Update on the latest sports


Nationals lefty Jon Lester to have thyroid gland removed

UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says left-hander Jon Lester will have surgery to have a thyroid gland removed.

Lester will leave spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, and fly to New York for the procedure. Martinez says the 37-year-old starting pitcher is expected to be back at camp in about five to seven days. The starting pitcher originally was scheduled to make his first appearance for Washington in a Grapefruit League game Thursday.

In 2006, Lester’s rookie season with the Boston Red Sox ended early because he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. He had chemotherapy and returned the next season.

Lester is entering his 16th year in the majors and first with Washington. He was a free agent and joined the Nationals on a $5 million, one-year contract after playing the past six seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

In other MLB news:

— New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a leave of absence from the team to get a pacemaker and intends to return to work in a few days. The Yankees said the procedure would likely be performed Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager for Wednesday night’s exhibition against Toronto in Tampa. The 47-year-old Boone is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager. Boone played in the major leagues from 1997-2009 and was an All-Star for the Yankees in 2003.

— Houston Astros left-hander Framber Valdéz has a fractured left ring finger, an injury that could deal another blow to the team’s banged-up starting rotation. The 27-year-old was hurt Tuesday on the fifth pitch of his spring training debut on a one-hopper off the bat of the New York Mets’ Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’). Valdéz stayed in the game and finished two innings. An X-ray afterward revealed the injury. Houston already is missing ace Justin Verlander, who probably will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery.

— Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro has tested positive for COVID-19. Manager Torey Lovullo says Locastro tested positive on Tuesday night and would be out for 10 days unless it was a false positive. He said Locastro feels good and currently has no symptoms. The 28-year-old Locastro is expected to have a sizable role with the Diamondbacks this season, either as the starting center fielder or a versatile backup outfielder.

— Veteran left-hander Gio González has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins and will take part in their major league camp. Gonzalez is a South Florida native. He pitched in 12 games last year for Chicago White Sox with four starts and had an ERA of 4.83. He has a career record of 131-101 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 seasons for four teams. The 35-year-old Gonzalez is a two-time All-Star.

— A person familiar with the situation says infielder Eric Sogard and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a minor league contract, pending a physical. The 34-year-old hit .209 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 43 games for Milwaukee last season. He has a .246 average, 25 homers and 175 RBIs over 10 seasons with Oakland, Toronto, Tampa Bay and the Brewers.

— Joe Altobelli, the manager who led the Baltimore Orioles to their most recent World Series title in 1983, has died at the age of 88. The Orioles confirmed Altobelli’s death on Wednesday and in a statement said that the manager was a “tremendous leader.” Altobelli was hired by the Orioles before the 1983 season and immediately found success. The team’s roster included future Hall of Famers like first baseman Eddie Murray, shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and pitcher Jim Palmer. The Orioles won the World Series by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.


Hurricanes’ Niederreiter fined for interfering with Saros

NEW YORK (AP) — Carolina forward Nino Niederreiter (NEE’-dur-eye-tur) has been fined $5,000 for interfering with Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros (YOO’-see SAH’-rohs). That’s the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.

Niederreiter hit Saros up high in a collision behind the net five minutes into the Hurricanes-Predators game Tuesday night. He was given a two-minute minor penalty for roughing.

Saros remained in net for the rest of the first period before being replaced by Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nuh) to start the second. On Wednesday, the Predators said Saros, who started the past three games, is day to day with an upper-body injury.


Ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow II gets 14 years for rapes

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sexual offenses against five women in Southern California.

Winslow appeared via videoconference at Wednesday’s hearing in San Diego Superior Court. The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman called Winslow a sexual predator who committed brazen crimes against women who were especially vulnerable.

His attorney said Winslow suffered head trauma from playing football, and that was why he “went off the rails.”

The 37-year-old former tight end is the son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame receiver Kellen Winslow.


Big East teams to get tickets for men’s hoops

UNDATED (AP) — The Big East Conference is going to provide a limited number of tickets to each of the participating teams in next week’s Big East men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The league says it will follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement allowing partial spectator capacity at sporting events in the state.

All tickets will be specifically designated for use by the members of each school’s official travel party in order to permit families and guests of athletes, coaches and team staffs to attend the games. There will be no public sale of tickets to this year’s tournament.

In other college basketball news:

— The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced that Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball game at North Carolina State on Saturday has been canceled. The cancellation follows quarantining and a contract tracing review within the Virginia Tech men’s program. The team will adhere to the ACC’s outlined protocols.


NBA says $3 million going to HBCUs through All-Star Game

ATLANTA (AP) — The last shot of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game will be worth $300,000 for either the Thurgood Marshall College Fund or United Negro College Fund.

The NBA on Wednesday revealed how an estimated $3 million in charitable donations from the contest will be distributed. Those two organizations that support historically Black colleges or institutions will be the primary benefactors, each guaranteed $500,000 in scholarship funding before the game even starts and with an additional $750,000 at stake during the game.

The teams captained by LeBron James and Kevin Durant will each represent one of those groups, and the winning team in each of the first, second and third quarters will collect $150,000 for their respective organization. The first team to hit the target score and win the All-Star Game will get the final $300,000 in scholarship funds.

Black institutions will see at least another $1.25 million guaranteed from the skills competitions and All-Star Game, the NBA said. Each assist in the game will generate $1,900 in scholarship funds; last year’s game had 77 assists, which if matched this year would mean $146,300.


Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a version of event data recorders that store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. There is no word on what was found.

California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury.

Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery.


Vanessa Bryant discusses her life after deaths of Kobe and Gigi

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vanessa Bryant says she is focused on “finding the light in darkness” after her husband and daughter died in a helicopter crash early last year.

In an interview with People magazine, Bryant talks about trying to navigate heartache over the loss of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi while working to rebuild a life for herself and three daughters. She says her devotion to her daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri have been a saving grace, helping her to “smile through the pain.”

Kobe Bryant was killed when the helicopter carrying him, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, California, while flying to a girls basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy on Jan. 26, 2020.

Vanessa Bryant says she wants to honor her husband and daughter’s legacy by creating opportunities for young female athletes. She has taken charge of creative projects left unfinished at Granity Studios, the late NBA star’s multimedia company she now helms. She recently relaunched Kobe’s charitable non-profit as Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation — a nod to the father-daughter duo — to help empower young girls and provide equal opportunities to underserved athletes.

Categories: National Sports