NFL PRE-SEASON

Minnesota 17 Buffalo 10

Miami 23 Atlanta 20

Baltimore 23 Washington 3

Jacksonville 31 New England 24

Denver 24 Chicago 17

Cleveland 20 New Orleans 14

Green Bay 24 Philadelphia 9

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Pittsburgh 7 Detroit 5

St. Louis 8 Kansas City 6

Minnesota 7 Milwaukee 2

Toronto 4 NY Yankees 0

Tampa Bay 4 Cleveland 1

Chicago White Sox 3 Houston 2 (11)

Baltimore 7 Oakland 2

LA Angels 6 Seattle 3

Cincinnati 10 San Diego 3

Washington 3 Miami 2

NY Mets 10 Philadelphia 0

LA Dodgers 8 Arizona 6

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

South Bend 5 Dayton 2

Bowling Green 5 Fort Wayne 2

Indianapolis 3 Syracuse 1

WNBA

Phoenix 101 Dallas 100 (OT)

Chicago 94 San Antonio 74

 

Gennett’s grand slam leads Reds past Padres

It was a classic seventh-inning chess match on Thursday afternoon between San Diego Padres manager Andy Green and Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price.

Left-hander Brad Hand had not allowed a run since June 10. Scooter Gennett had hit .203 versus lefties this season. Price chose not to pinch-hit for Gennett. It was the best possible matchup for Green and the Padres.

Reds: Checkmate.

Gennett hit a grand slam on Hand’s first pitch, and two pitches later, Eugenio Suarez added a solo shot, as Cincinnati rallied for a 10-3 victory over the Padres in the finale of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

“I think it was just a first-pitch slider for a strike,” said Gennett. “(Price) is the type of manager that if you’re starting, he’s going to roll with what he’s got. It’s great to play for a manager like that.”

With the Padres leading 3-2 with two Reds runners on and a 2-2 count on Joey Votto, Green replaced Kirby Yates with Hand, who had starting warming up when Votto came up to bat.

Hand walked Votto after two pitches to load the bases, then fanned Adam Duvall for the second out.

“We’ve got the lefty-lefty matchup that we honestly covet, that we would have gone to no matter what, Brad vs Scooter Gennett,” said Green. “Brad’s been great all year. He hung a breaking ball and he paid for it.”

Gennett crushed the first pitch into the center-field seats for his third career grand slam, snapping Hand’s career-high 24-inning scoreless streak.

 

Olsen, Kisner share first-round lead at PGA Championship

Now would be a good time for Thorbjorn Olesen to put it all together because he senses he might be getting close.

Olesen turned in a solid opening round in the PGA Championship on Thursday, sharing the first-round lead with Kevin Kisner at Quail Hollow Club.

“I’ve had some good rounds in majors, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years playing quite a few majors now,” he said. “I feel like I’m better prepared to be in contention over the weekend and have a chance to win.”

Olesen and Kisner shot 4-under-par 67s for a one-shot edge on Brooks Koepka, Grayson Murray, Gary Woodland, Chris Stroud and D.A. Points.

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth’s much-anticipated bid for a career grand slam began with a 1-over-par 72.

With different parts of his game emerging, Olesen said tweaking some details might be all it takes.

“I feel more confident with myself and my game than I probably did a few years ago,” he said. “So obviously a lot of things can happen. I just have to stay relaxed the next few days, still trying to keep the ball in the fairway, and then I know I can hit it close and make some birdies.

“That’s the key right now to my rounds is just getting that driver going, and then I feel like I’m in a good position with the rest of my game.”

 

Duke’s Krzyzewski to have knee replacement surgery

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo total right knee replacement surgery this weekend, the school announced Thursday.

Krzyzewski will undergo the procedure at Duke University Hospital. The 70-year-old will likely spend three days in the hospital before being released.

Due to Krzyzewski’s health situation, the Blue Devils canceled their scheduled exhibition trip to the Dominican Republic. The team was scheduled to leave on Aug. 17.

“While it’s disappointing that we aren’t able to make the Dominican Republic trip, this is a positive development for both our team and myself because it will allow us to be at full strength for the start of practice this fall,” Krzyzewski said in a news release. “After three consecutive days of working with the team, it became clear that the condition of my knee wouldn’t be sustainable through next season. The best course of action is to correct the problem now rather than later, when our team would be more profoundly impacted.”

The right knee situation is the latest health situation to plague the coach, who is undergoing his sixth surgery in the past 16 months. He missed seven games last season due to back surgery.

The man known as Coach K had his left knee replaced in the spring of 2016. He also has had both hips replaced — his left in 1999 and the right in 2002.

Athletic director Kevin White agreed that the legendary coach needed to get the knee situation addressed now.

