=== News Summaries from The Sports Network - Wednesday, April 16th ===
=== Chris Johnson joins Jets ===
Florham Park, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Johnson officially now has a new
home, with the former 2,000-yard rusher agreeing to terms with the New York
Jets Wednesday on a reported two-year contract.
According to NFL.com, Johnson's deal carries a base value of $8 million and
includes $1 million in incentives.
Johnson was released by the Tennessee Titans earlier this month in a move
triggered by both financial and production reasons. The three-time Pro Bowl
honoree was due to earn $8 million in 2014 and averaged a career-low 3.9 yards
per carry this past season. He also underwent minor knee surgery in January.
The 28-year-old became only the sixth player in NFL history to eclipse the
2,000-yard rushing mark in a season when he racked up 2,006 for the Titans in
2009, Johnson's second year in the league. He has run for at least 1,000 yards
in all six of his pro seasons, gaining 1,077 in 2013 while scoring 10 total
touchdowns (6 rushing, 4 receiving).
For his career, the 2008 first-round pick has amassed 7,965 rushing yards and
50 touchdowns on the ground and added 2,003 yards and eight TD's on 272
With the Jets, the speedy Johnson is expected to serve as a complement to
power back Chris Ivory, who rushed for a career-best 833 yards on 182 carries
=== Bucks sold for $550 million, new arena in works ===
Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl has sold
the team to investors Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for approximately $550
The sale still needs approval from the NBA Board of Governors.
In addition to the purchase agreement, Kohl has pledged a $100 million gift
for the development of a new arena for the team. The new owners will keep the
franchise in Milwaukee and will also contribute at least an additional $100
million toward the arena project.
"My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in
Milwaukee," said Kohl in a statement Wednesday. "This announcement reinforces
that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks. Wes and Marc
agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise
Lasry is the CEO and co-founder of Avenue Capital Group and Edens is the co-
founder of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Both have headquarters in New York,
but both are committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee.
"We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks
and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee," the two new
owners said in a statement. "It is our vision for this franchise to be admired
both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its
organization and the loyalty of its fan base. Having each built competitive
teams in the business world, we will apply that same intensity and
determination as owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. We are as passionate and
energized as Bucks fans are about bringing home an NBA championship to
Kohl purchased the Bucks in 1985 from Jim Fitzgerald for $18 million. The
former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin had detailed sale discussions with a group
led by Michael Jordan in 2003, but decided to keep the franchise.
In December, though, Kohl began a search for additional investors.
"Today's announcement signals the start of a new, exciting era for the
Milwaukee Bucks," said Kohl. "Now, with a long-term commitment from the new
owners and major components of the funding in place for a new arena, we need
to come together as a community to develop plans for a new sports and
entertainment facility that will host more than 200 events a year, including
Bucks games. I am confident we will do this."
The Bucks entered the last day of the regular season with the NBA's worst
record at 15-66.
=== Heat begin another title defense Sunday ===
New York, NY (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat's quest for a three-peat
Reigning MVP LeBron James and the second-seeded Heat will begin another NBA
title defense when they host the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1 at 3:30 p.m.
(et). The Heat swept the season series.
Miami is limping into the playoffs, dropping five of its last six games to
close the season. It's a different script from a year ago when the Heat
finished 66-16, which included a 27-game winning streak. They closed the
season with eight straight victories in 2013.
The Heat, though, won their first of two titles in 2012 as a two seed and
losing three of four going into the postseason.
Miami's main threat in the East is also struggling heading into the
postseason. The top-seeded Indiana Pacers, who lost six of their last 10 games
and will host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (et), have seen their
season end at the hands of the Heat the last two seasons.
Indiana lost a hard-fought seven-game series to Miami in last year's Eastern
Conference Finals and fell in six games to the Heat in the 2012 Eastern
The Hawks secured the East's last playoff spot with a win over Miami on
The fourth-seeded Bulls appeared destined to miss the postseason when Derrick
Rose went down early with another knee injury and the team traded away forward
Luol Deng. But Chicago finished 34-18 since dealing away Deng, including a
21-9 mark since the All-Star break. The Bulls will host the Washington Wizards
on Sunday at 7 p.m. (et). The John Wall-led Wizards are in the postseason for
the first time in six years.
In the 3-6 matchup in the East, the Toronto Raptors will host the
Brooklyn Nets, with the series beginning on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (et). The
Raptors are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, while Brooklyn fell
to the sixth seed following its loss at Cleveland. The Nets went 34-17 since
the start of the new year.
The defending Western Conference champions and top-seeded San Antonio Spurs,
who had the NBA's best record at 62-20, host the Dallas Mavericks to open up
their playoff slate on Sunday at 1 p.m. (et).
This will be the sixth time since 2001 that these in-state rivals have met in
the postseason. San Antonio won three of the previous series.
