AUTO RACING

John Andretti, a member of one of auto racing’s most famous families and the first driver to attempt the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race in North Carolina on the same day, has died. He was 56 and had spent the last three years battling colon cancer.

Andretti Autosports, which is owned by Andretti’s cousin, Michael, announced the death Thursday.

Andretti’s cousin and uncle, Mario, were longtime fan favorites in the IndyCar Series and beyond.

But John Andretti developed his own fan base at Indy in part because he was the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day double – running in both the 500 and the 600-mile night race outside Charlotte, North Carolina.

Andretti made 49 consecutive IndyCar starts from 1990-92 before moving to NASCAR, where he started at least 29 races every season from 1994-2003. He won three times and helped raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis through his initiative Race 4 Riley.

He was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2017. Doctors later determined the disease had spread to his liver.

HALL OF FAME: Joe Gibbs will be inducted in to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night alongside Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, two drivers who helped him build one of NASCAR’s top teams while combining to win three of the organization’s five Cup titles.

BASEBALL

MAJORS: Dusty Baker, the new Houston Astros’ manager, will be invited to lead the American League in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on July 14, Major League Baseball said.

Baker was hired by the Astros to replace AJ Hinch, who was suspended by MLB for the season on Jan. 13 for his role in the team’s sign-stealing scheme, then was fired by Houston along with GM Jeff Luhnow.

Hinch led the Astros to its second AL pennant in three seasons last year and had been scheduled to manage the AL.

• Infielder Jordy Mercer agreed to a minor league deal to remain with the Detroit Tigers.

Mercer hit .270 for the Tigers last year with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 74 games. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates before signing with Detroit for 2019. He was limited last season by quadriceps problems.

• Free-agent pitcher David Phelps and the Milwaukee Brewers finalized a one-year contract that guarantees $1.5 million and includes a club option for 2021.

• The Seattle Mariners added a veteran arm to their bullpen, agreeing to a $1.6 million, one-year contract with Yoshihisa Hirano.

Hirano has spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 137 games with a 3.47 ERA.

• Free-agent infielder Matt Duffy and right-hander Derek Law have agreed to minor league contracts with the Texas Rangers that include invitations to major league spring training.

Duffy has been primarily a third baseman in his five major league seasons with Tampa Bay (2016, 2018-19) and San Francisco (2014-16), but he also has played shortstop and second base. He missed the first half of last season because of a left hamstring injury, then hit .252 with one homer and 12 RBI in 46 games for the Rays.

Law appeared in 58 games for Toronto last year, going 1-2 with a 4.90 ERA in a career-high 60 2/3 innings.

• Pat Valaika is back with the Orioles, who claimed the infielder off waivers from Arizona after the Diamondbacks took him from Baltimore earlier this month.

SKIING

WORLD CUP: Two men’s World Cup ski races that were canceled in China because of the ongoing virus outbreak have been moved to Austria.

The downhill and super-G races were originally scheduled to be held next month at Yanqing, a venue set to be used for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Replacement races will now be held on Feb. 13-14 at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said.

•  A second women’s downhill training run was canceled on the 2014 Sochi Olympic course, putting Saturday’s World Cup race at risk.

The International Ski Federation published a photograph showing the mountain shrouded in fog.

Organizers will try again Friday for the mandatory downhill training run. A super-G is scheduled for Sunday.

GOLF

CHAMPIONS: Stephen Ames shot a 9-under 63 to take a four-stroke lead over a Hall of Fame quartet in the Morocco Champions, the first PGA Tour Champions event in Africa.

Making his season debut, Ames matched the Samanah Golf Club record set by Daniel Brooks in the 2009 Samanah Masters.

Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Retief Goosen shot 67.

EUROPEAN: Graeme McDowell and Gavin Green shared the lead at the Saudi International by shooting 6-under 64 in the first round.

Five players were one shot behind at 5 under, including 2016 British Open champion Henrik Stenson.

PGA: Wyndham Clark shot a career-best 10-under 61 to take the first-round lead in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He had eight birdies in a 10-hole stretch from No. 12 to No. 3, added two more on Nos. 7 and 8 and putted out for par on No. 9 just after sunset.

Billy Horschel was second, holing nearly 200 feet of putts in an afternoon 63.

SOCCER

MLS: Major League Soccer and its players are extending their collective bargaining agreement for a week through Feb. 7.

The league and the Major League Soccer Players Association issued a joint statement stating “the two groups have engaged in productive discussions and will continue to negotiate.”

The current five-year deal had been set to expire Friday night.


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