Update on the latest sports


Phillies finalize $28M, 2-year deal with Gregorius

UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies and shortstop Didi Gregorius (DEE’-dee greh-GOHR’-ee-uhs) have finalized a two-year, $28 million contract.

Gregorius 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.

The Phillies also agreed to minor league contracts with right-hander Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Matt Joyce, inviting both to spring training as non-roster players.

In other MLB news:

— The Yankees have signed side-arming reliever Darren O’Day to a one-year deal that includes a mutual club option for 2022. O’Day was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over 19 games last year with Atlanta, striking out 22 and walking five while allowing eight hits.

— Infielder Jed Lowrie has accepted a minor league contract that could lead to his third stint with the Athletics. Lowrie has played five seasons total for Oakland between 2013-18, spending the 2015 campaign with the Astros. A switch-hitter with a career .261 batting average, Lowrie hasn’t played the field since 2018 and didn’t see any game action last year.

— The Twins have finalized their $13 million, one-year contract with designated hitter Nelson Cruz. The 40-year-old led the Twins in home runs in both 2019 and 2020.

— Free agent right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (fohl-tih-NAY’-vihch) has signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Rangers. Foltynewicz made only one start for Atlanta last season, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss at Tampa Bay.

— Former Red Sox outfielder Billy Conigliero has died at 73. Conigliero was Boston’s first-ever draft pick and played the outfield with his brother, Tony, before winning a World Series ring with the 1973 Athletics. His best season was in 1970, when he played 114 games and batted .271 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs.


Texans president resigns after 20 years

UNDATED (AP) — Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes has resigned after more than 20 years, the team’s latest move in an offseason of upheaval. An announcement said Rootes was leaving to pursue interests as a writer, public speaker, consultant and professor at the University of Houston.

Rootes was hired in 2000 as the Texans began preparations for their expansion season in 2002.

Houston finished 4-12 last season.

In other NFL news:

— Washington has re-signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke (HY’-nih-kee) to a two-year, $8.75 million contract. Heinicke was out of football when Washington signed him to the practice squad in December. The 27-year-old impressed in his NFL playoff debut despite losing to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers. Heinicke was 26 of 44 for 306 yards, a touchdown pass and an interception against Tampa Bay.

— A person familiar with the situation says the Denver Broncos are releasing cornerback A.J. Bouye after one tumultuous season. Bouye’s injury-riddled season in Denver was cut short when he received a six-game suspension in December for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

— The Super Bowl champion Buccaneers celebrated their victory with a boat parade amid continued concern over the coronavirus pandemic. At one point, quarterback Tom Brady was captured on video tossing the championship Lombardi Trophy from his boat to his shirtless teammate Rob Gronkowski in another boat. That brought wild cheers from fans and players.


NY opening arenas to fans at

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Large arenas and stadiums in New York can soon reopen for sports and entertainment at 10% of their normal capacity under a plan announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

The Nets already have received state approval to play their home games in front of some fans beginning Feb. 23 against the Kings. The Knicks and Rangers said they plan to host about 2,000 fans at every game, starting with Feb. 23 and Feb. 26 games.


Mavs owner relents on anthem after NBA reiterates policy

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has relented and the national anthem will be played before home games this season after the NBA reiterated its “longstanding league policy” to include the song.

The league’s initial reaction to Cuban’s decision was to say teams were free to conduct pregame activities as they wished with the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic. Most teams don’t have fans at home games.

But the NBA abruptly reversed course with Cuban’s decision reverberating around the country, including a question put to White House press secretary Jen Psaki during her daily briefing.

The Mavericks said they would play the anthem starting Wednesday against Atlanta.


R&A has ‘cautious optimism’ that British Open will go ahead

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — British Open organizers said Wednesday they have “cautious optimism” that golf’s oldest major will go ahead at Royal St. George’s in July.

The event had been run every year since 1946 before being canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the R&A effectively pushing its schedule back one year. That meant the 149th Open would still be held on the links in Sandwich in southeast England this year.


NBC will air opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics live

UNDATED (AP) — NBC plans to air the opening ceremony from the Tokyo Olympics live on Friday, July 23. With Tokyo 13 hours ahead of New York and 16 ahead of Los Angeles, the opening ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. in Japan, which is 7 a.m. ET and 4 a.m. PT.

The executive producer and president of NBC Olympics said the global significance of gathering in Tokyo during the time of the coronavirus pandemic as well as changing viewing habits were the main factors in deciding to air the opening live in the morning for the first time.

NBC live streamed the opening and closing ceremonies from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games on its Olympic site before airing delayed coverage of both in the evening.


Lee says transgender girls shouldn’t play grade school sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says transgender girls should be banned from playing on middle and high school sports teams or they will “destroy women’s sports.”

Lee told reporters that it will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships and recreate a glass ceiling for women.

The comments come as Tennessee Republicans began advancing a proposal this week requiring student athletes to prove that the student’s sex matches the student’s “original” birth certificate in order to participate in public school sports.

Lee is up for re-election next year.