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Headlines from around the world in sports

BASEBALL

Tigers designate Valverde for assignment

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers designated reliever Jose Valverde for assignment, less than two months after bringing the veteran right-hander back to the major leagues for another chance to be the team’s closer.

Valverde went 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA, converting nine saves in 12 chances. The Tigers will likely use Joaquin Benoit in most save situations for the time being.

The Tigers recalled right-hander Al Alburquerque from Triple-A Toledo to replace Valverde in the bullpen.

BASEBALL

Carpenter cleared to resume throwing program

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter was cleared to resume rehabbing from a lower back injury after the team got outside medical opinions about his comeback from nerve issues.

General Manager John Mozeliak said the 38-year-old Carpenter played catch yesterday and was scheduled for a light bullpen session today. How the former NL Cy Young winner responds to that activity will determine a course of action.

Mozeliak said the back problem slowed Carpenter’s rehab from an injury that caused numbness and tingling on the right side of his body. He didn’t believe it was a major setback, although the team still is not counting on a contribution from Carpenter.

BASEBALL

Yankees add INF Gonzalez, cut INF Brignac

NEW YORK – The New York Yankees shuffled infielders, promoting Alberto Gonzalez from the minors and cutting Reid Brignac yesterday.

Gonzalez was selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in May and spent a week with the Yankees. In his last game for the Yankees, he started at shortstop and later pitched to a batter.

Brignac was obtained from Colorado in mid-May. He hit .114 in 44 at-bats for New York.

BASEBALL

Dykstra released from prison

LOS ANGELES – Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was released from a California prison after serving time for bankruptcy fraud.

Dykstra, 50, who had a 12-year career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, was freed, according to federal Bureau of Prisons records, but no other details were available. A message left for his attorney Christopher Dybwad was not immediately returned yesterday.

Dykstra was sentenced in December to 6 ½ months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing. He already had served seven months in custody awaiting sentencing.

Dykstra is now on three years’ probation and must complete 500 hours of community service, participate in a substance abuse treatment program and pay $200,000 in restitution.

NHL

Rangers hire new coach Vigneault with 5-year deal

NEW YORK – One week after Alain Vigneault emerged as the leading coaching candidate, the New York Rangers hired him yesterday to replace the fired John Tortorella.

Vigneault agreed to a five-year contract. He was introduced during a news conference at Radio City Music Hall.

Vigneault was dismissed as coach of the Vancouver Canucks on May 22 after seven years behind their bench.

NHL

Ruff hired to coach Stars

DALLAS – Lindy Ruff was hired as the new coach of the Dallas Stars yesterday.

Ruff was fired by the Buffalo Sabres in February, in his 15th season as their coach.

It’s the first significant hire for new Dallas General Manager Jim Nill, who was hired in April after the Stars missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

GOLF

Watson leads by 2 strokes midway through Travelers

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bubba Watson shot a 3-under-par 67 yesterday to take a two-stroke lead over Patrick Reed and Padraig Harrington after two rounds of the Travelers Championship.

Watson, the 2010 Travelers champion, was at 10-under 130 after two days of play at the TPC-River Highlands. Reed and Harrington were at 8-under after both shot 66s in the second round.

One week after winning the U.S. Open at Merion, Justin Rose was tied for 12th at 5-under.

TENNIS

Federer vs. Nadal potential matchup in Wimbledon quarters

LONDON – Seven-time champion Roger Federer could face Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

Yesterday’s draw for the grass-court Grand Slam placed the third-seeded Federer and No. 5 Nadal in the same half. Home favorite Andy Murray, who is seeded No. 2, is also in the same bottom half and could meet Nadal or Federer in the semifinal.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic is in the top half and could face No. 4 David Ferrer in the other semifinal.

TENNIS

U.S. qualifier Hampton upsets Wozniacki in England

EASTBOURNE, England – American qualifier Jamie Hampton upset 2009 champion Caroline Wozniacki, 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-3, to reach the Eastbourne final yesterday.

She will attempt to become the first American to take the title since Chanda Rubin beat Conchita Martinez in 2003 when she faces Elena Vesnina of Russia in today’s final.

Vesnina beat Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, 6-2, 6-0 in 51 minutes and will be bidding for her second title of the year after winning Hobart in January.

In the men’s semifinals, Feliciano Lopez of Spain defeated Igor Dodig of Croatia, 7-6 (3), 6-1, and second-seeded Gilles Simon of France beat seventh-seeded Andrea Seppi of Italy, 6-4, 6-3.

TENNIS

Halep, Flipkens reach final in Netherlands

ROSMALEN, Netherlands – Simona Halep reached her second final in a week by defeating third-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-3, 6-2, yesterday at the Topshelf Open.

She’ll face Kirsten Flipkens in the final today on the grass courts. Flipkens beat Garbine Muguruza, 6-3, 6-1, in the other semifinal.

Last week, Halep won her first WTA title by beating Andrea Petkovic on clay in the final of the inaugural Nurnberger Versicherungscup.

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