Headlines from around the world in sports
New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera winds up for a warm-up pitch in the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, March 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
League committee recommends denial of Kings move
NEW YORK – The NBA said its relocation committee voted unanimously to recommend that owners deny the application for the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Seattle.
The committee, made up of 12 NBA owners, held a conference call yesterday and will forward its recommendation to the NBA Board of Governors. The Board of Governors will convene during the week of May 13 to vote on the matter.
The Maloof family has had an agreement since January to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings to a Seattle group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has helped put together a competing counteroffer complete with a new arena plan and an ownership group headed by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive.
Crosby remains uncertain for playoff opener
CANONSBURG, Pa. – Penguins star Sidney Crosby practiced yesterday but his status remains uncertain for tomorrow’s playoff opener against the New York Islanders.
Crosby hasn’t played since breaking his jaw a month ago, missing Pittsburgh’s final 12 games of the regular season. He underwent dental procedures and was cleared to return to non-contact drills last week. Crosby said he’ll see doctors again today and will not play until he is given clearance.
The Penguins thrived in his absence, going 8-4 without their captain while locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Crosby still finished tied for third in the NHL in scoring despite missing a quarter of the season. He had 15 goals and 41 assists in 36 games.
Rivera to write autobiography
NEW YORK – Mariano Rivera is writing an autobiography. No word on whether he’ll open with the final chapter.
Little, Brown and Co. said yesterday it will publish The Closer next spring in English, Spanish and audio editions. A children’s edition will follow that autumn.
The career saves leader, who turns 44 in November, said he is retiring this fall following his 19th season with the New York Yankees.
Said the 12-time All-Star: “Now is the time for me to finally tell my full story, of where I came from and what my game, my family, and my faith have meant to me every day.”
Toronto LHP Laffey chooses free agency over minors
TORONTO – Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Laffey chose to become a free agent rather than report to the minor leagues.
The team announced the decision yesterday.
Laffey was claimed off waivers from the New York Mets last Tuesday. The 28-year-old lefty made one start for Toronto, and was wild in a no-decision Friday night against the New York Yankees.
Laffey pitched for Toronto last year.
Bills trade LB Sheppard to Colts for LB Hughes
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills aren’t finished tinkering with their linebackers this offseason.
Buffalo traded Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts for Jerry Hughes yesterday in a swap of linebackers two days after the NFL draft.
Sheppard, a 2011 second-round pick from LSU, has been inconsistent in two seasons in Buffalo. He had 138 tackles and two sacks in 31 games, including 24 starts.
Hughes was the Colts’ 2010 first-round draft pick from TCU. He’s had 62 tackles and five sacks in 40 games, including seven starts, but had difficulty finding his niche on the Colts defense.
Used initially as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, Hughes made the switch to linebacker when the Colts switched to Coach Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 defense where he appeared to be more at home but still not the impact player envisioned when they expected him to eventually replace Dwight Freeney. Freeney, Indy’s career sacks leader, was let go in free agency this winter.
“He’s a talented guy that did everything we asked of him,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement. “At the same time, we are very pleased to be getting a young linebacker who has been a productive starter in this league.”
Cardinals release Snyder, sign 16 free agents
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals released guard Adam Snyder after taking two players at his position in last week’s draft.
Snyder, who started 14 games last season, became expendable after the Cardinals used the No. 7 overall pick to take North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and a fourth-round pick on James Madison’s Earl Watford.
Snyder signed as a free agent before the 2012 season.
Arizona also released guard Jeremiah Warren, who signed as a free agent in January, and signed 16 undrafted players to free-agent contracts, including Arizona receiver Dan Buckner.
He was one of five receivers signed, joining Clemson’s Jaron Brown, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Javone Lawson, Marist’s Michael Rios and Northwest Missouri State’s Tyler Shaw.
Arizona also signed three linebackers, three cornerbacks, two offensive tackles and a nose tackle.
Jaguars part ways with three in front office
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars parted ways with three front office personnel, including Director of Player Personnel Terry McDonough.
The others dismissed by new General Manager Dave Caldwell were Louis Clark, the team’s director of pro personnel, and regional scout Chris Prescott.
The moves came as no surprise given that most new GMs bring in their own personnel staff after the draft.
McDonough served as former GM Gene Smith’s right-hand man the past four years. He raised eyebrows last year when he challenged reporters to find a better pro down the road than Jacksonville’s third-round draft pick, punter Bryan Anger. The selection was widely mocked. Seattle took quarterback Russell Wilson five picks later.
Clark was promoted in December 2011. Prescott was credited with scouting 2011 first-round pick Blaine Gabbert, who hasn’t proven to be a franchise quarterback.
The Jaguars also waived first-year defensive end Jerome Long and first-year receiver Jerrell Jackson.
Vikings add veteran free agents Lacey, Jackson
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The Minnesota Vikings have signed a pair of veteran free agents, cornerback Jacob Lacey and defensive end Lawrence Jackson.
The deals were done yesterday. The Vikings also waived punter T.J. Conley.
Lacey and Jackson were with Detroit last year. Lacey, who played three prior seasons for Indianapolis after going undrafted out of Oklahoma State, has six career interceptions. Jackson was a first-round pick by Seattle in 2008 out of USC who played two years for the Seahawks before leaving for the Lions in 2010. He has 19½ career sacks.
Conley was added to the roster in January but became expendable when the Vikings drafted Jeff Locke out of UCLA in the fifth round on Saturday. Locke could push veteran Chris Kluwe out of the job.
Tennessee AD Hart gets 1-year contract extension
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart received a one-year contract extension.
Hart’s salary will remain $592,250, though he also earns $150,000 annually for media appearances. Hart’s contract now runs through Sept. 18, 2018. His deal also provides for an additional year with a $50,000 retention bonus.
Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said yesterday in a university release announcing the extension that Hart “has worked hard to develop a more efficient financial model and has put the right people in place, including coaches, to help reach UT’s aggressive goals.”
Since arriving at Tennessee in September 2011, Hart has focused on improving a budget that posted a $3.98 million deficit in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Hart also fired football coach Derek Dooley last November and hired Butch Jones away from Cincinnati.
Atlanta mayor vows enhanced security for road race
ATLANTA – City leaders in Atlanta and organizers of an annual marathon that draws 60,000 runners to the city said they will be taking enhanced security measures in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.
Mayor Kasim Reed said yesterday that details are still being worked out but participants and spectators at the very least can expect to see more police officers at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4. Reed said authorities also will be taking measures behind the scenes, using every city resource to ensure public safety.
The race is in its 44th year. It is held by the Atlanta Track Club, one of the largest running organizations in the U.S., which was founded in 1964.