

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Sports Digest: Biddeford beats Vermont to stay alive Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:34:02 +0000 SOFTBALL

Biddeford beats Vermont to stay alive at regional

Charlotte Donovan pitched six shutout innings to lead Biddeford to a 5-0 victory over St. Albans, Vermont, in the Little League Softball East Regional in Bristol, Connecticut.

Baylor Wilkinson had a single and two doubles for Biddeford. Donovan allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six.

Biddeford will play Worcester, Massachusetts, in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Monday.


BANK OF WEST CLASSIC: Hard-hitting Johanna Konta whipped winners every which way and outslugged top-seeded Venus Williams to capture her first career singles title, winning 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in Stanford, California.

Her serve and return games equally solid, Konta held on in the third set after squandering a 4-1 lead in the second.

CITI OPEN: Gael Monfils won his first title in 21/2 years, erasing a match point and breaking Ivo Karlovic twice in the span of four service games during a 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory in Washington.

Also, Yanina Wickmayer beat Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 in to win the fifth WTA title of her career.

CROATIA OPEN: Fabio Fognini defeated Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-1 in the final in Umag, Croatia.

SWEDISH OPEN: Sixth-seeded Laura Siegemund clinched her first WTA title with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Katerina Siniakova in Bastad, Sweden.

ROGERS CUP: Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament because of shoulder inflammation. The three-time champion was seeded first in the hard-court tournament and was set to have a bye in the first round.

FORMULA ONE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix for a record fifth time to take the championship lead from teammate Nico Rosberg, who finished second in Budapest, Hungary.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

INDYCAR: Series founder Tony George has been renamed the chairman of the board of Hulman & Co., the family that owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

George was forced out of that job by his mother and sisters in 2009.


FOOTBALL: Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler died in a car crash in Wisconsin after working at a kicking clinic, a sheriff’s department official said. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the crash.

Waukesha County Sheriff’s Lt. Thom Moerman said speed was likely a factor in the single-vehicle crash that happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

The 24-year-old Sadler, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was driving. He and 22-year-old Foltz, of Greeley, Nebraska, both died at the scene. Delahoussaye, 21, of New Iberia, Louisiana, was also a passenger. He was treated at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and released. A statement from LSU said his injuries were minor and he was scheduled to return home Monday.


MLS: Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice, Sacha Kljestan had a goal and two assists and the New York Red Bulls beat New York City FC 4-1 in Harrison, New Jersey.

Dom Dwyer scored twice and Sporting Kansas City held the Seattle Sounders without a shot until the 88th minute in a 3-0 victory in Kansas City, Kansas.

– From staff and news services

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Major League notebook: Yankees, Cubs talking Chapman trade Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:29:07 +0000 The New York Yankees were discussing a trade that would send reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs as part of a swap that would bring 19-year-old shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the Yankees, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing and New York owner Hal Steinbrenner had not made any final decision.

Chapman has 20 saves in 21 chances and his fastball, at up to 105.1 mph, has entertained fans focusing on the scoreboard velocity of every pitch.

“It’s tough. I feel comfortable here. I feel like part of the family here,” he said through an interpreter, adding that the Yankees have been talking to his agent.

BLUE JAYS: Struggling relief pitcher Drew Storen was designated for assignment, and Toronto recalled right-hander Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.

Toronto acquired Storen from Washington in January for outfielder Ben Revere, hoping the former closer would be a valuable option in late-inning situations.

Instead, Storen went 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA and three saves in 38 games for the Blue Jays. In his final appearance Saturday, he gave up a three-run home run to Nelson Cruz.

MARLINS: Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen went on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained elbow, intensifying Miami’s need for rotation help.

Right-hander Jarred Cosart will be recalled from New Orleans to start Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies in place of Chen, who complained of elbow soreness after his most recent start.

A’s: Rich Hill threw 30 pitches while wearing a protective covering on the middle finger of his left hand. Hill, who left his last start after five pitches because of a blister, will continue to throw bullpen sessions for conditioning until the blister heals.

RANGERS: General Manager Jon Daniels said he anticipates left-handed pitcher Derek Holland and right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis will return to the rotation on Aug. 20 and 21, the dates they are eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list.

