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:

—New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been discharged from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, a day after having a pacemaker installed. Boone is on a leave of absence from the Yankees and intends to return to work in a few days. The 47-year-old is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager.

— New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo is on track to resume throwing around opening day as the right-hander recovers from surgery Feb. 16 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. New York said a bone spur broke during Lugo’s heightened workouts leading to spring training. He was 3-4 with a 5.15 ERA in seven starts and nine relief appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Lugo was one of the most durable relievers in 2019, with a 2.70 ERA over 80 innings in 61 games.

— First baseman Brandon Belt has resumed baseball activities with the San Francisco Giants at spring training after dealing with what manager Gabe Kapler called a virus without providing further details, though Kapler did say previously it wasn’t COVID-19. The 32-year-old Belt already had been worked in slowly given he had surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his right heel. Belt did some light baseball work Wednesday at Scottsdale Stadium before going through a more extensive workout Thursday.

— Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says he was “absolutely not aware” of any sexual harassment allegations against Mickey Callaway during their time together with the Cleveland Indians organization. Atkins was the Indians executive who oversaw Callaway’s hiring by Cleveland in 2010. Atkins says the team failed by not creating an environment for such allegations to be properly addressed. Callaway was most recently the Los Angeles Angels’ pitching coach but he has been suspended while Major League Baseball investigates allegations of inappropriate behavior toward several women who work in sports media.

—Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried won’t make his first scheduled start of spring training because of a potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Braves manager Brian Snitker says Fried hasn’t tested positive for the virus, but the team is taking no chances. The left-hander had been scheduled to start Friday against the Minnesota Twins.

—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. 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, the Royals said in a news release.

—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. 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.


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.

— Arrowhead Stadium has a new name. The Kansas City Chiefs announced the stadium will be known as GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The team reached a naming rights agreement with Government Employees Health Association, which is the Chiefs’ exclusive partner for health, dental and vision plans. It is the first time in Chiefs history that the organization has sold naming rights for Arrowhead. The stadium opened in 1972 and is one of the NFL’s most recognizable venues.


Villanova’s Gillespie likely done for season

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Villanova guard Collin Gillespie is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing the MCL in his left knee during the first half of Wednesday’s win over Creighton.

Gillespie was recently named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the nation’s top point guard. In 20 games this season, he has averaged 14 points, 4.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds. His 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks second in the Big East Conference.


Crosby cleared to play

UNDATED (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared to return after spending two days in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

Pittsburgh assistant coach Todd Reirden resumed his duties for Thursday’s game against the Flyers after spending two days in the protocol.

Flyers forward Joel Farabee, meantime, was added to the COVID-19 list. He is the 10th Philadelphia player to enter the protocol this season, and first since Travis Konecny (kah-KEHK’-nee) was cleared on Sunday following a two-week stint.

Nashville’s Ryan Johansen was also cleared from the protocol following a two-day stint.

In other NHL news:

— 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.

— San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld has been suspended for two games by the league for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon. The incident occurred in the third period of Wednesday’s win by the Avs and resulted in a match penalty for an illegal blow to the head. MacKinnon didn’t return to the game but coach Jared Bednar said after the game he believed MacKinnon was not hurt seriously. Blichfeld was playing his first game of the season and fourth of his career.

— New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier sustained a broken nose and concussion when he was hit in the shield of his helmet with a shot last weekend. The Devils said Thursday they had placed the 22-year-old Swiss center on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 27. He is being listed as week to week. Hischier was hurt Saturday when a deflected puck pushed the shield hard into his face.


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.

In other pandemic related sports items:

—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.

—The Penn Relays have been canceled for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic and local restrictions on large gatherings. The three-day event at Franklin Field in Philadelphia was scheduled to begin April 22. If health conditions continue to improve, Penn Relays officials plan to host a local collegiate-only track-and-field meet on April 24 that’s consistent with the Ivy League’s health parameters regarding spring sport competition. The Penn Relays also aims to host a meet for open and professional athletes in the coming months and a scholastic meet this summer.


McIlroy has share of Palmer lead

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Bay Hill was bustling Thursday, just like golf before the pandemic. The fans were limited in numbers but they all wanted the same dose of entertainment provided by Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.

First it was McIlroy, slowly feeling better about his game, and with good reason. Starting with a 55-foot putt on the par-3 second hole, he ran off five straight birdies for a share of the lead with Corey Conners in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at 6-under 66.

In the group behind McIlroy was DeChambeau, who has been contemplating a shot across the water to cut the 528-yard sixth hole down to size by going for the green.


Nelly Korda shares lead through 18

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — Nelly Korda didn’t miss a beat four days after her first LPGA Tour title on U.S. soil, outplaying her sister and the world’s No. 1 player for a 5-under 67 to share the lead at the Drive On Championship.

Korda played alongside her older sister, Jessica, who had a 69.

Former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho managed a 67 despite playing most of the back nine with a migraine that blurs her vision. Austin Ernst also had a 67 at Golden Ocala.


Mississippi gov will sign bill limiting transgender athletes

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is set to become the first state this year to enact a law banning transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday he will sign a bill when it reaches his desk, probably in the next few days. Democratic President Joe Biden signed an order on his first day as president, banning discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. Reeves says that “forced the issue.” Alphonso David is president the LGBTQ civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign. He says Mississippi lawmakers are “prioritizing bullying against transgender kids.”