Kevin Durant's driving dunk with 16.5 seconds remaining Wednesday sent the
Oklahoma City Thunder to a regular season-ending 112-111 win over the Detroit
Pistons, clinching the second seed. They will face the Memphis Grizzlies, who
edged Dallas in overtime earlier Wednesday to give them the seventh seed. That
series begins Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. (et).
Memphis, which began the season 13-17 while dealing with a plethora of
injuries, finished 37-15. The Grizzlies knocked off the Russell Westbrook-less
Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals last season before getting swept
by San Antonio in the West Finals.
The third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, who set a franchise record in wins for
a second straight season, host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at 3:30
p.m. (et). The Stephen Curry-led Warriors are a sixth seed again after
knocking off the Denver Nuggets in the first round of last year's playoffs.
Finally, in the 4-5 matchup out West, the Houston Rockets will host the
Portland Trail Blazers, who are in the postseason for the first time since the
2010-11 season. Houston, which won the season series 3-1, host Portland on
Sunday at 9:30 p.m. (et).
=== Knicks sign Odom ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Lamar Odom signed with the New York Knicks
Wednesday, in time to play the regular-season finale against the Toronto
Odom, who signed a deal just for the remainder of this season, hasn't played
in the NBA since the 2012-13 campaign, when he started in two of the 82
contests he participated in for the Los Angeles Clippers. That season he
averaged 4.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
This year, Odom appeared in two games for Baskonia (Spain). His new deal
reunites him with Knicks president Phil Jackson, who coached Odom for several
seasons while with the Lakers.
The 34-year-old Odom, a native of Jamaica, NY, holds career averages of 13.3
points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 961 games over 14 years with the
Clippers, Heat, Lakers and Mavericks.
=== Jets give Maurice four-year deal ===
Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms of a
four-year contract extension with head coach Paul Maurice.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Maurice took over as head coach on Jan. 12 when Claude Noel was fired and led
the Jets to a record of 18-12-5 in his 35 games behind the bench.
Winnipeg still finished the season last in the Central Division with a mark of
37-35-10. The Jets have yet to reach the playoffs in three seasons since the
franchise relocated from Atlanta after the 2010-11 campaign.
The 47-year-old Ontario native owns a career NHL coaching mark of 478-469-172
with Hartford/Carolina (1995-04, 2008-11), Toronto (2006-08) and Winnipeg.
In his first stint with the Hurricanes, Maurice led the club to a pair of
Southeast Division titles and the 2002 Eastern Conference championship. He had
two winning seasons in Toronto, but failed to make the playoffs, then took the
Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference finals during his second go-round with
=== Flyers to start Emery in goal for Game 1 ===
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will go with
Ray Emery in net for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against
the New York Rangers on Thursday as Steve Mason continues to recover from an
Mason was hurt during Saturday's game against Pittsburgh when Penguins forward
Jayson Megna pushed Philadelphia defenseman Andrew MacDonald into the
netminder in the crease. Mason was back on the ice for practice Tuesday, but
coach Craig Berube on Wednesday said Emery would get the start against the
Emery played just 28 games this season and posted a record of 9-12-2 with a
2.96 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. He has appeared in 36
Stanley Cup playoff games and has a record of 20-15 with a 2.57 GAA.
The 31-year-old native of Ontario helped backstop the Ottawa Senators to the
Stanley Cup Finals in the spring of 2007. He last played in the postseason in
2011 with the Ducks.
Mason was 33-18-7 with a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage in 61 games this
season. His lone playoff experience came with Columbus in 2009, a four-game
sweep at the hands of Detroit.
=== Lightning G Bishop to miss Game 1 ===
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Wednesday
that goaltender Ben Bishop will not play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference
quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bishop is still not ready to go, having missed the remaining three games of
the regular season after suffering an apparent wrist injury.
The University of Maine product exited an Apr. 8 game with the Maple Leafs
less than six minutes in after he landed on his left wrist diving for a
The 27-year-old posted a 37-14-7 record in 63 games this season with a
2.23 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
Anders Lindback, who stopped 77-of-79 shots since his installment as starter
in Bishop's absence, will get the call for the series opener.
Lindback has participated in only one previous postseason contest, a 13-
minute, nine-save stint in 2011 for the Nashville Predators.
=== Andersen gets nod for Ducks' playoff opener ===
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau
declared rookie Frederik Andersen as the starter for Wednesday's Game 1 of
their Western Conference quarterfinal against the Dallas Stars.
Andersen was tabbed over the more experienced Jonas Hiller, the Ducks' primary
netminder for the majority of the regular season.
Hiller struggled badly down the stretch, going 3-4-3 with a 3.34 goals-against
average over March and April. He surrendered seven goals in losing his
final two starts, then did not play in any of Anaheim's final four games.
The Ducks won all four of those contests with either Andersen or fellow rookie
John Gibson between the pipes.
Andersen, on the other hand, has impressed during his brief time in the NHL.
The 24-year-old Dane posted a 20-5-0 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .923 save
percentage in 28 games this season.
"We've played him in a couple of tough places. We feel he gives us the best
chance to win," Boudreau said.
