Mets make it official, announce Rojas as their new manager
UNDATED (AP) — The Mets made it official, hiring Luis Rojas as their manager to replace Carlos Beltrán.
New York announced the move Thursday, a week after Beltrán departed without managing a game. Rojas, who had been the Mets quality control coach, was given a multiyear contract. Rojas became New York's fourth manager in the past 2 1/2 years — and third in four months. He is to be introduced Friday at a Citi Field news conference.
Beltrán was let go last week as part of the fallout from the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.
The 38-year-old Rojas is the son of former Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou and the brother of ex-big league outfielder Moises Alou, who spent his last two seasons with the Mets from 2007-08.
In other MLB news:
— The Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom says it's possible they won't hire a manager before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12 for spring training. Alex Cora was released after MLB identified him as the ringleader in a sign-stealing scheme when he was the bench coach with the Houston Astros in 2017. Investigators are also looking into whether Cora engaged in similar shenanigans after taking over the Red Sox in 2018.
—Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to miss the start of the regular season and likely needs to undergo core muscle surgery. General manager Jerry Dipoto says Haniger suffered an injury during one of his offseason workouts. Haniger could be ready to join the major league club by late April. He was an All-Star in 2018.
Beal scores 36 as weary Wizards down Cavs 124-112
UNDATED (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 36 points and the weary Washington Wizards, overcoming an overtime loss and early-morning arrival in town, defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-112.
The Wizards started slowly after not getting in until around 4 a.m. following an OT defeat in Miami on Wednesday but took over late in the first quarter and pulled away. The Cavaliers have lost six in a row and 11 of 13. Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 29 points.
In other Thursday night action:
—LeBron James had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his 10th triple-double of the season and the Los Angeles Lakers made a season-high 19 3-pointers to pull away and beat the Brooklyn Nets 128-113. James closed within 17 points of Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA's career scoring list. He can pass Bryant on Saturday at Philadelphia. Kyrie Irving scored 20 points.
— Luka Doncic scored 27 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds and the Dallas Mavericks made 22 3-pointers to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 133-125. It was the sixth time this season the Mavericks made 20 3s with Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson making four each. The 43 combined 3-pointers by Dallas and Portland tied an NBA record. Damian Lillard scored 47 points one game after a career-high 61 for Portland. He became the first player in franchise history to score 100 over two games. Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 21 in his Portland debut.
Rematch! James, Antetokounmpo are All-Star captains again
UNDATED (AP) — It’ll be an All-Star rematch: Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH'-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON'-poh) of the Milwaukee Bucks will be the captains for the NBA All-Star Game, just as they were last season. They earned the captaincies by being the top overall vote-getters from the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively.
The other starters for the Feb. 16 game in Chicago: Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Pascal Siakam (see-A'-kam) of the Toronto Raptors, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
In other NBA news:
— The basketball Hall of Fame is auctioning off the actual plaques used to mark the enshrinement of some of the NBA’s biggest stars. The plaques up for auction are the original 25-inch by 28-inch, black and white portraits displayed along the hall's domed ceiling for each inductee. They are being replaced as part of a $30 million renovation.
Antonio Brown to appear before Florida judge
UNDATED (AP) — NFL free agent Antonio Brown is expected to appear before a Florida judge in bond court Friday after a night behind bars. Brown turned himself in late Thursday night at the Broward County Jail. His lawyer said Brown is innocent of the charges, which include burglary with battery. A Hollywood police report says Brown and his trainer attacked the driver of a moving truck in a dispute over the $4,000 bill for carrying his household possessions from California. The wide receiver played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before being traded. Off-the-field incidents derailed his attempts to play for the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.
In other NFL news:
— The Minnesota Vikings have chosen Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator, filling the vacancy created by Kevin Stefanski’s departure to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns. The widely expected move was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the decision. Kubiak was as an offensive adviser and assistant to head coach Mike Zimmer this season, as the Vikings reached the divisional round of the playoffs. Kubiak's playbook, as directed by Stefanski in his first full season on the job, provided a clear boost for quarterback Kirk Cousins and the offense. The Vikings were eighth in the league with an average of 25.4 points a game, after ranking 19th in 2018.
— The Las Vegas Raiders have signed cornerback Nevin Lawson, a five-year veteran previously with Detroit, to a one-year contract extension. Lawson is the first player to sign with the Raiders since they officially added Las Vegas to their name. The Raiders are set to play next season in Las Vegas after spending the past 25 seasons in Oakland.
— New England cornerback Joejuan Williams faces drug charges after being stopped by a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper for speeding on Interstate 40. Charges against Williams include speeding along and possession of a controlled substance. Williams reportedly posted bond and was released.
15-year-old Gauff upsets '19 champ Osaka at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Fifteen-year-old American Coco Gauff has pulled off a big upset at the Australian Open by eliminating defending champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets in the third round.
This is only the third Grand Slam tournament of Gauff's career but already her second time reaching the fourth round.
