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      === News Summaries from The Sports Network - Friday, October 24 ===
                  === Maddon leaving Rays after 9 seasons ===
 St. Petersburg, FL ( - Joe Maddon's tenure as manager of the
 Tampa  Bay Rays  came to a sudden  end after nine seasons when he exercised an
 opt-out clause in his contract on Friday.
 Maddon had managed the Rays since 2006, leading them to one World Series berth
 while  presiding  over the  most successful period  in the franchise's 17-year
 His exit came despite what the team described as an active bid to keep him. It
 followed the departure of longtime executive Andrew Friedman, who was hired by
 the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
 Although  Maddon signed  a three-year  extension in  2012 that  wasn't set  to
 expire  until after  next season, a clause  in the deal allowed him to opt out
 under  certain  circumstances, including  Friedman's departure, Rays president
 Matthew Silverman said.
 Rays  owner  Stuart  Sternberg  said  in  a  statement  that  the  team  tried
 "diligently and aggressively" to sign Maddon to a third contract extension, to
 no avail.
 Sternberg  said Maddon  was leaving "to explore opportunities throughout Major
 League  Baseball"  -- a  decision sure  to spawn conjecture  that he will look
 to manage another team.
 Silverman  said during  a conference call with reporters that he had "a number
 of  conversations  over the past  week" with Maddon --  the last one on Friday
 morning, after which the team learned from Maddon's agent that the manager was
 opting out.
 "I'm  surprised by it, and disappointed," Silverman said. "I believed that Joe
 wanted  to  be the  manager of the  Rays long-term. That  was my intention and
 (Sternberg's)  intention and  we  dove head-first  into  discussions about  an
 extension,  but it takes two parties to reach an agreement and we weren't able
 to reach that agreement and that's how we got to this stage."
 Silverman  said he  was "very comfortable" with the financial offers they made
 to Maddon on another extension.
 "They  were  very generous," he  said. "He listened to  those and chose to opt
 Charismatic and quotable, the bespectacled Maddon managed winning teams in six
 of  his  nine seasons with  Tampa Bay, bringing  success to a baseball outpost
 that never saw more than 70 wins in the eight years before he arrived.
 Maddon, 60, took over what were then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006 and lost
 197 games in his first two seasons.
 In  his third season,  the Rays beat the blue-blood Yankees and Red Sox to win
 the  AL East  for the first time and  went on to face Philadelphia in the 2008
 World Series, falling in five games.
 In  all, Maddon managed  the Rays to a 754-705 record with two division titles
 and  four postseason berths. The Rays were 77-85 this past season, their worst
 record in seven years, and finished fourth in the AL East.
 Silverman  said  the team will look  inside and outside the organization for a
 new  manager, but didn't offer any specifics about what they were looking for,
 only  saying they hoped  their search could be as fruitful as it was when they
 landed Maddon.
 "That's as far as we've gotten in our approach," he said.
 Maddon's exit came 10 days after Friedman left his post as the Rays' executive
 vice president of baseball operations to become the Dodgers' president.
 Friedman  joined the Rays in 2004 as assistant of baseball development and was
 named executive vice president in October 2005.
 Despite  the loss of two key organizational pieces, Silverman remained upbeat,
 at least in his comments to the media.
 "We  have more than 300 people in our organization who are committed to making
 the  Rays  a  great source  of  pride  for  Tampa  Bay. We  have  hundreds  of
 players   who  are  part  of  our  current  and  future  successes.  I'm  very
 optimistic about  our future," Silverman said.
 "Our  best  days are ahead of  us both on the  field and off the field and I'm
 confident  that we'll  look  back  upon these  weeks  and  recognize that  our
 organization has grown stronger in the face of this adversity."
      === Konerko, Rollins named co-winners of Roberto Clemente Award ===
 San  Francisco,  CA (  - Retiring  Chicago White Sox slugger
 Paul  Konerko  and Philadelphia Phillies  shortstop Jimmy Rollins were honored
 Friday  as co-winners  of this  year's Roberto  Clemente Award,  given to  the
 player  who  combines outstanding play  on the field  with devoted work in the
 Both  players were presented  their awards prior to Game 3 of the World Series
 between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.
 Rollins  and  Konerko tied  in the  final voting, which  was conducted via fan
 balloting  combined with  a distinguished panel that included commissioner Bud
 Selig  along with several Hall of Famers. It's the first time there has been a
 tie for the award.
 Konerko  and  his wife  Jennifer founded  the Bring Me  Home Campaign in 2007.
