Update on the latest sports
Nets’ Aldridge retires at 35 due to irregular heartbeat
NEW YORK (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge has retired from the NBA after saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets.
The 35-year-old Aldridge posted a statement on social media saying the heart concerns he had during and after Brooklyn’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday were one of the “scariest things” he’s experienced. He says he feels better now after getting it checked out but decided to end his 15-year career.
The seven-time All-Star signed with the Nets on March 28 and became their starting center. He previously played for San Antonio and Portland.
NBA says injury rate this season down slightly from normal
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA says the rate of players needing to miss games because of injuries is down from last season and within the normal range for what the league has seen over the last five seasons.
League data shows the player injury rate this season is down about 6%. That’s hardly abnormal even after several marquee players— including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, James Harden and most recently Jamal Murray — have dealt with injuries in recent weeks.
NBA teams are playing 3.6 games per week, up 5% from last year. This year’s schedule compressed 72 games into 146 days, as opposed to the usual 82 games into 170 days.
Machado homers, Padres earn split with Pirates in 8-3 win
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Manny Machado hit his third home run of the season, Eric Hosmer added two hits and two RBIs and the San Diego Padres jumped on the Pittsburgh Pirates early in an 8-3 win.
Machado took Mitch Keller deep with a two-run shot down the left-field line during San Diego’s four-run first. Hosmer added a two-run single in the second. San Diego finished a seven-game eastern road trip 5-2.
Keller struggled, giving up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings, a step back after pitching well in a victory over the Cubs last weekend.
In other action:
— Slumping José Ramírez connected for a go-ahead, two-run homer off Lance Lynn in the sixth inning and the Cleveland Indians bounced back from being no-hit, beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2. After Carlos Rodón just missed a perfect game in pitching a perfect game Wednesday night, there was a different kind of tension this time as the benches emptied in the bottom of the first. There were no punches after Adam Eaton and Cleveland shortstop Andrés Giménez tangled up. Ramírez ended an 0-for-19 slump with his homer. Lynn struck out 10 and gave up his first two earned runs. Indians starter Aaron Civale improved to 3-0. He allowed one run in six innings.
— Dansby Swanson’s RBI single with the bases loaded capped Atlanta’s two-run rally in the ninth inning and the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 7-6 to snap a four-game losing streak. The Braves recovered after blowing a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth. Ozzie Albies drew a walk that forced home the tying run for the Braves and Swanson followed with a single. The Marlins were trying for their first four-game sweep over the Braves. Pablo Sandoval connected for his third pinch-hit homer this season for Atlanta.
— J.P. Crawford hit a go-ahead double with two outs in the sixth inning, Marco Gonzales overcame a rough start for his first victory of the season and the Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 in a doubleheader opener. Seattle tied the score on Mitch Hanigar’s two-run homer in the fifth off Matt Harvey. The Mariners went ahead when Tanner Scott walked José Marmolejos leading off the sixth, pinch-runner Braden Bishop advanced on Dylan Moore’s two-out single and Crawford stayed back on a slider and hooked the ball down the right-field line.
— Max Kepler’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Minnesota a 4-3 victory over Boston, stopping a five-game losing streak for the Twins and breaking a nine-game winning string for the Red Sox. The Red Sox tied it in the eighth on Alex Verdugo’s three-run double. They were on their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2018, the season they won the World Series. The Twins avoided matching their longest losing streak in three years under manager Rocco Baldelli, a six-game slide from July 31-Aug. 5, 2020. Kepler singled with the bases loaded off Adam Ottavino.
— The finale of the four-game series between the Mets and Phillies was postponed because of rain Thursday. It was New York’s third washout in five days.
Arenado gets extra $15M, Cards defer $50M in amended deal
UNDATED (AP) — Nolan Arenado’s contract was amended when the All-Star third baseman was traded to the Cardinals by the Colorado Rockies, adding a $15 million salary for 2027 to leave him owed $214 million over seven seasons by St. Louis. As part of the amended contract, $50 million of that $214 million will be deferred and payable through 2041, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. Colorado would pay St. Louis $51 million, if Arenado decides to keep his entire contract and not opt out early. Arenado is batting .314 with three homers and eight RBIs through his first 12 games.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Tepera was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball, which concluded he intentionally threw at Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff this week. Tepera appealed the penalty handed down by MLB senior vice president for on-field operations Michael Hill. Tepera, who also was fined, will not have to serve any discipline while the appeal is pending before MLB special adviser John McHale Jr. Cubs manager David Ross was suspended for one game and fined because of Tepera’s actions. Managers immediately serve discipline, and Ross will sit out the Cubs’ series opener against Atlanta on Friday.
— A diversity study finds Major League Baseball with slightly lower scores for racial and gender hiring but earning bonuses for social-justice initiatives and hiring milestones. Thursday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport issued an overall grade of C-plus for MLB. That included a B-plus for racial hiring and a C for gender hiring for the 2021 season.
Safety Harmon, return specialist Patterson sign with Falcons
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed safety Duron Harmon and four-time All-Pro return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson to one-year contracts. Harmon started all 16 games for Detroit in 2020 and set a career high with 73 tackles. Harmon addresses a glaring void on the Falcons’ depth chart after the team lost starting safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal to free agency. Patterson earned first-team All-Pro honors as a kick returner in 2013, 2016 and 2019-20 with Minnesota and Chicago.
Elsewhere in the NFL: — Vince Williams isn’t going anywhere after all. The Pittsburgh Steelers have re-signed the veteran inside linebacker to a one-year deal. The signing comes a month after the Steelers cut Williams in a cost-cutting measure. Financial terms were not disclosed but the salary comes at a significant discount against what Williams was scheduled to make in 2021 before being released in March.
