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June 22

Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez benched by manager David Ross after losing track of outs in defeat

CHICAGO --  Chicago Cubs shortstop  Javier Baez was benched by manager David Ross after forgetting how many outs there were and getting doubled off first base in the fourth inning of Monday's 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. "We have to make sure we're focused and locked in during the game," Ross said afterward. "Sometimes our frustrations can distract us a little bit." Baez said he was "surprised" when he was pulled but accepted the punishment. "I never want to be out of the lineup," he said. "I respect his decision. He told me why it happened and I said, 'OK, it's your decision.'" Baez, 28, was on first base with one out when Anthony Rizzo hit a fly ball to left fielder Eddie Rosario. The Cubs shortstop was rounding second and headed to third base as Rosario caught the ball, easily getting it back into the infield to double off Baez. "I lost the outs," Baez explained. "I [thought] the whole time that it was two outs. I ran like...
June 22
June 22

Barry Trotz says no room for error as New York Islanders fall into 3-2 series hole against Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. -- After the Tampa Bay Lightning steamrolled his New York Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup semifinals, coach Barry Trotz had a simple message for his players in the locker room: They'll have to earn the right to keep playing because another effort like the one Monday night and their season is over. "I just think the game, this result, how we played ... if that doesn't motivate us, then I'm not too sure what will," said Trotz, who watched the Lightning take a 3-2 series lead. "There's nothing I can say that will motivate them. We've just gotta man up. We have to understand all the things we need to do, and [that] this group does. We have to leave our best game out there now. Because obviously tonight wasn't our best game. We put ourselves in a real tough bind." The Lightning owned Game 5 from the first minute of the contest. Steven Stamkos scored 45 seconds into the game. Less than 15 minutes later, it was 3-0, and goalie Semyon...
June 22
June 21

Minnesota Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman shot, expected to make full recovery

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings rookie defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman was one of several victims wounded during a shooting in Washington, D.C., on Monday, according to a statement from the team. Twyman was in a vehicle when he was shot four times, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN's Adam Schefter. He's expected to make a full recovery. "Wrong place, wrong time," said Rosenhaus, who told ESPN that Twyman was in Washington visiting an aunt. "In talking to him today, he's going to be OK -- that's all that matters. We're thankful he's OK. He will make a full recovery." The 21-year-old suffered superficial exit wounds and will not need surgery, according to Rosenhaus. The Vikings said they are in direct contact with Twyman and his family and are "extremely thankful Jaylen is expected to make a full recovery." Minnesota drafted Twyman with the 199th pick in May. Before opting out of the 2020 season, Twyman became the first interior defensive lineman to...
June 21
June 21

Kansas City Chiefs DE Frank Clark arrested in L.A. on suspicion of having concealed gun in vehicle

LOS ANGELES -- Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was arrested in Los Angeles after police saw a submachine gun in his car, police said Monday. Clark, 28, was pulled over for a vehicle violation south of downtown at about 9:20 p.m. Sunday, LAPD public information officer Tony Im said. Officers noticed a bag with an Uzi sticking out in plain sight in the car, Im said. Clark was then arrested on suspicion of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. He was booked into Los Angeles County jail and released Monday afternoon on $35,000 bond, according to the county sheriff's jail inmate website. "We are aware of the matter, which will be reviewed under the NFL's personal conduct policy," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. Clark's attorney, Alex Spiro, said the gun belonged to Clark's bodyguard. Clark was also arrested in March, along with another man, when officers said they found two loaded firearms in their vehicle after a traffic stop, The Kansas...
June 21
June 21

Agent - Minnesota Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman shot four times, expected to make full recovery

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings rookie defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman was shot four times while visiting a family member in Washington, D.C, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday. "Wrong place, wrong time," Rosenhaus said. "In talking to him today, he's going to be OK -- that's all that matters. We're thankful he's OK. He will make a full recovery." Twyman was in a vehicle when he was shot, according to Rosenhaus. The 21-year-old sustained superficial exit wounds and will not need surgery, his agent said.  Minnesota drafted Twyman with the 199th pick in May. Before opting out of the 2020 season, Twyman became the first interior defensive lineman to lead Pitt in sacks (10.5 in 2019) since Aaron Donald achieved the same feat six years prior.
June 21
June 21

NFL player Carl Nassib comes out as gay

The Las Vegas Raider said he's been meaning to come out for a long time.
June 21
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders flexes during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas.
June 21