 

Claiming NFL collusion against Colin Kaepernick is one thing, but proving it is another

The longer that NFL teams refuse to sign Colin Kaepernick — and the more that they reach for quarterbacks, like the then-retired Jay Cutler — the more it seems as if they and the league are doing something illegal.

To many, it looks like collusion. In the legal sense of the term, though, it is not. At least, not so far.

Filing and winning a collusion claim against the NFL, says sports law expert and Sporting News contributor Cari Grieb, would be “an uphill battle … (and) the reason he faces it is that there has been no concrete evidence that collusion occurred.’’

The 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players’ association spells it out definitively. According to Article 17, Section 5, “The complaining party shall bear the burden of demonstrating by a clear preponderance of the evidence” that teams and the league colluded in not signing him, and that doing so “caused any economic injury to such player(s).’’

Any collusion claim would be filed as a grievance by the NFL Players Association on Kaepernick’s behalf, as dictated by the labor agreement.

Grieb — an adjunct professor of sports law at Chicago’s John Marshall and chair of the Chicago Bar Association Sports Law Committee — said that Kaepernick bearing the burden of evidence means he would need concrete proof that at least two teams, or the league and at least one team, made an agreement to not sign him.

“It can be expressed or implied, as the CBA says,’’ Grieb said, referring to Section 1 (a) of Article 17. It also does not have to be written down on paper, she added — referring to the collusion grievances Major League Baseball lost over their attempts to suppress salaries in the 1980s. The smoking gun turned out to be written notes taken by owners in their discussions about colluding.

“The lesson learned from that ‘80s baseball case is not to keep notes, not have a record of any kind of collusion,’’ Grieb said. However, she added, “Technology would make it easier to produce evidence,’’ pointing out video and audio recordings, emails, texts or any social media correspondences could incriminate teams or the league.

 

Steelers GM rips RB Bell for camp holdout

Star running back Le’Veon Bell is only hurting himself with his holdout, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bell, who has yet to sign his $12.12 million franchise tender, can’t be fined for his absence from training camp because he doesn’t have a contract. The 25-year-old isn’t allowed to receive a long-term deal this season because the deadline for tagged players passed on July 17.

“My feeling is there’s nothing to be gained by a holdout,” Colbert said Wednesday. “The situation won’t change; it can’t really change from our part on a long-term deal.

“So it hurts him not to be here. It hurts him because he’s not working with his teammates, he’s not getting the conditioning work that he’s going to need to have a great 2017 season. And he’s not working with his teammates to get acclimated to the offense — every year it’s different.”

DeAngelo Williams took up for his fellow running back by voicing his displeasure on Twitter.

“Wow he really said that!” Williams wrote. “Please explain to me how because when he gets back he will be the freshest body out there with his skillset #wrong”

The Steelers can tag the versatile Bell for the second straight season in 2018 at $14.54 million or re-sign him.

The franchise tag still has Bell as the league’s highest-paid tailback in 2017, with LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills the next closest in per-year salary. McCoy averages $8 million on his five-year deal.

 

Steelers GM: ‘We have to be prepared’ for life after Big Ben

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert knows the clock is ticking with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger openly talking about retirement.

Roethlisberger, who is a five-time Pro Bowl selection, admitted during an interview in July that retirement at the end of the 2017 season is a serious consideration.

“I hope he stays here more than one year, but we have to be prepared,” Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“… Will I see more games, maybe, more quarterbacks? Maybe. Not because of what he said, but where he is. At 35, you may put a replacement in place sooner than later, and we did that, again adding a young player like a Josh Dobbs into the mix at this point. All of a sudden Landry (Jones is) a free agent last year and that kind of snuck up on us as well, so you want to put another young quarterback in the mix. Fortunately we signed Landry, and we have him for a longer period than we did at this point last year.”

Roethlisberger will tie Terry Bradshaw for the longest tenure as a Steelers quarterback as he heads into his 14th NFL season.

Days after Pittsburgh lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game in January, Roethlisberger hinted he might have played his last game.

Roethlisberger, as expected, officially put to rest any speculation about his future with an announcement in April of his return. He has been the team’s starter since being drafted in the first round in 2004.

 

Favre suggests Rodgers can play into 40s

Aaron Rodgers is on record as saying that he’d like to still be playing professional football when he’s 40.

While that gives the current Green Bay Packers quarterback plenty of time on the field, a certain long-time inhabitant of Lambeau Field has a question for Rodgers.

“Why stop at 40?” Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre asked of the 33-year-old Rodgers on Wednesday while speaking at the Lee Remmel Sports Awards Banquet in De Pere, Wis.

“He moves around as well as anyone in the game right now. That’s big,” Favre said. “… I would think that barring any injury — and he knows how to protect himself — six or seven years from now is a long time to think that far down the road, but there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play and play at a high level until — I’m not going to say 43, 44, it’s up to the individual — and I don’t see any decline in his game unless he doesn’t want to play anymore.”