— The Last Vegas Raiders cut two members of Jon Gruden’s first draft class in his second stint as coach, waiving defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Arden Key before their fourth seasons with the team. The Raiders made the moves after signing several other defensive linemen in free agency in hopes of improving a struggling defense. The Raiders took Key with one of their two third-round picks in 2018 and used a fifth-round pick on Hurst in hopes that they would be fixtures on the line.
— The Arizona Cardinals have re-signed linebackers Dennis Gardeck and Kylie Fitts to one-year contracts. The 26-year-old Gardeck was one of the Cardinals’ surprise players last season, finishing with seven sacks, seven tackles for a loss 10 quarterback hits and a fumble recovery despite playing just 93 defensive snaps.
— The Browns are the latest NFL team to say they’ll skip mandated in-person workouts. Following the advice of center and NFL Players Association President JC Tretter, Cleveland’s players joined a list of teams who say they’ll skip voluntary in-person workouts this offseason. They joined the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and others in saying they’ll exercise their collectively bargained rights not to take part in the workouts, which were scheduled to begin next week.
Maple Leafs’ Matthews out for Jets game with injury
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs star center Auston Matthews will miss Thursday night’s game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets with an injury and is listed day to day. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said the injury is not expected to keep Matthews out for long. Matthews leads the NHL with 32 goals and is tied for fourth in league scoring with 53 points.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
— The NHL has delayed Canucks’ return to play after COVID-19 outbreak. The Canucks have not played a game since March 24 due to a COVID-19 outbreak
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-USC-NCAA VIOLATIONS
NCAA hits USC basketball with 2 years’ probation, fine
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NCAA has hit the Southern California men’s basketball program with two years’ probation because of a former assistant who violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he accepted a bribe to steer players to a business management company. The Division I Committee on Infractions announced the penalties, which include a $5,000 fine and a 1% loss of the school’s basketball budget.
Tony Bland, the former associate head coach under coach Andy Enfield, was fired in January 2018. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and received two years’ probation.
Cincinnati hires UNC Greensboro basketball coach Wes Miller
CINCINNATI (AP) — The University of Cincinnati has hired UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller to be the new head basketball coach. Miller replaces John Brannen, who was fired after six players decided to transfer after the season ended.
Miller is regarded as one of the top young coaches in college basketball. He won 185 games in 10 seasons at UNC Greensboro.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-OBIT-LEROY KEYES
Leroy Keyes, gold standard of Purdue football, dies at 74
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (AP) — Purdue football star Leroy Keyes has died. His family says he died at his home Thursday in Indiana.
Keyes was a two-time All-American and one of the greatest players in school history. He finished his career as the school record-holder for touchdowns, points and all-purpose yards. He was named the Boilermakers’ greatest player in 1987, as the program celebrated its 100th year of football.
Leroy Keyes was 74 years old.
TENNIS-MONTE CARLO MASTERS
Top-ranked Djokovic loses, No. 3 Nadal eases into quarters
MONACO (AP) — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic lost 6-4, 7-5 to Dan Evans in a chilly third round of the Monte Carlo Masters for his first defeat this year.
No. 3 Rafael Nadal followed up by breezing into the quarterfinals of a tournament he has won a record 11 times. No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced but No. 5 Alexander Zverev went out.
Islanders close to selling out inaugural season at UBS Arena
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (AP) — Nearly six months before the opening of their new arena, the New York Islanders are reporting they have nearly sold out of season tickets for the first season in their new home.
The Islanders say UBS Arena, being built next to the racetrack at Belmont Park with an expected capacity of around 17,000 for hockey, has sold more than 90% of its season tickets. The upper level and terrace is sold out, as well as eight sections in the lower bowl. About 1,000 seats remain available, and after those are sold the Islanders will start a waiting list.
Cameron Smith leads RBC Heritage after career-low 62
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Cameron Smith birdied the difficult 17th and 18th holes at Harbour Town to shoot a 9-under 62 and take a one-stroke lead over Stewart Cink at the RBC Heritage. Smith followed up his second top-10 finish at the Masters in five months by matching the lowest opening round at the Heritage.
The 47-year-old Cink is a two-time champion at Harbour Town who’s enjoying a resurgence this season.
PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and Matt Wallace were three shots back.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson opened with a 70. He played with Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris, who shot 68.
Cameron Smith birdied the difficult 17th and 18th holes at Harbour Town to shoot a 9-under 62 and take a one-stroke lead over Stewart Cink at the RBC Heritage. Smith followed up his second top-10 finish at the Masters in five months by matching the lowest opening round at the Heritage. The 47-year-old Cink is a two-time champion at Harbour Town who’s enjoying a resurgence this season. PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and Matt Wallace were three shots back. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson opened with a 70. He played with Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris, who shot 68.
TOKYO OLYMPICS-VIRUS WORRIES
Officials say Olympic cancellation or barring fans are still options
TOKYO (AP) — Two officials in Japan’s ruling party have suggested separately that the Tokyo Olympics could be in for some radical changes. One says they could be canceled. The other says they could proceed without any fans.
The speculation comes a day after Tokyo reached the 100-days-to-go mark.
Liberal Democratic Party secretary general Toshihiro Nikai says cancellation is still an option with coronavirus cases rising. Taro Kono is the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout in Japan. He says that even if the games go on it may be without any fans. Organizers have already banned fans from other countries.
Tokyo and Osaka have been under an alert status since earlier this month, but officials are concerned there is little sense of urgency.