Carl Nassib of Las Vegas Raiders announces he is gay, pledges $100,000 to Trevor Project

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.  Nassib, 28, made the announcement in an Instagram post.  "What's up people?" Nassib posted. "I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. "I'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate and I'm going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor...
June 21
June 21

LA Clippers' Kawhi Leonard out for Game 2; Marcus Morris' status uncertain

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Clippers will again be without Kawhi Leonard in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and another top defender in Marcus Morris is banged up as well. Clippers coach Ty Lue said on Monday that Leonard remains out with a sprained right knee. There has been no change in his status, which remains uncertain for the remainder of the series.   Lue said he isn't sure about Morris' status for Game 2 after the starting power forward injured his right knee and only played five minutes in the second half of the Clippers' 120-114 loss to the Suns in Game 1. Morris, who is receiving treatment on his knee, was not listed on the Clippers' injury report late Monday afternoon. "Still experiencing some soreness, but he's been getting treatment around the clock," Lue said of Morris. "Not quite sure of his status tomorrow, but he's doing everything in his power to try to be out there tomorrow...
June 21
June 21

Bam Adebayo, James Harden commit to play in Tokyo Olympics; Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell decline invites

USA Basketball's Olympic men's roster is getting closer to filled, with now as many as eight spots on the 12-person team claimed. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo committed to join the 12-man Team USA roster for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, his agent, Alex Saratsis, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday. In addition, Brooklyn's James Harden has told the national team that he is committed to playing at the Tokyo Games, according to multiple reports and first reported by The Athletic. The eight commitments, confirmed by ESPN or multiple reports: Adebayo, Harden, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, Golden State's Draymond Green, Washington's Bradley Beal, Boston's Jayson Tatum, Phoenix's Devin Booker and Portland's Damian Lillard. One of the final spots, though, won't be going to Golden State's Stephen Curry. The Associated Press reports that Curry has declined an invitation to be part of the team, citing offseason...
June 21
June 21

Sources: Chauncey Billups, Becky Hammon advance to second interviews with Portland Trail Blazers

LA Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon have emerged among the leading candidates and advanced to second interviews in the Portland Trail Blazers' search for a head coach, sources told ESPN. Both assistants are set for additional meetings with Portland officials in the coming days, sources said. Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni is another candidate who still figures into the Blazers search, sources told ESPN. Billups has been in contact with several teams in this search process and remains with the Clippers in their Western Conference finals series against the Phoenix Suns. This is Billups' first season as an assistant coach in the NBA. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and was the NBA Finals MVP in 2004. Hammon, who would become the first female head coach in NBA history, has been on Gregg Popovich's staff for seven seasons and has interviewed for several jobs in recent years. She was a six-time WNBA...
June 21
June 21

Philadelphia 76ers have plan to address Ben Simmons' shooting woes, Doc Rivers says

The idea that Philadelphia 76ers guard  Ben Simmons will spend the offseason improving his shooting stroke has become an annual discussion in Philadelphia. That certainly will be the case again this offseason, after Simmons melted down at the foul line -- and disappeared from Philadelphia's offense -- as the 76ers collapsed and bowed out of the playoffs, losing in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks. But not 24 hours after his team's season was over, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said Monday that he believes this summer will be different for Simmons. Why? Because, according to Rivers, not only is Simmons willing to do the work but the Sixers have a plan to address his shooting woes that will involve doing "the right work" and doing it "the right way." "I believe, without going into detail with what we're doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it," Rivers said when asked why this offseason will be different...
June 21
June 21

Eli Manning rejoins New York Giants in business operations, fan engagement role

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants legend Eli Manning is officially back with the organization in a business operations and fan engagement role. He also will work on original content development, which includes a new lifestyle series that premieres this fall. Manning, 40, retired after the 2019 season following a franchise-record 16 seasons as Giants quarterback. "I'm willing to do anything. But I'm focused on the business side with corporate partners and on community relations, which was always so important to me while I was playing here and is something I've placed a high priority on throughout my life," Manning said. "I'm looking forward to seeing where I can make the most impact in helping the Giants achieve their business and community goals." Manning also has been working on Eli's Places, an ESPN+ show that will highlight historic moments, places and figures in college football history. The Giants also announced that Manning's No. 10 jersey will be retired...
June 21
June 21