Boudreau did not say whether Hiller, who has started 20 career NHL postseason
games and registered three shutouts in the playoffs, or Gibson would serve as
Andersen's backup in the opener. The 20-year-old Gibson shut out Vancouver and
then beat San Jose and Colorado in his three starts since being recalled from
the minors late in the season.
=== UCLA's Anderson, LaVine declare for NBA Draft ===
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - UCLA sophomore guard Kyle Anderson and
freshman guard Zach LaVine have elected to forego their remaining collegiate
eligibility and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
Anderson secured first-team All-Pac-12 honors and was named a third-team
All-America selection as a sophomore in 2013-14. He averaged closer to a
triple-double than any player in the nation, registering 14.6 points, 8.8
rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.
"I want to thank everyone at UCLA for all they have done for me," said
Anderson. "My two years at UCLA were two of the best years of my life. It was
a tough decision to make with my family since our last game, but I have
decided to enter my name into the NBA Draft. I will still continue to embrace
the UCLA community, and I hope they will do the same with me."
LaVine captured Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors in 2013-14. The 6-foot-5 guard
from Seattle averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for
"I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft,"
said LaVine. "I first and foremost want to thank my family for all their
support in helping me through this journey to achieve my dream of playing in
the NBA. I also want to thank my coaches, UCLA, my teammates and all of the
fans. I will forever be proud to call myself a Bruin and will never forget the
memories that were made here. I truly can't wait for this next chapter in my
life, and again thank everyone for all their support."
Anderson became the first player in Pac-12 history to record at least 200
rebounds and 200 assists in the same season. He finished his sophomore year
having logged 527 points, 315 rebounds and 233 assists -- the assist total
ranking third on the school's single-season list.
"We are all very happy for Kyle, who has a terrific opportunity to fulfill his
lifelong dream of playing in the NBA," said UCLA coach Steve Alford. "I know I
speak for all of our coaches and players when I say his efforts here at UCLA
were greatly appreciated. I've said time and again that Kyle was the best
point guard in the country this past season. He had a tremendous year, helping
lead us to the Sweet 16 and a Pac-12 Tournament championship. I firmly believe
Kyle will have a long and productive NBA career and everyone involved with
UCLA basketball wishes him the best."
The 6-foot-9 Anderson played in 71 games (70 starts) for UCLA over two
seasons, guiding the Bruins to the 2013 Pac-12 regular-season title, the 2014
Pac-12 Tournament championship and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
He averaged 12.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists in two seasons, shooting
45.2 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.
LaVine shot 44.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range
for the Bruins, playing in all 37 games this past season. His 48 3-point field
goals are the second-most by any freshman in school history.
"It has been exciting to see Zach develop from the time he first set foot on
campus at UCLA to where he is today," Alford added. "Zach has only begun to
scratch the surface of his potential and has an extremely bright future ahead
of him. It has been a pleasure to watch him grow both as a basketball player
and person this past year, and I look forward to watching Zach play in the NBA
for many years to come."
Anderson and LaVine helped UCLA to a 28-9 overall record and the program's
first Pac-12 Tournament title and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance since
=== Arizona State's Carson opts for draft ===
Tempe, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Arizona State guard Jahii Carson announced
Wednesday his intentions to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and
enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
The 5-foot-10 Carson was named the 2013 Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year and
earned first team all-conference honors in each of his two seasons with the
Sun Devils. The 21-year-old averaged 18.5 points, 4.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds
over 68 overall games at Arizona State.
"Jahii and I discussed his decision to enter the NBA Draft, and while our
program will miss him, I know he is ready to start his professional career,"
said Sun Devils head coach Herb Sendek. "Jahii made an incredible impact on
our program over the past two seasons and was a huge part of the success we
achieved as a team. I know I speak for the entire Sun Devils community when I
say we are wishing Jahii and his family all the best in the future."
=== Kansas State extends Weber through 2019 ===
Manhattan, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Kansas State rewarded head men's
basketball coach Bruce Weber with a one-year contract extension through the
2019 academic year.
The additional year to his current contract secures Weber's services through
April 30, 2019. Compensation remains the same per an extension signed in April
2013 and includes a salary of $2.25 million for the additional year during the
2018-19 season. If Weber stays through the end of his contract, he will also
receive a $500,000 retention bonus.
"A significant part of building a successful program is continuity and this
type of commitment ensures that we have all the parts necessary to continue to
build upon what we have accomplished the last two seasons," Weber said. "The
success we have had is a direct reflection of the hard work and sacrifice of
our players and coaches. I could not be more proud to be associated with them
and look forward to even more success in the future."
Weber has guided K-State to a 47-21 overall record and consecutive NCAA
Tournament appearances during his first two seasons at the helm. His 47 wins
are the most by a head coach in his first two seasons in school history.
This past season, Kansas State went 20-13 and lost to Kentucky in the second
round of the NCAA Tournament.
Weber coached Illinois for nine years before being hired by Kansas State on
March 31, 2012.
