|7 hours ago|| Braves make Hart president of baseball operations|
ATLANTA (AP) John Schuerholz completed what he called "the best negotiation of my entire career" by convincing his longtime friend John Hart to accept the role of president of baseball operations.
With Hart taking the newly created title on Thursday, the Braves aren't looking for a general manager. The 66-year-old Hart agreed to a three-year contract that will continue through the team's first season at its new stadium in Cobb County.
Hart became interim general manager Sept. 22. The team had sought a full-time replacement for Frank Wren, who was fired last month after a 79-83 finish this season.
Hart, Schuerholz and former Braves manager Bobby Cox formed the GM search committee. Hart said last month his only interest was in the interim job, but Schuerholz, the team president, wouldn't accept that as a final answer.
"We met as transition team quite a number of times and when we were at the meetings invariably I'd pull out my list and I'd say `OK, are we going to talk about the GMs?"' Hart said. "At some point John would get up, he'd take a phone call, he'd go to the bathroom. ... I think all along I did feel and know that John clearly wanted me to take this job."
Hart, the former GM for the Rangers and Indians, joined the Braves last year as a senior adviser.
Schuerholz described Hart as "a man who has demonstrated great ability in constructing winning baseball organizations, winning baseball teams, creating staffs of very capable people empowered to do great jobs in each of the organizations he has run."
Hart said he has turned down similar opportunities with other teams that lacked the "personal component" he has with Schuerholz.
Schuerholz, who was the Royals' GM before taking over as the Braves' GM in 1990, returned to Kansas City for Game 1 of the World Series this week. He said he was asked by owners and executives why he hadn't convinced Hart to take the full-time role in Atlanta.
|7 hours ago|| Titans: Rookie Zach Mettenberger will start at QB|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans have kicked their youth movement into high gear with rookie Zach Mettenberger starting at quarterback against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Jake Locker has missed three of the past four games with injuries, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said Thursday that the decision to go with Mettenberger was made Tuesday. The coach said this is an opportunity to see what the sixth-round draft pick out of LSU can do with the Titans struggling at 2-5.
"No question he's a talented, young player, and maybe it'll give us a spark," Whisenhunt said. "Offensively, we haven't exactly been lighting it up, so that's part of it in consideration."
Whisenhunt waited to announce the change to make sure Locker - who has been sidelined with an injured thumb - is healthy enough to back up Mettenberger. The coach also was trying to buy a day to slow down the Texans' preparation for the rookie. The shake-up dropped Charlie Whitehurst, who started three of the past four games with the Titans losing two of those, to third on the depth chart.
Mounting losses and injuries seemed to make the change inevitable.
The Titans had stuck with Locker, the eighth pick overall in 2011, since hiring Whisenhunt in January. But Locker has missed 17 of a possible 39 starts and finished only three games this season because of injuries.
Mettenberger will become the fourth rookie quarterback to start in the NFL this season, the third quarterback for Whisenhunt. The Titans already are starting left tackle Taylor Lewan, linebacker Avery Williamson and running back Bishop Sankey with Mettenberger the fourth of six draft picks to start this season.
The quarterback dropped to the sixth round after tearing his left ACL on Nov. 29 playing for LSU but led the NFL this preseason with 659 yards passing. The rookie shaved the beard he started growing during training camp after practice just before talking to reporters.
"By no means am
|7 hours ago|| AP source: Goodell told to testify in Rice appeal|
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been told to testify in Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, the neutral arbiter selected to hear the appeal, informed the parties of her decision Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the appeal have not been made public.
It was uncertain whether Goodell will actually testify. He said this month he would leave the decision to Judge Jones.
"We will continue to respect Judge Jones' confidentiality order regarding this proceeding," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.
NFL lawyers have argued that Goodell shouldn't have to testify, and instead were offering testimony from Jeff Pash, the NFL's general counsel, and Adolpho Birch, the NFL's vice president for labor policy. Pash and Birch were with Goodell when he met with Rice's side in June to talk about what happened when the former Pro Bowl running back hit his then-fiancee in an elevator.
Rice described details of the incident at that meeting. Goodell has called Rice's description "ambiguous" while Rice's side has maintained he gave exact details.
The hearing will be held Nov. 5 and 6, two people familiar with the case told the AP on Tuesday.
Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a video of the former Pro Bowl running back hitting the woman was released publicly. Goodell originally had suspended the running back for two games.
Once the video became public, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.
The players' union appealed Rice's suspension, saying he should not be punished twice.
Jones was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players' union
|7 hours ago|| Giants' Hudson to face Royals' Guthrie in Game 3|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) In the middle of a champagne-and-beer-soaked clubhouse after the San Francisco Giants won the NL Championship Series, Tim Hudson was given the chance to speak to his team.
The message was as simple as Hudson's approach on the mound: "World Series, baby!"
After 16 years, 214 regular-season wins and seven failed trips to the postseason, Hudson has finally made it to baseball's biggest stage at age 39.
Hudson is set to take the mound Friday night for the Giants when they return home to face Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals in Game 3 of the World Series after a two-game split in Kansas City.
"It's almost a sense of relief that it's finally here, that what I've hoped and dreamed for throughout my career is finally here, and there's not going to be anybody on the field that's more ready than I am tomorrow night," Hudson said Thursday.