 They,  along  with former  White Sox  teammate Jim Thome  and his wife Andrea,
 helped  to  raise awareness  and recruit  foster parents  and advocate for the
 needs of foster children. The campaign has raised nearly $450,000 in its first
 seven years.
 Konerko,  who played  18 major league seasons, also supports several White Sox
 charities, including the Make-A-Wish foundation.
 Rollins  started J-Roll's  Aces, which  is  a charitable  ticket program  that
 provides  opportunities for  inner-city students. He has also been the head of
 the J-Roll's Readers program.
 "Paul  Konerko  and Jimmy Rollins are  two of baseball's great ambassadors and
 have  long distinguished  themselves as leaders both on the field and in their
 communities,"  Selig said.  "Their commitment  to making  a difference  in the
 lives  of children  is  a wonderful  reflection of  the  legacy the  legendary
 Roberto Clemente has left on our game and in society. Major League Baseball is
 proud  to honor Jimmy and Paul, two veteran standouts who have represented the
 National   Pastime  with   excellence,  with   our  game's   most  prestigious
 The  Commissioner's  Award was renamed  in 1973 in  honor of Clemente, who was
 killed in a plane crash Dec. 31, 1972, while helping transport relief supplies
 to  Nicaragua after  an earthquake  on  Dec. 23  that killed  more than  6,000
                  === Tigers 1B Cabrera has ankle surgery ===
 Detroit, MI (  - Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera
 had  surgery this week  on injuries to his right ankle and foot, the team said
 The  procedure to remove  bone spurs in his ankle and repair a stress fracture
 to his navicular bone occurred Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 Cabrera will be reevaluated in three months.
 The  two-time reigning  American League MVP batted .313 in 159 games this past
 season with a .371 on-base percentage and 25 home runs, his fewest total since
 he was a rookie in 2003.
 He  hit .364  in the AL Division Series against Baltimore, which swept Detroit
 in three games.
               === Cardinals ace Wainwright has elbow surgery ===
 St.  Louis,  MO ( -  St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright
 underwent surgery on his right elbow on Friday.
 The  club revealed that the 33-year-old submitted to a procedure which trimmed
 cartilage  from his  pitching elbow. After an initial MRI failed to reveal any
 significant  issue, Wainwright pushed for a second MRI and the results spurred
 the decision to go under the knife.
 Wainwright  finished  the 2013 season  with a 20-9  record and 2.38 earned run
 average in 227 innings over 32 starts for the NL Central champions.
 He  missed a  turn in the rotation  in mid-June due to trouble with the elbow,
 though  an MRI  taken then revealed no structural damage to the ligament which
 was replaced with Tommy John surgery in 2011.
                === O's take Steve Johnson off 40-man roster ===
 Baltimore,  MD  ( - The Baltimore Orioles outrighted pitcher
 Steve  Johnson  to Triple-A  Norfolk on  Friday, removing  him from the 40-man
 The  oft-injured Johnson hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 27, 2013. He
 had  surgery last month to remove a bone spur from his right pitching shoulder
 after  making a combined 17 starts in three different minor-league levels this
 Johnson  had  a strong  first season with  Baltimore in 2012,  going 4-0 in 12
 games,  including  four starts,  with a 2.11  ERA and 46  strikeouts in 38 1/3
 innings. He made nine appearances for the O's in 2013, all but one of them out
 of the bullpen.
                 === Lions list WR Johnson as questionable ===
 Bagshot,  England  ( -  Calvin Johnson's status for Sunday's
 game  in London remains  up in the air as the star Detroit Lions wide receiver
 continues to battle a high ankle sprain.
 The  Lions  listed Johnson as questionable  on Friday's injury report and view
 him  as a  game-time decision to play against Atlanta, according to the team's
 official website.
 Johnson has missed the last two games because of the injury and was limited in
 practice all week.
 The  Lions have  ruled out tight ends Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria
 (ankle)  and  listed running  back Reggie  Bush (ankle)  and tight end Brandon
 Pettigrew (foot) as doubtful against the Falcons.
 Bush  sat out the  last two practices and all three tight ends missed practice
 every day this week.
 Tackle  LaAdrian Waddle  (concussion) returned  to practice  on Friday  but is
 questionable  to  play. Defensive end Ziggy  Ansah (toe) and running back Theo
 Riddick (hamstring) are likely to play.
 The 5-2 Lions will take on the 2-5 Falcons at Wembley Stadium in a game that's
 scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.
               === Texans' Clowney questionable vs. Tennessee ===
 Houston,   TX   (  -   Houston  Texans  linebacker  Jadeveon
 Clowney is questionable for Sunday's game at Tennessee.