=== USC's Wesley says he will transfer ===
(SportsNetwork.com) - USC guard Byron Wesley, the Trojans' leading scorer this
past season, says he will use his final year of eligibility to play for
"I would like to announce that I have decided to graduate from USC this summer
and transfer for my final year of college basketball," Wesley tweeted
The 6-foot-5 junior thanked his coaches, teammates and fans and said playing
at USC "was the opportunity of a lifetime."
"I will be a Trojan for life & I'm most proud of that!" he wrote.
Wesley, who is from nearby Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., averaged 17.8 points and
6.4 rebounds in 30 games this past season for the Trojans (11-21).
"We wish Byron well and we thank him for his valuable contributions to our
program," USC coach Andy Enfield said in a statement. "We are happy for him
that he will leave USC with his degree. He had a very productive career here
and I am sure he will do well wherever his career takes him."
Wesley averaged 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in three seasons at
=== Kentucky QB Whitlow to transfer ===
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Kentucky coach Mark Stoops announced
Wednesday that quarterback Jalen Whitlow will transfer.
"We respect Jalen and his decision as we want the best for him," Stoops said.
"I thank Jalen for his contributions to the team during his time at Kentucky.
I want everyone to understand how hard he has worked and the effort he has
given since our staff has been here."
In 2013, Whitlow started eight games. He completed 98-of-159 passes for 1,033
yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 457 yards and six scores.
As a true freshman in 2012, Whitlow started seven games and connected on 87-
of-161 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 206 yards
and three scores.
"I appreciate the University of Kentucky and what the coaching staff and
administration have done for me," Whitlow said. "I also thank the community
and the fan support I have received here. I wish the coaches and my teammates
the best of luck."
=== Puig issues statement on article ===
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel
Puig issued a statement Wednesday about a magazine article describing his
escape from Cuba to Mexico in 2012.
In a story published Sunday, Los Angeles Magazine detailed how Puig received
death threats from human traffickers under control of a murderous Mexican drug
"I'm aware of the recent articles and news accounts. I understand that people
are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject,"
Puig said in a statement through his agent, Adam Katz. "I'm represented on
this matter, and I'm only focused on being a productive teammate and helping
the Dodgers win games."
Puig has reportedly been subjected to a lawsuit that accuses him of wrongfully
accusing a man of trying to set up a defection.
According to the magazine, a Miami air-conditioning repairman and recycler who
was on probation for attempted burglary and possession of a fake ID, agreed to
pay smugglers $250,000 to get Puig out of Cuba. Puig, in return, would agree
to give the man 20 percent of his future earnings. Puig allegedly paid 20
percent of his contract value to the Florida group that brought him to the
United States in July 2012, according to a report.
=== Astros designate Harrell for assignment; Springer gets call ===
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Astros have designated pitcher
Lucas Harrell for assignment and are ready to bring up top prospect George
Harrell made three starts for Houston this season, including Tuesday against
Kansas City, and is 0-3 with a lofty 9.49 ERA. He has allowed 14 runs -- 13
earned -- and 19 hits with nine walks in 12 1/3 innings.
The 28-year-old right-hander was 6-17 with a 5.86 ERA in 36 games, including
22 starts, last season and was 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts in 2012.
Springer, meanwhile, was hitting .353 with four doubles, three homers, nine
runs batted in and four stolen bases in 13 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City
The 24-year-old was Houston's top minor league player last year when he
combined to bat .303 with 37 homers, 108 RBI and 45 stolen bases in 135 games
with Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Houston also reinstated pitcher Scott Feldman from the bereavement list and
optioned outfielder Robbie Grossman to Oklahoma City.
Feldman left the team on Saturday after the death of his father and is
expected to start Thursday against the Royals. He is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.44
in three starts this season.
Grossman was batting just .125 with six hits in 48 at-bats over 14 games. He
hit two homers and was tied for the team lead with six runs batted in.
=== Mets bring up Matsuzaka, outright Lannan ===
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Mets selected the contract of
pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka from Triple-A Las Vegas and outrighted pitcher John
Lannan to Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Matsuzaka was assigned to Las Vegas at the end of Spring Training after Jenrry
Mejia won the final spot in the starting rotation. He posted a 3-3 record with
a 4.42 ERA last season in seven starts for the Mets.
Lannan appeared in five games out of the bullpen this season compiling a 1-0
record with a 15.75 ERA. He has allowed three home runs and seven runs on
seven hits in four innings of work.
He spent last season with Philadelphia and went 3-6 with a 5.33 earned run
average over 14 starts with the Phillies. The left-hander did not pitch after
Aug. 14 due to a left knee injury and also missed time with a strained
=== Giants activate Affeldt from DL ===
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Francisco Giants activated
pitcher Jeremy Affeldt from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.
Affeldt landed on the disabled list prior to Opening Day due to a sprained
medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The left-handed reliever went
1-5 with a 3.74 ERA for the Giants last season in 39 appearances.