Rays: Desmond Jennings (strained left hamstring) ran the bases and took batting practice without a setback during a minor-league rehab appearance.

Right-hander Brad Boxberger threw 22 pitches in a rehab outing and is hopeful of rejoining the Rays in Los Angeles.

Nationals: The team said right-handed pitcher Aaron Barrett, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September, suffered a right elbow fracture Friday and will have surgery Monday.

BRAVES: Right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran threw from 90 feet and didn’t feel pain two days after leaving a game early because of tightness in his right lat.

Teheran remains hopeful he can make his next scheduled start.

“We still have to wait,” Teheran said. “I don’t feel any pain and that’s a good sign.”

Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus said no decision has been made on whether left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris will rejoin the team Monday in Boston.

Norris allowed five runs on five hits in 42/3 innings during a rehab start in Triple-A on Saturday.

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Sunday’s local baseball roundup: Morrill Post advances to Junior Legion final Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:25:20 +0000 WATERVILLE — Jake Poole singled in the eighth inning to drive in the winning run as Morrill Post beat Gray-New Gloucester 9-8 in a Junior Legion state tournament winners’ bracket game.

Morrill Post (15-3) led 7-1 after three innings, led by Zach Johnson’s two-run double in the second inning.

Gray-New Gloucester scored seven runs in the fifth inning and took an 8-7 lead on a bases-loaded triple by Tanner Mann, but Poole drove in the winning run in the eighth with his third hit of the game.

Morrill and Gray-New Gloucester will meet Monday in the championship round. They will face off at 5 p.m., and if Gray-New Gloucester wins, they will play again at 7:30 p.m.

Gray-New Gloucester earned its spot in the final of the double-elimination tournament with a 2-0 victory over Skowhegan later Sunday.


PATRIOT 8, EDGE 1: Christian Bourget hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to lead Patriot (8-9) past Edge (7-9-1) in Cumberland.

Bourget finished with two hits, adding a double in the seventh inning.

Joe Quinlan led Edge with two hits.

John Parker picked up the win, allowing one run over seven innings while striking out six.

AERO 14, ON TARGET 3: Kip Richard had three hits and six RBI to lead Aero (9-7-2) over On Target (10-7-1) in Cumberland.

Nick Bowie also had three hits for Aero.

Daren Wood had two hits for On Target.

Andrew Richards earned the victory, allowing one run and striking out five in four innings.


SULLIVAN 5, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 3: The Explorers (21-22) scored three runs in the top of the ninth and defeated the Surge (26-23) at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

The Surge took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk, followed by a hit batsman.

Old Orchard Beach extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning on an RBI double by Chris Allen.

The Explorers trailed 3-2 going into ninth but scored three runs on an error, a wild pitch and a groundout.

Jacob Fabry led the Surge with three hits.

Surge starter David Ernst allowed four runs in 81/3 innings.

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Griffey, Piazza enshrined in Hall of Fame Mon, 25 Jul 2016 01:48:10 +0000 COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Two players who began their careers at opposite ends of the spectrum nearly three decades ago ended up in the same place Sunday – with their names etched on plaques at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, the culmination of their long journeys was tinged with tears all around.

“I stand up here humbled and overwhelmed,” Griffey said, staring out at his family and tens of thousands of fans. “I can’t describe how it feels.”

The two became a piece of history on their special day. Griffey, the first pick of the 1987 amateur draft, became the highest pick ever inducted. Piazza, a 62nd-round pick the next year – No. 1,390 – is the lowest pick to enter the Hall of Fame.

Griffey played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball’s so-called Steroids Era.

A 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs. He also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.

Griffey, who fell just three votes shy of being the first unanimous selection, hit 417 of his 630 homers and won all 10 of his Gold Gloves with the Seattle Mariners. He played the first 11 seasons of his career with the Mariners and led them to the playoffs for the first two times in franchise history.

“Thirteen years with the Seattle Mariners (organization), from the day I got drafted, Seattle, Washington, has been a big part of my life,” Griffey said, punctuating the end of his speech by putting a baseball cap on backward as he did throughout his career.