 Clowney is looking to take the field for the first time since the opening week
 as he had to have surgery to repair a torn left meniscus.
 The top overall pick of the 2014 draft was limited in practice all week.
 "I  think  he's got a  good shot  to play on  Sunday," Houston head coach Bill
 O'Brien said about Clowney.
 Linebackers  Brian Cushing  (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and John Simon (ankle)
 are also questionable.
                   === Colts rule out Wayne vs. Steelers ===
 Indianapolis, IN ( - Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie
 Wayne will miss Sunday's game in Pittsburgh because of an elbow injury.
 The  14-year veteran missed  practice all week and was ruled out Friday by the
 Wayne  had 38  catches for 434 yards  and a touchdown through the team's first
 seven games.
 Running  back Trent Richardson also missed practice all week but was listed as
 questionable with a hamstring injury. He has 101 carries for 358 yards and two
 touchdowns in seven games.
 Tight  end  Jack Doyle (knee) is  also questionable while everyone else on the
 Colts' injury report is likely to play.
                 === Bears LB Briggs doubtful vs. Patriots ===
 Lake Forest, IL ( - Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs is
 unlikely  to play  in Sunday's game against New England because of a lingering
 rib injury.
 Briggs,  who has missed the last two games, was listed as doubtful on Friday's
 injury report after being limited in practice all week.
 Fellow linebacker Jonathan Bostic is also likely to miss a third straight game
 with  a back injury after practicing only on a limited basis this week. He was
 listed as doubtful for the road game, which comes ahead of Chicago's bye week.
 Safety  Danny McCray  (knee) has been ruled out and tackle Jordan Mills (foot)
 is questionable to play.
 Everyone else on Chicago's injury report is probable.
                   === Bills WR Goodwin doubtful vs. Jets ===
 Orchard  Park,  NY ( -  Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise
 Goodwin  was listed as  doubtful to play in Sunday's road game against the New
 York Jets because of a hamstring injury.
 Goodwin  sat out  practice all  week for  the injury-plagued  Bills, who  were
 already missing running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
 Cornerback  Ron  Brooks was  added to  the team's injury  report Friday with a
 groin injury but is expected to play.
 Wide  receiver Marcus  Easley (knee)  and  safety Aaron  Williams (neck)  were
 limited  in  practice all  week and are  questionable to play  in the AFC East
 clash and linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) has been ruled out.
 Defensive  end  Mario Williams  (thumb), linebacker  Brandon Spikes (ribs) and
 wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin) are all expected to play.
                    === Falcons WR Douglas questionable ===
 Watford,  England (  - Atlanta  Falcons wide  receiver Harry
 Douglas  is  listed as  questionable for  Sunday's game  in London against the
 Detroit Lions.
 Douglas has been out since suffering a foot injury in Atlanta's Week 3 victory
 over Tampa Bay, missing four games.
 The  Louisville product, who has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in
 three  games this  season, was  limited in  practice the  past two  days after
 sitting out Wednesday's session.
 Defensive  tackle  Jonathan Babineaux  (foot)  is  questionable after  missing
 practice  all week,  while wide  receiver  Julio Jones  (ankle), guard  Justin
 Blalock (back) and linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) are all probable.
            === Eagles' Sproles, Kendricks questionable to play ===
 Philadelphia, PA ( - Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren
 Sproles  and  linebacker Mychal  Kendricks  were  listed as  questionable  for
 Sunday's road game against the Arizona Cardinals.
 Both  were  full participants  in practice  on Friday  after being limited the
 previous two days.
 Sproles is recovering from a knee sprain that he suffered against the New York
 Giants in the Eagles' last game on Oct. 12. Kendricks hasn't played since Week
 2 because of a calf injury.
 Center  Jason  Kelce, who  returned to  practice this week  for the first time
 since sports hernia surgery, was also listed as questionable.
 Running  back Chris  Polk  (hamstring), linebacker  DeMeco  Ryans (groin)  and
 cornerback Jaylen Watkins (wrist) are probable to play in the showdown between
 5-1 teams.
 Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) has been ruled out.
          === Ravens TE Daniels has knee procedure, out for Sunday ===
 Owings Mills, MD ( - Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels
 will  miss  Sunday's game against  the Cincinnati  Bengals after having a knee
 procedure on Friday.
 Daniels had sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday in the hopes of healing
 the ailing knee.