The Giants optioned outfielder Juan Perez to Triple-A Fresno to make room for
Affeldt on the roster. Perez failed to register a hit in eight games this
=== Pirates' Tabata leaves after hitting wall ===
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata
left Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds after crashing into the wall
while making a catch.
Tabata raced back toward the left field wall to make a running catch of Brayan
Pena's drive leading off the bottom of the fifth inning. He made a leaping
grab at the warning track and his momentum carried his shoulder into the wall.
After remaining on the ground for a few moments, Tabata had his neck and
shoulder examined by trainers. He was helped up and walked off gingerly under
his own power.
=== A's-Mariners postponement rescheduled for May ===
Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics announced Wednesday
that their postponed contest against the Seattle Mariners from earlier in the
season has been rescheduled.
That April 4 game at O.co Coliseum was called off due to unplayable field
conditions, after the region had been pelted with heavy rains for the better
part of a week.
It will be included as the first contest in a traditional doubleheader played
on May 7.
=== Ankle sprain sends Angels' Calhoun to DL ===
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim placed
Kole Calhoun on the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game with the
Oakland Athletics, becoming the team's second starting outfielder to be
sidelined in the past week.
Calhoun turned his right ankle after crossing first base while grounding out
during the 11th inning of Tuesday's 10-9 loss to the A's.
The 26-year-old lands on the DL just seven days after slugger Josh Hamilton
tore a ligament in his left thumb while diving head-first into first base in a
game against Seattle.
Calhoun hit three home runs with six RBI while batting .250 through the first
14 games of this season, but was on a 7-for-15 tear and had three hits --
including a two-run homer -- on Tuesday.
Veteran outfielder Brennan Boesch had his contract purchased from Triple-A
Salt Lake to fill the available roster spot.
Boesch, a .260 hitter with 45 homers and 183 RBI over 403 career major league
games with Detroit and the New York Yankees, was batting .250 with a pair of
homers and nine RBI in 13 games with Salt Lake. The 29-year-old signed a minor
league contract with the Angels in January.
=== Mariners send Morrison to DL, promote Franklin ===
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Mariners outfielder Logan Morrison
was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the
Texas Rangers due to a hamstring strain he sustained earlier in the series.
Morrison was removed from Monday's opener of the four-game set in the first
inning due to the injury, with infielder Nick Franklin recalled from Triple-A
Tacoma to fill the available roster spot.
The 26-year-old Morrison, obtained in a trade with Miami over the winter, had
gotten off to a horrendous start to the season, recording only three singles
in 20 at-bats over eight games.
Franklin spent much of last season as Seattle's regular second baseman, but
opened 2014 in the minors following the club's acquisition of All-Star
Robinson Cano. The 23-year-old was hitting well for Tacoma, going 17-for-43
(.395) with four home runs and 13 RBI in 11 games.
In 102 games as a rookie last year, Franklin hit .225 with 12 homers, 45 RBI
and six stolen bases.
=== Mariners' Beavan lands on DL ===
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Mariners placed pitcher Blake
Beavan on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he was
forced to exit a start against the Texas Rangers.
Beavan was pulled prior to the beginning of the bottom of the fifth inning of
Seattle's 5-0 defeat to the Rangers on Tuesday due to tendinitis in his right
shoulder. The 25-year-old Texas native had been recalled from Triple-A Tacoma
earlier in the day to make his first major league start of the season.
The right-hander took the loss in the game after allowing a pair of solo home
runs and six hits overall through four innings.
Outfielder James Jones was recalled from Tacoma to take Beavan's place on the
A fourth-round pick of the Mariners in 2009, Jones was hitting .310 with four
RBI in 11 games with the Rainiers this season.
=== Pak among leaders in Hawaii ===
Oahu, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Se Ri Pak carded a 4-under 68 in windy
conditions Wednesday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of
the LPGA LOTTE Championship.
Pak was joined atop the leaderboard by fellow South Koreans So Yeon Ryu and
Hyo-Joo Kim, who is making her seventh LPGA Tour start.
Ayako Uehara posted a 3-under 69 and is alone in fourth place, while Hawaii
native Michelle Wie managed a 2-under 70 at Ko Olina Golf Club.
Wie, who tied for 28th last year, shares fifth place with world No. 1 Inbee
Park, Ha-Na Jang, amateur So-Young Lee and Amy Anderson.
Pak parred her first three holes from the 10th, then dropped in a birdie on
the par-5 13th and followed with three more pars.
The World Golf Hall of Famer birdied the 17th and No. 1 to move to minus-3.
She holed an eagle attempt on the par-5 fifth to grab a share of the lead.
However, Pak tripped to a bogey on the eighth and parred the ninth to finish
"First of all, it was really windy out there, a lot windier than last year.
We didn't have this wind before, but it's just stronger and stronger and never
did slow down," said Pak, who shared 28th with Wie last year. "I mean, it was
really hard to choose a club to every hole. Off the tee, off the fairway, on
the green, all day you just have so much focus on the wind because it was
really blowing hard, you had to adjust for it."