Hudson's brilliant career began on the other side of San Francisco Bay as he helped Oakland make four straight trips to the postseason that ended with Game 5 losses in the division series.
Hudson got back to the playoffs with Atlanta, losing in the division series in 2005 to Houston and 2010 to San Francisco. The Braves made it again last year when Hudson was hurt but lost again in the division series.
After signing a $23 million, two-year contract this offseason with San Francisco, Hudson finally got to experience postseason success.
"You often wonder, is it ever going to happen? Obviously, last year the way my season ended with my ankle injury, things looked a little bleak there for a few moments," Hudson said. But I'm just really lucky."
Hudson got no-decisions in his first two postseason starts, allowing five runs in 13 2-3 innings against Washington and St. Louis.
The limited work of late has paid dividends. Hudson looks much fresher than he did in September when he went 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in five starts to end the season while dealing with a bu
|7 hours ago|| Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury|
LOS ANGELES (AP) Steve Nash hoped for one more chance to show off his playmaking skills after fighting injuries and time for two miserable years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Instead, Nash couldn't even make it to opening night in the 19th season of his remarkable career.
Nash will miss the entire season because of a back injury, the Lakers announced Thursday, putting the two-time NBA MVP point guard's career in doubt.
The Lakers and the 40-year-old Nash announced their joint decision less than a week before the start of the regular season. He played in only 15 games last season with nerve root irritation, but hoped for a comeback season after several months of rehabilitation.
The Canadian star played in just three preseason games, feeling more back pain in the second outing. He then strained his back while carrying travel bags several days ago.
"Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now," Nash said. "I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health."
Nash will "focus on rest and rehabilitation," according to the team's news release. He is in the final season of his three-year contract with the Lakers, but the club's announcement made no mention of possible retirement.
Nash has played in only 65 games since the Lakers traded four draft picks for him in 2012 in a spectacularly failed attempt to assemble a title contender built around Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Nash.
Bryant, who missed all but six games last season with two major injuries, has played in the same backcourt with Nash for just 48 games.
"As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we're even more disappointed for Steve," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "We know how h
|Oct 21, 2014|| Korean 'superfan' of Royals headed back to KC|
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) The die-hard, long-time Kansas City Royals fan from Seoul who became an international celebrity after he was superstitiously credited with sparking the team's playoff run created quite a scene at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday night before the World Series opener.
Fans clogged stadium concourses, snapping hundreds of photographs of Sung Woo Lee as he made his way to his seat before the first pitch. Lee posed for photos and waved to the adoring blue-clad Royals faithful.
Despite living more than 6,500 miles from Kansas City, Lee sure looked like a familiar face at the Royals' ballpark - and to some, he was.
After learning of his passion for their team, a group of American fans helped Lee arrange a visit to Kansas City in August so he could watch a Royals game in person for the first time. By the time Lee returned to Seoul, the Royals, perennial also-rans, had won nine out of 10 games and were in first place in their division, and Lee had gained widespread fame among sports fans in the United States and in South Korea.
The 38-year-old duty free shop employee is reluctant to make World Series predictions because of worries about jinxing the team. But he also said he can't help imagining a celebration with Royals' players in a champagne-soaked locker room.
Despite being considered a good luck charm by the club and its fan base, Lee said in a telephone interview Monday night that he doesn't feel any pressure.
"I just want to root for the team with fellow Royals fans as hard as I can," he said. "I will try to enjoy every moment."
Lee belongs to a generation of South Korean sports fans in their 30s and 40s who developed an attachment to American professional sports by watching a local TV network for U.S. servicemen stationed in South Korea to guard the heavily-armed border with North Korea.
Free from the obligations of supporting the "local" team, South Korean fans often developed interests in ma
|Oct 21, 2014|| NCAA: SI allegations vs Oklahoma St 'unfounded'|
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) The Oklahoma State football program escaped its "day of reckoning" nearly unscathed.
The NCAA and the school announced Tuesday that allegations of widespread misconduct outlined in a Sports Illustrated expose last year were "fundamentally unfounded."
A joint inquiry by the NCAA and an independent investigator retained by the school, former NCAA enforcement official Chuck Smrt, reviewed approximately 50,000 emails and documents, and included nearly 100 interviews of current and former administrators, coaches, staff, athletes, students and prospects as well as alumni and donors.
Smrt said the number of emails and documents reviewed was unusually high for such a case, and the result of the search terms and large number of people involved.
"If we had done something wrong or were doing something wrong, we wanted to know," Oklahoma State President V. Burns Hargis said. "Based on that review, we learned that the Sports Illustrated claims of monetary payments for athletic achievements, improper academic assistance provided by our academic services staff, rampant drug use and inappropriate interaction with football players during recruiting trips were fundamentally unfounded."
Athletic director Mike Holder told The Associated Press last month that he wasn't sure what the investigation would find, but the "day of reckoning" was coming, and he had hoped the school would come out of it looking "like true Cowboys."
Hargis said three potential infractions were discovered and reported to the NCAA. He said "it appears we may have misapplied our drug testing policy and on-campus recruiting practices" and the policies have been modified.
Now that the investigation has concluded with mostly good results for the school, the stigma no longer hangs over football coach Mike Gundy's program.
