Update on the latest sportsAP
Milestone for Bubba Wallace as he earns 1st NASCAR victory
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Bubba Wallace has become just the second Black driver to win a NASCAR’s Cup Series race. He was declared the winner when rain stopped the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
It is the same track where the FBI investigated a noose found in Wallace’s garage stall last year. The FBI found that the rope tie had been up for months and Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime. He is the first Black driver to win at NASCAR’s elite Cup level since Wendell Scott in 1963. Wallace drives for a team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
Mets let manager go
NEW YORK (AP) — Luis Rojas has been let go as manager of the New York Mets after two losing seasons. The team declined its option on Rojas’ contract for 2022, making the announcement one day after finishing third in the NL East at 77-85 in Steve Cohen’s first year of ownership.
Monday’s move was no surprise, the first of several significant changes coming again this offseason for a club in constant turmoil. The Mets said Rojas has been offered the opportunity to remain in the organization in a role still to be determined. The club said decisions about the coaching staff will be made in the next several days.
In other MLB news:
—The Chicago White Sox think pitcher Carlos Rodón will be healthy enough to help them in the playoffs after the All-Star left-hander was limited down the regular-season stretch. General manager Rick Hahn says the team is optimistic he’ll be able contribute through October. Hahn said Rodón will only pitch once during the division series against the AL West champion Houston Astros that begins Thursday. If the White Sox advance, they’ll evaluate his workload on a series-by-series basis. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. Rodón has a history of arm and shoulder injuries and threw just 28 innings over the final two months of the regular season. But he also played a big role as the White Sox ran away with the AL Central title at 93-69.
— Major League Baseball drew 45.3 million fans this year as fans gradually were allowed to return, down from 68.5 million over 2019 in the last season before the coronavirus pandemic. The commissioner’s office says this year’s MLB season averaged 18,901 for 2,397 dates.The Los Angeles Dodgers led the major leagues in home attendance at 2.8 million. They did not start selling full capacity until games in mid-June. Atlanta was second at 2.3 million, followed by San Diego at 2.2 million, Texas and St. Louis at 2.1 million and Houston at 2.07 million.
— Mookie Betts and the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers had four of the top 10 selling jerseys in Major League Baseball this season. Betts’ No. 50 uniform claimed the top spot for the second straight year after he was acquired prior to the 2020 season from the Boston Red Sox. He’s joined in the top 10 by teammates Clayton Kershaw at five, Cody Bellinger at six and World Series MVP Corey Seager at eight. Kershaw and Seager are set to become free agents.
Washington Football Team’s trainer on leave amid criminal investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Football Team has placed head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion on administrative leave for what a team statement calls an ongoing criminal investigation unrelated to the club.
Two people familiar with the matter say federal law enforcement officials including agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration served a search warrant at Washington’s practice facility. One of the people says another search warrant was served at a local home.
Vermillion is in his second season with coach Ron Rivera in Washington after 18 seasons working for the Carolina Panthers. Asked about Vermillion’s status, Rivera repeatedly referred to the team’s statement and declined to elaborate.
Alabama running back out for the year
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban says tailback Jase McClellan is out for the year with a knee injury. The top-ranked Crimson Tide’s top backup runner is set for surgery on Tuesday.
McClellan was injured in a win over No. 17 Mississippi, when Brian Robinson Jr. ran 36 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns. McClellan is second on the team in rushing with 40 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown. He also has 10 catches for 97 yards with another three scores.
Elsewhere in college football:
— Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will be out indefinitely after injuring his throwing shoulder in Saturday’s loss at Penn State. Coach Tom Allen says the redshirt junior does not need surgery to repair the separated AC joint in his left shoulder, at least not yet. He will be re-evaluated weekly. Jack Tuttle will replace Penix as the starter and could be the starter when the Hoosiers host No. 11 Michigan State on Oct. 16.
— Syracuse coach Dino Babers confirmed that wide receiver Taj Harris has left the program and will enter the transfer portal. Babers said he spoke with Harris before and after Saturday’s loss at Florida State and said Harris decided “the best opportunity” would be to transfer. Harris played in only three of the Orange’s five games this season and had 16 catches for 171 yards. Harris was a third-team All-ACC selection last season and led the team with 58 receptions for 733 yards and five touchdowns.
VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault is denying accusations that he ever gave players drugs without doctor’s consent.
Former Flyers goalie Robin Lehner in a series of tweets says teams give players sedatives and anxiety pills without a doctor’s consent. He referenced the Flyers and Vigneault, who says he has never given players pills.
The NHL has reached out to Lehner to set up an interview over his claims. Lehner is currently with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Tennis tour investigating abuse accusations against Zverev
LONDON (AP) — The men’s professional tennis tour has opened an investigation into a former girlfriend’s accusations of domestic abuse by Olympic gold medalist and 2020 U.S Open runner-up Alexander Zverev.
The ATP says it’s looking into “allegations concerning Alexander Zverev at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Shanghai in 2019.” ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli said the tour wants to “establish the facts and determine appropriate follow-up action.” The tour also said it has received a report offering recommendations for establishing a policy governing domestic violence.