Ryu, who played in the early wave while the other leaders played in the
afternoon wave, got off to a fast start with birdies on one and two. After a
pair of pars, she birdied the fifth.
The 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion faltered to a bogey on the par-3 eighth.
She parred the next two holes before recovering that lost shot when she
birdied the par-4 11th.
Ryu moved to 4-under with a birdie on the par-5 14th and closed with four pars
in a row to grab the early lead.
"The wind was pretty strong, so it was really hard to play with this much
strong wind. The most difficult part was sometimes a wind gust was super,
extremely strong, so also it was affecting the putting," Ryu said. "It was
really hard to read a line. The really good thing is my iron game was really
Kim birdied the 11th and 17th to go with seven pars on her opening nine.
Around the turn, she birdied the first and second to move into the lead at 4-
She parred five in a row before a birdie at the eighth moved her into a share
of the lead at minus-5 with Pak. Kim stumbled to a bogey at the last to drop
back into a 3-way tie for the lead.
"Except for the very final hole here, the putting in general was really good
for the day. So I was really happy with my putting in general except for the
ninth hole here," Kim stated.
NOTES: There were just four rounds in the 60s versus 22 in the opening round
last year ... 2013 winner Suzann Pettersen is not in the field this week as
she recovers from a back injury.
=== Players Championship changes playoff format ===
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Players Championship has
announced a change to its playoff format, switching from sudden death to a
three-hole, aggregate score arrangement.
The plan will go into effect for this year's tournament at the TPC Sawgrass in
Not surprisingly, the playoff will take place on holes 16, 17 and 18.
The par-5 16th is the greatest risk-reward hole on the course and has the
lowest stroke average to par, while the par-3 17th is the signature hole with
the infamous island green and the par-4 18th is the considered the most
difficult with the lake stretching the entire left side.
"Holes 16, 17 and 18 of The Players Stadium Course are perhaps the most
dramatic closing holes in professional golf from a risk-reward standpoint, as
they test all facets of a player's physical and mental game while under the
pressure of trying to win such a significant championship," said PGA Tour
commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement Wednesday. "Given the fact that
winning The Players means you have defeated the strongest field in golf, we
felt an aggregate playoff that incorporated these three holes was a more
appropriate way to determine the champion."
Should a tie remain after the three-hole playoff, sudden death will start at
the 17th hole. It will then go to 18 and revert back to a rotation of 16-17-18
until a winner is determined.
There have been four playoffs in the 40-year history of the Players
Championship, the last coming in 2011 when K.J. Choi defeated David Toms with
a par on the first extra hole -- the par-3 17th.
The Players Championship joins the PGA Championship in using a three-hole,
aggregate playoff. The U.S. Open employs an 18-hole playoff and the British
Open stages a four-hole, aggregate playoff, while the Masters and all other
PGA Tour events utilize the sudden-death formula.
=== Hillwood Country Club to host 2015 Senior Women's Amateur ===
Far Hills, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The United States Golf Association has
selected Hillwood Country Club in Nashville, Tenn. as host for the 2015 U.S.
Senior Women's Amateur Championship.
The tournament will be contested Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2015. It will be the first
USGA event staged at Hillwood Country Club.
"The USGA is proud to bring the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championship to
Hillwood Country Club," said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and
chairman of the championship committee. "In welcoming Hillwood to the fold of
USGA host sites, we are confident that it will provide the stern and complete
test of the players' games found at all of our national championships."
Dick Wilson designed the course at Hillwood Country Club, which opened in 1957
under the direction of architect Bruce Crabtree. Bruce Hepner, of Renaissance
Golf Design, oversaw renovations in 2003 and 2011.
Hillwood has hosted numerous statewide events, including the 1963, 1966 and
1971 Tennessee State Opens and the 1975, 1982 and 2004 Tennessee State
The U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championship was first conducted in 1962.
This year's tournament will be conducted Sept. 13-18 at Hollywood Golf Club in
Deal, N.J. Additionally, Wellesley Country Club in Massachusetts will host the
2016 championship, followed by Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore., in
=== Cure Bowl to match Sun Belt and AAC ===
Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cure Bowl will be added to the college
football postseason line-up, starting in December 2015.
The Orlando Sports Foundation announced the new contest on Wednesday. It will
match teams from the Sun Belt Conference and American Athletic Conference.
Charitable contributions are always part of bowl game revenues, but the new
game will help to raise money for breast cancer research.
"The Orlando Sports Foundation is excited about the opportunity to provide the
student-athletes of the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt
Conference an opportunity to play in an NCAA postseason bowl here in Orlando
and to give the Breast Cancer Research Foundation a national platform to fund
cancer research at the highest level," said Orlando Sports Foundation
executive director Alan Gooch in a statement Wednesday.
The game will be played yearly at the newly renovated Citrus Bowl the weekend
before the Christmas holiday.