 The  injury is  not  expected to  be  a  long-term problem,  and  he might  be
 available for next week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 With  tight  end Dennis Pitta out  for the season  due to a hip injury, rookie
 Crockett Gilmore is expected to start for the first time. The third-round pick
 has three catches for 29 yards this season.
 Offensive   tackle   Eugene  Monroe  (knee),  guard  Kelechi  Osemele  (knee),
 linebacker Daryl Smith (not injury related) and wide receiver Steve Smith (not
 injury related) are all listed as probable.
 Monroe  hasn't played since Week 3 after undergoing an arthroscopic surgery on
 his  knee,  while  Osemele  missed  the past  two  games  after  bruising  and
 hyperextending his right knee.
 Defensive  end  Chris Canty  will  miss  his fourth  straight  game  as he  is
 recovering from wrist surgery.
                 === Bengals' Green questionable for Sunday ===
 Cincinnati,  OH (  - Cincinnati  Bengals wide  receiver A.J.
 Green  was listed  as  questionable  for Sunday's  game  against the  visiting
 Baltimore Ravens because of a toe injury.
 The  three-time Pro  Bowl  selection  missed the  last  two  games and  didn't
 practice for a second consecutive week.
 Green initially sustained the injury in the season opener at Baltimore. He has
 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season.
 Defensive  tackle Brandon  Thompson (knee) is also questionable, while running
 back Giovani Bernard (ribs) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (neck) are among 10
 players listed as probable.
                === Pats' Vereen questionable due to illness ===
 Foxboro,  MA (  - New  England Patriots  running back  Shane
 Vereen  was listed  as questionable for Sunday's home game against the Chicago
 Vereen  was added to the injury report after missing Friday's practice because
 of an illness.
 As  expected, the  Patriots  ruled  out defensive  end  Chandler Jones  (hip).
 Offensive  linemen Dan  Connolly  (concussion), Cameron  Fleming (finger)  and
 Bryan  Stork (concussion), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee),
 defensive  back Nate  Ebner (finger) and special teams standout Matthew Slater
 (shoulder) are also questionable.
                     === Seahawks have 7 out for Sunday ===
 Seattle,  WA  (  -  The  Seattle  Seahawks  have  ruled  out
 seven players for Sunday's matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
 The  seven ruled out are running back Derrick Coleman (foot), defensive tackle
 Jordan  Hill  (ankle), cornerback Byron  Maxwell (calf), tight end Zach Miller
 (ankle),  center Max  Unger (foot),  linebacker Bobby  Wagner (toe),  and wide
 receiver Bryan Walters (concussion).
 Listed as probable for Seattle are defensive end Michael Bennett (toe), safety
 Kam  Chancellor (ankle), running backs Marshawn Lynch (not injury related) and
 Robert  Turbin  (shoulder), cornerback Tharold Simon (ankle), defensive tackle
 Kevin Williams (not injury related), and tight end Luke Willson (groin).
 Seattle  is hoping to snap it first two-game losing streak in almost two years
 when it visits Carolina.
             === Boston's Chara out 4-6 weeks with knee injury ===
 Boston,  MA ( - Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be
 sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks because of a torn left knee ligament.
 Chara was hurt during the first period of Thursday's game against the New York
 Islanders while delivering a hit to John Tavares.
 Tests  revealed  a torn  posterior  cruciate  ligament.  Surgery will  not  be
 required, for now.
 "It's  obviously a  blow,"  said  Bruins general  manager  Peter Chiarelli  on
 Friday. "He's one of the premier defensemen in the league, but I'd rather have
 it 4-to-6 weeks than 4-to-6 months."
 Chara  has two  goals and an assist  through nine games this season, his ninth
 with  the Bruins.  The 37-year-old  captain  has been  durable throughout  his
 tenure in Boston, missing no more than five games in any of his previous eight
              === Injured Flyers Coburn, MacDonald out 4 weeks ===
 Philadelphia,  PA ( - Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Braydon
 Coburn and Andrew MacDonald will miss approximately four weeks with lower-body
 injuries, the team said Friday.
 Coburn  has  been out since  suffering an injury  in the season opener against
 Boston  on Oct.  8, but  was skating  with  the team  for a  full week  before
 Friday's announcement by general manager Ron Hextall.
 MacDonald  has played  in all seven games  so far, collecting one goal and two
 assists while averaging almost 23 minutes of ice time, second on the team.
 Hextall  said  forward Zac Rinaldo is  day-to-day with an upper-body injury he
 suffered Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
 Meanwhile, forward Vincent Lecavalier skated for 15-20 minutes Friday morning,
 the  first time he's  been on the ice since suffering a lower-body injury in a
 game against Montreal on Oct. 11.