“I’m going to leave you with one thing. In 22 years, I learned that one team will treat you the best, and that’s your first team. I’m damn proud to be a Seattle Mariner.”

Dubbed “The Natural” for his effortless excellence at the plate and in center field, Griffey avoided the Hall of Fame until his special weekend because he wanted his first walk through the front doors to be with his kids, whom he singled out one by one in his 20-minute speech.

“There are two misconceptions about me – I didn’t work hard and everything I did I made look easy,” Griffey said. “Just because I made it look easy doesn’t mean that it was. You don’t become a Hall of Famer by not working, but (by) working day in and day out.”

Selected in the draft by the Dodgers after Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, a close friend of Piazza’s father, Vince, put in a good word, Piazza struggled at first.

He briefly quit the game while in the minor leagues, but returned and persevered despite a heavy workload as he switched from first base to catcher and teammates criticized his erratic play.

Mom and dad were foremost on his mind, too.

“Dad always dreamed of playing in the major leagues,” said Piazza. “He could not follow that dream because of the realities of life. My father’s faith in me, often greater than my own, is the single most important factor of me being inducted into this Hall of Fame. Thank you dad. We made it, dad. The race is over. Now it’s time to smell the roses.”

Piazza played 16 years with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and Athletics and hit 427 home runs, including a major league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five of his league’s MVP voting four times.

Though the Dodgers gave him his start, Piazza found a home in New York when he was traded to the Mets in May 1998.

Three years later, he became a hero to the hometown fans with perhaps the most notable home run. His two-run shot in the eighth inning at Shea Stadium lifted the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the first sporting event played in New York after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Piazza paid tribute to that moment.

“To witness the darkest evil of the human heart … will be forever burned in my soul,” Piazza said. “But from tragedy and sorrow came bravery, love, compassion, character and eventual healing.”

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Busch dominates in win at Indy Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:49:35 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Busch won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday to make it a clean sweep at Indianapolis.

He led a race-record 149 of the 170 laps and beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.126 seconds. Jimmie Johnson was third, 2.638 seconds behind the defending Sprint Cup champ – thanks to the double overtime forced by three late crashes.

“I guess, I didn’t expect it,” Busch said when asked about his dominance. “I guess, I hoped it would be this way. But this Toyota was awesome today.”

Busch became the first NASCAR driver to sweep the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup poles and races on the same weekend. He also joined Johnson as the only Cup drivers with back-to-back wins on Indy’s 2.5-mile oval. Johnson won in 2008 and 2009.

Tony Stewart was 11th in his final Brickyard race after being assessed a late penalty for speeding on pit road.

Five-time race winner Jeff Gordon finished 13th after coming out of retirement to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is fighting concussion-like symptoms.

Before teams arrived in Indy on Thursday, all the talk was about Stewart’s farewell and Gordon’s comeback.

Even during the drivers’ meeting, Gordon and Stewart were front and center. Gordon delivered a moving speech in which he thanked Stewart for the impact he has made on the sport and ended with a standing ovation for the three-time Cup champ and two-time Brickyard winner. Afterward, the two drivers drove around the track together.

But Busch’s domination overshadowed everything and everyone.

He surrendered the lead for 14 laps after his first pit stop, regained it when race leader Brad Keselowski pitted, then gave it up again for only five laps when he made his second pit stop. Everyone else spent the day chasing Busch.

The only real challenge for Busch came with the series of late crashes that delayed his fourth trip to Victory Lane.

It started with Carl Edwards’ car wiggling in the first turn on a restart with seven laps to go. His car slid up the track, hitting Keselowski and catching Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick. Though nobody appeared to be seriously hurt, the wreck brought out a red flag.

On the ensuing restart, with three to go, Busch pulled away one more time, only to have a collision between Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer behind him extend the race again.

It happened yet again when Jamie McMurray slid through the first turn and into the wall on the next restart.

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Golf roundup: Vegas rallies to win Canadian Open Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:03:52 +0000 OAKVILLE, Ontario — Jhonattan Vegas birdied his way off Glen Abbey and waited to see if anyone could catch him. No one could.