"It's a big relief," Hargis said. "I'm gratified and I'm relieved, but I must say I'm not terribly surprised. It didn'
|Oct 21, 2014|| Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad|
IRVING, Texas (AP) Michael Sam will have to wait for a third team to give the NFL's first openly gay player a chance to appear in a regular-season game.
The Dallas Cowboys released Sam from the practice squad Tuesday, dropping the rush end as they prepare for several potential reinforcements to return to the defensive line.
Sam spent seven weeks with the Cowboys after joining their practice squad Sept. 3, four days after he was among the final cuts by the St. Louis Rams at the end of the preseason. He was never placed on the 53-man active roster.
The Rams drafted the former SEC defensive player of the year from Missouri late in the seventh round in May. He was pick No. 249 out of 256. Sam had three sacks in the preseason with St. Louis playing mostly against second- and third-stringers.
Sam thanked the family of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Twitter, along with "friends, family, teammates, and fans for their support."
"While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday," Sam wrote.
The signing of Sam by the Cowboys brought an overflow crowd to coach Jason Garrett's daily news conference, and he was surrounded by about two dozen reporters in the only interview he conducted on the same day.
But he mostly blended in after that, making occasional appearances in the locker room when it was open to the media and earning praise from Garrett and defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli the few times they were asked about him.
"Comes to work every day and practices hard," Garrett said last week. "One of 10 practice roster guys that we have, so he's working on his skills, trying to develop, but also doing a lot of other things. Playing offense, defense, playing the kicking game. That's what a lot of those guys do."
Sam came out to his Missouri teammates before his senior season, when he
|Oct 21, 2014|| Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov's arrest|
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi firmly supports the NHL's indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov, the quiet Russian defenseman arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
Lombardi also believes the NHL must supplement its swift discipline with an improved plan to provide hockey players with better preparation for many aspects of life outside the rink.
"We need to do a better job," Lombardi said. "That's just the truth. I don't care if it's indicting ourselves or not."
The defending Stanley Cup champions uniformly backed the NHL's suspension of Voynov when they returned to practice at their training complex Tuesday.
Voynov hasn't been charged with a crime since his arrest early Monday morning, but Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the suspension was "very appropriate."
"We're pretty close as a team," Sutter added. "It's not just (a) team. It's more of a family thing. We deal with distractions all the time. We've been able to handle a lot of adversity and pressure for three years now."
Voynov's teammates spoke carefully about his absence, uniformly expressing surprise at the circumstances. The Kings still don't know the details of what happened between Voynov and the woman who was treated for injuries in the Torrance hospital where he was arrested.
Sutter went to Voynov's house in Redondo Beach after his arrest, but the Kings' contact with Voynov has been limited because he turned off his phone.
"Some of us have reached out to him, but we just hope everything is going to work out for the both of them," center Jarret Stoll said. "We're still a strong group. We're still a hockey team. We're still going to win games. Our goal has never changed. Our attitude in this room has never changed. It's adversity for us, but we're going to come through it."
The events are a shock for the Kings, who have won two of the last three Stanley Cup titles with an extraordinarily close-kn
|Oct 21, 2014|| Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings|
NEW YORK (AP) It's almost unanimous: The Denver Broncos are still the top team in the NFL.
Denver received 11 first-place votes Tuesday for the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a 12-member media panel that regularly covers the league.
The Broncos (5-1) are coming off a 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Peyton Manning had 318 yards passing and four touchdowns, breaking Brett Favre's record for career TD passes.
"Would anyone be shocked if Peyton Manning threw 600 TD passes before he's finished?" asked Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
Manning and the Broncos host the AFC West rival San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.
Dallas (6-1) got the other first-place vote. The Cowboys topped the New York Giants 31-21 for their sixth consecutive victory. They are off to their best start since winning six of the first seven in 2007, when they went 13-3 and were the top seed in the NFC.
"Starting to look like the `93 Cowboys," NBC Sports' Tony Dungy said.
ESPN's Herm Edwards agreed.
"Another impressive win for the Cowboys," he said. "They keep rolling."
The Philadelphia Eagles moved up a spot to No. 3, followed by the Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals.
"Another reminder that the Colts are not just as good as Andrew Luck," The Monday Morning Quarterback's Jenny Vrentas said of the Colts' 27-0 shutout of the skidding Cincinnati Bengals.
"Their defense is playing very well."
The Eagles will travel to Glendale, Arizona, to face the Cardinals on Sunday. The Cardinals are 5-1 for the first time in 38 years and are alone atop the NFC West, with a two-game cushion in the loss column over San Francisco and Seattle.
"Is anyone doing a better job coaching a football team than Bruce Arians?" asked Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.
"His Cardinals are the surprising leader of the NFC West."
After playing the Eagles, the Cardinals face
|Oct 21, 2014|| Thunder star Durant won't rush return from injury|
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Thunder forward Kevin Durant is having a tough time getting used to the fact that he will miss the early part of the season with a bone fracture in his right foot.
"I've been antsy since I got out of surgery," he said Tuesday. "Seen that Chicago-Cleveland game last night, and I wanted to get out there and play. As a competitor, I love to play basketball - that's all I've been doing. Injuries have never had me out this long, but it's part of the game."
The reigning MVP spoke to the media Tuesday morning for the first time since the injury. He had surgery on Oct. 16 and will be re-evaluated in about five weeks, or late November. He rolled into the media session on a scooter with the lower half of his right leg in a cast.
