Update on the latest sports



Pitchers face crackdown on foreign substances

NEW YORK (AP) — Pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games for using illegal foreign substances to doctor baseballs in a crackdown by Major League Baseball that will start June 21.

The move announced by the commissioner’s office comes in response to record strikeouts and a league batting average at its lowest since 1968.

The commissioner’s office says major and minor league umpires will start regular checks of all pitchers, even if opposing managers don’t request inspections. Repeat offenders will receive progressive discipline, and teams and club employees will be subject to discipline for failure to comply.

The increased use of foreign substances to alter baseballs is viewed as the largest instance of widespread cheating in the sport since the rise of steroids.


Nets return home, battered by injuries

NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden is now listed as questionable by the Brooklyn Nets for tonight’s NBA Eastern Conference semifinal game against the Milwaukee Bucks. That series is tied at two apiece.

Harden hasn’t played since the opening minute of Game 1 because of right hamstring tightness. Kyrie Irving won’t play because of a sprained ankle he suffered in Game 4. So the Nets are down to Kevin Durant as their lone healthy superstar as they limp home to host Game 5 of the playoff series.

The Bucks won both games in Milwaukee after the Nets had taken a 2-0 lead at home.


Islanders up 1-0 heading into Game 2

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning meet in Tampa in the second game of their Stanley Cup semifinal series.

The Islanders won Sunday’s opener 2-1, in a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference final. The Lightning lost a series opener for the first time this postseason. It’s also the first series deficit they’ve faced since dropping Game 1 of last year’s Cup final to the Dallas Stars.

The Lightning rolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup semifinals for the fifth time in seven years.


Devils re-sign Bastian

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils have re-signed right wing Nathan Bastian to a two-year deal worth $1.65 million. General manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the signing, saying the restricted free agent would be paid $775,000 next season and $875,000 the following year.

Bastian completed his first full NHL season with the Devils, collecting 10 points in 41 games. He led the club in hits with 136 and ranked second among all NHL rookies, only two behind Montreal’s Alexander Romanov.

Bastian was one of 11 New Jersey rookies in 2020-21.


Diamondbacks hope to avoid record

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Approaching a dubious record, the Arizona Diamondbacks try to avoid their 21st consecutive road loss when they visit the San Francisco Giants. The major league mark is held by the 1963 New York Mets, who dropped 22 in a row away from the Polo Grounds. Arizona has lost 11 straight overall, its second double-digit losing streak this season.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles have dropped 16 in a row on the road heading into their game at Cleveland. Matt Harvey, who has lost seven of his past eight starts, faces Cal Quantrill and the Indians. Baltimore hasn’t won away from home since John Means pitched a no-hitter in Seattle on May 5.

Among the other games on the major-league schedule:

— Padres ace Yu Darvish starts against Colorado for the third time this season, taking on Charlie Blackmon at Coors Field. Darvish pitched a season-low four innings at Coors on May 12 despite allowing just an unearned run. He beat the Rockies in his next start, striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings.

— Braves rookie Tucker Davidson tries again for his first major league win after an impressive showing this season. The 25-year-old lefty is 0-0 with a 1.53 ERA in three starts, covering 17 2/3 innings. Davidson made his big league debut last season and lost in his only outing. Davidson and the Braves host the Red Sox, who start lefty Eduardo Rodríguez.

— Tampa Bay, winner of four straight and seven of eight, starts rookie lefty Shane McClanahan against Dallas Keuchel (KY’-kul) of the White Sox in Chicago.

— Taijuan Walker, who struck out nine last week against Baltimore, starts for the Mets at home against Alex Mills of the Cubs, who’s making his first start in more than two months.


Belichick won’t expect Gilmore to take part

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he doesn’t expect cornerback Stephon Gilmore to participate in any of the team’s remaining mandatory minicamp workouts this week. It’s an indication the former defensive player of the year could be a holdout as the team prepares to open training camp next month. Gilmore also has skipped the team’s voluntary workouts in recent months. He is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal.

In other news from NFL camps:

— Tua Tagovailoa threw five interceptions in practice as the Miami Dolphins opened mandatory minicamp. Worse, all those giveaways came with the player who picked off more passes than anyone else in the NFL last season nowhere to be found. Xavien Howard was a no-show for the first day of minicamp, which coach Brian Flores called “a contract situation.”

— The Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with first-round draft pick Jaycee Horn, a cornerback from South Carolina. The team has a fifth-year option as part of the contract.


Melvin signed through 2022

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The winningest manager in Oakland Athletics history is staying put through at least next season after the club exercised Bob Melvin’s contract option for 2022.

Melvin has guided the A’s to an 808-715 record since taking over on June 9, 2011. He recently passed Tony La Russa for most victories by an Oakland manager and last weekend became the 35th person in major league history with 1,300 managerial wins.

The 59-year-old Melvin previously led the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks before taking over the A’s.


Andy Murray defeats Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2 at Queen’s Club

LONDON (AP) — Former world No. 1 Andy Murray defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2 at the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament. Murray dispatched the Frenchman in 65 minutes for his first match victory in more than a year. It was Murray’s first grass-court match in three years and he converted all three break points and never faced one himself.

Murray had not played on the ATP Tour since Rotterdam in March and had won both of his previous meetings with Paire, including at Wimbledon in 2017.

Other winners were top-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy, British No. 1 Daniel Evans, Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and American Frances Tiafoe.

Elsewhere in tennis:

— Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka are among the winners in the first round of the German Open. Muguruza saved both of the break points she faced in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sorana Cirstea. That sets up a second-round meeting between Muguruza and Elena Rybakina. The seventh-seeded Azarenka had to break back twice in the second set on her way to a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over Andrea Petkovic. Another experienced German player awaits Azarenka in the second round after Angelique Kerber swept past qualifier Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1.


DeChambeau and Koepka keep distance on US Open tee sheet

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Anyone hopeful of a Bryson DeChambeau-Brooks Koepka pairing at the U.S. Open will have to wait. The USGA has them on opposite sides of the course at Torrey Pines, one playing in the morning and one in the afternoon.

DeChambeau is grouped with U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. Koepka is playing with former PGA champions Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.

Phil Mickelson is trying to win an elusive U.S. Open. He starts the opening two rounds with fellow San Diego native Xander Schauffele and Max Homa. Dustin Johnson is playing with Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

Categories: National Sports