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National Sports Archives for 2017-03

Gonzaga, UNC, Oregon, USC to hold open Final Four practices


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — It's going to be a busy Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium ahead of Saturday's Final Four games.

Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina will all hold practices that are open to the public ahead of the national semifinals. Those teams will also spend much of the day bouncing between media sessions.

South Carolina has the first 50-minute practice session on the court nestled in the middle of a cavernous stadium with capacity for more than 63,000 fans. Gonzaga is next. Those teams play Saturday's first national semifinal.

Oregon and North Carolina have the last two practices. They play in Saturday's second semifinal.


Reds release of Ryan Raburn, who competed for bench role


GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds have released outfielder Ryan Raburn after he struggled in a bid to win a bench role.



Raburn signed a minor league deal last month. He hit .219 during spring training with seven hits, three home runs and seven strikeouts in 32 at-bats.

Raburn played seven years for Detroit and three for Cleveland before moving to the National League last season. He batted only .220 with Colorado last year, when he made $1.6 million. He played in left field, right field and first base for the Rockies. Raburn turns 36 next month.

The Reds still have competition for the final spots on the bench with opening day a week away. They host the Philadelphia Phillies next Monday.



Cleveland Indians not responsible for fan hurt by ball


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A jury says the Cleveland Indians aren't responsible for injuries to a New York man hit by a foul ball and blinded in one eye at a baseball game in July 2012.

Cleveland.com reports the decision late last week in a Cleveland-area county court means Keith Rawlins, of Rochester, gets no money from his lawsuit against the team.

The attorney representing the Indians, Todd Hicks, says he's pleased with the decision. The team had argued the case could have wide-ranging implications for ballparks and teams around the nation.

Cleveland.com says Rawlins' lawyers couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

He claimed he turned away from the field because he was distracted by stadium personnel forcing him to relocate for a postgame fireworks show. The team has said Rawlins moved voluntarily.


Barry Bonds joins Giants at camp to coach minor leaguers


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Barry Bonds is back in spring training camp with the San Francisco Giants, set to spend a week working on hitting with the team's minor leaguers.

The 52-year-old home run champion reported Wednesday at the Giants' complex. After his time in Arizona, Bonds will be a special adviser to Giants CEO Larry Baer.

Bonds spent last season as the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins and was fired.

The seven-time MVP played 15 seasons with the Giants, finishing in 2007 with 762 career homers.

Bonds said, "All I've ever wanted to be is a Giant."


Blue Jackets have share of conference lead for the moment

UNDATED (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets held a piece of the NHL's Metropolitan Division lead for a few hours on Saturday, only to fall back to second place with Washington's win at Tampa Bay.

Cam Atkinson scored 79 seconds into overtime to complete the Jackets' 3-2 win over the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson had second-period goals to give Columbus a 2-1 lead, but the Isles earned a point by getting a John Tavares goal 8:48 into the third.

New York fell one point behind Toronto for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

The Capitals had dropped five of six before T.J. Oshie (OH'-shee) recorded a hat trick and had an assist in a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay. Justin Williams and John Carlson supplied goals early in the third period as the Caps became the first team to clinch a Stanley Cup playoff berth.

Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists against the Lightning, who are two points out of an Eastern Conference playoff slot.


US women's hockey players threaten boycott over wages


UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. women's hockey team is threatening to boycott the world championships because of a wage dispute.


Woman's Hockey


The team announced Wednesday that they will not participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation tournament that begins March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan.


A spokesman for USA Hockey did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.


Players say they informed USA Hockey that they would not report to training camp March 21 unless meaningful progress is made. The U.S. is the defending champion after winning the gold medal last.


The players are seeking a contract with USA Hockey that they say "includes appropriate compensation."



NCAA men's First Four start off tonight in Dayton, Ohio


DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — New Orleans (20-11) is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996, when it opens the tournament this evening in Dayton, Ohio, facing Mount St. Mary's (19-15), beginning at 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time.


New Orleans guard Christavious Gill says, "It's for everybody in New Orleans who has been in New Orleans since the devastation of Katrina." Mount St. Mary's Junior Robinson is the shortest player in Division I this season at 5-foot-5. He averages 14 points and 33 minutes per game. Coach Jamion Christian says. "You look at him, he's 5-foot-5, 165 pounds. He's worked really hard to get up to 165 pounds, really. He's a special player because he's got enormous heart."

The winner faces No. 1 Villanova on Thursday in Buffalo.


Kansas State (20-13) takes on comeback kids Wake Forest (19-13) with a scheduled start time of 9:10 p.m. EST in Dayton. Wake Forest overcame deficits of 19, 14 and 13 points to win its last three games in the regular season. The only other Division I team to win three straight games while overcoming double-digit deficits this season is Kentucky. And the term "kids" applies: eight of its 13 scholarship players are underclassmen.



Gibbs, Penske, Allison among NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Championship team owners Joe Gibbs and Roger Penske as well as the late Davey Allison are among five new nominees for the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.


NASCAR announced the additions Wednesday. Three-time Late Model Sportsman and 1956 Modified champion Red Farmer and 2000 NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte also are new to the 20-person nomination class. They join 15 holdovers from last year.


Gibbs has nine car owner championships in NASCAR'S top two series. Penske has four car owner titles in the top two series. Allison won 19 times in NASCAR's premier series, including the 1992 Daytona 500.


The returning nominees are Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Ron Hornaday Jr., Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Larry Phillips, Jack Roush, Ricky Rudd, Mike Stefanik, Ken Squier, Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates.


Five nominees will be elected May 24.


Rutgers beats Ohio State, gets first Big 10 Tournament win


WASHINGTON (AP) — Nigel Johnson scored 21 points and made all eight free throws to lead Rutgers to a 66-57 over Ohio State Wednesday night in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Rutgers (15-17) now has won back-to-back games after a six-game skid. Now in its third season in the Big Ten, it's the first time the Scarlet Knights have won consecutive conference games.


Despite shooting 37.1 percent — and 30.4 from 3-point range and going about 3 ½ minutes without a point in the second half — 14th-seeded Rutgers also won its first Big Ten Tournament game after being bounced as the No. 14 seed the past two tries.


Rutgers outrebounded Ohio State 47-31 to overcome its shooting woes.


Jae'Sean Tate scored 18 points for 11th-seed Ohio State (17-15), which will miss the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Buckeyes did not make a field goal in the final 5:43.



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