Durant said he's never had surgery, so he doesn't know how he will respond to it. He says he won't rush his return.
"Blessed that it happened early in the season so I can get past it, and hopefully, by December, I'll be ready to play," he said.
Durant, who has played more minutes than anyone since entering the league in 2007, is finding other ways to contribute to the team.
"Just help out as much as possible, lead from where I am, which is the sideline," he said. "I feel like a coach, feel like (Alabama football coach) Nick Saban, rolling around on my scooter from court to court giving advice and trying to help out as much as I can. It's a different position for me, but I'm looking forward to growing mentally watching the game and learning from my teammates, trying to help them as much as I can."
He said the situation presents an opportunity for his teammates to grow, and he feels that the team will be better off in the long run as a result.
"It's going to give guys opportunities to play, build confidence, build their chemistry as a team," he said. "So I'm looking at the positive side of it. It's a win-win, basically, because I'm learning a lot while I'm out about the game,
|Oct 21, 2014|| AP sources: Rice's appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6|
A hearing on Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension will be held Nov. 5 and 6, two people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.
The people spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been made public.
Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a video of Rice hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator was released publicly. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell originally had suspended Rice for two games.
Once the video became public, the Baltimore Ravens cut the star running back, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.
The players' union is appealing Rice's suspension, saying Rice should not be punished twice.
A neutral arbiter is expected to decide whether Goodell should testify. The arbiter had not yet made that decision as of Tuesday afternoon, the sources who informed the AP of the hearing said.
The arbiter, former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players' union. Union officials said when the appeal was announced that Goodell and his staff's testimony are key to the appeal and a central reason to have an outside arbiter.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Rob Maaddi can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ap-robmaaddi
|Oct 21, 2014|| Irving scores 28 as Cavs beat Bulls 107-98|
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) LeBron James was the star attraction but Kyrie Irving stole the show with 28 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-98 win against the Chicago Bulls in an exhibition game Monday night at Ohio State.
Irving had 20 points in the second half. James had 18 points in 31 minutes in his first game in Columbus since rejoining the Cavaliers this summer from the Miami Heat.
Derrick Rose led Chicago with 30 points.
Chicago was without guard Jimmy Butler (thumb). His replacement in the starting lineup, Kirk Hinrich, had two points in 16 minutes.
|Oct 21, 2014|| Florida AD: Muschamp safe until season's end|
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida coach Will Muschamp is getting at least another game to turn things around.
Athletic director Jeremy Foley said Monday that he will continue to evaluate the season - and likely Muschamp's future - "as it plays out."
That means Muschamp will be on the sideline when the Gators (3-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) play ninth-ranked Georgia in Jacksonville on Nov. 1.
Foley released a 40-word statement that did little to sway belief that Muschamp's job is in serious jeopardy following consecutive home losses to teams that previously struggled in SEC play.
"At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley said. "We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia."
The Gators are coming off back-to-back losses to LSU and Missouri. The latest one, a 42-13 debacle to Mizzou on Saturday night, was one of the most embarrassing losses in Muschamp's three-plus years in Gainesville.
Florida committed six turnovers, including two that were returned for touchdowns, and allowed two special teams scores. Chants of "Fire Muschamp" started in the third quarter and could be heard throughout an emptying Florida Field the rest of the night.
The defeat was Florida's second straight on homecoming, the first time that's happened in Gainesville since 1947.
It dropped Muschamp's record to 25-19, including 15-14 in conference play.
And it could be worse. The Gators could be 0-5 in league play considering they eked out a win against Kentucky in triple overtime and edged Tennessee 10-9 two weeks ago.
Missouri's victory was never in doubt.
The Tigers returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and cruised from there. They also returned a punt for a touchdown, returned a fumble for a score and returned an interception for a touchdown and a 42-0 lead.
|Oct 21, 2014|| Harvin not 'perfect,' happy for chance with Jets|
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Percy Harvin has been called lots of things during his NFL career.
Talented but injury prone. Explosive on the field and combustible off. A playmaker but a troublemaker.
The New York Jets' newest wide receiver doesn't deny he has had some issues. But he also wants to be judged from what he does starting now, not just his checkered past.
"I'm definitely not a perfect person," Harvin said after his first practice with his new team Monday. "I have a lot of things that I wish I could have done a little differently. But I'm moving forward. I'm learning from those lessons.
"I'm happy to be here right now and looking to make the most out of it," he said.
The Jets and Seattle Seahawks completed a deal Saturday in which New York sent a conditional draft pick to Seattle for Harvin. Jets general manager John Idzik thought the potential payoff in acquiring a player with Harvin's type of versatility and game-breaking skills outweighed the risks involved.
"I look at it," Idzik said, "as this could be a potential coup for the New York Jets."
Harvin was "shocked" by the trade and it came as a surprise to most in NFL circles. After all, the Seahawks parted ways with a player who helped them win a Super Bowl last season.
But at 26, Harvin has been traded twice already now, including by Minnesota, the team that took him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. The Jets were extremely interested in Harvin during that draft process before trading up to take quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Harvin has played in 60 games with only 47 career starts. He was traded to the Seahawks in 2013 for a 2013 first-round and seventh-round draft choice and a 2014 third-rounder, but appeared in just one regular-season game in 2013 because of hip surgery. But Harvin ran back a second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver in the Super Bowl.
