Update on the latest sports


AP source: Phillies, SS Didi Gregorius agree on 2-year deal

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies and shortstop Didi Gregorius (DEE’-dee greh-GOHR’-ee-uhs) have agreed on a two-year, $28 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal is pending Gregorius passing a physical.

Gregorius, who turns 31 next month, batted .284 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs and an .827 OPS in 60 games in his first season with the Phillies.

He hit .274 and averaged 20 homers and 75 RBIs over four seasons with the Yankees between 2015-18. He hit 16 homers and drove in 61 runs in 82 games in 2019 after Tommy John surgery on Oct. 17, 2018, to repair a torn elbow ligament.

The Phillies signed two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million deal earlier in the week.

Philadelphia hasn’t reached the postseason since 2011, the last year it had a winning record. The Phillies finished 28-32 in a pandemic-shortenened 2020 season, missing a wild-card berth by one game in the expanded playoff format.


Falcons hire former backup QB Yates as passing specialist

UNDATED (AP) — T.J. Yates is returning to the Atlanta Falcons as a coach.

The native of suburban Atlanta who spent the 2014 season backing up Matt Ryan has been hired as the passing game specialist for new head coach Arthur Smith. The 33-year-old Yates joins the Falcons staff after spending the last two seasons working with the Houston Texans. In 2020, he was assistant quarterbacks coach as Deshaun Watson earned his third Pro Bowl nod.

The Falcons also hired Lanier Goethie as a defensive assistant and Nick Perry as the assistant defensive backs coach.

In other NFL news:

— Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine (PET’-ihn) won’t return to the team and special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga was fired after the Packers’ second straight NFC championship game loss last Sunday. The Packers said in an announcement of the moves late Friday that Pettine would not be back next season. ESPN reported that Pettine’s contract expired at the end of this season. The team also announced Mennenga had been dismissed. Pettine had been the Packers’ defensive coordinator for three seasons. Pettine took over one year before Matt LaFleur’s arrival. Mennenga had been special teams coordinator for each of LaFleur’s two seasons as head coach.


Alabama QB Mac Jones heads into Senior Bowl with gimpy ankle

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama quarterback Mac Jones headlines a group of quarterbacks from high-profile programs at Saturday’s Senior Bowl. He like others will be looking to solidify or improve his draft stock, provided his left ankle is good to go. The Heisman Trophy finalist sat out the end of Thursday’s final practice of the week after hurting his ankle, leaving his status for the game uncertain.

If healthy would lead the American team along with two other passers with Southeastern Conference connections. He’s joined by Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond and former Wake Forest standout Jamie Newman, who transferred to Georgia before ultimately opting out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National team is led by Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, Notre Dame’s Ian Book and Feleipe Franks, who transferred from Florida to Arkansas for his final season.

Heisman finalist Kyle Trask, Franks’ replacement at Florida, was scheduled to play but pulled out because of an ankle injury.

Jones is considered a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft. He is vying with the other top quarterbacks for draft positioning behind Clemson’s presumed No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. That group includes Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Trask, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and BYU’s Zach Wilson.


Big 12/SEC Challenge highlights play this weekend

UNDATED (AP) — Chances are good that plenty of points will be scored when No. 9 Alabama visits No. 24 Oklahoma Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Alabama averages 81.1 points per game while Oklahoma averages 77.6. There’s just no telling where the points will come from. Austin Reaves leads Oklahoma with 15.8 points per game and John Petty Jr. paces Alabama with 13.9 per contest. But both teams have at least five available players averaging 7.5 points per game or more and four who have scored at least 20 points in a game this season.

The Crimson Tide kept rolling with a 70-59 win over Kentucky and are three games ahead of second place LSU and Florida.

Other top Challenge matchups include No. 15 Kansas at No. 18 Tennessee. Auburn gets to play against one of the country’s hottest teams, No. 2 Baylor that improved to 15-0 earlier this week. There are two all-SEC matchups in South Carolina at Vanderbilt and Ole Miss at Georgia.

There are four SEC teams not playing Big 12 teams this week with Ole Miss at Georgia and South Carolina at Vanderbilt playing Saturday.


More virus-related schedule changes

UNDATED (AP) — Kentucky’s men’s basketball game Saturday night against No. 5 Texas has been canceled and all team activities have been paused for 48 hours.

The school says it took those steps because of a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and quarantining. The Wildcats have had two previous games this season postponed but the home matchup with Texas is their first outright cancellation.

The Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team has also paused all team-related activities because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing. The Gaels will postpone their next three games starting with Saturday’s scheduled contest at Pacific. Saint Mary’s will also postpone games next week on Feb. 4 at Santa Clara and Feb. 6 against Loyola Marymount. The West Coast Conference and the teams will try to reschedule the games.


NHL postpones Golden Knights-Sharks games

UNDATED (AP) — The NHL has postponed the Vegas Golden Knights’ two games next week against the San Jose Sharks over concerns about the coronavirus.

Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (peh-TRAN’-jeh-loh) and three coaches are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and unavailable. The league also postponed Thursday’s game between the Knights and St. Louis.

The games against the Sharks had been scheduled to be played Feb. 1 and 3 in Glendale, Arizona, where the Sharks have been based because of coronavirus rules in Santa Clara County.

In other NHL news:

The league has suspended Wild forward Kevin Fiala (fee-A’-lah) for three games without pay for boarding Kings defenseman Matt Roy. The players were chasing a loose puck into the corner in the second period Thursday night when Fiala shoved Roy from behind, sending him face-first into the boards. Roy was down for several minutes before being helped off the ice and did not return.