MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Kansas City 9 Chicago Cubs 0

Oakland 3 LA Dodgers 2

Texas 11 Seattle 7

LA Angels 6 Detroit 0

Boston 10 Toronto 5

Cleveland 5 Minnesota 2

Baltimore 5 Tampa Bay 4

NY Yankees 7 Chicago White Sox 3

NY Mets 8 Cincinnati 0

Pittsburgh 4 Colorado 3

Arizona 6 Philadelphia 0

Atlanta 8 Washington 3

St. Louis 7 Miami 1

Milwaukee 8 San Diego 4

 

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Indianapolis 4 Lehigh Valley 3

Lansing 5 Dayton 4

Fort Wayne 9 Lake County 8

Great Lakes 11 South Bend 5 (11)

 

WNBA

Los Angeles 82 New York 81

Connecticut 101 Dallas 92

 

 

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL D-1 PRE-SEASON POLL

  1. Stanford (43)                         1575          30-4                  4

 

  1. Nebraska (20)                     1525          32-4                  1

 

  1. Texas                                    1389          27-3                5

 

  1. Minnesota                          1342          28-6                 10

 

  1. Kentucky                              1260          29-4                  6

 

  1. Penn State                           1227          33-2                  3

 

  1. Florida (1)                            1208          30-2                 2

 

  1. BYU                                          1183          30-3                7

 

  1. Wisconsin                             1146          22-10                12

 

  1. Southern California          1019          25-10                 7

 

  1. UCLA                                 850            21-11              14

 

  1. Illinois                              782            23-11              17

 

  1. Creighton                        651            26-7                 16

 

  1. San Diego                   632            25-5                 13

 

  1. Colorado                      609            24-10              19

 

  1. Baylor                               597            24-7                 21

 

  1. Washington                    503            25-8                 15

 

  1. Oregon                           443            18-12              RV

 

  1. Utah                            424            24-10              13

 

  1. Pittsburgh                  352            26-7                RV

 

  1. Iowa State 284            22-7                25

 

  1. Michigan State               250            24-9                  8

 

  1. Purdue                      225            23-10              18

 

  1. Cal Poly                209            27-3               22

 

  1. Colorado State            174            29-4                24

 

 

TOP HEADLINES

NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for draft, recruiting

Underclassmen college basketball players who declare for the NBA draft but are not selected will be able to return to college and retain their eligibility under a new rule passed by the NCAA on Tuesday.

The rule is one of several passed by the college sports governing body this week, in the aftermath of an FBI investigation of the sport into illicit payments made by shoe companies to coaches and players.

Last year, the NCAA created a college basketball commission chaired by Condoleeza Rice, which reported suggested rule changes to the NCAA.

The one most likely to affect college rosters involves the NBA draft. Currently, players can declare for the draft but must make a decision about whether to stay in the draft by the end of May. Players who stay in the draft but are undrafted are ineligible to return to school.

That means players like Michigan State’s Nick Ward and Michigan’s Charles Mathews, who both waited until shortly before the deadline earlier this summer to decide to return to school, could remain draft-eligible to see if they get picked, then return to school if they don’t.

Other significant changes announced on Tuesday include players being able to hire agents as high schoolers. Players deemed “elite” by USA Basketball can hire an agent starting on July 1 before their senior year. Agents must be certified by the NCAA to enter into an agreement with a high school or college player.

The rules on agents and the NBA draft are contingent on new rules being passed by the NBA and NBA players association.

In addition, the NCAA also passed a host of new rules surrounding college basketball recruiting.

Starting later this months, recruits can take up to 15 official visits, including five during their junior year and five during their senior year, and five while enrolled in college. Under previous rules, recruits could take only five official visits.

The recruiting calendar is also changing, with coaches being allowed to attend events put on by high schools in late June, and then attend new NCAA youth development camps in July.

The third tier of the new rules changes involves enforcement, including stronger penalties and the use of independent investigations.

New rules will also require colleges to pay for tuition, fees and books for players who return to school to complete a degree after leaving.

 

James, Warriors, Rockets, Celtics highlight NBA TV schedule

 NBA fans will get a smorgasbord of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, the All-Star laden lineup of the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets and the up-and-coming Boston Celtics as part of the league’s national television schedule.

The NBA released its TV schedule for the first week of the season, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Wednesday, and all are prominently featured.

James Harden and the Rockets will appear three times on national television in the opening week of the season, while Lakers, Warriors and Celtics will be featured twice.