Harvin is also a player who is injury prone
|Oct 21, 2014|| World Series: How the Giants and Royals match up|
A position-by-position look at the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals going into the World Series, starting Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium:
Giants: Brandon Belt. After missing 96 games this year because of a broken thumb and concussion, Belt had the big hit that decided the longest postseason game in major league history. His 18th-inning homer sent San Francisco to a Game 2 win at Washington in the NL Division Series. He gives a good at-bat and provides some pop from the left side of the plate. Steady defense, too.
Royals: Eric Hosmer. Drafted third overall in 2008, Hosmer is talented but inconsistent so far. The 24-year-old cleanup hitter certainly has taken to October baseball, batting .448 in the playoffs with a crucial triple, eight RBIs and two homers, including an extra-inning shot against the Angels. A key piece of Kansas City's rebuilding project, Hosmer has developed into a vocal cheerleader. The life of the party - with a Gold Glove on his mantel.
Giants: Joe Panik. The 23-year-old rookie rescued San Francisco at second base this season in the absence of injured Marco Scutaro, a 2012 postseason star. Panik's strength is a short, compact swing that produces consistently solid contact. The line-drive hitter batted .305 with one home run this year, then went deep in the NLCS against St. Louis. When he's under pressure, it seems Panik never does.
Royals: Omar Infante. Signed to a $30.25 million, four-year contract before the season, Infante was brought in to be a veteran solution at a trouble spot for Kansas City. The 2010 All-Star can handle the bat, and his playoff experience is a plus. Infante went 5 for 15 (.333) in the World Series for the Tigers two years ago, when they were swept by San Francisco.
Giants: Brandon Crawford. A player on the rise, Crawford is blossoming into more
|Oct 21, 2014|| Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23|
PITTSBURGH (AP) The deluge started with a desperation third-down heave, a trickle that turned into a downpour and led to another abrupt turn in the Pittsburgh Steelers' confounding season.
Good one week and lousy the next, Pittsburgh managed to be both in a 30-23 victory over the mistake-prone Houston Texans on Monday night.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for two touchdowns and wide receiver Antonio Brown added another on a gadget play during a decisive 73-second stretch late in the first half that moved the Steelers from down 10 to an 11-point lead.
"You stand on the sidelines long enough, you will see explosions such as that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It was good to be on the good side of it."
Roethlisberger finished with 265 yards passing. Le'Veon Bell racked up 145 yards of total offense, including a 43-yard catch-and-run with less than 2 minutes to go in the first half that became the spark the Steelers desperately needed.
"That provided the type of emotion the group needed," Tomlin said. "Then we kind of fed off that. The guys really capitalized on it."
Arian Foster ran for 102 yards for Houston (3-4), but just 29 over the final three quarters. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 21 of 32 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but the Texans were undone by three turnovers, including consecutive offensive snaps that handed the momentum over to the Steelers.
"We had a terrible second quarter," Houston coach Bill O'Brien said. "We couldn't come back from it. Just too many turnovers. We just had a hard time overcoming all those things."
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt recovered a fumble and picked up his third sack of the season but was neutralized for most of the second half.
Pittsburgh was listless for the first 25 minutes, letting Foster and Fitzpatrick do whatever they wanted as the Texans raced to a 13-0 lead that seemed larger.
A 44-yard Shaun Suisham field goal with 3:08 left in th
|Oct 19, 2014|| No. 12 TCU routs No. 15 Oklahoma State 42-9|
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Trevone Boykin threw for a career-high 410 yards with three touchdowns, two on long plays to Josh Doctson in the first quarter, and No. 12 TCU emphatically bounced back with a 42-9 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Doctson had seven catches for 225 yards, a yard short of TCU's school record even with the scores of 77 and 84 yards. B.J. Catalon ran for 102 yards and two scores for the Horned Frogs (5-1, 2-1 Big 12).
Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1), which had won five in a row, was outgained 676 to 258 and held without a touchdown for the first time since a 27-0 loss to Oklahoma in the 2009 regular season finale.
TCU quickly erased any notion of a hangover effect from its wild 61-58 loss at Baylor a week earlier, jumping ahead 21-3 on Doctson's early touchdowns.
|Oct 19, 2014|| West Virginia surprises No. 4 Baylor 41-27|
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Clint Trickett threw three touchdown passes and West Virginia surprised sloppy No. 4 Baylor 41-27 Saturday.
The Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) earned their first win over a top five opponent since the Fiesta Bowl after the 2007 season.
West Virginia sacked Baylor's Bryce Petty four times and limited the Bears to one touchdown after halftime.
Baylor was penalized 18 times for a Big 12-record 215 yards. Seven were for pass interference.
Trickett went 23 of 35 for 322 yards, his eighth straight 300-yard game going back to last season.
Baylor (6-1, 3-1) couldn't overcome a double-digit deficit as it did in a 61-58 victory against TCU last week.
|Oct 19, 2014|| Bumgarner gets nod for Giants World Series opener|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The reliable southpaw is getting the ball for another important Game 1.
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will pitch the World Series opener for the San Francisco Giants at Kansas City on Tuesday.
