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National Sports Archives for 2016-06

LeBron a Free Agent After Declining Option on Contract


CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James is a free agent after declining his player option for next season with the NBA champion Cavaliers.


Lebron James


The move was expected by James, who said last week he intends to remain with Cleveland. The 31-year-old star has been a free agent the past three summers, electing each time to sign one-year contracts with a player option. It's not yet known if he'll sign another short-term deal or a multiyear package.


James was scheduled to make $24 million next season.

He was named Finals MVP after he helped the Cavs overcome a 3-1 deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors. The three-time champion averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the series. James posted a triple-double in Game 7 as the Cavs ended Cleveland's 52-year championship drought.


He's in his second stint with the Cavs after leaving as a free agent in 2010.




Reds Sent JJ Hoover Back to Minors after Rough Outing


CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds optioned reliever J.J. Hoover to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, a few hours after his latest rough outing set a club record.


Reds JJ


Hoover gave up five runs, including Javier Baez's grand slam, in the 15th inning of a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. It was the second grand slam allowed by Hoover this season and his sixth career, a club record. Hoover has allowed nine homers in 18 2/3 innings this season for a 13.50 ERA.


Keyvius Sampson was called up for his third stint in Cincinnati this season. He's 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in four games.


The Reds' bullpen is by far the worst in the majors, allowing 61 homers in 78 games with a 6.08 ERA.





Cards sweep Cubs at Wrigley


UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have cut their deficit in the National League Central to single digits. They now trail the Cubs by 9 ½ games after completing their first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 1988.




Michael Wacha (WAH'-kah) outpitched Jake Arrieta (ar-ee-EH'-tuh) and Aledmys (ah-LEHD-mees) Diaz hit a two-run home run in the Cards' 7-2 victory in the Friendly Confines. Wacha had dropped seven straight decisions before limiting Chicago to two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings. Wacha had a two-hit shutout until Willson Contreras chased him with a two-run homer.


Arrieta struggled with his control while dropping to 11-2, yielding one earned run on four hits and four walks in five innings. The Cardinals put together a five-run sixth after Arrieta left, highlighted by Matt Carpenter's two-run double.

The Cardinals have won eight straight road games, their longest such streak since 1982.



Joey Bosa Skipping Minicamp Due to Contract Dispute

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A person with knowledge of the situation says San Diego Chargers first-round draft pick Joey Bosa is skipping this week's minicamp after a dispute arose in contract negotiations.
Joey Bosa
The person says there are issues with the structure of the contract. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The minicamp opened Tuesday and will run through Thursday.
Bosa, the former Ohio State defensive end, was taken with the third pick overall.
The Chargers will rely on Bosa to bolster their defense as they try to rebound from a 4-12 season in which they went winless against AFC West opponents.


Florida Athletic Director Foley Retiring After 25 Years


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Longtime Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, one of the most successful college sports leaders in the country, is retiring.




The school announced the decision Monday, saying he will officially step down Oct. 1.


The 63-year-old Foley informed his staff and head coaches of the move Monday, calling it quits after 40 years at Florida. He started in the ticket office and took over as AD in 1992. Foley will remain at Florida as emeritus athletic director for the duration of his current contract.


Foley has been Florida's AD since 1992. Although he didn't hire football coach Steve Spurrier, he brought a distinguished list of coaches to Gainesville while building one of the top programs in the Southeastern Conference and the country.





McGirt, Finau Among 6 US Open Players Added to Oakmont Field


OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — Memorial winner William McGirt and Puerto Rico Open champion Tony Finau were among six players added to the U.S. Open on Monday.


US Open


The USGA set aside six spots for anyone who made the top 60 in the world ranking Monday.


McGirt was the only one at No. 44 because of his victory two weeks ago at the Memorial. No one else played well enough to crack the top 60, so those spots went to five alternates from various sectional qualifying sites.


Finau was the first alternate from the Springfield, Ohio, sectional, while Daniel Summerhays was first alternate from the larger Ohio section. The others were Zach Edmondson (Florida sectional), Kevin Foley (New Jersey) and Mike Van Sickle (Maryland), the son of Sports Illustrated golf writer Gary Van Sickle.



Infantino Weighs Complaint Over 'Theft' of FIFA Recording


GENEVA (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino claims he could make a criminal complaint over an unauthorized recording of a meeting that revealed comments damaging his reputation.




Infantino told Sunday's edition of Swiss daily Le Matin he had "a good idea" how details of a FIFA Council meeting in Mexico City last month had leaked.


"I reserve the right to make a complaint about theft of sensitive data," said Infantino, whose three-month-old presidency has exposed rifts at FIFA where Sepp Blatter's 17-year reign ended mired in scandal.


Leaks to German-language newspapers in recent days showed Infantino describe a $2 million salary offer as "insulting" and detailed Council talks about getting FIFA audit and compensation panels chairman Domenico Scala to leave.


"My enemies want to make me look greedy, it's stupid," said Infantino, who insists he is negotiating a salary of less than $2 million.


On Friday, FIFA revealed that Blatter and recently fired top officials Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner awarded themselves contracts paying a total of $80 million in five years.