Atlanta Dream's Tiffany Hayes out at least a month with MCL tear

The Atlanta Dream will be without their top scorer for at least a month. Guard Tiffany Hayes has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL tear in her right knee, the team announced Monday. An MRI taken over the weekend confirmed the diagnosis of the injury, which occurred in the third quarter of the Dream's game at Washington on Thursday. The expected recovery time is approximately four to six weeks. Hayes has played in 11 games and is averaging a career-high 17.6 points, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals. As of Monday, she is the 12th-ranked scorer in the league. Atlanta is 5-7 and ranked 10th in the league, right outside the playoffs. The team is struggling to have any consistency, and it will be even harder for the Dream without Hayes. Courtney Williams will now carry most of the load for the next few weeks -- she is averaging 16.9 PPG (a career-high) and 7.1 RPG.
June 21
June 21

Brad Stevens says Boston Celtics made Kemba Walker-Al Horford trade to help stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said Monday that every move he makes in his new role -- including trading Kemba Walker and a first-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford -- will be made with one goal in mind: maximizing the talents of All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. "The ability to make our wings better is going to be a huge part of the people that will be around them," Stevens said Monday in his first public comments since making the Walker deal three days earlier. It was a significant move as Stevens begins his tenure replacing Danny Ainge atop Boston's organizational depth chart, moving on from a player who was well-liked and whom the Celtics signed to a max contract two years ago to replace Kyrie Irving as the team's floor general. Stevens ultimately concluded that the financial flexibility created by saving at least $20 million over the next two seasons...
June 21
June 21

Tigers-Athletics Preview

Though seemingly in control of the AL Central for the time being, the Detroit Tigers would love to add to their lead. Ryan Raburn's success against the Oakland Athletics this season should give the club a good chance to do so. Raburn looks to continue his hot hitting in the series as the Tigers go for their seventh win in nine games Saturday night against the offensively challenged A's. Detroit (65-56) has pulled 3½ games ahead of second-place Chicago in the Central, its largest lead since the end of play June 30. The Tigers have to like their chances of pulling further ahead based on the way Raburn has played lately. Batting third for the second consecutive game, the second baseman hit solo home runs in his first two at-bats of a 3-2 victory in the series opener Friday night. "If anything, having Miguel Cabrera hitting behind you makes the chances of seeing better pitches better," Raburn said. It was the second career multihomer game and first in over two years...
June 21
June 21

Supreme Court unanimously sides with former college players in dispute with NCAA about compensation

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously affirmed a ruling Monday that provides for an incremental increase in how college athletes can be compensated and also opens the door for future legal challenges that could deal a much more significant blow to the NCAA's current business model. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court's opinion, which upheld a district court judge's decision that the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to athletes. The decision allows schools to provide their athletes with unlimited compensation as long as it is some way connected to their education. Gorsuch wrote that the nation's highest court limited the scope of its decision on those education-related benefits rather than delving further into questions about the association's business model. Justice Brett Kavanaugh published a concurring opinion that takes a harder line, suggesting that the NCAA's rules that restrict...
June 21
June 21

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford wins Pat Tillman Award for Service after raising millions to feed children

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, who helped raise millions of dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic to help feed children in England, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2021 ESPYS on July 10. Rashford, who has spoken about his reliance on free school meals and "kind actions" from neighbors and coaches when he was growing up, was recently named to Time's Top 100 List for his advocacy work on homelessness and child hunger. "An athlete is the least we can be," Rashford said. "Sport can be the biggest driver of positive change, with its ability to truly unite. If I have achieved anything over the last year, I would hope that it would be to demonstrate to my peers what is possible when we are driven by a passion and determination for better. Better not for ourselves, but for those whose voices are very rarely heard. "We have a platform to speak on behalf of millions. When we wake up in the morning, we decide what we want to do with that...
June 21
June 21

Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi picked for fifth U.S. Olympic women's basketball team

Guards Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi have been named to the U.S. women's basketball Olympic team for the fifth time, while there are six first-time Olympians on the squad. The 12-member U.S. team announced Monday morning will compete in the Tokyo Olympics -- to be held July 23-Aug. 8 -- in pursuit of the Americans' seventh consecutive gold medal in the sport. South Carolina's Dawn Staley, a player on the 1996 team that started this streak of gold medals for the U.S. women, is the Olympic team coach. One of her former Gamecocks stars, forward A'ja Wilson, is among the first-time Olympians. Wilson was the WNBA MVP in 2020 for Las Vegas. The others slated to compete in their first Olympics are Washington guard Ariel Atkins, Minnesota forward Napheesa Collier, Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, Las Vegas guard Chelsea Gray and Seattle guard Jewell Loyd. Wilson and Loyd were both on the 2018 FIBA World Cup-winning team. Seattle's Bird and Phoenix's Taurasi, former teammates at UConn,...
June 21
June 21