The highlight of the coveted Christmas Day games is James facing a familiar foe – Stephen Curry and the Warriors – for a fourth straight year, only this time James will be wearing Lakers’ gold and purple rather than the familiar wine and gold colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors, who added center DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason, feature a lineup with five current NBA All-Stars.

The other Christmas Day games include Kyrie Irving and the Celtics hosting the young, but talented Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets, who came within a game of knocking off the Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season, will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks visit the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Utah Jazz.

The featured MLK day games includes a Warriors-Lakers rematch – this time in Los Angeles – while the 76ers host the Rockets, and Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Memphis Grizzles.

A look at some of the games on the league’s national TV schedule:

OPENING WEEK

The NBA season begins Oct. 16 with TNT televising the 76ers at the Celtics and the Thunder at the Warriors. The Pelicans visit the Rockets and Mavericks face the Suns on Oct. 17 on ESPN. On Oct. 18, the Bulls travel to face the 76ers and the Lakers visit the Trail Blazers, which both games on TNT. The Celtics will visit the Raptors on Oct. 19, while the Jazz host the Warriors on ESPN. The first nationally televised weekend games include the Raptors at the Washington Wizards on NBA TV and Rockets-Lakers Oct. 20 on ESPN, and the Rockets-Los Angeles Clippers Oct. 21 on NBA TV.

CHRISTMAS DAY

The Bucks and Knicks get things going on Christmas day at noon Eastern on ESPN, followed by the Thunder-Rockets at 3 p.m. and 76ers-Celtics at 5:30 p.m. on ABC. The night games include Lakers-Warriors at 8 p.m. on ABC/ESPN capped by the Trail Blazers-Jazz at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.

 

Browns rookie QB Mayfield not nervous heading into NFL debut

Baker Mayfield played on a big stage at Oklahoma, so he’s not scared of stepping onto football’s biggest one.

The Browns rookie quarterback – and perhaps their QB of the future – will make his NFL exhibition debut Thursday night as Cleveland visits the New York Giants in a game that will feature the top two overall picks in this year’s draft: Mayfield and Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Almost from the time he first picked up a football, the Heisman Trophy winner has been looking forward to his first game action as a pro. But he won’t let that thrill overwhelm him.

“Played this game for a long time, I don’t get nervous,” said Mayfield, currently No. 2 on Cleveland’s depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor. “So I’m going to say I’m not going to have to worry about that part. Anytime I get the chance to play ball, yeah, I get excited, but however much I play I’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity, that’s for sure.”

Coach Hue Jackson want to play Mayfield two quarters, sending him in after Taylor gets in some work leading Cleveland’s first-team offense for a series or two.

The Browns’ plan – at this point – is to have Mayfield spend the season watching and learning behind Taylor, who led Buffalo to the playoffs last season and has quickly established himself as a leader in Cleveland.

Mayfield understands he has to be patient, and while waiting for his turn he’s had an impressive training camp. He releases the ball quickly and accurately, and Mayfield seems to have a solid grasp of coordinator Todd Haley’s offense.

But although Jackson said Mayfield has exceeded expectations, he’s committed to opening the season with Taylor behind center.

“We are going to grow our quarterbacks,” Jackson said last week. “Tyrod Taylor is our quarterback. Baker Mayfield is competing and getting better each and every day, still learning the National Football League. Has done a really nice job of learning our system and improving every day.”

The 23-year-old Mayfield showed poise during an intrasquad scrimmage last week. He led Cleveland’s backups on an opening touchdown drive, but later struggled in the red zone against Cleveland’s starting defense and also threw his first interception of camp.

 

49ers to honor Dwight Clark with season-long celebration

The San Francisco 49ers will honor former tight end Dwight Clark with a season-long celebration of his life that will include unveiling a statue of “The Catch.”

Clark died in June at age 61. He suffered from ALS.

All 49ers players will wear 87 helmet decals throughout the season, and Levi’s Stadium field bunting will pay tribute to Clark during all 49ers games.

The statue outside of Levi’s Stadium will be revealed on Oct. 21 when the 49ers host the Rams. The 350-pound statues of Clark and Joe Montana will be placed 23 yards apart – the distance covered on the famed winning play in the 1981 NFC championship game. The representation of Clark, with his hands outstretched, will extend 11 feet in the air.

During the game, an 87 marking will be in the end zone commemorating the location of “The Catch,” which actually came at Candlestick Park, the team’s previous home.

