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MSNBC Sports
News provided by MSNBC.com
Red Sox bring in ex-Tigers boss Dombrowski to run club

BOSTON (AP) New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski thought enough of the team to pick Boston over other suitors.

Now he's going to spend the next six weeks trying to figure out what's worth keeping - in the front office, on the field at Fenway Park and in the minor leagues.

"I'm not here to blow up the organization," Dombrowski said at a Fenway Park news conference Wednesday, a day after he was hired. "They have a lot of good people here."

Speaking to reporters a day after a mid-game shake-up that left general manager Ben Cherington on the outs, Dombrowski said he would be hiring a general manager but was in no rush. He did not discuss the future of manager John Farrell, who is on leave from the team after being diagnosed with what he said was a treatable form of cancer.

Dombrowski said he spoke to Farrell on Tuesday night - after he underwent his first chemotherapy session - but just told him they would meet after the manager was healthy again. In Farrell's absence, bench coach Torey Lovullo is managing the team, which entered Wednesday night with a 53-66 record, 14 games behind the rival New York Yankees in the AL East.

Red Sox owner John Henry began the news conference with a statement that acknowledged the team's failures in finishing last two of the last three seasons. (In 2013, the club won the World Series for the third time in a decade, but the first in Cherington's tenure.)

"As owners, we're all responsible for the poor results we've had, and for results going forward," Henry said. "Dave Dombrowski is an architect of team-building the right way. For almost three decades now, he's earned the respect of almost everyone in the game."

The general manager of the Montreal Expos at the age of 32, Dombrowski won the 1997 World Series with the Florida Marlins and led the Tigers to the Series twice. But he was let go on Aug. 8 with Detroit languishing below .500.

Henry said he decided to pursue Dombrowski when he "became a free agent" less than a week after the Red Sox announced that president and CEO Lucchino would be stepping down at the end of the season.

Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy was named Lucchino's successor on the business side; he attended Wednesday's news conference along with chairman Tom Werner, prompting Henry to explain: "This is really our lineup for 2016 and beyond."

Although Dombrowski would be installed above Cherington in the baseball decision-making, "Ben did not object" to discussing the job with him, Henry said.

Up until Dombrowski was hired, the top Red Sox brass - including the new president - hoped that Cherington would stay, they said. Cherington declined, and on Tuesday night it was announced that he would be leaving after sticking around to help with the transition.

"We think the world of Ben," Werner said. "We are disappointed but respectful of his decision."

Cherington said later that he was surprised when Henry and Werner told him on Saturday that they were pursuing Dombrowski. Although he had pledged to do what he could to make the Red Sox better, the GM thought it was time to go.

"I felt strongly that what was best for Dave, what was best for me, what was best for the Red Sox was the same thing, and that was a clean break," he said. "I have great respect for Dave Dombrowski. His resume speaks for itself. He will be an asset clearly for the Red Sox and I wish him and I wish the Red Sox nothing but the best going forward."

Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who was with Boston from 2004-11, said "this place is never boring" before the Indians faced the Red Sox.

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AP freelancer Ken Powtak contributed to this report.

Thu, 20 Aug 2015 00:35:00 +0000
Eli Manning not looking to be the NFL's top paid quarterback

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Eli Manning didn't ask the New York Giants to make him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback.

A perplexed and slightly miffed Manning on Wednesday shot down a report that he wants to be the league's top-paid quarterback, insisting that was not the goal in contract talks.

"Never been said, never come out of my mouth," Manning said Wednesday.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP is in the final year of a contract that will pay him a $17 million base salary. His agent, Tom Condon, has been negotiating a new deal, but the two sides are not close to an agreement, Giants co-owner John Mara said Monday.

Manning insisted neither he nor Condon told the Giants to make him the highest-paid quarterback. He said he speaks with Condon occasionally, but he isn't looking for constant updates on the talks.

"If something comes up, I ask him to call me and keep me updated or send me a text, but that's it," Manning said.

Aaron Rodgers of the Packers currently is the NFL's highest-paid quarterback, earning $22 million annually.

The 34-year-old Manning has spent all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Giants, so he knows how people in the New York-area react to headlines.

For those who know him, it's totally out of character to make such a demand.

Manning even received a telephone message from his father asking what was happening.