=== Nadal, Federer advance in Monte Carlo ===
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Eight-time champion
Rafael Nadal and three-time runner-up Roger Federer were a pair of easy
second-round winners Wednesday at the $4 million Monte Carlo Masters tennis
The top-seeded Nadal blew past Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-1,
while the fourth-seeded former world No. 1 Federer drilled Czech veteran Radek
Stepanek 6-1, 6-2 on the red clay at the beautiful Monte Carlo Country Club.
"I think I started little bit slow," Nadal said. "But he [Gabashvili] was
playing very, very aggressive, hitting very strong, with no mistakes."
Federer had an even easier time of it on Day 4.
"I'm a bit surprised how well it went," the 32-year-old said after blitzing
Federer lost to Nadal in three straight finals here from 2007-09.
Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's final, ending his record eight-
year reign at this event. He's a brilliant 49-2 overall in Monte Carlo.
The reigning French and U.S. Open champion Nadal and Djokovic currently hold
all nine Masters titles between them, as well as the ATP World Tour
Nadal's third-round opponent will be Italian Andreas Seppi, while Federer will
take on Czech Lukas Rosol.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka raced past Croat
Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-2 in a mere 45 minutes and eighth-seeded Canadian
Milos Raonic came back to beat Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-1.
Wawrinka's third-round opponent will be last week's Houston runner-up Nicolas
Almagro of Spain.
In other second-round action involving seeds, No. 10 Italian Fabio Fognini
topped Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (8-6), 6-4; No. 11 Spaniard Tommy
Robredo overcame Frenchman Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-0, 6-1; No. 12 Bulgarian
Grigor Dimitrov grounded Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; a No.
15 Almagro dismissed Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; and hot Spaniard
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez took out 17th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1,
7-5. Garcia-Lopez is fresh off his clay title in Casablanca.
Also on Day 3, Seppi outlasted Spaniard Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-4,
Rosol dismissed French qualifier Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4 and rising Spaniard
Pablo Carreno Busta defeated former top-10 Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 7-6
(8-6) at the first clay court Masters event of the year. The 22-year-old
Carreno Busta is rewarded with a match against the second-seeded defending
champion Djokovic, the former world No. 1 who is also a two-time runner-up
Djokovic recently captured back-to-back Masters titles in Indian Wells and
The 2014 Monte Carlo winner will collect $760,000.
=== Cibulkova wins Kuala Lumpur opener ===
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (SportsNetwork.com) - Top seed Dominika Cibulkova
was an easy first-round winner Wednesday at the Malaysian Open tennis event.
The diminutive Australian Open runner-up blew past Turkish qualifier Pemra
Ozgen 6-1, 6-3 in 61 minutes at Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
The Slovakian Cibulkova's second-round opponent on Thursday will be Taipei's
Su-Wei Hsieh, the 2012 Kuala Lumpur champion.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner got past
Montenegro's Danka Kovinic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.
In some other second-round action on Day 3, sixth-seeded Zarina Diyas of
Kazakhstan dropped Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-1, 6-4 and
Poland's Magda Linette drubbed Ukrainian qualifier Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-1, 6-2.
Also on Thursday, third-seeded and defending champion Karolina Pliskova
will meet Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying in the round of 16. The Czech
Pliskova beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in last year's Kuala Lumpur
This week's titlist will earn $43,000.
=== Roughriders reward QB Durant with contract extension ===
Regina, SK (SportsNetwork.com) - The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed
quarterback Darian Durant to a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday.
Per club policy, no terms were disclosed.
In 16 regular-season starts last year, the 31-year-old Durant threw for 4,154
yards and a CFL-best 31 touchdowns -- the third highest single season total in
team history. He was also named a West Division All-Star for the second time
in his career.
Durant currently ranks third all-time in franchise passing attempts (2,842),
completions (1,745), passing yards (22,711) and TDs (125). He has played in
131 career regular-season games, starting 87, since arriving in Regina in
The North Carolina product is a two-time Grey Cup champion, having won with
the Riders as the starting quarterback in 2013 and as a backup to Kerry Joseph
=== White leaves Northern Colorado for Fresno State ===
Fresno, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Fresno State has named Jaime White its new
women's basketball coach.
White spent the past eight seasons as head coach at Northern Colorado and
leaves the Bears as the winningest coach in school history with 117 victories.
"I am honored to be the next women's basketball coach for the Bulldog program
that has such an outstanding tradition," said White. "I am thrilled to be back
in the Mountain West and looking forward to being a part of the Fresno
White has experience in the Mountain West Conference as an assistant with Utah
from 2001-03 and Wyoming from 2003-06. She then built the Northern Colorado
program, helping the school's transition from Division II to Division I.
In the last four seasons at Northern Colorado, White led the Bears to a record
of 72-54. She was the 2010-11 Big Sky Coach of the Year.
=== Lynx send Rodgers to Liberty ===
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Lynx executed a sign-and-
trade deal that sent guard Sugar Rodgers to the New York Liberty in exchange
for the right to swap third-round picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft.