Ben Simmons shoulders blame after Philadelphia 76ers' second-round playoff exit: 'Offensively, I wasn't there'

PHILADELPHIA -- After the  76ers bowed out of the playoffs on Sunday following a postseason in which he was historically inept from the free throw line and struggled to score in the second round, Ben Simmons shouldered the blame. "I ain't shoot well from the line this series," Simmons said following the Sixers' 103-96 Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. "Offensively, I wasn't there. I didn't do enough for my teammates. ... There's a lot of things that I need to work on." The three-time All-Star was putting it mildly. He shot 15-for-45 (33%) on foul shots against Atlanta and 34.2% from the line for the 2021 playoffs overall, accounting for the worst free throw percentage in NBA playoff history for a player with at least 70 attempts, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. The Hawks held him under 10 points in four out of the seven games in the conference semifinals, including his five-point showing Sunday. He was particularly unreliable...
June 21
June 21

Atlanta Hawks shock Philadelphia 76ers en route to second Eastern Conference finals in 50 years

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins was in a good mood on Sunday night, and with good reason. After watching his Hawks defeat the host  Philadelphia 76ers  103-96, Collins was all smiles. Maybe it was because he'd been through three losing seasons in Atlanta. Maybe it was because he was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of his dunk on Sixers center Joel Embiid from Game 6. Either way, the longest-tenured Hawk on the roster at four seasons was a happy man.   "Everybody is fired up," Collins said. "We've worked all year to be in moments like this. Game 7, I feel like we all had each other's back. We couldn't have wanted anything else more than we did tonight. We pulled through for a victory." In Collins' first three seasons in Atlanta, the Hawks were 73-158, the fourth-worst winning percentage over that span (2017-20). Last season, they weren't invited to the bubble in Orlando, Florida. The losses just continued to pile up. And things also didn't...
June 21
June 21

American Allyson Felix, 35, rallies in 400 meters, qualifies for her fifth Olympics

Allyson Felix made her fifth Olympic team, and first as a mother, on Sunday following a dramatic second-place finish in the 400 meters at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. Running from lane eight, Felix was in fourth place as the race entered the final homestretch to the finish line, but she narrowly caught two opponents ahead of her to record a season-best time of 50.02 seconds. "Man, it has been a fight to get here," Felix said during a postrace interview on NBC. "And one thing I know how to do is fight, so I just wanted to do that all the way home." Quanera Hayes, who won the race, and Wadeline Jonathas also qualified for the Olympic team. The 35-year-old Felix made her Olympic debut in 2004 and said this will be her final Games. She has won nine Olympic medals, including six golds, over her career and is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the sport. Expected to participate in the 400 meters in Tokyo, as well as the 4x400 meters relay...
June 21
June 20

American Allyson Felix, 35, rallies in 400 meters, qualifies for her 5th Olympics

Allyson Felix made her fifth Olympic team, and first as a mother, on Sunday following a dramatic second-place finish in the 400 meters at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic trials. Running from lane eight, Felix was in fourth place as the race entered the final homestretch to the finish line but she narrowly caught two opponents ahead of her to record a season-best time of 50.02 seconds. "Man, it has been a fight to get here," said Felix during a postrace interview on NBC. "And one thing I know how to do is fight, so I just wanted to do that all the way home." Quanera Hayes, who won the race, and Wadeline Jonathas also qualified for the Olympic team. The 35-year-old Felix made her Olympic debut in 2004 and said this will be her final Games. She's won nine Olympic medals, including six golds, over her career and is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the sport. Expected to participate in the 400 meters in Tokyo, as well as the 4x400 meters relay team and potentially...
June 20
June 20