"I don't know how all negotiating goes and what is being asked," Manning said. "I don't think I want to know. That was never said by him, claiming that this is the goal of what we are trying to do."

Manning said he does not compare himself to other quarterbacks by salary, and right now he is not thinking or concerned about his contract.

"My focus is on practice and getting the best out of our practices and getting better," Manning said. "That's all I am focused on. Nothing has changed. Nothing is different. Reports are all wrong. I don't know where they are getting their information from. I just kind of laugh at it."

Manning had a bounce-back season in 2014 playing in Ben McAdoo's West Coast offense. He threw for 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while hitting 63.1 percent of his passes. The previous season he had 3,818 yards, 18 touchdowns and a career-high 27 interceptions.

The Giants' offense struggled in the preseason opener last weekend, failing to get a first down in four series.

Manning expects improvement this weekend against Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium.

"Obviously, put some points on the board and get some drives going, sustain some drives," he said about goals for Saturday. "Hopefully be able to get out there, set the tempo, play fast with the offense, get some first downs and get into a good rhythm with the offense."

Manning said the offense practiced well against the Bengals earlier in the week, then didn't make anything happen in the game.

"I don't think there's a case of us doing things incorrectly, we've just got to do them a little bit better," he said. "I think we're on the right process of getting better, and I think it'll show up this weekend."

NOTES: WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LG Justin Pugh had dental work and did not practice. WR Victor Cruz was out with a strained calf. Cruz had just recovered from knee surgery. ... DE George Selvie is only expected to miss a couple of days with a knee injury. Coughlin said there was no ligament damage. ...WR Dwayne Harris, the former Cowboys' special teams maven, had an outstanding day catching passes. ...Coughlin got in the face of CB Chandler Fenner after he tackled Harris following a reception. ...CB Trevin Wade ended the practice, intercepting a Ryan Nassib pass. ....CB Prince Amukamara (groin) returned to practice for the first time in a week.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 23:59:00 +0000
Red Sox manager Farrell says he has 'highly curable' cancer

BOSTON (AP) Fighting back tears, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday that he had a "highly curable" form of cancer and has taken a medical leave for the rest of the season to deal with lymphoma.

The 53-year-old Farrell said bench coach Torey Lovullo will run the team in his absence. Farrell said he planned on being back with the team for spring training.

Farrell said the cancer of the lymphatic system was discovered when he had hernia surgery in Detroit earlier this week.

"I know we usually start out with the injury report. I'll start out with myself on this one. Monday's surgery for the hernia revealed that I have lymphoma," he said before Friday night's game at Fenway Park against Seattle.

"Thankfully, it was detected in the hernia surgery. I can honestly tell you I'm extremely fortunate that it was found. Treatment will begin in the coming days," he said.

Farrell said a mass was completely removed during the procedure and no additional surgery was necessary. He said chemotherapy would start early next week.

Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia stood along a wall to Farrell's left when he made the announcement. Vice President Sam Kennedy, general manager Ben Cherington and Lovullo also were in the room.

"A little bit of a shocker to be told later that afternoon that this was going on. Like I said, I'm fortunate," Farrell said. "Stage 1. It's localized. It's highly curable. I'm extremely fortunate to not only be with people with the Red Sox, but access to MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) and world class talent that can handle this."

The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East with a 50-64 record. In February, Farrell's contract was extended through 2017 with a club option for 2018.

"When they mentioned the word `cancer,' it's something that it doesn't matter where it comes from, it kind of impacts you," Ortiz said.

Farrell guided Boston to the World Series championship in his first season in 2013. He previously managed the Toronto Blue Jays for two years.

"Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery. Stay Strong and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark soon," the Blue Jays tweeted.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said he is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, and his doctors consider it "very treatable and curable." His plans were to remain coach and team president while being treated.

Cherington said Farrell told him the news Thursday when the GM was traveling between flights en route to Greenville, South Carolina, to visit one of the team's Single-A affiliates.

"He called me on a quick layover," Cherington said. "I was sort of in shock. A few minutes to sink in and I figured I had to get back to Boston last night. I've been talking to him yesterday and this morning."

"There's a lot of respect for him, not just in the Red Sox organization, but throughout baseball," he said. "There's a lot of people already reaching out. He's someone that spent his whole life in baseball. He's played, he's coached, worked in the front office and, obviously, he's managed now."

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner spoke about Farrell during the pregame TV telecast.