A two-time NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers led the league in 2016 with 40 touchdown passes. He also ranked fourth in passing yards (4,428) and passer rating (104.2), and set a single-season franchise record with 401 completions.

Favre, who played until he was 41, was inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame in 2015 and had his No. 4 retired. He was named the NFL’s MVP in 1995, 1996 and 1997, and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls.

 

Ezekiel Elliott discipline could come as early as Friday, report says

It seems like all that has gone on with the Ezekiel Elliott discipline is discussion that there will be Ezekiel Elliott discipline. In actuality nothing has happened. But something could happen as early as Friday.

NFL Media cited a source in reporting that an announcement on the Elliott discipline, if there is to be any discipline, will be coming soon, even as early as Friday.

The discipline could be about several things, but from what owner Jerry Jones said it would be from the incidents recently rather than the domestic abuse allegations Elliott had brought against him in 2016.

Whether he gets suspended at all remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, his No. 1 wide receiver is confident he’ll have his running back back.

 

NBA preparing to approve “rest rule”

Fans get upset when a healthy superstar sits out a game for a day of rest, and the NBA apparently plans to do something about it this season.

In September, the NBA owners are expected to approve rules designed to discourage teams from benching healthy players for regular-season games, USA Today reported Thursday.

The rules will be in effect at the start of the 2017-18 season, and teams will be penalized for not abiding by them.

The specifics of the rules and the consequences remain unknown at this point, however. Enforcing any rules regarding the resting of a healthy player may be difficult to do, starting with the problem of determining whether the player is actually healthy.

Earlier this week, the league office announced scheduling improvements designed to provide more rest for players. Teams will no longer play four games in five nights, and the number of back-to-back games has been reduced.

The new approach caused the NBA to decide to open the season on Oct. 17. That represents the earliest start since the 1980-81 campaign began on Oct. 10, 1980.

Commissioner Adam Silver suggested changes might be in store during at April news conference.

“There is an expectation among partners that teams are going to act in appropriate ways, (and) find, as I said, that right balance between resting on one hand and obligations to fans and partners on the other,” Silver said in April, according to USA Today.

 

Randolph arrested on charge of marijuana possession with intent to sell

Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph was arrested on a felony charge of marijuana possession with intent to sell by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday night.

The arrest was part of a disturbance that resulted in damage to five Los Angeles Police Department vehicles and one sheriff’s vehicle, according to ABC-7 in Los Angeles.

Officers reportedly encountered a group drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and playing loud music while blocking the street in the Nickerson Gardens area in Los Angeles. The disturbance escalated with Randolph being arrested at 11 p.m. PT and booked 5 1/2 hours later with bail being set for $20,000, according to police reports.

A two-time All-Star, Randolph signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Kings this summer after ending his eight-year tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Randolph averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 points for Memphis last season.

The 36-year-old Randolph ranks first in Grizzlies’ franchise history in rebounds (5,612) and is second behind Mike Conley in points (9,261). He excelled in a reserve role last season, averaging 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds.

With Sacramento, Randolph reunites with Dave Joerger, his former coach with the Grizzlies.

 

Paul makes Rockets’ debut against Warriors in opener

The highly anticipated debuts of Chris Paul with the Houston Rockets and Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics will highlight the opening night of the NBA season, the league announced Thursday.

Paul and the Rockets will visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday Oct. 17 as the second part of a doubleheader on TNT. Paul, a nine-time All-Star point guard, spent the past six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Warriors will be receiving NBA championship rings for the second time in the past three seasons.

In the opener, Hayward and the Celtics will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals. Hayward joined Boston as a free agent during the summer after seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, including making his first All-Star appearance last season.

Cleveland once again will have LeBron James on the floor but the status of guard Kyrie Irving remains unclear after he asked to be traded.

The NBA also announced its five Christmas Day matchups with an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and host Warriors on ABC (3 p.m. ET) representing the marquee contest. The two teams have met in each of the past three finals.

 

Wisconsin LB Cichy tears ACL, out for season

Wisconsin senior linebacker Jack Cichy will miss the upcoming season after tearing his ACL in practice, the team announced Thursday.

Cichy, who sustained the injury on Tuesday, was named All-Big Ten honorable mention after recording 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season. He missed seven games in 2016 after tearing a pectoral muscle.

“You hate it for Jack,” coach Paul Chryst said in a statement Thursday. “You only get so many chances to play this game and you never want to see a guy miss any of those opportunities. He’s one of the leaders of our team and I know he’ll be a big part of what we do moving forward this season.”

Cichy was slated to be named a captain for the Badgers this season.