Manager Bruce Bochy made the expected announcement Saturday as his team worked out under sunny skies, one day before traveling. Bumgarner, an 18-game winner, was voted NL Championship Series MVP as the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals in five games.
Despite MadBum's high innings, Bochy wasn't worried about the 18-game winner. Bumgarner didn't get a decision in the pennant clincher against the Cardinals on Thursday night.
"I think I would've insulted him if I checked with him," Bochy said. "He's a big, strong guy. His last game I thought he had great stuff. It's not like he's thrown 120-130 pitches. His workload has been under control."
Bochy is keeping his rotation the same as the first two rounds of the postseason. Right-hander Jake Peavy will pitch Game 2 on Wednesday, followed by 39-year-old right-hander Tim Hudson in his World Series debut Thursday at AT&T Park and then righty Ryan Vogelsong.
Yusmeiro Petit, who has twice provided a huge lift as a long man, will stay in his role as Bochy stuck with Vogelsong in the rotation.
"Petit in the job he's done in that role that we've had him in, you go back to Washington and without Petit it's hard to say what would have happened," Bochy said. "In St. Louis he went out there and gave us three big innings. He's a great swingman. Vogey, he threw a great game against Washington. He had a little bit of a hiccup but no, I didn't think about changing."
Unused two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will make the roster. Bochy didn't expect to make any changes from the 25 players used in the NLCS.
Lincecum pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas in 2010, then held a key role as a reliever in the 2012 championship run. Lincecum pi
|Oct 19, 2014|| No. 7 Alabama steamrolls No. 21 Texas A&M 59-0|
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Blake Sims passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns and scored on a 43-yard run while leading No. 7 Alabama to 35 second-quarter points and a 59-0 pummeling of No. 21 Texas A&M on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) shut down the nation's No. 4 offense and dominated a game that had produced two straight thrillers.
Led by Sims, T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper, Alabama outgained the Aggies 602-172. Texas A&M (5-3, 2-3) has lost its past three games, all to teams now ranked in the top 10.
Alabama set a school record for most points in a quarter and matched the second-most scored in a half while racing to a 45-0 halftime lead.
Yeldon had 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, all in the first half. Cooper gained 140 yards on eight catches with a pair of touchdowns.
|Oct 19, 2014|| No. 2 Florida St rallies past No. 5 Irish, 31-27|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Jameis Winston prevailed after another week of controversy and threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 2 Florida State to 31-27 win over No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday.
The Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 ACC) used a second-half comeback with the season on the line to topple the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame (6-1) is the last ranked team FSU's schedule and the win may be its last chance to make a decisive impression on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but Winston won the duel in the second half as he completed his first 13 passes against a defense that had Florida State flustered for the first 30 minutes.
The Irish moved to the 2-yard line on the final drive, but an offensive pass interference call killed the drive.
Florida State said this week it was investigating whether Winston received benefits for autographs being sold online.
|Oct 19, 2014|| Jets announce trade for receiver Percy Harvin|
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets announced Saturday they have acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional draft pick.
Making official a trade that was reported Friday, the Jets get a star from last season's Super Bowl but a player who is injury prone. Harvin brings versatility and game-breaking skills to the Jets, who have lost their last six games to fall to 1-6.
New York released receiver David Nelson to make room for Harvin.
General manager John Idzik called Harvin a "dynamic player who has been productive on offense and special teams." Seahawks general manager John Schneider noted Harvin's contributions to the Super Bowl and called the decision to trade him "extremely difficult."
"We are constantly evaluating our team and believe at this time that this is in our best interest to move the team forward," Schneider said.
The 26-year-old receiver has played in 60 games with only 47 career starts since being a first-round pick by Minnesota in 2009. He was traded to the Seahawks in 2013 for a 2013 first-round and seventh-round draft choice and a 2014 third-rounder.
He appeared in just one regular-season game in 2013 because of hip surgery. But Harvin ran back the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver in the Super Bowl.
Harvin has battled a thigh injury and was listed as questionable for the Seahawks' game at St. Louis this weekend before the trade was completed. The Seahawks have tried to find ways to use him - runner, receiver and special teams - but the injury woes slowed their plans.
This season, Harvin has 22 receptions for 133 yards, with 12 of those catches coming behind the line of scrimmage. He has only one catch on a ball thrown more than 10 yards, according to STATS. Harvin's average of 6 yards per catch is last among all wide receivers in the NFL averaging at least two receptions a game.
He also has 11 runs
|Oct 18, 2014|| NHL bringing 2016 All-Star game to Nashville|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Timing had been the only question about Nashville hosting the NHL All-Star game, and the league finally has the answer.
Music City will be hosting the league's showcase event in 2016 on Jan. 30-31 at Bridgestone Arena - home to the Nashville Predators.
"It's not too far back to remember that Nashville was a terrific host for the 2003 NHL draft, and we know if that's any indication of what to expect it's going to be wonderful," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.
The Predators hosted the NHL's entry draft in 2003 and have been on a short list to host the All-Star game. But Nashville needed a bigger downtown convention center to host all the surrounding festivities.
Bettman said officials both with the Predators and Nashville have been asking him about Music City hosting the All-Star game for years. The only issue was working out logistics with hotels and opening the city's new convention building, the Music City Center, in May 2013.
