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Angels' Richards out for season with knee injury

BOSTON (AP) The Los Angeles Angels are going to be without Garrett Richards for a playoff run. One of the AL West leader's top starters sustained a serious knee injury, tearing his left patellar tendon Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA this year. It's a serious blow to the Angels, who also lost starter Tyler Skaggs to Tommy John surgery earlier this season. "You're going to be thinking of Garrett once every fifth day when he was out there," manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "You might not be able to replace that, but it doesn't mean that we're not going to be able to reach our goal as a cumulative pitching staff." General manager Jerry Dipoto said "we'll be open" about finding a deal to replace Richards in the rotation. Richards crumbled to the ground covering first base on a potential 3-6-1 doubles play against Boston. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and was flown to Los Angeles on Thursday morning, where he had an MRI. The Angels tweeted Richards will have surgery on Friday. The rehabilitation time should be six to nine months. The Angels selected the contract of left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who pitched briefly for the New York Yankees earlier this season, from Triple-A Salt Lake. Richards was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 03:37:00 +0000
Nats stretch streak to 10 with 1-0 win vs. D-Backs

WASHINGTON (AP) Denard Span scored from second on third baseman Jordan Pacheco's throwing error in the ninth inning, and the Washington Nationals stretched their winning streak to 10 games with a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. Five of Washington's last six wins have come in its final at-bat of the game, and the streak is tied for the franchise record. Kansas City is the only other team to win 10 consecutive games this year. Rafael Soriano (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Nationals, who swept three-game series against the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates before winning all four games of this series. Oliver Perez (2-3) got the loss for the Diamondbacks.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:15:00 +0000
Foles, offense sharp as Eagles beat Steelers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Nick Foles threw for 179 yards and a touchdown to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 31-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both played one day after they were arrested for marijuana possession shortly before Pittsburgh (1-2) traveled to Philadelphia. Eagles All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy left the game with a right thumb injury after a 22-yard TD catch gave Philadelphia (1-2) a 7-0 lead. X-rays on McCoy's thumb were negative, but he didn't return. McCoy showed no effects of a toe injury that forced him to miss one practice earlier in the week. The Eagles' first-team offense had only one touchdown on six drives in road losses to Chicago and New England. But this was more like last year's offense that set several franchise records. --- AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:45:00 +0000
Manziel, Browns agree he's not ready to start