Vegas rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, birdieing the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and one-stroke victory.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan Olympic player began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker and four behind U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit. Last week in Alabama in the event opposite the British Open, Vegas shot a course-record 61 in the second round and tied for fourth.

“That’s the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA Tour,” Vegas said. “It’s a great feeling. I mean, last week, I had a six-shot lead going into the weekend and lost by three. I was five back starting today and won by one. It’s a crazy sport. You’ve just got to keep your head down and play hard.”

Vegas had five straight birdies on Nos. 2-6, bogeyed the par-4 eighth and also birdied the par-5 13th. He finished at 12-under 276.

Johnson, Jon Rahm and Martin Laird tied for second.

LPGA: Cristie Kerr held on for a 3-and-2 victory over Melissa Reid to give the United States the UL International Crown, in Gurnee, Illinois.

Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller each closed out wins for the U.S. before Reid missed a birdie putt on 16, handing the decisive victory to Kerr.

The Americans finished the four-day event with 13 points – one more than South Korea and two better than England and Taiwan.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Paul Broadhurst won the Senior British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland, for his first major title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Scott McCarron.

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As deaths rise, Coast Guard warns paddlers to take precautions Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:05:49 +0000 As the popularity of paddle sports surges, the Coast Guard is warning kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders to be prepared before venturing out following a rise in deaths in the past year.

Eighteen people have died in New England since October, compared to seven in the 12-month period that ended in October, said Nicole Grolls, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Boston.

The problem can partly be attributed to the growing popularity of paddleboards, kayaks and canoes, but too many paddlers are unprepared for changing conditions, don’t have appropriate safety gear and lack skills needed to stay safe when the unexpected happens, said Walter Taylor, a Coast Guard recreational boating safety specialist.

Even taking the normal precaution of wearing a life jacket may not be enough when the water is cold enough to kill, he said.

“It could be a nice beautiful day forecast in the 90s, but the water temperature where they’re paddling is below 60. They may not account for hypothermia,” Taylor said.

That’s exactly what happened a month ago in Maine.

A licensed guide from Maine and his two clients from New Jersey departed on a pleasant afternoon but encountered a brief-but-violent squall that capsized their kayaks. Ed Brackett of Gouldsboro and Michael Popper of Plainfield, New Jersey, died June 22. Brackett’s wife, Cheryl, survived severe hypothermia after being in the water for five hours.

The three were wearing life jackets, and Brackett even had a waterproof radio. Others knew their plans and reported them missing.

“He wasn’t a seat-of-your-pants kind of guy. He was always prepared,” Town Manager Bryan Kaenrath said of Brackett, who worked for the town.

They were doing many of the right things, but they weren’t dressed for the possibility of going into the water, the Coast Guard said.

They were wearing summer clothes – shorts and T-shirts – instead of something geared to insulate themselves from the cold water, Taylor said.

The number of paddler deaths fluctuates from year to year. Nationwide, paddler deaths have ranged from a low of 144 to as high as 198 over the past 10 years even as the total number of boating deaths has dropped, according to Coast Guard data.

Meanwhile, more people are getting into the sport each year. The Outdoor Foundation says nearly 22 million Americans – about 7 percent of the population – participated in paddle sports in 2014.

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Porcello wins again at Fenway Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:03:13 +0000 BOSTON — A year ago, Rick Porcello was hearing nearly as many boos as cheers in Fenway Park.

Now, he’s piling up wins in front of the home fans.

Porcello became the first Boston pitcher in 55 years to open a season 10-0 in Fenway, and Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw each hit a three-run homer as the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 8-7 Sunday to earn a split of a four-game series.

“I just feel good here,” Porcello said. “I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd.”

Porcello, 27, was expected to be an ace for the staff last year after the club acquired him from Detroit, but he lost six of his first 11 starts at home and ended the year just 9-15 overall with a 4.92 ERA.

“Rick is in a very good place here in Fenway,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “You talk about dependable and reliable, he embodies that. He epitomizes that.”

Porcello (13-2) allowed five runs with eight strikeouts in 62/3 innings, becoming the first since Don Schwall in 1961 to win his first 10 Fenway decisions in a season.