"We all love John," he said. "We said the most important thing is get back soon."

Farrell, a former major league pitcher, was the pitching coach for the 2007 Red Sox when they won the World Series. Ace Jon Lester returned from lymphoma that July and started the clinching game of the Series in Colorado.

"Obviously, we go pretty far back. I talked to him a little bit, already," said Lester, now pitching for the Chicago Cubs. "He seems pretty positive. Everything seems pretty positive, so that's good."

"He's in a good place for it. That's obviously one of the better places, if not the best place, in the country to be if you have cancer. He's in good hands. I know those doctors pretty well," he said.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona is one of Farrell's closest friends. Farrell was the pitching coach in Boston under Francona.

"He's such a tough guy and he has so many people that care about him that I just honestly feel like he will come through this with flying colors," he said before the Indians played at Minnesota.

"I'm glad we're going to go through there in a couple days because I'd like to see him. But he sounded really good," Francona said.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi wished Farrell well.

"It's not what you want to see. Say some prayers for him and his family, hope everything goes well," he said before a game in Toronto. "Just get healthy, that's most important. He's a good man, a good baseball man, you want to see him get healthy."

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia echoed that sentiment.

"It's awful. We heard the prognosis is very good, that's encouraging," he said before a game in Kansas City. "But it's scary whenever you hear of something like that happening. He's a young man."

Farrell said he never had any symptom before the notification of the cancer discovery.

Ortiz said he heard about Farrell's condition from teammate Hanley Ramirez, who was crying when he delivered the news.

"We have a big family around here and definitely when it comes down to health issues, you want to be sure that everything goes OK. The organization is taking a lot of responsibility on that to make sure that John gets through it the way it's supposed to be," Ortiz said.

Farrell was touched by his players' support.

"In a way, you live vicariously through their careers," he said. "Yours is over, you try to help when you can with them, and when they show that support, it's meaningful."

Sat, 15 Aug 2015 01:51:00 +0000
Yankees to honor A-Rod's 3,000th hit in pregame ceremony

TORONTO (AP) The New York Yankees will honor Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit with a pregame ceremony before hosting the Blue Jays on Sept. 13.

Rodriguez homered off Detroit's Justin Verlander on June 19, becoming the 29th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.

Rodriguez said he was "in disbelief" upon learning of the planned celebration.

Manager Joe Girardi said he was pleased to see the Yankees pay tribute to A-Rod's achievement.

"All relationships are going to have rocky moments and you like to see things get righted and repaired," Girardi said before Friday night's game in Toronto. "I think both sides have made a lot of gestures to do that."

Rodriguez missed all of last season while serving a drug suspension. Last month, Rodriguez and the Yankees settled a dispute over a marketing payment with a deal that gave $3.5 million to charitable groups.

Rodriguez is batting .264 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs in a resurgent season. He began the day in an 0-for-11 skid.

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 23:01:00 +0000
NFL issues memo reminding players to avoid fighting

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The NFL warned teams about fighting during games in response to inter- and intra-team altercations that have erupted in training camp, including the one that left New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith with a broken jaw.

In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, executive vice president Troy Vincent reminded all 32 teams on Friday that "fighting will not be tolerated." Vincent asked coaches, general managers and club executives to remind players of the rules, and noted that the prohibition of fighting will be a point of emphasis for officials.

"These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players and to keep them on the field," Vincent wrote. "As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting."

The memo cited Article 12 of the NFL rules, which prohibits "striking, kicking or kneeing opponents." The penalty for a violation is 15 yards, with the official given the discretion whether to also eject the player from the game in the case of a flagrant violation.

The memo also cited the 2015 League Policy for Players, which says: "Don't fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away."'

Training camp fights are a long tradition, with young players or others trying to make the roster attempting to impress coaches with their intensity but sometimes taking it too far.

Washington and Houston had several fights during a joint practice, one of them devolving into a bench-clearing brawl that caused no injuries but forced the coaches to separate the teams for the rest of the day. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Tyler Patmon threw fists at each other in practice; Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin exchanged words and punches; the Titans had three scuffles in a night practice; and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton scuffled with cornerback Josh Norman.

Smith is out 6-10 weeks after he was punched by Jets linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali, who was immediately released and soon signed by the Buffalo Bills.

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AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 18:51:00 +0000

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