The Rams-49ers matchup will serve as the 49ers’ annual alumni game, with funds raised to support Clark’s charity of choice, the Golden Heart Fund. That fund was established in 2016 to support 49ers alumni in need of financial, medical, psychological or emotional support.

“Almost four decades ago, Dwight Clark’s miraculous catch launched the San Francisco 49ers into an era of excellence,” 49ers CEO Jed York said. “Since that time, he has served as an inspirational figure to citizens of the Bay Area and beyond. Dwight has meant so much to so many, and it is only fitting that our organization continues to carry on his wonderful legacy. The 2018 season provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the life of a very special man, while also raising awareness for the Golden Heart Fund, which was so dear to his heart.

“Dwight lived his life with great compassion for others, and we want to honor that legacy by raising funds to support his 49ers brothers.”

 

AP sources: Pelicans and Jahlil Okafor agree on contract

Two people familiar with the situation say free-agent center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a two-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. They say the contract includes a team option in Year 2.

Philadelphia made 6-foot-11 Okafor the third overall pick out of Duke in the 2015 NBA draft. But Okafor’s production fell considerably last season from the nearly 15 points and six rebounds he averaged through his first two seasons with the 76ers.

He appeared in only two games with Philadelphia last season before being traded to Brooklyn, where he played about 13 minutes per game as a reserve, averaging 6.4 points.

Okafor joins projected starter Julius Randle among the new centers the Pelicans have acquired since DeMarcus Cousins’ departure in free agency for Golden State.

 

Iowa suspends Jackson, Lattimore for season opener

 Iowa tackle Alaric Jackson and defensive lineman Cedrick Lattimore will be suspended for the season opener against Northern Illinois for violating team rules.

The Hawkeyes say the suspensions aren’t for legal matters. But coach Kirk Ferentz says Jackson and Lattimore’s issues surfaced in the late spring and both players were given guidelines to meet.

Ferentz called their response “excellent.” However, it apparently wasn’t strong enough to avoid missing the opener.

The loss of Jackson means that Iowa will face the Huskies on Sept. 1 without either of their starting tackles. Tristan Wirfs, like Jackson a sophomore pressed into duty a year ago, is suspended for one game after being charged with drunk driving on July 29.

 

Devers hits 2-run HR in return as Red Sox beat Jays 10-5

The streaking Red Sox have had plenty to be pleased about in recent weeks.

The return of Rafael Devers gave Boston one more reason to smile.

Devers came off the disabled list and hit a two-run home run, Brian Johnson pitched a season-high seven innings to win his second straight start and the Red Sox extended their winning streak to six games with a 10-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

J.D. Martinez had three hits and Xander Bogaerts had three RBIs for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who have won 10 of 11.

Devers had been out since July 28 because of a strained left hamstring. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored twice.

“I felt good, I gave 100 percent on every play today and nothing bothered me,” Devers said through a translator. “I’m just happy to be back and contributing.”

He isn’t the only one who’s happy.

“It’s cool to see him around,” manager Alex Cora said. “He brings a lot of joy to the game, a lot of smiles in the clubhouse. Everybody is happy. He’s like their little brother. For him to go out there and perform, that was good to see.”

Outfielder Mookie Betts, who scored a pair of runs, said Devers has an infectious enthusiasm.

“He just brings fun,” Betts said. “He’s a young kid who laughs and enjoys being around. Anytime you have somebody young like that laughing and enjoying things, it kind of helps you sit back and enjoy it too.”

There’s been no shortage of things for Boston to enjoy. The Red Sox, who own the best record in the major leagues at 81-34, have won 12 of 15 meetings with Toronto this season.

Toronto, meanwhile, matched a season-worst by falling 11 games below .500 at 51-62.

Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run home run for the Blue Jays, his 17th, and Randal Grichuk added a three-run blast, his 15th. Both homers came off Johnson.

Johnson (3-3) allowed five runs and six hits to earn his first career win over the Blue Jays. He walked two and struck out six.

 

Severino helps Yankees sweep White Sox with 7-3 win

Luis Severino has been working on his slider with New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

It’s beginning to pay off, too.

Severino pitched seven effective innings in his first win in a month, Giancarlo Stanton hit his first grand slam in four years and the Yankees swept the Chicago White Sox with a 7-3 victory on Wednesday night.

Aaron Hicks also homered as wild card-leading New York closed out a 3-4 trip with its third consecutive win. While Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez remain sidelined by injuries, the Yankees posted their first road series sweep of at least three games since a weekend set against the Angels from April 27-29.