Dustin Pedroia hit a tiebreaking solo homer and Xander Bogaerts had three singles for Boston, which won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Juan Centeno had three hits and drove in three runs for the Twins, who completed a seven-game road trip 4-3 but gave up four unearned runs in a key inning.

“You’ve got a chance to come in here and potentially beat a team that’s been playing good – three out of four,” Minnesota Manager Paul Molitor said. “Unearned runs, they’re painful, they’re tough when you can’t find a way to get off the field.”

Brad Ziegler got the final three outs for his first save with Boston after being acquired from Arizona earlier this month.

The Red Sox surged ahead with five runs – four unearned – and chased Tommy Milone (3-3) in the fifth.

Pedroia homered over the Green Monster. Third baseman Miguel Sano had a grounder go through his legs for an error that scored a run before Shaw belted his homer into Boston’s bullpen, making it 8-3.

“The one to Shaw was just a curveball that hung over the middle of the plate,” Milone said. “He was waiting for it. They capitalized hard on the mistakes.”

Milone gave up eight runs – four earned – in 42/3 innings, snapping a three-game winning streak.

The Twins scored two runs in the seventh and two in the eighth, slicing it to 8-7.

Ramirez’s homer – his fifth in five games – went into the first row of Monster seats, with a fan making a nice standing, two-handed grab as Boston took a 3-2 lead.

The Twins tied it when Max Kepler tripled leading off the fourth before scoring on Kennys Vargas’ grounder.


TWINS: Catcher Kurt Suzuki was out if the lineup after getting stitches in his chin. Suzuki was hit in the face mask Saturday by a foul tip. “We’re trying to look at ways that we can potentially protect him if we needed to play him in an emergency,” Molitor said.

RED SOX: Designated David Ortiz got the day off. … Farrell said right fielder Mookie Betts’ right knee was “improved” and “we hope that by (Monday) night he’s back in the lineup.” Betts left Friday’s game with soreness in the knee.


The Red Sox recalled right-hander Joe Kelly from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game after sending right-hander Heath Hembree there following Saturday’s loss.

Kelly will serve as a reliever. He has only started for the Red Sox since being acquired in 2014, but he has pitched 522/3 career innings of relief with a 3.25 ERA.


Junichi Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth. He allowed two inherited runners to score but struck out Byron Buxton on a splitter in the dirt to end the inning.


Ortiz wore a Boston Marathon medal that’s given to runners who finish the race.

“A friend of mine that ran the Marathon gave it to me,” he said, pointing to it hanging in his locker. “I wear my jewelry on different days. I just put it on.”


TWINS: They’re off Monday before beginning a six-game homestand Tuesday. Right-hander Ervin Santana (3-8, 3.93) faces Atlanta right-hander Lucas Harrell (1-2, 4.24) in the first of a two-game series.

RED SOX: Left-hander Drew Pomeranz makes his second start for Boston on Monday after being acquired from San Diego. He gave up five runs in three innings in his debut Wednesday against the Giants. Right-hander Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.74) is slated to go for the Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.

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Binghamton edges Sea Dogs, 2-1 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:59:32 +0000 A glorious Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field turned out to be something of a nightmare for the highest-rated prospect in minor league baseball.

Yoan Moncada, less than two weeks removed from his MVP performance at the Futures Game, struck out in all five of his plate appearances Sunday, including a game-ending whiff that sealed a 2-1 Eastern League victory for the visiting Binghamton Mets before a crowd of 5,408.

The Mets took three of four from the Sea Dogs and held Portland’s prized second baseman to one hit in 16 at-bats.

“People may look at the 0 for 5 with five punch-outs, but I really believe that this kid is going to be an offensive player with power,” Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez said of Moncada. “He’s probably a little over his head right now and maybe we just got him at the right time, but the way he goes about his business, he’s going to be a really good player.”

Moncada went down swinging all five times, the first four while batting left-handed and the final time right-handed against Binghamton closer David Roseboom, who earned his sixth save with a hitless ninth inning that included the game’s only error. Moncada managed only three foul balls and a foul tip, and accidentally sent his bat into the stands above the Sea Dogs dugout after one missed swing.