                   === Stastny placed on injured reserve ===
 St.  Louis,  MO ( -  The St.  Louis Blues placed center Paul
 Stastny  on  injured reserve  Friday and recalled  forward Dmitrij Jaskin from
 Chicago of the American Hockey League.
 Stastny,  who  was lured away  from Colorado  and signed a lucrative four-year
 contract  at the  outset of  free agency  in July,  totaled a  goal and  three
 assists in four games for his new club in the early going.
 Jaskin  participated in 18 games for the Blues last year through several call-
 ups and recorded a goal and one assist.
                === Oladipo sidelined due to facial fracture ===
 Orlando,  FL  ( - It's been  a rough month for Orlando Magic
 guard Victor Oladipo.
 The second-year pro has not played in the preseason because of a sprained left
 MCL  and on Thursday suffered a facial fracture in practice that will keep him
 sidelined indefinitely.
 Oladipo was hurt after taking an inadvertent elbow during a practice drill. He
 will undergo a corrective surgical procedure on Saturday.
 The  Indiana  product was a First  Team All-Rookie selection last season after
 averaging  13.8 points,  4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 80 games. He finished
 second  in the  Rookie of  the Year  balloting, behind  Philadelphia's Michael
 Orlando opens its 2014-15 season on Tuesday at New Orleans.
      === Pistons exercise contract options on Drummond, Caldwell-Pope ===
 Auburn Hills,  MI  ( -  The Detroit Pistons announced Friday
 the  exercising of team options for the contracts of center Andre Drummond and
 guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
 Detroit  selected  Drummond with the ninth  overall pick in the 2012 draft. He
 has  averaged 11.1 points,  10.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 141 games in his
 first two NBA seasons.
 Caldwell-Pope,  taken  eighth overall  in 2013, finished  his rookie season by
 posting 5.9 points and 2.0 rebounds over 80 appearances.
               === Nets pick up options for Plumlee, Karasev ===
 Brooklyn, NY ( - The Brooklyn Nets have picked up the third-
 year  options  on the  contracts of forward/center  Mason Plumlee and swingman
 Sergey Karasev.
 Terms  of the  deals were not disclosed  Friday, but the options will keep the
 two second-year players under contract through the 2015-16 season.
 Plumlee  was a first team All-Rookie selection last season after averaging 7.4
 points  and 4.4 rebounds  in just 18.2 minutes over 74 games, 22 of which were
 The  Duke product  was selected by the  Nets with the 22nd overall pick of the
 2013  NBA  Draft. He  was also  a member  of this  summer's USA men's national
 basketball team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
 Karasev  joined  the Nets  on July 10  from Cleveland as  part of a three-team
 trade. He was the 19th overall pick of the 2013 draft and last season averaged
 1.7 points in 22 games with the Cavaliers.
                      === Nets trade Teague to Sixers ===
 Brooklyn,  NY (  - The  Brooklyn Nets  traded guard  Marquis
 Teague  and a  2019  second-round  draft pick  to  the  Philadelphia 76ers  in
 exchange for guard Casper Ware on Friday.
 Teague has averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 assists in 88 career games with Chicago
 and  Brooklyn.  The Kentucky  product was  selected by the  Bulls in the first
 round (29th overall) of the 2012 draft.
 Ware  averaged  5.3 points and  1.1 assists in nine  games for the Sixers last
                    === Pelicans pick up option on Davis ===
 New  Orleans, LA ( - The New Orleans Pelicans have picked up
 the fourth-year option on the contract of forward Anthony Davis.
 The  first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Davis has averaged 17.3 points, 9.1
 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 131 games over his first two seasons.
 Davis, who helped lead the United States to a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup
 this summer, earned his first All-Star selection last season.
                 === Bishop out as PGA of America president ===
 Palm  Beach Gardens,  FL ( - Less than one day after he made
 insensitive  remarks, the  PGA of America has relieved president Ted Bishop of
 his duties.
 The  PGA of  America Board of Directors  voted to "remove Ted Bishop, the 38th
 PGA  president, from  office  for insensitive  gender-based statements  posted
 (Thursday) on social media," according to their statement.
 Bishop  referred to Ian Poulter as a "lil girl" in a twitter post and again on
 Facebook in a separate post. Both posts have since been deleted.
 "The  PGA  of America understands  the enormous  responsibility it has to lead
 this  great  game and to  enrich lives in our  society through golf," said PGA
 chief  executive  officer Pete Bevacqua. "We  must demand of ourselves that we
 make  golf both welcoming  and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and
 everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example."
