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Amaro says Lee, Papelbon not on trade market

PHILADELPHIA – While the Philadelphia Phillies struggle to achieve even a winning record, speculation persists that Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon will be available before next month’s non-waiver trade deadline.

That’s not necessarily the case.

“Absolutely not, because these are guys I’d be better off having on my club than not,” Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Associated Press. “Who am I going to replace these guys with to win a championship? These are championship-caliber players. If we think about moving these guys, then I better be getting someone of better or equal value and I just don’t see that happening.”

Lee is 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA. The 34-year-old lefty is signed for two more years at $25 million per plus a vesting option for 2016. Papelbon began the year 13-for-13 in save tries before blowing two chances during a three-game series against defending NL East champion Washington. He’s signed for two more years at $13 million per plus a vesting option for 2016.


Carpenter rehab stopped by lower back injury

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter’s rehab has been put on hold after he injured his lower back in a bullpen session.

General Manager John Mozeliak said yesterday that any contribution this season from Carpenter, sidelined since February with nerve issues on the right side of his body, would be a bonus.

The 38-year-old Carpenter had been steadily progressing before the back tightened after he finished throwing Sunday. Mozeliak anticipated the team would have a better handle on the situation after other doctors in St. Louis weighed in on the back issue.


Torre daughter catches baby falling from 2nd floor

NEW YORK – The daughter of former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre is getting props from her dad for catching a baby boy who had tumbled off a second-floor fire escape in Brooklyn.

Torre said in a statement Wednesday that he was “very proud of my daughter Cristina’s actions today during an incident in Brooklyn involving a small child.”

According to police, the child somehow climbed onto the fire escape. He was in stable condition.

The parents were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.


Judge gives cousin custody of Belcher’s daughter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Texas woman whose cousin was fatally shot by a Kansas City Chiefs player who then killed himself was given custody of the couple’s infant daughter.

Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler issued his order yesterday afternoon, awarding custody of 9-month-old Zoey Belcher to Sophie Perkins of Pflugerville, Texas.

Zoey was orphaned Dec. 1 when Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed Kasandra Perkins, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in front of coaches and the team’s then-general manager.


Cowboys cut DE who was among bounty suspensions

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys released defensive end Anthony Hargrove yesterday, a little more than a month after signing the nine-year NFL veteran to a one-year deal.

Hargrove sat out the 2012 season after he was suspended as part of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. Hargrove was given an eight-game ban after the NFL said the Saints paid cash rewards to defensive players for hits that injured opponents from 2009-11.

Hargrove’s suspension was eventually reduced to two games, but he never signed with another team after Green Bay released him during the preseason last year.


Broncos bring back free agent Koppen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos signed free-agent center Dan Koppen, bringing the 11-year veteran back after J.D. Walton had offseason surgery on his left ankle.

Koppen signed with the Broncos last October and started 12 regular season games after Walton first hurt his ankle. Walton was expected back this season but needed more surgery this offseason.

Koppen played his first nine seasons with the Patriots.


Jay-Z certified as player agent

NEW YORK — Jay-Z is now in the player agent business. The rap mogul was certified by the NBA players’ association, spokesmen for the union and Roc Nation Sports said yesterday.

However, it’s unclear exactly what he can do. He would have to sell his minor share of the Brooklyn Nets before he can represent players, according to NBA rules, and a Roc Nation spokesman wouldn’t comment on whether that has been done.

Jay-Z attended only a handful of Nets games this season, but had a major role in the rebranding of the team in its first season in Brooklyn, even debuting the team’s black-and-white uniforms during one of his concerts. He is friendly with a number of sports superstars and could quickly make Roc Nation a force in the agency field.


Wawrinka beats Chardy to reach Rosmalen semifinals

ROSMALEN, Netherlands – Stanislas Wawrinka defeated fifth-seeded Jeremy Chardy, 6-4, 7-6 (2), yesterday to reach the semifinals of the Topshelf Open.

In the women’s draw, Dominika Cibulkova lost, 6-4, 6-4, to Garbine Muguruza. Simona Halep defeated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 6-1, to set up a semifinal with Carla Suarez Navarro, who rallied past Tsvetana Pironkova, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Wawrinka will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semifinals today after the Spaniard beat Jan Hernych, 6-4, 6-1.

Xavier Malisse of Belgium edged Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-4, 6-4, and will face Nicolas Mahut after the Frenchman defeated Evgeny Donskoy, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Kirsten Flipkens overcame a sore back to stop last year’s finalist Urszula Radwanska, 6-4, 6-4. She’ll play Muguruza in the semifinal.


U.S. qualifier Hampton into Eastbourne semifinals

EASTBOURNE, England – Qualifier Jamie Hampton became the first American since Jennifer Capriati in 2003 to reach the Eastbourne semifinals after rallying past Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4, yesterday.

Li Na was upset in the quarterfinals, falling 7-6 (4), 6-3 to Elena Vesnina.

On the men’s side, Feliciano Lopez beat Fernando Verdasco, 6-4, 7-6 (6), to reach the final four in a match of Spanish lefthanders.

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