Update on the latest sports


Nationals lefty Jon Lester to have thyroid gland removed

UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says left-hander Jon Lester will have surgery to have a thyroid gland removed.

Lester will leave spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, and fly to New York for the procedure. Martinez says the 37-year-old starting pitcher is expected to be back at camp in about five to seven days. The starting pitcher originally was scheduled to make his first appearance for Washington in a Grapefruit League game Thursday.

In 2006, Lester’s rookie season with the Boston Red Sox ended early because he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. He had chemotherapy and returned the next season.

Lester is entering his 16th year in the majors and first with Washington. He was a free agent and joined the Nationals on a $5 million, one-year contract after playing the past six seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

In other MLB news:

— New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a leave of absence from the team to get a pacemaker and intends to return to work in a few days. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager for Wednesday night’s exhibition against Toronto in Tampa. The 47-year-old Boone is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager.

— Houston Astros left-hander Framber Valdéz has a fractured left ring finger, an injury that could deal another blow to the team’s banged-up starting rotation. The 27-year-old was hurt Tuesday on the fifth pitch of his spring training debut on a one-hopper off the bat of the New York Mets’ Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’). Valdéz stayed in the game and finished two innings. Houston already is missing ace Justin Verlander, who probably will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery.

— Nate Lowe is getting a chance this spring to become the starting first baseman for the Texas Rangers. Seven players started games at first base for Texas last year in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. Ronald Guzman’s 23 starts were the most, but he was again inconsistent at the plate. Guzman is now out of minor league options. But he is coming off a 30-game stint in the Dominican Winter League, where he hit .360 and was the league MVP.

— Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro has tested positive for COVID-19. Manager Torey Lovullo says Locastro tested positive on Tuesday night and would be out for 10 days unless it was a false positive. The 28-year-old Locastro is expected to have a sizable role with the Diamondbacks this season, either as the starting center fielder or a versatile backup outfielder.

— Veteran left-hander Gio González has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins and will take part in their major league camp. The 35-year-old has a career record of 131-101 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 seasons for four teams and is a two-time All-Star.

— A person familiar with the situation says infielder Eric Sogard and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a minor league contract, pending a physical. The 34-year-old hit .209 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 43 games for Milwaukee last season.

— Joe Altobelli, the manager who led the Baltimore Orioles to their most recent World Series title in 1983, has died at the age of 88. Altobelli was hired by the Orioles before the 1983 season and immediately found success. The team’s roster included future Hall of Famers like first baseman Eddie Murray, shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and pitcher Jim Palmer. The Orioles won the World Series by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.


Hurricanes’ Niederreiter fined for interfering with Saros

NEW YORK (AP) — Carolina forward Nino Niederreiter (NEE’-dur-eye-tur) has been fined $5,000 for interfering with Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros (YOO’-see SAH’-rohs). That’s the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.

Niederreiter hit Saros up high in a collision behind the net five minutes into the Hurricanes-Predators game Tuesday night. He was given a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. Saros remained in net for the rest of the first period before being replaced by Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nuh) to start the second.

Elsewhere in the NHL:

— Coach Lindy Ruff is shaking up his lines with the New Jersey Devils slumping and struggling to score. A day after dropping a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders, Ruff altered all four of New Jersey’s line combinations in preparation for consecutive games against the Rangers on Thursday and Saturday at the Prudential Center. The top four centers all stayed in place. Each line had at least one new winger. The Devils have lost three straight, six of seven games and have been limited to 15 goals in that span.


Raiders GM Mike Mayock: ‘Jury is still out’ on Trent Brown

UNDATED (AP) — Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock says the “jury is still out” on whether highly paid right tackle Trent Brown will be back in 2021 after being limited by injuries in his first two seasons with the team.

The Raiders gave Brown a $66 million, four-year contract in free agency in 2019 to be the anchor of the line. But after a strong start to his tenure, Brown has been hampered by various injuries and a bout with COVID-19.

He managed to be healthy enough to play at least 10 snaps in just 14 of 32 games since joining the Raiders.

Elsewhere in the NFL:

— Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sexual offenses against five women in Southern California. The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal.

— With the 2021 NFL combine canceled, the league has released a list of players who would have merited invitations. From such high-profile quarterbacks as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields to guys who sat out last season such as Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, round out 323 players from 100 schools. While they won’t get the chance to be observed and examined in Indianapolis, the fact that they are on this list means there will be interest in them come the end of April and the NFL draft.


Big East teams to get tickets for men’s hoops

UNDATED (AP) — The Big East Conference is going to provide a limited number of tickets to each of the participating teams in next week’s Big East men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The league says it will follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement allowing partial spectator capacity at sporting events in the state.

There will be no public sale of tickets however. All tickets will be designated for use by the members of each school’s official travel party in order to permit families and guests of athletes, coaches and team staffs to attend the games.

In other college basketball news:

— The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced that Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball game at North Carolina State on Saturday has been canceled. The cancellation follows quarantining and a contract tracing review within the Virginia Tech men’s program. The team will adhere to the ACC’s outlined protocols.


NBA says $3 million going to HBCUs through All-Star Game

ATLANTA (AP) — The last shot of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game will be worth $300,000 for either the Thurgood Marshall College Fund or United Negro College Fund.

The NBA on Wednesday revealed how an estimated $3 million in charitable donations from the contest will be distributed. Those two organizations that support historically Black colleges or institutions will be the primary benefactors, each guaranteed $500,000 in scholarship funding before the game even starts and with an additional $750,000 at stake during the game.

The teams captained by LeBron James and Kevin Durant will each represent one of those groups, and the winning team in each of the first, second and third quarters will collect $150,000 for their respective organization. The first team to hit the target score and win the All-Star Game will get the final $300,000 in scholarship funds.


Medvedev, Zverev eliminated in 1st round in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Daniil Medvedev (DAN’-ihl MEHD’-veh-dehv) has been beaten in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in his first match since the Australian Open final. Top-seeded Medvedev hit 12 aces against Dusan Lajovic but was still beaten 7-6, 6-4 by his Serbian opponent.

Alexander Bublik beat the third-seeded Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Tommy Paul.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was beaten 7-5, 6-2 by fourth-seeded Andrey Rublev.


Muguruza beats Sabalenka at Qatar Open, Svitolina wins

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Garbine Muguruza has outlasted third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in a close second-round match at the Qatar Open, while top-seeded Elina Svitolina eased into the quarterfinals. Muguruza won 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 and will face Maria Sakkari in the quarterfinals. Svitolina cruised through her match against Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-2. Svitolina’s quarterfinal opponent Victoria Azarenka beat Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-2.

Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 against Ons Jabeur to move to a 5-3 record in 2021.


Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives are looking at data from the “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that traffic investigators executed a search warrant to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. Deputy Trina Schrader says there was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box.

Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch.