Headlines from around the world in sports
Jaguars WR Blackmon suspended indefinitely
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended indefinitely without pay for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Blackmon was previously suspended the first four games of this season for violating the same policy, so this is at least his third violation in about 18 months. And the Jaguars are acknowledging he has a problem.
Blackmon’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement prior to the start of the 2014 season. Since the winless Jaguars (0-8) aren’t on the hook for the rest of Blackmon’s salary this season, they could keep him on the roster in hopes he turns his life around.
Bengals DT Atkins has torn ACL
CINCINNATI – An MRI test confirmed that Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, leaving the AFC North leaders without another star player on defense.
Atkins twisted the knee during a 22-20 overtime loss in Miami on Thursday night. The Bengals suspected he’d torn the ACL, and a test in Cincinnati confirmed it yesterday.
The Bengals already were missing top cornerback Leon Hall, out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, out indefinitely with a concussion and an injured left knee. He was on crutches earlier this week.
Frazier: Ponder to start for Vikings vs. Dallas
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Christian Ponder will start at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings against the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow. Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier made the announcement yesterday. Frazier has tabbed Ponder over Josh Freeman in a somewhat surprising decision.
After spending three games on the sideline, Ponder returned to the starting lineup last weekend against the Green Bay Packers while Freeman sat out with a concussion. But he did little to inspire confidence that he was capable of being the long-term answer at the position. He threw for 145 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 44-31 loss to the Packers.
Chiefs-Broncos on Nov. 17 moves to Sunday night
NEW YORK – The Chiefs-Broncos game in Week 11 is moving to prime time. The NFL said yesterday that Kansas City’s matchup with Denver on Nov. 17 would be on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
The Green Bay Packers and New York Giants were originally in that slot, but were moved to 4:25 p.m. on Fox. Also, the Chargers-Dolphins game was moved to 4:05 p.m. on CBS.
The Chiefs, 8-0 and the NFL’s last unbeaten team, visit Buffalo this week. The Broncos (7-1) are off.
Jeter, Yankees reach $12 million, 1-year deal
NEW YORK – Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract.
The deal yesterday replaces a $9.5 million player option for the 39-year-old shortstop. Jeter was limited to 17 games this year after breaking his ankle in the 2012 AL Championship Series opener against Detroit.
Jeter hit .190 (12-for-63) with one homer and seven RBI this year, playing 13 games at shortstop and four at designated hitter. The Yankees’ captain was on the disabled list four times.
Mets decline $25 million option on Santana
NEW YORK – The Mets declined a $25 million option on injured pitcher Johan Santana and will pay the left-hander a $5.5 million buyout. The left-hander will be 35 next season and becomes a free agent.
The decision yesterday completes a $137.5 million, six-year contract that was agreed to before the 2008 season.
Santana was a two-time Cy Young Award winner with Minnesota. But he went 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA during the term of the deal, missing the 2011 and 2013 seasons following shoulder surgery. In 2012, he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history.
Indians RHP Jimenez now a free agent
CLEVELAND – Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez is a free agent after the club exercised his $8 million club option for next season and he declined it.
Jimenez bounced back from a 17-loss season in 2012 to go 13-9 this season with a 3.30 ERA. The 29-year-old right-hander was Cleveland’s most consistent pitcher in the second half of the season, helping the Indians clinch their first playoff spot since 2007.
The Indians can offer him a $14 million qualifying offer by Monday. He will have six days to accept or decline. If he agrees, he will make $14 million next season. If he declines, the Indians will receive a 2014 first-round draft pick and he can sign with any team.
As planned, A’s exercise option for CF Crisp
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland Athletics exercised their $7.5 million club option for center fielder Coco Crisp, formally making the move yesterday.
A switch-hitter and speedy leadoff man, Crisp hit a career-high 22 home runs in the leadoff spot, double his total from 2012. General Manager Billy Beane had said when the season ended last month that the A’s intended to exercise the option.