BEREA, Ohio (AP) On one knee and far from the action, quarterback Johnny Manziel leaned on his orange helmet and watched. This is his new position. As Browns starter Brian Hoyer worked with Cleveland's first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills Thursday, Manziel, for now relegated to the second string, observed from the side. He took mental notes as he waited for his turn. This rookie has been no sensation. He's not ready to start. Meet Johnny Backup. Failing to make any magic happen in his first two NFL preseason games and unable to close the gap enough to beat out Hoyer, Manziel will begin the season as Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback, matching his uniform number. It's not a major surprise given he's had to learn a complex offense and he entered training camp behind Hoyer. But Manziel's inability to leap-frog Hoyer, a journeyman who has made four career starts and is coming off knee surgery, shows the jump from college to pros is gargantuan - even for Johnny Football. "Obviously I didn't want this to be the outcome," Manziel said. "But at the same time, I didn't necessarily feel I was ready, I felt like there were steps that I needed to take, and I need to take, to get better." Manziel has shown flashes, just not enough. Still, the Browns have seen promise in him, and Manziel's immense fan base now has members inside Cleveland's locker room. "We got arguably the best No. 2 in the NFL," said wide receiver Nate Burleson. "I'm a Johnny Football fan. Not only was I a fan before he got here, but now he's family because we play for the same team. I'll always be in his corner." Manziel has improved in recent weeks. He's got a much better grasp on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's playbook and its tongue-twisting verbiage; some plays contain 17 words. He's made better decisions with the ball, and he's won over some skeptical teammates with a solid work ethic and humble attitude. Trouble is, Manziel may have damaged his chances to win the starting job before camp with his well-documented partying. The photos of Manziel chugging champagne while floating on an inflatable swan, talking into a phone made of money, and rolling a dollar bill in a bathroom brought him unwanted attention. The Browns were privately concerned about Manziel's behavior and warned him about it. He obliged, but had two recent missteps: being late for a team meeting and flipping his middle finger at the Redskins' sideline Monday night on national TV. The gesture, relatively harmless compared to other things than go on during a game, may have reinforced the belief of coach Mike Pettine and his staff that Manziel wasn't prepared mentally or physically to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7. Sitting and waiting is nothing new for Manziel. He was so far behind when he got to Texas A&M that the Aggies redshirted him as a freshman. It wasn't long, though, before he was the big man on campus and quickly the biggest name in college football, a one-man scrambling highlights machine. Manziel, who has completed 14 of 27 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, said nothing has surprised him so far. "It's exactly what I thought it would be," he said. "I knew it would be a big step, a big learning process. If people would have seen me my first year at A&M they would've said no way this kid could get to where I'm at today. People don't understand that my first year-and-a-half at A&M I was terrible. "I just continued to try and get better, learn the playbook, got more comfortable around everybody, around the coaches with the system, and then good things happened for me." Pettine said there won't be a "leash" on Hoyer, who will get an opportunity to take the job and run with it. But the Browns' difficult early schedule - they'll host New Orleans and Baltimore after facing the Steelers - could make things interesting if they're 0-3 or 1-2 at the bye week. Manziel isn't the first prominent rookie to take a back seat in Year 1. He'll find his path, and knowing Manziel, it won't be a straight one. "You don't have to come in from your first day of your rookie season and play right away," he said. "There's no exact guideline to how this process works with young quarterbacks. For me, I need to continue to do what I need to do to get better as a football player, get smarter and learn more, control what I can control and everything will work out fine for me." NOTES: Pettine plans to play his starters most of the first half against St. Louis on Saturday. Pettine is also leaning toward his starters playing in the exhibition finale against Chicago. ... Pettine said WR Josh Gordon's pending NFL suspension has weighed on the Pro Bowler. "He wants to get on with it and move forward," Pettine said. "Just being in limbo for so long, it can be draining." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:17:00 +0000
Goalie Giguere retires after 16 seasons in NHL

DENVER (AP) The goaltender known as "Jiggy" is stepping away from the net. Jean-Sebastien Giguere announced his retirement Thursday after 16 NHL seasons in which he won 262 games, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Stanley Cup championship. The Colorado Avalanche say Giguere made his decision in Quebec while with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada hockey team. He's part owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League squad. "His achievements speak for themselves, from winning the Stanley Cup to winning the Conn Smythe, Jiggy was always a top-notch goaltender," team executive Joe Sakic said in a statement. "He was also a very important part of our team during the past three seasons, providing veteran leadership and stability in net. We wish him and his family the best of luck." Giguere served as Semyon Varlamov's backup last season in Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy's first season behind the bench. The team made it back to the postseason for the first time since 2010. What's more, Giguere took rookie Nathan MacKinnon under his wing and allowed the talented teenager to live in the family's basement all season. The two even car-pooled to games and practices. The 37-year-old Giguere is best known for his time with the Anaheim Ducks. He led the team to two appearances in the Stanley Cup finals, capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy in defeat in 2003 and hoisting the Cup in 2007. The Ducks fans even gave Giguere an ovation after a game in Anaheim, California, last April. He skated to center ice that night with former teammate Teemu Selanne, their clasped hands held aloft. Selanne recently retired after a 21-season NHL career spent mostly with Anaheim. "For (Selanne) to do that, it's something that's very special for me, and something I'll never forget," Giguere said. Giguere was originally drafted by Hartford with the 13th overall pick 1995 and played eight games with the Whalers in 1996-97. He was the last active player to have suited up for Hartford. A fan favorite wherever he went, Giguere also played for Calgary and Toronto. Giguere played in 597 regular season games and faced 16,325 shots in 33,719 minutes. He finished his career with a 2.53 goals-against average and 38 shutouts.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:51:00 +0000
Lynx's Moore wins WNBA MVP award