That long-awaited release of top pay deals at FIFA was made as news emerged that Swiss police had raided FIFA headquarters on Thursday. The latest seizure of evidence seemed provoked by Kattner's firing for an ongoing investigation of suspected criminal mismanagement, including the award of World Cup broadcasting rights.

Police searched the office of former finance director Kattner but not his own, Infantino noted.


FIFA fired Kattner on May 23 for breach of trust, and suggested possible illegal clauses in his employment contract.


Ten days later, Swiss police came to FIFA to seize documents and electronic data for its case against Blatter, former secretary general Valcke — who already have criminal proceedings opened against them — and "further persons unknown."


Within 24 hours, FIFA outlined the pay raises, World Cup bonuses and other financial incentives that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner received in recent years.


FIFA suggested some clauses guaranteeing Valcke and Kattner termination pay and indemnification for future legal costs could breach Swiss law. Kattner's already-lengthy contract was extended in May last year through 2023 just four days after a sprawling American indictment of FIFA and marketing officials was revealed.


Switzerland's federal prosecution office confirmed Friday that FIFA has not yet filed criminal complaints over the contracts.


FIFA has said documents that justified firing Kattner were found only in mid-May as part of an ongoing year-long internal inquiry by its retained U.S. law firm, Quinn Emanuel.


"With all that is going on right now, we can expect anything (to emerge)," Infantino was quoted saying in the Swiss interview, his first since the latest police intervention.


In a difficult period of high-profile officials leaving and leaks to media, Infantino is reportedly the subject of a complaint to FIFA ethics prosecutors for ordering the unauthorized copy of the audio file to be deleted.


"If there is a destruction operation, it is directed against me," the FIFA head said in Sunday's interview, dismissing "carefully orchestrated hysteria" in the media to undermine him.


Infantino also aimed a barb at Scala, whose resignation from FIFA in protest against the president was announced as officials left Mexico City three weeks ago.


Scala's criticism was "childish behavior worthy of a playground," his fellow Swiss-Italian Infantino said.




Muhammad Ali services planned


UNDATED (AP) — Funeral and memorial services have been scheduled for boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died on Friday at 74.




The funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, with eulogies given by former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal and Bryant Gumbel.


Louisville mayor Greg Fischer has ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor Ali.


The three-time heavyweight champion had been hospitalized in the Phoenix area since Monday with respiratory problems and his children had flown in from around the country. A family spokesman says Ali died of septic shock "due to unspecified natural causes."


Ali dominated not just boxing but much of contemporary culture back in the 60's as an Olympic champion, a professional heavyweight champ and a leader of the civil rights movement.


President Barack Obama says Muhammad Ali "shook up the world, and the world is better for it."


Ali's daughter, Hana, has told reporters that after his other organs had failed, his heart kept beating for another 30 minutes.



Boxing Great Muhammad Ali in Hospital with Respiratory Issue


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A spokesman for boxing great Muhammad Ali says the former heavyweight champion is being treated in a hospital for a respiratory issue.




Spokesman Bob Gunnell said Thursday that Ali is being treated by doctors as a precaution. He says that the 74-year-old is in fair condition, and that a brief hospital stay is expected.


He declined to say where Ali is hospitalized or when he was admitted.


Ali has battled Parkinson's disease for years.



Dustin Johnson off to Fast Start at Memorial with 8-under 64


DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Dustin Johnson took some attention away from the Big Three at the Memorial by opening with an 8-under 64.




Johnson is one of golf's biggest hitters. He began with three straight birdies and had two other bursts of birdies. He led by two shots over Hudson Swafford among the early starters Thursday. Johnson made 10 birdies at Muirfield Village and failed to birdie two of the par 5s.


As for the latest version of the Big Three?


Jordan Spieth saved his round with his putter, opening with seven one-putt greens. He finally started hitting fairways and greens and finished with a 70. Rory McIlroy, playing in Spieth's group, had too many mistakes in his round of 71.


Jason Day played in the afternoon and was 3 under through six holes.





Covers Off Courts at Drying-Out French Open


PARIS (AP) — After two days of almost incessant rain, the covers have come off the courts at the French Open and the skies, while still thick with clouds, have stopped dropping rain.


French Open


Serena and Venus Williams play first on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen, respectively, in fourth-round matches carried over from Monday, when rain washed out the whole day of play for the first time in 16 years.


Defending champion Serena plays No. 18 Elina Svitolina. Venus takes on No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky.


Because of scheduling problems, after rain continued for most of Tuesday, too, matches are also spread on other courts. Kiki Bertens vs. No. 15 Madison Keys is on Court 1; No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Yulia Putintseva of Ukraine is on Court 2.




Rockies Tie Franchise Record with 7 Homers, Beat Reds 17-4


DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit two of Colorado's team record-tying seven homers, powering the Rockies to a 17-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.


Reds Beat


Blackmon became the first player in Rockies history to hit leadoff homers in back-to-back games and added his first career grand slam in the seventh. Carlos Gonzalez homered for a fourth straight game, while D.J. LeMahieu and Gerardo Parra also went deep.


It was the first time Colorado hit seven homers at Coors Field. The team also had seven on April 5, 1997, in Montreal.




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