With Bridgestone Americas CEO Gary Garfield on hand, Bettman said he knows the next question he'll be asked is when Nashville hosts a Winter Classic game.
"Let's do them one at a time," Bettman said. "Let's get through the All-Star game first, and then we can have that discussion."
An expansion club that started play in 1998-99, Nashville becomes the last of the league's Southern franchises to host the All-Star game. Florida, which had a franchise-low 7,311 in attendance Monday night, staged the game in 2003. Tampa Bay hosted in 1999, and Carolina had the game in 2011.
Even Atlanta, which later lost the Thrashers to Winnipeg, hosted the 2008 All-Star game.
Nashville was the site of the Women's Final Four in April and is a finalist to host again between 2017 and 2020 at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators since their inaugural season in 1998-99. The arena also is to host the Southeastern Conference men's basketball tournament nine of the ne
|Oct 18, 2014|| Baseball lifer Banister home as Rangers manager|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Jeff Banister is a baseball lifer who calls Texas home. He grew up there and played his entire amateur career there before getting drafted.
Now the former catcher who got a pinch-hit single in his only major league at-bat, who was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down after a home-plate collision in junior college and who overcame bone cancer with multiple surgeries in high school is a big-league manager in the Lone Star State.
Banister was introduced Friday as the new manager of the Texas Rangers after 29 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a player, coach and instructor at all levels.
"The best opportunities to come along are the ones you're not looking for," Banister said. "Have I prepared myself for this opportunity? Yeah, from the day that I stopped playing until now, I've truly dreamed and wanted to and tried to. I got to a point in my life that I told myself that I wasn't going to chase it. If it happened, it happened."
The 50-year-old Banister, who lives in the Houston area, was the bench coach the past four seasons for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, whose only season as the Rangers' hitting coach was when they went to their first World Series in 2010. Banister's introduction came six weeks after manager Ron Washington's resignation for personal reasons.
Texas gave Banister a three-year contract with an option for a fourth season. The injury-ravaged Rangers are coming off a 67-95 season, their worst since 1985, after reaching the World Series in 2010-2011 and becoming a trendy postseason pick each year.
Banister got the job ahead of two other finalists, interim manager Tim Bogar and Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash.
Another of the eight candidates interviewed for the job was Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who Banister met with Friday morning. He has also spoken with Bogar, the Rangers first-year bench coach who went 14-8 as interim manager, and hitting coa
|Oct 18, 2014|| New advisers say NFL is serious about reform|
CHICAGO (AP) Beth E. Richie is a professor and a college administrator. She has written articles and books about feminism, battered women and the prison system, and provided training for police, judges and other groups.
So when the NFL called to ask for help with its domestic conduct policy, Richie wanted to make sure it was more serious than window dressing.
"The players and the teams are one thing that almost could be easily managed," said Richie, the director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at Illinois-Chicago. "I wanted to know are they interested in the fan base, the sponsoring organizations, the other corporate interests?
"We almost haven't had a moment like this in the work to end violence when such power, such attention, such resources could go to prevention, changing culture, bystander education, those kinds of things."
Intrigued by the possibilities, Richie joined a high-profile effort that is hoping to have an impact on domestic violence beyond the sports world. Richie is one of five senior advisers recently hired by the NFL to help shape the league's policy on abuse.
Any action by the league after the Ray Rice scandal will be closely watched by the other sports. But the NFL's new group of advisers believes the process also could have a more far-reaching impact.
"I think that they have the opportunity to model some cutting-edge policies and protocols or guidelines, and I'm excited at the opportunity for that reach to go beyond just the NFL, but into all of corporate America," said Jane Randel, a co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Randel and the other advisers had a hand in a 40-minute educational presentation at last week's NFL meetings in New York. The presentation focused on the dangers of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and other domestic violence topics.
Richie praised the NFL owners for their attentiveness, and R
|Oct 18, 2014|| Friedman: Dodgers to hire GM, keep Mattingly|
LOS ANGELES (AP) In the middle of Andrew Friedman's introduction as the Los Angeles Dodgers' president of baseball operations, a question was asked from a corner of the room.
"Are you looking to acquire a younger, faster, stronger first baseman?" someone queried.
Friedman swiveled his head to see who was speaking, and then he laughed. The question came from incumbent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who lives in Southern California during the offseason.
Gonzalez can count on other outsiders being brought in under Friedman, who plans to hire a new general manager and to retain Don Mattingly as manager.
Friedman was introduced at Dodger Stadium on Friday, and he said he's having conversations about hiring a GM to work under him but offered no timetable. Ned Colletti was shifted from the GM job to senior adviser to team president and CEO Stan Kasten.
A 37-year-old former Wall Street analyst, Friedman was hired this week from the Tampa Bay Rays, where he guided the team to four postseason appearances, including division in titles in 2008 and 2010.
Friedman said has spoken twice with Mattingly, and they plan to meet next week. He said Mattingly will "definitely" be the manager next season and he tamped down speculation that close friend, Rays manager Joe Maddon, would follow him to Los Angeles.
"I'm going into it with the mindset that we're going to work with Donnie for a long time," Friedman said. "We're very aligned on a lot of things philosophically."
Mattingly has two seasons remaining in his three-year deal, while Maddon has one year left in his contract.
