Update on the latest sports


AP source: Bradley agrees to $24M, 2-year deal with Brewers

UNDATED (AP) — Free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is joining the Milwaukee Brewers, agreeing to the parameters of a $24 million, two-year contract. That’s according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the details of the agreement were still being negotiated and the deal is subject to a successful physical.

Bradley would have the right to opt out after one year and $13 million, allowing him to become a free agent after this season.

He will join the Brewers well into spring training, which started in mid-February. Opening day is April 1.

Bradley turns 31 on April 19 and is regarded as a top defensive center fielder. He had spent his entire career in Boston and batted .283 with seven homers and 22 RBIs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He had a .364 on-base percentage and an .814 OPS in 55 games last season.

In other MLB news:

— Reliever Anthony Swarzak has agreed to a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and will be at major league spring training camp as a non-roster invite The team announced it added the 35-year-old right-hander on Thursday. He last pitched in the big leagues for the Atlanta Braves in 2019 and had a 4.31 ERA in 44 appearances. Swarzak has played for eight teams over 10 seasons.

— The St. Louis Cardinals say they’ve received approval from the city to fill Busch Stadium at 32% capacity starting with their April 8 home against the Milwaukee Brewers. That could mean about 14,500 fans at Busch Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,538. Season ticket holders will get the first crack at tickets for the first two homestands, then the general public if tickets remain. The Cardinals said fans will be seated in pods of four or fewer with at least 6 feet of space between pods. Masks will be required except when eating or drinking.

— The Milwaukee Brewers will have a limited number of fans at home games this season. The Brewers say Milwaukee health commissioner Kirsten Johnson has approved a plan allowing fans to fill 25% of the seating capacity at American Family Field, the stadium formerly known as Miller Park. That could mean 10,500 fans at the ballpark, which has a capacity of 41,900, not including group areas. The Brewers had sought to allow 35% capacity. Tailgating won’t be allowed outside the stadium.

— The Kansas City Royals plan to allow a limited number of fans to return to Kauffman Stadium when the baseball season begins next month, the team announced Thursday. The Royals will initially have 10,000 fans per game, sitting in socially distanced, pod-style arrangements. The number of fans will increase monthly if it’s safe to do so.

— Major League Baseball will hold its first Lou Gehrig Day on June 2, adding Gehrig to Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente on the short list of players honored throughout the big leagues. Each home team will have “4-ALS” logos in ballparks to mark Gehrig’s No. 4, and all players, managers and coaches will wear a Lou Gehrig Day patch on uniforms and may use red “4-ALS” wristbands. Teams that are off on June 2 will observe Lou Gehrig Day on June 3. MLB said the day will focus on finding cures and raising money for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig died of ALS at age 37 on June 2, 1941. He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1939.

— Larry Wahl, a vice president of the Orange Bowl and a former New York Yankees media relations head under George Steinbrenner, has died. He was 67. His son says Wahl died Wednesday at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida. Wahl had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2018. Wahl worked for the Yankees from 1977-81 and was media relations director from 1979-80. He left the Yankees in 1981 for ABC Sports.


Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to new deal for 2021 season

UNDATED (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH’-lihs-bur-gur) is returning for an 18th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is taking a pay cut to do it.

The team and the two-time Super Bowl winner say they have agreed on a new contract that assures the 39-year-old will be back in 2021. Financial details were not immediately available, though the Steelers made no secret of the need for Roethlisberger to take a pay cut to ease some of the burden of his NFL-high $41.25-million salary-cap hit scheduled for 2021.

NFL Network, citing anonymous sources, said Roethlisberger’s new deal will essentially pay him $14 million this season and adds four voidable years to spread out the dead money.

Roethlisberger passed for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games in 2020 after missing almost all of 2019 with a right elbow injury. The Steelers won their first 11 games on their way to a 12-4 record and captured the AFC North title but were stunned at home by Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs.

In other NFL news:

— The New York Giants have cut Golden Tate in a move that clears $6.1 million in salary cap space and says goodbye to a wide receiver who never panned out after signing a $37 million contract as a free agent in 2019. The 32-year-old Tate confirmed the move in a tweet in which he thanked the organization for its professionalism. Tate was to earn $8.4 million in 2021.

— Linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen are signing one-day contracts to retire as members of the Carolina Panthers. Davis spent 14 seasons with the Panthers before finishing his career with Washington last season. Davis is the team’s franchise leaders in tackles with 1,258 and played more games than any defensive player in team history. He also had 28 sacks and 24 takeaways. Olsen spent nine of his 14 NFL seasons with the Panthers.


Capitals’ Ovechkin fined $5K for spearing Bruins’ Frederic

NEW YORK (AP) — Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been fined $5,000 for spearing Bruins rookie Trent Frederic late in the Washington-Boston game on Wednesday night. That’s the maximum allowable under the NHL and NHLPA’s collective bargaining agreement.

Ovechkin was given a minor penalty for slashing and Frederic one for cross-checking on the play with just over five minutes left in the third period. The two players exchanged shoves minutes earlier and Frederic dropped his gloves but nothing transpired.

The Capitals went on to win in a shootout. Boston and Washington face off again Friday night.


Heart problems may be rare in pro athletes after COVID-19

UNDATED (AP) — A new study in pro athletes found that heart inflammation was uncommon after a mild case of COVID-19. The research conducted by major professional sports leagues in the U.S. suggests that most athletes who have recovered don’t need to be sidelined.

Outside experts say the study isn’t definitive but it’s the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in many organs including the heart.

The study included nearly 800 athletes who had infections before October and underwent guideline-recommended heart tests. Five had additional tests showing heart inflammation and were sidelined for about three months.


Boston Marathon’s plan to hand out 70K medals roils runners

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon’s mid-pandemic plan to hand out coveted medals to 70,000 people who walk or run the 26.2-mile distance wherever they are has roiled the usually genteel running world.

The Boston Athletic Association still hopes to hold an in-person race in October, but will cut the field size to make it safer for athletes and spectators. As a consolation prize, it’s offering medals to people who complete a virtual version.

Some runners who’ve spent years training to qualify for the real thing say the BAA is cheapening the experience. Others are denouncing the complaints as elitist.