“Change-ups,” said Binghamton starter Tyler Herron (2-1), an Eastern League veteran who has also pitched for Harrisburg and Altoona and who joined the Mets last month out of independent ball in North Dakota. “It seems like the whole series we’ve kind of been getting him with change-ups. That was the plan.”

Herron scattered six hits, struck out five and walked only one before giving way to Kevin McGowan, who allowed doubles in the seventh and eighth to Tzu-Wei Lin and Mauricio Dubon but stranded both at second base.

Dubon went 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles but was thrown out trying to stretch a one-out single to left in the first inning.

“That was an aggressive play,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “I have no problem with that. It took them a good relay throw to get him out. I don’t see that as a mistake. I see a guy trying to advance an extra base.”

The Sea Dogs loaded the bases in the second and took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Rainel Rosario. Lin flew out to end the inning, stranding two runners in scoring position. Never again did the Sea Dogs advance a base runner as far as third.

“It was a great game,” Febles said. “Unfortunately, we were on the losing end. It was close. We had some good at-bats, but we just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed to. As a manager, you feel pretty good about your club when you play games like this.”

Sea Dogs starter Mitch Atkins (2-5) held the Mets scoreless through four innings and escaped a second-and-third, nobody-out situation in the second inning, but Binghamton scored twice in the fifth. L.J. Mazzilli homered to left with one out. Atkins appeared to be out of the inning when, with two outs, Champ Stuart bounced one up the middle. Dubon, Portland’s shortstop, ranged in front of second base and gloved the ball but lost the handle when he reached in for the throw.

“He told me he expected me to be an easier play,” Stuart said of Dubon, “and when he looked up and saw me halfway down the line he kind of rushed it. I guess it got away from him there.”

Stuart, credited with a hit, had the conversation with Dubon after a stolen base made possible by a slide that jarred the ball loose from Moncada’s glove following a one-hop throw from catcher Jake Romanski. Amed Rosario followed with a ground-ball single to left, driving home Stuart with what turned out to be the winning run.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” said Atkins, who struck out five, walked two and allowed eight hits. “I threw the ball well. My job is to keep the game close and give my team a chance to win, and I did that. Sometimes you pull it out and sometimes you don’t.”

The game marked the 236th career start for Atkins, tops among active minor league pitchers. He’s been around long enough to know something about how to handle a day like Moncada’s.

“You can learn a lot from days like that,” he said. “I think you learn more from bad days than good days.”

NOTES: Former Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon departs Monday morning after four days in town as a Red Sox roving outfielder instructor. That another top prospect, Andrew Benintendi, moved over from center field to left for two games was merely a coincidence, McMillon said.

“But one of my philosophies is that all the outfielders should be able to play all over the place,” said McMillon, who heads to Triple-A Pawtucket next before returning home to South Carolina.

The Sea Dogs open a three-game series with Trenton on Monday night. … The last Sea Dogs batter with five strikeouts in a game was Sean Coyle in 2014 against New Hampshire.

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Froome wins his third Tour de France Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:20:17 +0000 PARIS — After the beer and champagne celebrations, Chris Froome delivered a sobering and emotional message from the Tour de France winner’s podium on the Champs-Elysees.

Ten days after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people, Froome – a Kenyan-born British rider who often trains on the French Riviera – reminded everyone what the Tour stands for.

“These events put sport into perspective, but they also show why the values of sport are so important to free society,” Froome said on Sunday in a prepared speech. “We all love the Tour de France because it’s unpredictable, but we love the Tour more for what stays the same – the passion of the fans for every nation, the beauty of the French countryside and the bonds of friendship created through sport. These things will never change.

“Thanks for your kindness in these difficult times,” Froome added, switching to French as he addressed the local fans. “You have the most beautiful race in the world. Vive le Tour, Vive la France.”

Cheered on by thousands of fans undeterred by the recent spate of violence across Europe, Froome celebrated his third Tour title in four years. He finished safely at the back of the main pack in the final stage, arm-in-arm with his teammates during the mostly ceremonial leg ending on the cobblestones below the Arc de Triomphe.