“It’s not easy for us right now,” manager Aaron Boone said. “For us to come in here and grind out these wins I think is huge.”

The Yankees bounced back nicely after they were swept by the big league-best Red Sox, an ugly four-game set that included Severino’s third straight loss. The ace right-hander was a little better this time around, striking out eight while moving into a tie for the major league lead with his career-best 15th win.

Severino (15-5) retired 11 in a row after the White Sox used three straight hits to open a 2-0 lead in the first. After Tim Anderson led off the fifth with his 15th homer, Severino fanned the next two batters, and Austin Romine threw out Yoan Moncada trying to steal second.

“A lot of good sliders. The changeup was a factor again tonight,” Boone said. “So hopefully another step forward for him.”

Severino said he felt better about his slider after working with Rothschild on the shape of the pitch.

“I was in control. I wasn’t missing like a couple outings ago,” he said. “I was on top of the ball.”

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (7-9) was tagged for seven runs and six hits in five innings in his first loss in a month. He was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA in his previous four starts.

 

DeGrom gets run support, lowers ERA to 1.77; Mets blank Reds

Jacob deGrom has had precious little margin for error even while having the best ERA in the majors. Finally, on Wednesday, he got the run support he needed.

DeGrom struck out 10 over six innings, received rare significant run support and earned his first win in nearly two months as the New York Mets blanked the Cincinnati Reds 8-0.

“Almost every game he’s pitched in, one pitch can cost him the game,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “So I feel like all of those are stressful innings.

“Jacob is so relaxed, he might not feel the stress of those, but I would have to think every time a runner gets in scoring position or every time a home run hitter gets up that he steps on the gas a tad more to make sure he doesn’t even give up one run.”

Brandon Nimmo tied a team record with three doubles and drove in three runs as the Mets won for the 22nd time in their last 66 games.

DeGrom (6-7) ended a seven-start winless streak, allowing four hits in a 100-pitch outing and lowering his ERA from 1.85 to 1.77. He won for the first time since June 18 at Colorado, where the Mets scored 12 runs.

It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and 27th of his career. His first nine strikeouts were on change-ups and fastballs, and deGrom used his curveball to fan Scooter Gennett to end the sixth.

“When I go out there, I don’t want anybody to score,” deGrom said. “I don’t like giving up runs whether it’s 8-0 or 0-0, and that’s how I approach this year, go out there and keep guys from getting around the bases.”

DeGrom allowed one earned or fewer for the 13th time this season, tying him with Justin Verlander, Blake Snell and Chris Sale for the major league lead. He held an opponent under three runs for the 20th straight time.

“He’s definitely one of the best in the game,” Gennett said. “His numbers show it.”

 

Saban: Jalen Hurts’ comments don’t affect Alabama team

Alabama coach Nick Saban responded Wednesday to quarterback Jalen Hurts, saying the QB’s recent comments about his treatment by the staff aren’t an issue for the team and won’t have any bearing on the competition for the starting job.

Hurts expressed some disappointment Saturday in the coaches’ communication with him about the quarterback battle between he and Tua Tagovailoa.

Hurts said the staff never “asked how I felt.”

He hadn’t previously been allowed to speak to reporters since the night of the title game and said now “the narrative has already been created.” The comments made national headlines, but Saban downplayed the impact on the Crimson Tide team.

“Every player has a right to express what he feels and what he thinks, and I think he has every right to do that with every coach or anybody in the organization who he has relationships with, which we certainly do quite often with all players at all positions,” Saban said after Wednesday’s practice.

“Look, this is probably a lot more important to people outside this organization than it is to people inside. I don’t think it has any effect on our team. I’ve talked to a lot of our team leaders. The players are focused on what they need to do.”

Hurts is 26-2 as a starter but then-freshman Tagovailoa replaced him in last year’s national championship game and led a second-half rally against Georgia.

Now, Tagovailoa is regarded as the front-runner for the job. Regardless, Saban said Hurts’ comments won’t decide who emerges as the starter.

“The rhetoric will not have anything to do with who’s the quarterback,” the coach said. “That will obviously be decided on the field by how people execute, how they do their job. The same parameters that we’ve talked about before in terms of who wins the team. And winning the team goes along with execution, leadership, players having confidence and belief.

“And that’s not going to change. I don’t really have any more to say about it than that. I don’t think it is anything that has affected our team one way or the other.”