Update on the latest sports
White Sox reunite with La Russa, hire Hall of Fame manager
UNDATED (AP) — Tony La Russa is returning to manage the Chicago White Sox 34 years after they fired him. The 76-year-old Hall of Famer takes over for Rick Renteria (rehn-teh-REE’-uh) after what the White Sox insisted was a mutual agreement to split.
LaRussa won a World Series championship with the Oakland Athletics and two more with the St. Louis Cardinals. He inherits a team loaded with young stars and productive veterans that made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, only to sputter down the stretch and get knocked out in the wild-card round.
LaRussa becomes the oldest manager in the major leagues by five years. Houston’s Dusty Baker is 71.
In other baseball news:
— The Seattle Mariners have re-signed right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman to a one-year contract. Seattle initially declined Graveman’s $3.5 million option for the 2021 season, making him a free agent following the World Series. His free agency was short-lived as Seattle locked up the converted reliever. Graveman made nine appearances out of the bullpen in September and was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings pitched. Graveman’s longest relief outing was two scoreless innings in his final appearance of the season against Oakland.
— New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio deflected questions Thursday about whether he wants to block the sale of the New York Mets to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen. Asked about the proposed sale at a news briefing, de Blasio said the city law department is legally obligated to review the sale because Citi Field, where the Mets play, is on city land. A provision in the city’s lease agreement says any new owner of the team cannot have a felony conviction. Cohen’s former company pleaded guilty in an insider trading case in 2014 and paid $1.8 billion in fines. Cohen himself was not charged in that case.
Panthers, Falcons look to put mental mistakes behind them
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers try for a season sweep of the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night after winning 23-16 earlier this month in Atlanta. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two scores in that game and Mike Davis piled up 149 yards from scrimmage and also scored a touchdown.
Thursday’s game offers both NFC South teams a chance to wash the taste of monumental mental mistakes out of their mouths and put this past Sunday’s losses behind them. The Falcons allowed a potential win to slip away when Todd Gurley accidentally scored a touchdown late against the Lions, leading to a 23-22 loss. Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater took a costly sack to move the Panthers out of field-goal range in a 27-24 loss to the Saints. Atlanta is 1-6 and Carolina is 3-4.
A person familiar with the situation says Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey won’t play Thursday night. The Panthers were hoping to have him back after he missed the last five games with a high ankle sprain, but the team decided to err on the side of caution with the 2019 All-Pro. The decision gives McCaffrey 10 more days to recover before Carolina’s next game on Nov. 8 vs. Kansas City.
Atlanta defensive end Takk McKinley has been ruled out with a groin injury. It will mark the fourth game in the past six weeks McKinley has been held out because of the injury. He had one tackle in last week’s 23-22 loss to Detroit but has not practiced this week.
Giants, Chargers each have a positive test
UNDATED (AP) — An unidentified New York Giants player has tested positive for COVID-19 and gone into isolation.
The team learned of the positive test Wednesday night and contact tracing began. The player’s close contacts were identified and told to remain home Thursday and participate in meetings remotely. The rest of the team was following normal practice and meeting schedules at the team facility.
On Tuesday, Giants coach Joe Judge said he had spoken with quarterback Daniel Jones and several other players about a video taken last weekend in which they were shown without masks in public. Judge said the team would handle the matter internally. Jones, injured running back Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley, receiver Sterling Shepard and other players had dinner at a New York City restaurant in private. Afterward, some went to a closed bar at the invitation of the owner. They were filmed there without masks.
An unidentified Los Angeles Chargers player also has tested positive for COVID-19. The team was notified Wednesday night and said the player immediately went into quarantine. The Chargers identified the player’s close contacts, and they will remain home. All team meetings will be held virtually. This is the first time a Chargers player has tested positive since the league’s daily testing started during training camp. Coach Anthony Lynn had COVID-19 in June.
The team facility remains open leading to Sunday’s road game against the Denver Broncos.
In other pandemic-related NFL news:
— The Detroit Lions for the first time this season will allow a limited number of fans for a game at Ford Field. The team says capacity for guests of coaches and players will be capped at 500 for the game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. There were no fans in the stands for its first two home games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lions President Rod Wood says this is a step toward the goal of welcoming fans back to Ford Field for games later this year. Wood says the organization is working with local, state and national health officials on safely increasing capacity for remaining games.
— The Arizona Cardinals will be allowed to have 4,200 fans in the stands for their next two home games against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. That’s an increase from the 1,200 that were allowed to attend the Cardinals’ 37-34 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The seats will be available for season ticket-holders and be sold in groups of two. Masks are mandatory and the seats are spread between the east and west sidelines and the north end zone. The Cardinals are in the middle of a bye week. They host the Dolphins on Nov. 8 and the Bills the next week.
NHL clears ex-Panthers GM of wrongdoing
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL says an independent investigation has cleared former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon of any wrongdoing. The league had received an anonymous report that he made inappropriate racial, religious and ethnic comments while with the Panthers. The NHL says those claims were not substantiated.
A law firm was hired to investigate after the NHL was told of Tallon using racially derogatory language in August in the Toronto playoff bubble. The league says the firm interviewed more than a dozen Panthers employees and the allegations were “neither corroborated nor substantiated” and were inconsistent with Tallon’s longtime conduct.
In other NHL news:
— The Dallas Stars have officially removed the interim tag from Rick Bowness (BOH’-nihs), the coach who led them to the Stanley Cup Final. General manager Jim Nill made the long-anticipated announcement a month after the extended and most unusual season ended. The 65-year-old Bowness is the Stars’ 24th head coach, their ninth since moving to Dallas in 1993. Bowness was 20-13-5 after becoming their interim head coach in December. He was in his second season as a Stars assistant when Jim Montgomery was fired, and later went to alcohol rehabilitation.
— The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed two depth players from their Stanley Cup-winning team. Forward Patrick Maroon signed a two-year deal worth $1.8 million and defensemen Luke Schenn gets $900,000 for next season. Maroon and Schenn were among the newcomers who helped put the Lightning over the top after several years of playoff heartbreak. Maroon became the only back-to-back Cup champion in 2019 and 2020 after winning it with his hometown St. Louis Blues the previous season. This is Maroon’s first multiyear deal since the Anaheim Ducks signed him for three seasons back in 2015.
— The Buffalo Sabres avoided an arbitration hearing by signing forward Victor Olofsson to a two-year, $6.1 million contract on Thursday. Olofsson was a restricted free agent and coming off a season in which he finished seventh in the vote for rookie of the year honors. The 25-year-old finished third on the team with 20 goals and 42 points in 54 games. Olofsson most notably set an NHL record in being the first player to score his first seven goals on the power play. His signing comes after Buffalo locked up its two other arbitration-eligible, restricted free agents, forward Sam Reinhart and goalie Linus Ullmark, before their hearings were scheduled.
— The Arizona Coyotes have renounced their rights to their top 2020 draft pick after learning more about his bullying of a Black classmate four years ago. The team parted ways with Mitchell Miller after taking heat for selecting him in the fourth round earlier this month despite knowing of his 2016 assault conviction. Arizona acknowledged it knew about the incident when it selected Miller. President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez says discovering more about it and the effect it had on bullying victim Isaiah Meyer-Crothers and his family led to this decision. Miller becomes an NHL free agent effective immediately.