Rodgers was selected by the Lynx in the second round of the 2013 WNBA Draft.
She played in 28 games during her rookie campaign, averaging 1.9 points and
1.4 rebounds while shooting 31.3 percent from three-point range.
The Lynx will start defending their 2013 title on the road at Washington on
Friday, May 16.
=== Game On Dude back to defend Charles Town Classic ===
Charles Town, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - Leading thoroughbred Game On Dude will
face six rivals Saturday night in defense of his crown in the $1.5 million
Charles Town Classic.
The 7-year-old gelding, partly owned by Joe Torre, will start from post 3 in
the 1 1/8-mile race with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith again in the saddle.
Last year he won the event by a half-length over Clubhouse Ride and was second
in 2011 behind Duke of Mischief.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude is coming off a second straight win,
third overall, in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8.
Game On Dude began 2014 with a fifth-place finish in the San Antonio Stakes at
Santa Anita on Feb. 8. The San Antonio was his first race of the year
following consecutive defeats in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic and Clark
The gelding has earned more than $6.1 million with 16 wins in 31 starts.
Last year's runner-up Clubhouse Ride drew the rail post with Tyler Baze
riding. The 6-year-old chestnut horse lost by just a half-length to Game On
Dude in 2013.
Trained by Craig Lewis, Clubhouse Ride is winless in three starts this year
and has not won since claiming the Californian last June at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Six-S Racing Stable and Nikolas Petralia, the 6-year-old has earned
$1,038,882 with four wins in 35 career starts.
Here is the field in post position order: Clubhouse Ride, Tyler Baze; Moreno,
Joel Rosario; Game On Dude, Mike Smith; Ruler of Love, Jose Montano; Long
River, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Lucy's Bob Boy, Arnaldo Bocachica and Imperative, Kent
Post time for the Charles Town Classic will be approximately 10:30 p.m. ET.
=== Midnight Hawk tops field for Illinois Derby ===
Stickney, IL (SportsNetwork.con) - Sunland Derby runner-up Midnight Hawk heads
a field of eight 3-year-olds for Saturday's 57th edition of the $500,000
Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Midnight Hawk will start the 1 1/8-mile race from post
3 with Martin Garcia coming in to ride the gray colt. The colt has 52 points
for a place in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, but the
Illinois Derby offers no points.
Midnight Hawk, owned in part by Mike Pegram, has finished in the money in all
his five career starts. Along with his second behind stablemate Chitu in the
Sunland Derby, Midnight Hawk was runner-up to Santa Anita Derby winner
California Chrome in the San Felipe Stakes in March and third to Candy Boy in
February's Robert B.Lewis Stakes.
After breaking his maiden last December in his debut effort, Midnight Hawk won
the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 11. He has earned $347,000.
Here is the field from the rail out: Dynamic Impact, Miguel Mena; A Step
Ahead, Chris Emigh; Midnight Hawk, Martin Garcia; Irish You Well, Channing
Hill; King Cyrus, Rosie Napravnik; Emmett Park, Lori Wydick; Global Strike,
Tim Thornton and Class Leader, James Graham.
Post time for the Illinois Derby will be approximately 6:42 p.m. ET.
=== Last chance for Derby points in Lexington Stakes ===
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Just two weeks away from the 140th
Kentucky Derby and time is running out for 3-year-olds to acquire enough
points to gain entry into the opening leg of racing's Triple Crown.
Saturday's $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is the last chance to get
any points and 11 3-year-olds have been entered for the 1 1/16-mile race.
The Lexington offers 17 points with 10 going to the winner.
Trainer Wayne Catalano brings in Solitary Ranger and Poker Player, the top two
colts from the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park on March 1. Solitary
Ranger will start from post 2 with Florent Geroux riding and Poker Player will
break from post 4 with Stewart Elliott getting the mount.
Owned by Susan Moulton, Solitary Ranger won the Arlington-Washington Futurity
last September at Arlington Park but four weeks later finished ninth in the
Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. He began 2014 with an allowance win before
claiming the Battaglia and most recently was ninth in Turfway's Spiral Stakes.
Solitary Ranger has won three of seven starts for $199,763.
Poker Player, owned by Gary and Mary West, was 10th in the Spiral after his
second-place finish in the Battaglia. As a 2-year-old, the colt won the
Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and was eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
With two wins in six starts Poker Player has banked $170,600.
Here is the field for the Lexington from the rail out: Mr Speaker, Jose
Lezcano; Solitary Ranger, Florent Geroux; Dynamic Impact, Alan Garcia; Poker
Player, Stewart Elliott; Z Lucky, Jon Court; Divine Oath, Javier Castellano;
Ami's Holiday, Robby Albarado; Ride Away, Julien Leparoux; Morning Calm, Joe
Rocco Jr.; Supermonic, Joel Rosario and Global Strike, Irad Ortiz Jr.
The Lexington will off with a 5:13 p.m. ET post time.
04/17 03:11:00 ET