Andre Greipel of Germany won the 21st leg in a sprint finish.

At the start of the stage, Froome dropped back to his Team Sky car to collect bottles of beer and distributed them to his teammates for a celebratory round. Then it was time for the traditional flute of champagne.

Froome rode a yellow bike to go with his yellow jersey, helmet, gloves and shoes.

Froome finished with an advantage of 4 minutes, 5 seconds over Romain Bardet of France, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia placed third, 4:21 back.

Only four men – five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain – have more Tour victories than Froome.

“I’ve definitely grown to appreciate this history of the sport a lot more,” Froome said. “Being in the position that I’m in now, I’m understanding how tough it is to win a race like the Tour de France. To win back-to-back editions and now to be a three-time winner is incredible. It’s beyond what I’ve ever dreamed.”

While other top riders of his generation like Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali have won all three Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta – Froome plans to keep his focus on the Tour.

“It would be my dream to keep coming back to the Tour de France for the next five, six years,” he said. “I’ve already won it three times and I wouldn’t say the novelty is wearing off. … It’s the biggest event we have on our calendar and to be here in the yellow jersey, it’s every cyclist’s dream.”

Compared to his wins in 2013 and 2015, Froome has become more adept at handling speculation that he is doping. After facing constant accusations during last year’s race – including a spectator yelling ‘doper!’ and hurling a cup of urine at him – Froome released some of his training data at the end of last year.

“I think I’ve put that to rest now,” he said. “I’ve really done a lot in terms of offering up my physiological data and trying to be open to people as much as I can while protecting a competitive advantage at the same time.”

Froome took the yellow jersey with a daring downhill attack in Stage 8, padded his lead with a late breakaway in Stage 11, and overcame a motor bike crash on the legendary Mont Ventoux and a fall on a slippery descent in the Alps with two stages to go.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme complimented Froome for showing “panache” after his downhill attack in the Pyrenees, and the fans have treated him better, too.

“The atmosphere on the roads has been fantastic,” Froome said. “The French public, they make this race what it is.”

Out of respect for the Nice victims, Froome refused to discuss race details the day after the attack. But he lauded Tour organizers for deciding to keep the race going.

“It’s been a really strong sign,” he said, “that life goes on and it’s not going to be stopped by these terrorist activities.”

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White Sox suspend top pitcher Chris Sale for ripping up jerseys Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:26:23 +0000 CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox suspended ace Chris Sale five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The White Sox announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 – the cost of the destroyed jerseys – according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

“Obviously we’re all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris’ perspective,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we’re trying to accomplish on the field.”

Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.

The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.

FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.

Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.

The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale’s name circulating in trade rumors.

“The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships,” Hahn said. “It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events.”

This wasn’t the first flare-up involving 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.

He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches’ jerseys in his locker.

He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals’ Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.


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IOC decides not to ban full Russian team from Olympics Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:06:32 +0000 The Russian flag will be flying at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, after all, and the athletes from a nation mired in an ongoing drug scandal will be allowed to compete on the sporting world’s largest stage.

Less than two weeks before the start of the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee ruled against barring Russia from the Summer Olympics but did approve measures that could reduce the number of Russian athletes participating. Members of the executive board met on a conference call Sunday and granted wide-reaching powers to the 28 individual federations that govern each sport to rule on which Russian athletes would be permitted to compete in their respective disciplines.

While that could curtail Russia’s participation in the Rio Olympics, it means the exact number of participants and medal hopefuls representing the nation could remain in flux until days before the opening ceremony, which is scheduled for Aug. 5.

While the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international body that oversees track and field, has already ruled that Russia would not be permitted to compete in Olympic competition, other governing bodies will have big decisions to make in the coming days. Many sports federations, such as gymnastics, have already indicated a preference to see Russian athletes competing for Olympic medals. Bruno Grandi, president of the FIG, the international gymnastics federation, for example, said in a statement last week, “Blanket bans have never been and will never be just.”

