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Headlines from around the world in sports

  • Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Baseball

Rays send RHP Hellickson to minors for extra rest

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays optioned Jeremy Hellickson to Class A Charlotte to allow the right-hander some extra rest before the September stretch run.

The team announced the move before last night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Hellickson, whom Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon said is healthy, is not expected to pitch in the minors and should rejoin the team early next month.

Hellickson (10-8) allowed five runs in just 22∕3 innings – his shortest start since June 2012 – in Monday’s 11-1 loss at Kansas City. The 2011 AL rookie of the year fell to 0-5 in his last six outings, making it through five innings only once in that span.

The Rays also recalled left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham.

Baseball

Pirates acquire Byrd, Buck from Mets

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the New York Mets yesterday, hoping the veterans can bolster a struggling offense as the franchise vies for its first playoff berth in 21 years.

The Pirates, who began the day a half-game back of St. Louis for the lead in the NL Central, sent the Mets minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later in exchange for Byrd, Buck and cash considerations.

Byrd, 35, is hitting .285 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs this season and will give Pittsburgh needed depth in the outfield while leadoff hitter Starling Marte recovers from a wrist injury. Buck, 33, is batting .215 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Buck’s 63 home runs as a catcher rank third in the majors. He is expected to back up Russell Martin.

Pittsburgh is searching for offense to take some of the pressure off a pitching staff that has carried the team for long stretches during the first five months of the season. The Pirates lead the majors with a 3.21 ERA, though there have been signs of wear and tear this month. Pittsburgh is 11-12 in August and has seen a 4-game lead over St. Louis two weeks ago turn into a virtual tie.

Baseball

Diamondbacks designate OF Kubel for assignment

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks designated outfielder Jason Kubel for assignment.

The move made room for the team to select David Holmberg from Double-A Mobile in time for the left-hander to start last night’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Kubel, in his ninth major league season, was struggling at the plate and had seen his role limited mostly to pinch hitting. The 31-year-old left-handed batter was hitting .220 with five home runs and 32 RBIs.

Kubel was signed as a free agent in December 2011 and got off to a strong start last season before tailing off in the late stages. Still, he hit .253 with a career-high 30 home runs and 90 RBIs.

The 22-year-old Holmberg was 5-7 with a 2.66 ERA in 25 starts for Mobile.

Baseball

Tigers activate C Avila from concussion list

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila from the concussion disabled list yesterday and optioned catcher Bryan Holaday to Triple-A Toledo.

Avila had been sidelined since Aug. 11 because of a concussion he sustained three days earlier on a foul tip off his mask in Cleveland. His return was delayed by headaches after his first rehab game in Toledo, but he played the last three days without any symptoms and was cleared by team doctors.

Holaday is hitting .280 in a pair of major-league stints this season, both during disabled-list stays for Avila.

NFL

Cruz says foot better, expects to play in opener

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz expects to play in the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

A day after removing the protective boot from his injured left foot, Cruz was upbeat about being ready for the Sept. 8 game. He said the only time his injured heel hurts is when he gets out of bed in the morning.

The Giants’ leading receiver the past two seasons, Cruz was injured Aug. 18 against the Colts when his foot was stepped on by a defender. The Paterson, N.J., native continues to get treatment, including an exercise where he has to pick up marbles with his feet.

Cruz missed the third preseason game, vs. the Jets, and will also skip tomorrow’s exhibition finale at New England. He hopes to practice Monday.

NFL

Seattle places Harvin on reserve PUP list

RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks have made their last roster moves to reach the 75-man limit, including putting wide receiver Percy Harvin on the reserve physically unable to perform list. He will miss the first six weeks of the season.

The Seahawks announced the moves yesterday before the league deadline. Along with Harvin, the Seahawks placed defensive end Greg Scruggs and cornerback Tharold Simon on the reserve PUP list and linebacker Korey Toomer on the reserve, non-football injury list.

Additionally, the Seahawks waived wide receiver Donavon Kemp and terminated the contract of veteran defensive back Will Blackmon.

NFL

Browns place RB Hardesty on IR

BEREA, Ohio – The Browns placed running back Montario Hardesty on injured reserve with a knee injury, ending his season.

Hardesty, whose NFL career has been slowed by injuries, underwent knee surgery earlier this month. Hardesty is the second Cleveland back to go on IR, joining Dion Lewis, who was placed there Monday with a surgically repaired left leg.

Also, the Browns released fullback Owen Marecic, a fourth-round pick in 2011, as they trimmed their roster to 75.

The team was awarded linebacker Paul Hazel from Jacksonville and punter Colton Schmidt from San Francisco. The Browns also waived linebacker Kendrick Adams, offensive lineman Dominic Alford, wide receiver Dominique Croom, defensive lineman Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, offensive lineman Ryan Miller and tight end Travis Tannahill.

Rookie offensive lineman Chris Faulk was also placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. He is also done for the year.

NFL

Rookie safety Reid earns starting job with 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Veteran safety Donte Whitner has insisted all along that rookie Eric Reid possesses the skills and mentality to be a hard-hitting defender and fill the huge void left by Dashon Goldson’s departure in free agency.

Apparently, Coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio agreed. They named Reid the NFC champion Niners’ starter yesterday at free safety for the Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay at Candlestick Park.

And Reid, San Francisco’s first-round draft pick in April, soon heard about the announcement from the media that he had earned a spot on one of the NFL’s top defenses.

San Francisco traded up with Dallas to draft the speedy safety with the 18th pick out of Louisisana State, believing all along he would make an immediate impact as a rookie.

MOTORSPORTS

NASCAR driver Truex Jr. has fractured wrist

CORNELIUS, N.C. – An MRI confirmed that Martin Truex Jr. fractured his right wrist in a wreck during Saturday night’s race at Bristol.

Michael Waltrip Racing said yesterday that Truex has a scaphoid fracture and sprain. He’s been fitted with a special cast that allows him to grip the steering wheel and he is expected to finish the season after being cleared by NASCAR.

Truex currently holds the first wild card position with two races to go to set the 12-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

MWR said it has not yet determined if a stand-by driver is needed for this weekend’s race in Atlanta.

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