Osaka is a former No. 1 and a two-time major champion.
Gauff already beat another former No. 1 in the first round this week when she got past Venus Williams. This followed another surprise result earlier in the day when Serena Williams was knocked out of the tournament.
In other action:
— Serena Williams was upset in the third round of the Australian Open by Wang Qiang (wahng chee-ahng) of China in three sets. It was Williams' earliest exit from Melbourne Park since she also lost in the third round back in 2006. She has won seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.
— Caroline Wozniacki's farewell tour at the Australian Open is over. The 2018 champion lost her third-round match 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to Ons Jabeur at Melbourne Arena.
— The top-ranked women's player in the world is also the first one into the fourth round at the Australian Open. French Open champion and local hope Ash Barty beat 29th-seeded Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6- 2 in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena.
— Roger Federer was pushed all the way before recording his 100th match win at the Australian Open and reaching the Round of 16 at Melbourne Park for the 18th time with victory in a fifth-set tiebreaker against John Millman. Federer has won six Australian championships among his record 20 major titles and is still a crowd favorite on Rod Laver Arena, despite playing an Aussie on Friday night. The 38-year-old Federer is the first player to record 100 match wins at two different Grand Slam tournaments. He improved his Wimbledon record to 101-13 last year.
— Second-seeded Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) easily beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Seven-time Australian Open champion Djokovic needed only 85 minutes to beat the Japanese player.
— No. 32-seeded Milos Raonic (MEE'-lohsh ROW'-nihch) has beaten No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for the seventh time. The 2016 Wimbledon finalist had five match points in the third-set tiebreaker and converted his second with a booming forehand winner for a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory on Margaret Court Arena.
— Tennys Sandgren is back into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating fellow American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Two years ago, on his Australian Open debut, Sandgren became the lowest-ranked quarterfinalist in 12 years after recording wins over top 10 players Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (teem).
— Marin Cilic (CHIHL'-ihch) finally has a win over Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open after two losses to the Spaniard at Melbourne Park. Cilic, who won the 2014 U.S. Open and was a finalist here in 2018, beat ninth-seeded Bautista Agut 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round.
— Defending Australian Open doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert have lost 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round to Simone Bolelli and Benoit Paire.
Canada stamps honor on pre-NHL all-black hockey league
UNDATED (AP) — Canada is paying tribute to an all-black hockey league that thrived long before the NHL became part of national lore.
The country’s postal service unveiled a commemorative stamp Thursday at the Black Cultural Centre. It honors the Colored Hockey League whose teams in the Maritime provinces competed for the championship between 1895 and the 1930s.
The new stamp features an illustration based on a photograph showing the Halifax Eurekas, the Colored Hockey Champions in 1904. Teams weren't allowed into local arenas until after the white leagues finished their seasons. That meant the CHL's seasons typically lasted from late January to early March, when natural ice surfaces became poor.
In other NHL news:
— San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner has given general manager Doug Wilson a vote of confidence with his team mired in 13th place in the Western Conference. Plattner says the entire organization is disappointed in the performance so far but he believes Wilson can lead the team back to contention. The Sharks have missed the playoffs only once since Wilson took over as general manager in May 2003.
Major League Baseball to sponsor US Olympic softball team
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is using its financial muscle to support the U.S. women's softball team, which already is assured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics while the American men's baseball team struggles to qualify.
MLB announced an agreement Thursday to become presenting sponsor of the women's "Stand Beside Her" tour, a slate of exhibition games leading up to the Olympic tournament from July 22-28. As part of the deal, the softball team's official training facility will be at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, the old Dodgertown spring training camp.
NCAA to allow potential Olympians to receive more benefits
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The NCAA will now permit elite athletes to be paid for training expenses by the U.S. Olympic Committee and other national governing bodies.
The Division I Council adopted the legislation Wednesday at the NCAA convention and it is effective immediately.
Previously, college athletes could compromise their eligibility to compete for their schools by accepting some benefits that are provided to potential Olympians.
Under the new legislation, athletes designated elite by the USOC or other organizations such as USA Swimming or USA Track and Field can have travel expenses paid for parents, coaches or trainers.
PGA-FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
Woods opens with 69 at Torrey North to start new year
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tiger Woods had his lowest opening round of the year since 2011. It wasn't enough to be among the leaders Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open, but it was fine with him.
Coming off his record-tying 82nd victory in his last PGA Tour start three months ago in Japan, Woods handled the par 5s on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines and limited mistakes for a 3-under 69.
Sebastian Cappelen (KAP’-lihn) and Keegan Bradley had the low scores of the opening round, which was not the same as sharing the lead. Rory McIlroy, who played in the group in front of Woods, was among those at 67. Jon Rahm, playing alongside Woods, was in the large group at 68.
Bubba Watson had a 67 on the South, while three other players broke 70 on the South, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2008 and gets another U.S. Open next year.