Oakland also exercised its $8 million option on left-hander Brett Anderson and declined an $8.5 million option on catcher Kurt Suzuki and an $11 million option outfielder Chris Young.
Rangers closer Nathan declines $9M option
ARLINGTON, Texas – Closer Joe Nathan is a free agent after declining a $9 million contract option from the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers exercised their portion of the mutual option yesterday.
Nathan, who turns 39 later this month, had 80 saves over the past two seasons in Texas. He was 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 43 saves this year.
Source: Cubs interview Ausmus for manager’s job
CHICAGO – A person familiar with the situation said the Chicago Cubs are interviewing former catcher Brad Ausmus for their manager’s job.
Ausmus works in San Diego’s front office as a special assistant to the general manager. He also managed Israel’s team for the World Baseball Classic. Ausmus played in the majors from 1993-2010 and won Gold Gloves in 2001, 2002 and 2006 with Houston.
The Cubs are looking for a manager after firing Dale Sveum. They have also interviewed Eric Wedge, A.J Hinch, Manny Acta, Rick Renteria and Dave Martinez. They also are reportedly interested in Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.
Expanded replay to be tested in fall league
NEW YORK – Expanded instant replay will be given a test next week by Major League Baseball at the Arizona Fall League.
MLB said the new video review procedures will be used during five AFL games from Tuesday through Nov. 9. AFL umpires will work the games and MLB umpires will observe. The contemplated procedures allow each manager one challenge over the first six innings and two from the seventh inning on. Challenged calls will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make a final ruling.
Expanded video review, developed by Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, MLB Executive Vice President Joe Torre and MLB Special Assistant to the Commissioner Tony La Russa, is subject to approval by owners, the players’ association and the umpires’ union.
FAU assistant coach says he saw Pelini use drugs
A Florida Atlantic assistant coach told the school he personally witnessed former Owls head coach Carl Pelini using marijuana last month, and that he also witnessed him using cocaine in the past year.
Matt Edwards’s affidavit was released to the Associated Press by the university yesterday. Edwards is listed as a defensive line and special teams coach for the Owls. Edwards and Allison Stewart both said they saw Pelini smoking marijuana in Key West, Fla. on Oct. 19.
Edwards also says that he observed former defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis using marijuana and cocaine in the past year.
Pelini and Rekstis both resigned Wednesday, two days after the school said two people came forward with information about the coaches using illegal drugs.
Canucks sign Sedin twins to four-year extensions
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Twin superstars Daniel and Henrik Sedin signed four-year contract extensions with the Vancouver Canucks.
Henrik Sedin – the Canucks’ captain – began yesterday leading the NHL this season with 15 assists and tied for second with 18 points. Daniel Sedin was tied for seventh with 15 points (six goals, nine assists).
The Swedish natives have both played their entire careers in Vancouver. Daniel was selected second overall and Henrik third in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
Nadal, Djokovic, Federer advance at Paris Masters
PARIS – Novak Djokovic won his 15th straight match and Roger Federer avenged last week’s loss to Juan Martin del Potro, setting up a semifinal match between the two at the Paris Masters.
Djokovic beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 6-1, 6-4, while Federer defeated Del Potro of Argentina, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, yesterday.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal also moved into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Richard Gasquet of France and will play either defending champion David Ferrer or Tomas Berdych.
Ivanovic, Stosur reach semis in Sofia
SOFIA, Bulgaria – Ana Ivanovic wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set to lose, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1), to Elena Vesnina in their last group match at the season-ending Tournament of Champions, but still advanced to the semifinals at the expense of her opponent.
Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also secured spots in the semis. They join Simona Halep, who has already qualified.
Vesnina’s victory meant both she and Ivanovic finished round-robin play with 2-1 records, but Ivanovic advanced because of more sets won.
The sixth-seeded Pavlyuchenkova downed Alize Cornet of France, 6-2, 6-2, while Stosur defeated Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-1, 6-4.
In today’s semis, Ivanovic will play Halep, and Stosur will face Pavlyuchenkova.