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Headlines from around the world in sports

  • Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) is chased by San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

BASEBALL

Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ sales up after bombings

NEW YORK – Sales for Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” are up by 597 percent a week after the tune became a source of comfort following the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Nielsen SoundScan said yesterday the song sold 19,000 tracks this week. It sold 2,800 tracks the previous week and 1.75 million tracks to date.

The crowd-pleasing song is a staple of Boston Red Sox games. It makes no specific mention of Boston or the Red Sox, but the team started playing it regularly at Fenway Park more than a decade ago and fans took to it.

Diamond released “Sweet Caroline” in 1969. It is addressed to Caroline Kennedy.

BASEBALL

Cepeda headed back to Boston as Red Sox honor DH

SAN FRANCISCO – When the Boston Red Sox called Orlando Cepeda in December 1972 to inquire whether he would like to be their first designated hitter, the unemployed, future Hall of Famer signed up immediately.

He just had no idea exactly what he would be doing in the new gig out East. The experiment worked out beautifully for Cepeda, who played 142 games that season – the second-to-last in a decorated 17-year major league career. The Athletics had released him only months after acquiring him from Atlanta.

The DH is 40 years old this season, and Cepeda is headed to Boston next month to help celebrate the anniversary. He will be recognized at Fenway Park on May 8.

The 75-year-old “Baby Bull” also will visit hospitals to support victims of the marathon bombings.

NFL

Redskins’ Shanahan: Griffin III plays only if 100 percent

ASHBURN, Va. – Mike Shanahan said from now on he’s going to make sure that Robert Griffin III “never plays if he’s not 100 percent.”

The Washington Redskins coach yesterday said his gut instinct changes from year to year when it comes to deciding whether a player is too hurt to play. That is what’s happening in regard to his quarterback, who required reconstructive surgery after reinjuring his knee in a playoff loss to Seattle in January.

Shanahan has been criticized for not removing Griffin from the game earlier. The coach said yesterday: “Sometimes you make the right call, other times you don’t, but at the end of the day you’re always hoping that you learn from your mistakes, whatever they are.”

NBA

Memphis’s Gasol wins defensive player honors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Grizzlies center Marc Gasol won his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year award after anchoring the league’s stingiest defense.

The NBA announced yesterday that Gasol received 212 points and 30 first-place votes to edge Miami’s LeBron James, who had 149 points and 18 first-place votes.

The 7-foot-1 Spaniard averaged 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals for a Memphis defense that allowed a league-best 88.7 points per game.

Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka was third with 122 points and 14 first-place votes. The 28-year-old Gasol becomes the first Grizzlies player to earn defensive player honors.

NBA

Noah, Johnson hobbled as Bulls, Nets resume series

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Joakim Noah feels like he’s running on needles and Joe Johnson can probably sympathize.

The Bulls and Nets resume their first-round series in Chicago tonight after splitting the first two games in Brooklyn, and both teams have key players battling a similar foot injury.

Noah remains hobbled by plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and Johnson is dealing with it in his left foot. He sat out practice yesterday and is a game-time decision, meaning the Nets could be without one of their top scorers.

As for Noah, Coach Tom Thibodeau indicated he will remain on a minutes limit for the Bulls. Noah played about 25 on Monday while helping Chicago pull even in the series after being limited to about 14 in the previous three games.

NHL

Kings’ Brown suspended 2 games

NEW YORK – Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL yesterday for elbowing Minnesota forward Jason Pominville on Tuesday night.

No penalty was assessed on second-period hit to the head in the Kings’ 2-1 loss at Minnesota. Brown hit Pominville in the jaw, knocking him on his back.

The suspension will cost Brown $34,324. He will miss the final two regular-season games.

NHL

Hurricanes bring up 3rd Staal brother from minors

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes have three Staal brothers on the roster after right wing Jared Staal was called up from their AHL affiliate in Charlotte yesterday. He will join brothers Eric and Jordan Staal.

Coach Kirk Muller said Jared will make his NHL debut tonight against fourth brother Marc Staal’s team, the New York Rangers.

Marc has been out since he was struck in the eye with a puck March 5.

Captain and oldest brother Eric Staal joked after practice that “maybe (Marc) will dress for warmups and skate around so we’re all out there at the same time.”

NASCAR

Daytona, Talladega re-enforcing crossover gates

NASCAR’s two fastest tracks are re-enforcing crossover gates in the wake of the Feb. 23 accident at Daytona International Speedway that injured nearly 30 spectators.

Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway announced yesterday that the high-banked tracks are installing additional cables at the crossover gates, which allow fans to move between the grandstands and the infield before and after races. The tracks also are adding supplemental tethers between the gate frame and support posts.

One of the eight gates at Daytona was where rookie Kyle Larson crashed on the final lap of the second-tier race the day before the Daytona 500. Larson’s car went airborne, slammed into the fence and spewed debris into the stands.

Larson was unharmed. Daytona repaired the fence before the 500, and then hired a structural engineering firm to review the fence and propose improvements.

TRUES SERIES

Sauter penalized for illegal fuel cell at Kansas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Johnny Sauter lost the Truck Series points lead yesterday after NASCAR penalized him for an illegal fuel cell at Kansas.

Sauter was docked 25 points by NASCAR. It knocked him from first place into a second-place tie with Jeb Burton, 13 points behind new leader Matt Crafton.

Crafton and Sauter are teammates at ThorSport Racing.

The illegal fuel cell was found on the No. 98 Toyota during an opening day inspection and was not used in the race. NASCAR also suspended crew chief Joe Shear four races and fined him $10,000.

Sauter won the first two races of the season and finished fifth at Kansas. He’s finished fifth or better in all four Truck Series races this season.

TENNIS

Wozniacki loses in first round at Stuttgart

STUTTGART, Germany – Caroline Wozniacki lost in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix yesterday, falling to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, 7-6 (6), 6-1.

The former top-ranked Dane squandered a 3-0 lead in the first set and never recovered after losing the tiebreaker.

Also, fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic beat wild-card entry Annika Beck of Germany, 7-5, 6-7 (0), 6-3. She broke serve for the second time in the final set for a 5-2 lead.

Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic beat Mona Barthel of Germany, 6-4, 6-1.

Barthel said she was fatigued after helping Germany defeat Serbia in the Fed Cup playoffs for a place in the World Group.

Julia Goerges of Germany, who beat Wozniacki for the 2011 title in Stuttgart, advanced to the second round when Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium retired with stomach problems. Goerges was leading, 6-2, 2-1.

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