 On  Thursday, Bishop  tweeted  to  Poulter "(Nick)  Faldo's  record stands  by
 itself.  Six  majors and all-time  Ryder Cup points.  Yours or His? Lil Girl."
 Bishop tagged Faldo and the PGA of America twitter accounts in the post.
 Bishop  added this  on his Facebook page,  "Used to be athletes who had lesser
 records  or accomplishments  in a sport never criticized the icons. Tom Watson
 (8 majors and a 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time
 Ryder  Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian James Poulter. Really? Sounds like
 a little school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!"
 Derek  Sprague,  who had  been the  vice president, has  been appointed as the
 association's interim president. Paul Levy, the PGA secretary, will assume the
 dual responsibilities as vice president and secretary.
 "The  members  and apprentices of  the PGA of  America must uphold the highest
 standards  and  values of  the profession, as  well as the  manner in which we
 conduct ourselves at all times," said Sprague. "We apologize to any individual
 or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident."
 Bishop  had one month  left on his tenure as president. The PGA annual meeting
 is  scheduled for  November 22,  at which  time the  election of  new national
 officers will take place.
 Poulter's  autobiography  was published this week,  and in the book, he stated
 that players had "lost a lot of respect" for Faldo, who said Sergio Garcia was
 useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
 Bishop's  comments  were in reaction  to Poulter's statement. Bishop had named
 Watson  to  lead the 2014  United States Ryder Cup  in hopes that Watson could
 help stop a two-match losing streak for the Americans.
 Europe  won the Ryder Cup by five points and Watson was called out publicly by
 Phil Mickelson for not involving the players in any decisions.
 That  led  to Bishop  creating a  Ryder Cup task  force that  will look at all
 aspects  of the  U.S.  Ryder Cup  process,  from how  points  are attained  by
 players,  to how the  captains and vice captains will be selected and when the
 captains' picks are announced.
                   === Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters ===
 Paris,  France ( - Rafael Nadal has decided to withdraw from
 next week's Paris Masters.
 The  tournament  on Friday said the  Spanish superstar pulled out for personal
 Nadal is playing this week in Basel, but has missed time recently with a wrist
 injury and is also battling appendicitis.
 While  Nadal has won the French Open in Paris nine times, he has never won the
 Masters  event in the  fall. He lost to David Ferrer in last year's semifinals
 and  his best result  in four tries was a loss to David Nalbandian in the 2007
 Pablo Andujar will replace Nadal in the draw.
 U.S.  Open  champion Marin  Cilic and  Ernests Gulbis also  pulled out of next
 week's  event.  Cilic has an  injured right arm and  will be replaced by Jerzy
 Janowicz, while Gulbis has a shoulder injury and was placed by Vasek Pospisil.
                  === Ferrer, Murray reach Valencia semis ===
 Valencia,  Spain ( - No. 1 seed David Ferrer of Spain was an
 easy  winner  on Friday at  the $1.9  million Valencia Open while third-seeded
 Andy Murray produced a comeback to also reach the semifinals.
 Ferrer,  a three-time Valencia champion and two-time runner-up, beat qualifier
 Thomaz  Bellucci 6-1,  6-2 in 67 minutes  to set up a meeting with Murray, who
 dropped  a first-set tiebreaker against Kevin Anderson before putting together
 his rally.
 Murray's 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4 victory took 2 hours and 43 minutes and moved the
 two-time  grand slam winner closer to a second win in Valencia after his title
 in 2009.
 Ferrer  won in  2008, 2010 and 2012  and was runner-up to Mikhail Youzhny last
 year and to Igor Andreev in 2005.
 The  other  semifinal will pit Tommy  Robredo against Jeremy Chardy after both
 posted straight-set wins Friday. Robredo beat Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and
 Chardy topped Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-2.
 This year's champion will collect $500,000.
              === Federer into Basel semis, Coric stuns Nadal ===
 Basel,  Switzerland  ( -  Hometown hero  Roger Federer was a
 straight-set  winner Friday,  while Rafael  Nadal  was stunned  by a  Croatian
 teenager  in  the  quarterfinals  at  the $1.87  Swiss  Indoors  Basel  tennis
 The  top-seeded  Federer, a five-time  champion at this event, defeated fifth-
 seeded  Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to advance to the semifinals,
 where he will face eighth-seeded Croat Ivo Karlovic.
