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. 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.
— 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. 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. 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. The 35-year-old has a career record of 131-101 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 seasons for four teams and 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.
— 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. 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
UNDATED (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.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
— Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, upping the number of players on the list to four, pending test results from Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings. Coyle becomes just the second Bruins’ player added to the protocol, and first since Karson Kuhlman spent the first two days of the season on the list in January. He also becomes the 132nd player to spend at least one day in the protocol. Coyle’s addition comes a day after Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and Nashville’s Ryan Johansen entered the protocol.
Raiders GM Mike Mayock: ‘Jury is still out’ on Trent Brown
UNDATED (AP) — Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock says the “jury is still out” on whether highly paid right tackle Trent Brown will be back in 2021 after being limited by injuries in his first two seasons with the team.
The Raiders gave Brown a $66 million, four-year contract in free agency in 2019 to be the anchor of the line. But after a strong start to his tenure, Brown has been hampered by various injuries and a bout with COVID-19.
He managed to be healthy enough to play at least 10 snaps in just 14 of 32 games since joining the Raiders.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— The Minnesota Vikings don’t plan to drop quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to general manager Rick Spielman in comments made Wednesday. In his first media availability regarding the roster since the season ended, Spielman said “Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well, probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year”.
— The New Orleans Saints cut eight-year veteran tight end and special teams regular Josh Hill and also voided the contract of Jared Cook, who was due to become a free agent this offseason. The decision to release the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hill saves the Saints about $2.6 million in salary cap space for the coming season. The termination of Cook’s contract was a formality but also signifies the Saints’ intention to let Cook test the free-agent market rather than proactively looking to extend him after a season in which he caught 37 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns.
— 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. The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal.
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.
There will be no public sale of tickets however. All tickets will be 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.
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.
Doncic sitting one out
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was ruled out against Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, sidelined by lower back tightness that coach Rick Carlisle said shouldn’t cost him his second All-Star appearance this weekend.
Doncic showed up on the injury report Tuesday, a day after scoring 33 points in a 130-124 victory at Orlando. It was the sixth game of the season of at least 30 points for Doncic, who turned 22 on Sunday.
The second missed game of the season for Doncic is Dallas’ last before the All-Star Game on Sunday in Atlanta. Carlisle said he expects Doncic to participate.
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.
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives are looking at data from the “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 that traffic investigators executed a search warrant to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. Deputy Trina Schrader says there was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box.
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.
Mississippi House wants ban on transgender athletes on female teams
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams in the state’s schools and universities.
The bill heads to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in the next several days, and he is expected to sign it into law. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year.
Democratic President Joe Biden signed an executive order Jan. 20 — the day he took office — that bans discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. The House voted 81-28 to pass Senate Bill 2536. Six representatives did not vote, and seven voted “present,” which counts neither for nor against the bill.