Maya Moore put up incredible numbers all season for Minnesota. Now she's got her first WNBA MVP award. Moore earned the league's most valuable player on Thursday, hours before the Lynx opened their Western Conference semifinals playoff series with the San Antonio Stars. "It's a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that I've put in," said Moore in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night. "I think of all the people who have helped me in my journey as a basketball player. They should be recognized with this award. It means so much to have the respect of the people who watch the game and love the game." Moore led the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 23.9 points. She set a WNBA record by scoring at least 30 points 12 times, including in four straight games. The scoring mark was the third-highest average in league history, trailing only Phoenix's Diana Taurasi's 25.3 points in 2006 and 24.1 points in 2008. Accepting the trophy roughly 90 minutes before the Lynx faced the Stars, Moore's only lament was the timing, having to talk individual honors, while trying to focus on the team goal of repeating as WNBA champs. "It's definitely awkward for me," Moore said. "I kind of jump back to Big East competition where right before the Big East tournament, awards were being handed out and it was funny, awkward timing trying to keep your mind focused on something. This is such an awesome moment that I do want to put some thought into how to best celebrate this, but it makes me think of all the help that I have." Moore received 35 of the 38 first place votes, surpassing Taurasi and Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry. Los Angeles' Candace Parker was fourth and Phoenix's Brittney Griner finished fifth. "When she was a senior in college, Geno (Auriemma) described Maya to be similar to a shark, where if you punch her in the face, she goes away. I'm really proud to say that you can't punch Maya in the face anymore," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She's going to make you pay. She's going to take the hit, she's going to get the layup. So that's been the evolution of Maya." The MVP award is the latest accolade for Moore, who won two national championships at Connecticut and was instrumental in the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak. She also won gold medals in the 2010 world championship and 2012 London Olympics. The WNBA's top draft pick in 2011, Moore finished second in voting last season before earning the finals MVP honor. "Maya is the Michael Jordan of this league," Tulsa Shock coach Fred Williams said after Moore had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists against his team in July. Moore grew up idolizing Jordan and represents his Nike brand. "When I think of Michael Jordan, I think of course of a winner, someone who is a great leader," Moore said. "He was super competitive, had a tireless work ethic. He was also great teammate who made the players around him better. It's a great compliment." --- Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:09:00 +0000
Brad Keselowski gets 1st NASCAR Truck Series win

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) Brad Keselowski earned his first NASCAR Truck Series win on Thursday. Keselowski passed defending champion Kyle Busch with 75 laps to go and held off Busch's teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Wallace closed to Keselowski's back bumper with two laps left, but drifted high in turn one and Keselowski pulled away. Four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third, followed by Matt Crafton and series points leader Johnny Sauter. Busch crashed with 22 laps left and finished 24th. Keselowski first Truck Series win came after 62 starts. The driver of the No. 19 Ford is the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks). Rain washed out the race on Wednesday night.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:20:00 +0000
Judge drops rape charge against ex-Tigers pitcher

DETROIT (AP) A judge on Thursday dismissed rape charges against former Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed, saying the testimony of the woman who accused him wasn't credible and prosecutors failed to show that force or coercion took place. Reed, 28, said he was "elated" to be cleared of the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. He was with the Tigers at the time of the March incident and appeared in 27 games for Detroit before being sent to his current assignment with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. "It's not my time or place to bash my accuser, (but) her lies caught up with her," Reed said after the hearing. He has said they had consensual sex. "There were some bad decisions made, but I didn't commit any crimes (and) the judge just agreed with me," he added. The 45-year-old woman testified at the probable cause hearing that she met Reed at a bar in the suburb of Royal Oak on March 30 and that they later went to a casino in downtown Detroit. She said that she "blacked out" after taking her third drink at the bar, which tasted "sour," and that she believes she had been drugged. "The last thing I remember was my body feeling funny. ... Everyone just sounded robotic to me, like I was in another world," she said, adding that the next thing she remembered was "waking up in the hotel room." She said she woke up in bed with Reed, both of them naked, and prosecutors say he tried to force her to have sex on two occasions in the room. She said he then asked her to leave. Judge Kenneth King threw out the charges, though, saying the woman gave contradictory accounts of what happened, including testifying that she had no idea that Reed and his companions at the bar played for the Tigers, then acknowledging that she texted a friend that evening to say she was with members of the team. "Because of the alleged victim's vacillating testimony and her inability to remember many parts of the evening, I don't think (prosecutors) have met their burden of probable cause," he said. Assistant prosecutor Suzette Samuels said afterward that the ruling was "disappointing," and that she believes "it was another value judgment" against a sexual assault victim. The prosecutor's office said in a statement that no decision has been made about appealing the case. Defense attorney David Gorcyca said King made a "wise" and "courageous" decision. "We never had anything to hide," he said.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:31:00 +0000
Loose sod at new Levi's Stadium removed