 Karlovic's  countryman, wild card Borna Coric, achieved the biggest win of his
 career by beating the second-seeded Nadal 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
 Nadal  announced after  the match that he will have season-ending appendicitis
 Ranked  124th in  the world, the 17-year-old Coric will next play David Goffin
 after  the  seventh-seeded Belgian rallied  for a  6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4 victory
 over fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic.
 Karlovic beat German Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4.
 The 2014 Basel champ will claim $450,000.
           === Sharapova wins, but falls short of Singapore semis ===
 Singapore ( - Maria Sharapova won her last round-robin match
 Friday  at  the WTA Finals, but  it was not enough  to give her a berth in the
 semifinals of the season-ending tournament.
 Sharapova  needed a straight-set victory over Agnieszka Radwanska for a chance
 to  advance, but Radwanska  managed to pull out a set as the Russian came away
 with a 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 triumph.
 Caroline Wozniacki then claimed a 6-2, 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova in the final
 White Group match on Friday. The Dane finished 3-0 in round-robin play.
 Radwanska,  Sharapova and Kvitova all finished 1-2 in the group, but Radwanska
 advanced  to the  semifinals because she won  one more set than the other two.
 The  Pole can thank  her good friend Wozniacki, as a victory by Kvitova in the
 last White Group match would have instead sent Kvitova into the semis.
 "When  I saw  (Wozniacki) yesterday, she was already saying, 'I know, I know.'
 She  knew  what was  going on  and that  she could  help me  if she won," said
 Radwanska. "She wasn't surprised that I would be supporting her."
 Radwanska  will play  Simona  Halep  in one  of  Saturday's semifinals,  while
 Wozniacki will take on Serena Williams in the other.
 Williams finished second in the Red Group, behind Halep, who was beaten by Ana
 Ivanovic  on  Friday, 7-6  (9-7), 3-6,  6-3. Halep,  Williams and Ivanovic all
 finished  2-1 in  round-robin play, but Ivanovic lost the tiebreaker. The Serb
 could  have  advanced with a  straight-set win over  Halep on Friday, a result
 that would have knocked Williams out of the tournament.
 Friday's  results, however,  ensured Williams will be the top-ranked player at
 the  end of  the year. Sharapova could have eclipsed Williams by capturing the
 tournament if Williams didn't reach the final.
 Williams, the two-time reigning champion and a four-time winner of the season-
 ending  event, will face Wozniacki for the fourth time this year. The American
 has won each of the first three matchups, first in the Montreal quarterfinals,
 then in the Cincinnati semifinals and most recently in the U.S. Open final.
 Overall,  Williams  owns a 9-1 career  record and has won six straight matches
 against  Wozniacki. The  Dane's lone win in  the series came in the 2012 Miami
 "My  matchup against  (Serena) hasn't been that great," said Wozniacki. "I won
 once and lost like 10 times or nine. I don't know. I don't even count anymore.
 But  it's a new  tournament. It's new week and I've been playing well, really.
 Again, I believe if I play like I did today, doesn't matter who's on the other
 side, I can win."
 Radwanska  is 4-2  lifetime against  Halep. The  two split  a pair  of matches
 earlier  this  year -- Halep  winning a semifinal  match in Doha and Radwanska
 coming through at the Indian Wells semis.
 Saturday's winners will meet for the title on Sunday.
                  === Williams to finish as year-end No. 1 ===
 Singapore  ( -  Serena Williams  didn't even  lift a  racket
 Friday, but still clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour.
 The  American star  was  ensured of  finishing  in the  top  spot after  Maria
 Sharapova  failed to  qualify  for  the semifinals  at  the season-ending  WTA
 Sharapova was the only player who could have surpassed Williams, but needed to
 win the tournament and have Williams not reach the final. The Russian star won
 her match Friday against Agnieszka Radwanska, but needed to win it in straight
 sets and the Pole pulled out the second set.
 If Sharapova had won in straight sets -- she was up 7-5, 5-1 against Radwanska
 and  failed to  close it  out  early --  Caroline Wozniacki's  win over  Petra
 Kvitova  would have kept  the Russian alive in the tournament, and in the race
 for No. 1.
 Williams,  who  nearly was  eliminated from the  tournament herself on Friday,
 will play in the semifinals on Saturday against Wozniacki. If Ana Ivanovic had
 beaten  Simona Halep  in straight  sets on  Friday, Williams  would have  been
 denied  a  chance at her  third straight  WTA Finals crown. Ivanovic, however,
 needed three sets to beat Halep.
 The year-end top ranking is the fourth for Williams, who also accomplished the
 feat in 2002, 2009 and 2013.