In Tampa Bay, Friedman oversaw one of the major leagues' lowest payrolls. With the Dodgers, he will have baseball's highest payroll at his disposal, one that rose to a record $256 million this year.
"It's obviously different," he said. "Our focus is going to be on constructing the best team we possibly can. There are things that will make much
|Oct 18, 2014|| AP Sources: Seahawks trade Percy Harvin to Jets|
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets have acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks.
Two people familiar with the trade told The Associated Press on Friday that Harvin, a star in last season's Super Bowl but injury prone through his career, was headed to the Jets. The people spoke anonymously because the deal wasn't officially announced by either club.
The 26-year-old Harvin has played in 60 games with only 47 career starts since being a first-round pick (22nd overall) by Minnesota in 2009. He was traded to the Seahawks in 2013, appearing in just one regular-season game because of hip surgery. But he had two rushes for 45 yards and ran back the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in Seattle's 43-8 win over Denver in the Super Bowl.
New York gave up a conditional draft pick. The deal was first reported by Fox Sports.
Harvin has battled a thigh injury and was listed as questionable for the Seahawks' game at St. Louis this weekend. The Seahawks have tried to find a variety of ways to use him in their offense as a runner, receiver and on special teams, but injury woes slowed their plans.
This season, Harvin has 22 receptions for 133 yards, with 12 of those catches coming behind the line of scrimmage. He has only one catch on a ball thrown more than 10 yards, according to STATS. Harvin's average of 6 yards per catch is last among all wide receivers in the NFL averaging at least two receptions per game.
He also has 11 runs for 92 yards and a touchdown, and 12 kickoff returns for 283 yards.
New York's offense has struggled and the Jets have lost six straight since opening with a win over Oakland. Harvin figures to team with Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley as the Jets' main weapons in a so-far weak passing game with Geno Smith at quarterback.
As a rookie, he made the Pro Bowl and the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Harvin's best season was 2011 with 87 receptions for 967 yards and six
|Oct 18, 2014|| World Series: Seasoned Giants vs fresh Royals|
Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and the go-go-go Kansas City Royals played perfect ball to zip through the playoffs. Plus, they recently flattened Buster Posey and his Giants.
So how come this bunch that's rapidly become a fan favorite all across the country isn't the favorite against San Francisco in the World Series?
"When I look at the Royals, I see a team on a terrific run. There was magic on their side, where everything they did went absolutely right," said Las Vegas oddsmaker Johnny Avello, head of the sports book at the Wynn.
"But I don't get into the `darling' stuff," he said Friday. "I have to encompass everything and figure out who's the better team, and that's the Giants."
We'll see what's next in this tight, tense postseason starting Tuesday night when the seasoned Giants visit the fresh Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
A pair of teams with dominant bullpens, the talent to make tremendous catches and a touch for grinding out key runs.
Both of them wild-card teams, too. Of course, come this late in October, no one is really a wild card anymore.
Reigning NL Championship Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, former World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval and Giants manager Bruce Bochy are aiming for their third ring in five seasons.
At 39, Tim Hudson is headed with them, going to his first World Series. A four-time All-Star with 214 wins, he left his longtime home in Atlanta and signed with the Giants last November.
Hudson was swayed by an intangible that he'd seen from the other side - San Francisco's knack for playing especially well at this time of year.
"They know how to win when it matters. There's something different whenever this team gets in the playoffs. They know what buttons to push. They know what guys need to do in certain situations. That's all that matters," Hudson said.
"That's why I'm playing, that's why I'm here, that's why I decided to come to the Giants," he said.
Already 8-0 th
|Oct 17, 2014|| Wild World Series: Perfect Royals vs tested Giants|
Lorenzo Cain gearing up to run on Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval trying to launch long balls, Alex Gordon banging into walls chasing them. Madison Bumgarner and James Shields starting big games, with lights-out bullpens poised to close `em.
The playoff-perfect Kansas City Royals. The tried-and-tested San Francisco Giants.
A pair of wild cards, set to begin the World Series on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in a matchup offering most everything a fan would want to watch. Tight, too, with the Giants opening as a slim favorite to win it all.
"They're as hot as you can get," Posey said, already a two-time champion with the Giants. "We were playing them earlier this year and they spanked us pretty good. We know we're going to have our hands full with them."
"They're a dynamic team that pitches really well, really good defense. They've got pop, too, along with speed. We'll definitely have our hands full," he said.
So much on the field to savor on both sides. Plus, there probably will be room for some second-guessing - this week, Royals manager Ned Yost poked fun at those who earlier thought of him as "the dumbest guy on the face of the earth."
A tasty treat, sure to get foodies debating: The vaunted Kansas City BBQ vs. all-world flavors by the Bay.
And, throw in a few celebrity rooters. Jeff Foxworthy cheering for his good pal Yost. Former Journey frontman Steve Perry in the stands at AT&T Park, leading the crowd in singing "Don't Stop Believin"' during the seventh-inning stretch.
A surprising meeting? Maybe, although both teams had high expectations when they met in Surprise - that's in Arizona, where Hunter Pence homered as the Giants beat the Royals early in spring training.
By August, the Royals were rolling. They swept the visiting Giants in a three-game series, beating Bumgarner, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum, and stealing seven bases in the finale as All-Star closer Greg Holland excelled.