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In this picture taken May 26, 2013 America's Christian Benitez holds up  the Mexican national soccer league trophy after they defeated Cruz Azul in the league title match in Mexico City. According to his new club El Jaish,  Ecuadorian striker, and also former Birmingham City player Christian ‘Chucho’ Benítez has passed away at the age of 27. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

In this picture taken May 26, 2013 America's Christian Benitez holds up the Mexican national soccer league trophy after they defeated Cruz Azul in the league title match in Mexico City. According to his new club El Jaish, Ecuadorian striker, and also former Birmingham City player Christian ‘Chucho’ Benítez has passed away at the age of 27. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)


Ecuadorian star dies at 27

DOHA, Qatar – Christian Benitez, a soccer star from Ecuador who led the Mexican league in scoring last season, died yesterday, a day after playing in a game for his club in Qatar. He was 27.

The Qatari club El Jaish provided no details about the death but said Benitez did not complain about his health Sunday. The team is awaiting a medical report.

El Jaish played Qatar Sports in the Sheik Jassim Cup, a warmup tournament for the upcoming season. The club said this was Benitez’s first game with his new team.

Benitez had 24 goals in 58 appearances for Ecuador and was on its 2006 World Cup team. He also scored against Chile in the 2007 Copa America and had four goals during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup


Tigers acquire reliever
Veras from Astros

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers added some help for their shaky bullpen yesterday, acquiring reliever Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named.

Veras is 0-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 19 saves this season, and the 32-year-old right-hander has struck out 44 in 43 innings with only 14 walks.

Detroit entered the season with a lot of uncertainty at the closer spot, and although Joaquin Benoit has pitched well in that role of late, the AL Central-leading Tigers still needed bullpen depth. Aside from Benoit and Drew Smyly, none of their other relievers have been all that effective on a consistent basis.


Marlins’ Slowey out 4-6 weeks with forearm strain

MIAMI — Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey will be out four to six weeks due to a strained right forearm muscle an MRI revealed yesterday.

Slowey felt discomfort while warming up in the bullpen during Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

Slowey is 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 games, making 14 starts in his first year with the Marlins.


Seattle recalls Morse,
designates struggling Bay

SEATTLE – Outfielder Michael Morse was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment by the Seattle Mariners and veteran outfielder Jason Bay was designated for assignment yesterday.

Morse had been on rehab at Triple-A Tacoma while recovering from a quad injury that landed him on the disabled list for more than a month. Morse played in six games at Tacoma and hit .250 with one double and one home run.

Bay, 34, signed a one-year deal with the Mariners before the season. He was hitting just .204 with 11 home runs and 20 RBI in 206 at-bats.


Braves acquire left-hander Downs from Angels

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves added a needed left-hander to their bullpen by acquiring Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league righty Cory Rasmus.

The Braves have lost left-handed relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty to season-ending elbow injuries. The 37-year-old Downs joins Luis Avilan as lefties in Atlanta’s bullpen.

Downs was 2-3 with a 1.84 ERA in 43 games with the Angels. Rasmus had an 8.10 ERA in three appearances with Atlanta this season before he was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 18.


Eagles LB Phillips tears ACL

PHILADELPHIA – Eagles linebacker Jason Phillips tore his right ACL in yesterday’s practice.

Phillips is the second player to sustain a season-ending injury in three days. Starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore his right ACL on Saturday.

Phillips played in 16 games for Carolina last year, mostly on special teams. He spent his first 2 ½ seasons with Baltimore and was entering his fifth year in the NFL.


Eagles will retire
former QB McNabb’s No. 5

PHILADELPHIA – Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 will be retired by the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the ninth player in franchise history to receive that honor.

The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback formally announced his retirement yesterday, though he hasn’t played in the NFL since 2011. McNabb will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired on Sept. 19 when the Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs.

Former Eagles coach Andy Reid, who drafted McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick in 1999, now coaches the Chiefs.


Witness: Paterno said
Penn St. erred on Sandusky

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A former Penn State assistant coach said that longtime football Coach Joe Paterno told him the university mishandled its response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Mike McQueary testified yesterday as a star witness in a hearing for three former Penn State officials accused in a cover-up.

McQueary said that Paterno told him “Old Main screwed up” – a reference to Penn State’s administration. He also said Paterno warned him the university would try to scapegoat him.

McQueary’s appearance was the highlight of the daylong hearing. Testimony will continue today.


Rockets sign C Camby

HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets signed veteran free agent center Marcus Camby.

It is the second stint for Camby in Houston after he played for the Rockets in 2012. The 39-year-old played 19 games for Houston that season and averaged 7.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.53 blocks. He was shipped to the New York Knicks by the Rockets in a sign-and-trade in July 2012 and appeared in 24 games for the Knicks last season.


Jets sign D Bogosian to 7-year, $36-million deal

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Winnipeg Jets signed defenseman Zach Bogosian to a seven-year, $36-million contract yesterday.

The 23-year-old Bogosian has totaled 34 goals and 69 assists in 297 games, all with the Jets franchise – dating back to the team’s days as the Atlanta Thrashers.


Gay left off U.S. roster
for track championships

INDIANAPOLIS – As expected, Tyson Gay was left off the U.S. roster for next month’s world championships in Moscow.

Gay qualified in the 100 and 200 meters at the nationals in June, but relinquished his spots after failing an out-of-competition drug test for a banned substance. Mike Rodgers will take Gay’s place in the 100 and Wallace Spearmon will go in the 200.

Finally healthy this season, Gay was expected to push Usain Bolt at the worlds. But instead of racing in Russia, Gay will be trying to resolve his doping case.


Spain’s Montanes, Granollers advance in Kitzbuehel

KITZBUEHEL, Austria – Albert Montanes and Marcel Granollers had straight-set wins to reach the second round of the bet-at-home Cup yesterday.

The only seeded players in action on the opening day, No. 7 Montanes served eight aces in defeating Adrian Ungur, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 8 Granollers beat Mate Pavic, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Granollers, who saved all six break points against his serve, will next play Horacio Zeballos, who beat Martin Fischer, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

Also, Leonardo Mayer defeated Kenny De Schepper, 6-4, 6-4, to set up a second-round match against top-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber. The top four seeds have a bye in the opening round.

Dominic Thiem rallied from 4-1 down in the second set to beat Andrey Kuznetsov, 6-2, 7-5. It was the first ATP match this season for the 268th-ranked Thiem because of a viral illness. He will play fourth-seeded Jurgen Melzer in an all-Austrian clash.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver conceded only nine points on serve in routing Antonio Veic, 6-1, 6-3.

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