 Only  four others have been No. 1 as many times. Steffi Graf was an eight-time
 year-end No. 1, while Martina Navratilova did it seven times, Chris Evert five
 and Lindsay Davenport four.
               === McMurray tops Logano for Martinsville pole ===
 Martinsville, VA ( - Jamie McMurray claimed the pole for the
 Goody's  Headache Relief Shot 500 -- the first race in the Eliminator Round of
 the  Chase for  the  Sprint Cup  championship  -- by  beating  Joey Logano  in
 Friday's qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.
 McMurray,  who is  not in the Chase  field, made a lap around this 0.526-mile,
 paperclip-shaped  track  at 99.905  mph during  the second  and final round of
 knockout  qualifying. His  lap was  0.057 seconds  quicker than  Logano's lap,
 which was clocked at 99.605 mph.
 It  was  McMurray's second pole of  the season and  the 11th of his Sprint Cup
 Series  career. His first pole this year came in June at Sonoma. McMurray also
 earned  the  top starting position at  Martinsville in the spring of 2011. His
 best finish in a Cup race here is second, which occurred in the fall of 2004.
 "Great  start  to  our  weekend for  our  McDonald's  (sponsored)  Chevrolet,"
 McMurray said. "We tested here, and I thought we had a really good test. (Crew
 chief)  Keith (Rodden)  and (team engineer) Josh (Sell) just did a really good
 job  adjusting  on the car.  It's amazing you can  go quicker your second time
 out.  For years, we  came here to these places and ran slower. That was a good
 McMurray  has not  been into victory lane  in Sprint Cup since October 2013 at
 Talladega (36 races ago).
 Logano  is one  of the eight drivers  who remains in the Chase. It's the first
 time he will start on the front row at Martinsville.
 "I  was not  first, but we were close  to it," Logano said. "Jamie laid down a
 hell of a lap there."
 Matt  Kenseth, a  title contender, qualified third, while Tony Stewart, a non-
 Chaser, took the fourth spot.
 "It  surprised me with  our speed there, and I thought we were going to have a
 shot at the pole, but I didn't quite have the same feel I wanted there on that
 last  lap," Kenseth  said. "Overall,  that's great.  You can't  complain about
 starting third, especially here."
 Finishing  fifth through 12th in the last qualifying round were: Denny Hamlin,
 Brad  Keselowski, who  won last Sunday's race at Talladega to advance into the
 next  playoff round, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Carl
 Edwards and Clint Bowyer.
 Hamlin, Newman and Edwards have advanced into the Eliminator Round as well.
 Jeff Gordon, who is in the Chase and the defending winner of this race, missed
 the cut for the second round by only 0.003 seconds. Gordon will start 13th.
 "The track definitely freed-up for us, and I was loose-in and real loose off,"
 Gordon said. "I really fought the drive off. I thought that first lap might be
 enough  to squeak our way in there and then we could make some adjustments. We
 tried  some adjustments  there that  next time  out. It  just didn't  have the
 drive-off that I needed, so we did fight that.
 "I don't mind starting 13th. It's not a bad place to start. You just want that
 really  good pit stall,  and so we'll definitely suffer with a the pit stall a
 little bit, but we can definitely still win it from there."
 Title  contender Kevin Harvick, who leads the series with eight pole wins this
 season,  qualified  33rd after making slight  contact with the wall during his
 attempts  in the  opening round. Harvick had a 39th-place finish in qualifying
 last week at Talladega.
 "We  just missed it today," Harvick said. "We were way too loose. We struggled
 in practice and just missed it in qualifying."
 All  43 drivers  who attempted qualifying made the starting field for Sunday's
 500-lap race at Martinsville.
     === Former world 800-meter champion Mulaudzi dies in car accident ===
 Johannesburg,  South  Africa  (  -  Former  world  800-meter
 champion  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi  of South Africa died in a car accident Friday. He
 was 34.
 Mulaudzi  won a silver  medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He captured gold at
 the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
 "The  nation has lost a true hero and one of our most disciplined and talented
 athletes  who  flew the South  African flag  across the sporting globe," South
 African President Jacob Zuma said. "We wish to convey, on behalf of government
 and  the  entire country,  our heartfelt  condolences to  his family, ASA, the
 South  African sports fraternity and the International Olympics Committee. May
 his soul rest in peace."
 Mulaudzi  didn't compete  at any  other global  championships after  2009. His
 final  competitive appearance  came in  2013  when he  came in  fourth at  the
 Diamond League meeting in New York.
 10/24 20:38:49 ET

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