No nation had ever been barred from competing at an Olympics for doping, but with sentiment growing against the Russian athletes and questions about whether they’d compete clean in Rio, the IOC faced a difficult decision. Last week the World Anti-Doping Agency, the international body that polices doping in sports, released a damning report that charged Russia with operating a prolific state-run doping program spanning 30 sports over several years.

As the doping scandal grew, more than a dozen anti-doping agencies from around the world, including those from the United States and Canada, banded together and urged the IOC to issue a wholesale ban of Russia from these Olympics, an extraordinary measure that would have included athletes who’ve never tested positive for banned substances or been implicated in the scandal.

The IOC opted not to take immediate action last week, preferring to wait for an important ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which last Thursday upheld the ban on Russia’s track and field teams. In June those squads were barred from the Rio Games by the IAAF. The court’s ruling effectively set a precedent that a sport’s international federation had the authority to prohibit certain athletes from competing.

The Russian Olympic Committee said in a statement last week that the court’s ruling unfairly punished a large swath of Russian athletes for the alleged misdeeds of a few. “The CAS decision violates the rights of all clean athletes who from today will also bear a collective responsibility for the guilt of others,” the committee said.

While officials with the Russian sports ministry have acknowledged a “culture of doping,” they have denied any form of government involvement. Russia President Vladimir Putin has been vocal about what he sees as an unfair process and a political witch-hunt that has seeped into the sports world.

“Today, we see a dangerous return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport,” Putin said in a statement last week, harkening back to Cold War-era relations. “Yes, this intervention takes different forms today, but the essence remains the same; to make sport an instrument for geopolitical pressure and use it to form a negative image of countries and peoples. The Olympic movement, which is a tremendous force for uniting humanity, once again could find itself on the brink of division.

Before a single Olympic event has been contested, doping has already emerged as a dominant storyline of these Summer Games. The IOC and WADA have been trying to cleanse the Rio Games of known cheaters and have been retesting samples from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. They found 98 athletes who tested positive for prohibited substances, including at least 23 medalist from the Beijing Games.

Since competing under the Russian flag, the country has been among the top three or four medal winners in each of the past five Summer Olympics. Russia, which has traditionally been a power in track and field, wrestling and gymnastics especially, won 79 medals at the 2012 London Games, trailing only the United States (103) and China (88). Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and won more medals there than any other country – 13 golds and 33 overall — a feat that might not stand the test of time after the IOC and WADA completes their doping inquiry and metes out individual punishments.

The absence of any number of Russian athletes will surely have a major impact on the medal hopes of athletes competing in almost every sport. Russian typically sends an Olympic team of more than 400 athletes at the Summer Games. The last time Russian athletes missed the Summer Games was 1984, when the then-Soviet Union was among 14 communist nations to boycott the Olympics. That year the United States won 83 gold medals at the Los Angeles Summer Games, which is still an Olympic record.

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Outdoors Calendar Sun, 24 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 SUNDAY

Open Farm Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Maine farms will be open to the public for the 27th annual Maine Open Farm Day. More than 80 family farms will open their doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s an opportunity for people to learn about Maine food producers and farms. To find a participating farm near you, go to


Blueberry barren, 4 p.m. in Appleton

Join the Georges River Land Trust for a hike through the blueberry barrens on Appleton Ridge off Route 131. Explore the link between pollinators and Maine blueberry production. Francis Drummond, professor of insect ecology and insect pest management at the University of Maine, will lead the hike. Go to or call 594-5166 for more information.


Women fly-fishers, 6 p.m. Aug. 2 in South Portland

Join the Maine Women’s Flyfishers at their next meeting at Sea Dog Brewing Company. Women are invited to learn where local fishing spots are and how to fish them. For more information, email, or go to the Maine TU Women Flyfishers Facebook page.

Clam digging, 10 a.m. Aug. 10 in Georgetown

Join the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust for their annual lesson in clam digging. At Reid State Park in Georgetown, the public will be taught how to dig for clams by Georgetown shellfish warden Jon Hentz. Hentz will share clam digging techniques, as well as information about the local clam-harvesting industry. Participants will discover the importance of clean water to the clams and the harvesters that dig them. The program is free and open to all, but the park entrance fee is required for admission to Reid State Park. To learn more, go to or call 442-8400.

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