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers were working to re-sod the field at new Levi's Stadium on Thursday, a day after a public workout was cut short and moved to the regular practice fields because players were slipping. San Francisco hosts the San Diego Chargers at the $1.2 billion stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT, and the team has said it expects to have the field ready in time. KTVU's news chopper showed images of the sod replacement in some areas of the turf Thursday. "The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today's practice ending early," the team said Wednesday. "We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers." Coach Jim Harbaugh moved his team out of the stadium Wednesday about an hour into the practice. "It's a beautiful field for a first-year field," veteran placekicker Phil Dawson said this week. "Those guys are working their brains out to get that thing ready." Dawson missed wide right on first-half field goal attempts from 55 and 44 yards in Sunday's 34-0 loss to the Denver Broncos. He said there are always adjustments with new grass. The field looked dry in places and chunks of sod could be seen missing in places where it apparently didn't root properly. "We're all kind of in foreign territory here and learning as we go," Dawson said. "There were a lot of new experiences, not just wind but the footing on the field. It's the first time the big boys have been out there and trudging around and seeing how the field held up. There's a whole lot going on all at once. ... If your technique requires a six-inch step and your six-inch step goes in a divot or something like that, it can affect things. That's not unique to fields we play on. I have pretty good experience playing on fields that are less than ideal, so I'll just have to draw on those experiences." San Francisco's regular-season home opener is a Sept. 14 prime-time matchup against Chicago. The 49ers are scoreless in their last seven quarters and have been outscored 57-3 this preseason. They lost 23-3 at Baltimore on Aug. 7. West Coast Turf has provided the 49ers' sod at both Candlestick Park and Levi's Stadium. It is not unheard of around the league for teams to re-sod fields midweek or in short order, for example between a college bowl game and NFL game. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:11:00 +0000
Tony Stewart skips 3rd race after Ward's death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tony Stewart will not race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the third Sprint Cup race he's skipped since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race. Stewart's decision was announced Wednesday and Jeff Burton will once again replace him in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Burton also drove Stewart's car at Michigan last weekend. Stewart-Haas Racing is allowing Stewart to take the time he needs away from the track, and the team statement indicated the three-time NASCAR champion is taking it week-by-week. Stewart will not have to decide on another race until the Aug. 31 event at Atlanta. Stewart has been in seclusion since the Aug. 9 incident at an upstate New York dirt track. He has not commented since he issued a statement the day after Ward's death. Stewart also pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen, which began about 12 hours after his car hit Ward at event in Canandaigua, New York. Ward's car had spun into a wall as he and Stewart raced for position, and the 20-year-old climbed out to confront Stewart. Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to miss hitting the driver, who was gesturing toward the NASCAR star. The front of Stewart's car then appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air. Ward died of blunt force trauma, and authorities are still investigating the incident. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has said investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart, but the investigation is expected to last at least another week. Povero said this week were no new updates. None of Stewart's peers has spoken to the driver since the accident. But they've come to his defense, with six-time champion Jimmie Johnson saying nothing he's seen has convinced him that Ward's death was anything but a tragic accident. Kevin Harvick, a longtime friend of Stewart's and his teammate at SHR, also bristled at the negative portrayal of Stewart since Ward's death. "I've known Tony Stewart for a long time ... I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody," Harvick said. "I don't think there's anybody in this garage that would. It would be hard to find somebody in the racing world that could point that car, just run somebody over." NASCAR last week announced a rule that prohibits drivers from exiting from a crashed or disabled vehicle - unless it is on fire - until safety personnel arrive. Stewart has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts. He has one career win at Bristol, in 2001. Burton made just his third start of the season last week. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season and is transitioning into an analyst for NBC. Burton won at Bristol in 2008 and has 15 top-10 finishes in 40 career starts.

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:15:00 +0000