Trae Young leads Atlanta Hawks to second Eastern Conference finals in 50 years

For only the second time in 50 years, the Atlanta Hawks are heading to the conference finals. The fifth-seeded Hawks knocked off the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia 103-96 in Game 7 to advance. In a back-and-forth affair, the Hawks ultimately came out on top. The game featured 20 lead changes and 19 ties. Atlanta pulled off the win despite a poor shooting night from Trae Young. The third-year point guard who had been so steady so far in the playoffs shot 5-of-23 from the field and 2-of-11 from the line. However, Young came up with his second made 3-pointer at a crucial juncture as he nailed a 29-footer with 2:31 left to put the Hawks up by seven. "I just had to find a way," Young said of playing through his shooting struggles. "My shot was off tonight and my right hand, my shoulder is giving out and I was still trying to fight through and push through it and shots were going tonight but my teammates showed up and they played."  The Sixers...
June 20
June 20

Bryson DeChambeau shoots 8-over 44 on back nine, ties for 26th at U.S. Open: 'Had bad break after bad break'

SAN DIEGO -- Bryson DeChambeau had gone 30 consecutive holes without a bogey and after making the turn at 2-under 33, he was only one shot behind the leader in Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Then things imploded for the defending U.S. Open champion. DeChambeau had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, followed by a double-bogey 7 on the 13th and a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 17th. DeChambeau finished his final round at 6-over 77, including an 8-over 44 on the back nine. He finished in a tie for 26th at 3-over 287. "I didn't get off the rails at all. It's golf," DeChambeau said. "People will say I did this or did that, and it's just golf. I've had plenty of times where I hit it way worse than today and I won. It's just one of those things where I didn't have the right breaks happen at the right time. I could have easily gotten to 7-, 8-under today. I just wasn't fully confident with the golf swing and just got a little unlucky in the rough and a...
June 20
June 20

Jon Rahm closes with two birdies to win U.S. Open for first major

SAN DIEGO -- Whether it was destiny or karma was of no relevance to Jon Rahm. He won the U.S. Open on Sunday at Torrey Pines, the perfect time and the perfect place to become a major champion. How it unfolded was beyond his dreams. One shot behind and running out of holes, Rahm made a sweeping, left-to-right birdie putt from 25 feet on the 17th hole to tie for the lead, and closed with another bending 18-foot birdie putt that gave him a 1-shot victory over hard-luck Louis Oosthuizen. No one had ever birdied the last two holes to win the U.S. Open by 1 shot in the previous 120 editions of the toughest test in golf until Rahm's storybook finish. "It had to happen in a beautiful setting like this," he said.   At Torrey Pines, where he made a 50-foot eagle putt on the final hole to clinch his first PGA Tour victory. On Father's Day, with his 10-week-old son, Kepa, in his arms and his father having flown in from Spain, Rahm won his first career major to return...
June 20
June 20

Tampa Bay Rays to call up shortstop Wander Franco, MLB's top prospect

Top prospect Wander Franco is headed to the big leagues and will be called up from the minors by the Tampa Bay Rays, the team announced on Sunday. Franco, 20, is a switch-hitting infielder who entered the season ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to ESPN's Kiley McDaniel. In 39 games for Triple-A Durham, Franco hit .315/.367/.586 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs. He will join the Rays for their series against the Boston Red Sox beginning Tuesday in Tampa, Florida. The Rays are the midst of a six-game losing streak, their longest since an eight-game skid in May 2018, including four walk-off losses in their past five games, the last two of those 10-inning defeats to the Mariners. The Rays have hit only .222/.300/.361 in June, ranking 25th in the majors in OPS, so they will turn to Franco to provide some offensive spark. Regarded as one of the best pure hitting prospects in recent decades, Franco has a career minor league average of .332 with...
June 20
June 20

Devin Booker records first career triple-double as Phoenix Suns take Game 1 without Chris Paul

As he walked into the tunnel moments after posting his first career triple-double for the  Phoenix Suns, with big man Deandre Ayton walking alongside, Devin Booker grabbed his phone to make a FaceTime call. "You seen them 11 assists, right?" Ayton said into the phone. "You seen him throw out 11 dimes, right?" On the other end of the call was Chris Paul, who missed Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the  LA Clippers due to being in the league's health and safety protocols. But behind an electrifying performance from Booker, who finished with 40 points on 15-of-29 shooting, plus 13 rebounds and the 11 assists Ayton was referencing, the Suns held off the Clippers 120-114 to a take a 1-0 series lead on Sunday in Phoenix. "We put him on FaceTime. He's our leader. We lean on him for a lot," Booker said. "We know how disappointed he is and frustrated he is he couldn't be out here for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals,...
June 20
June 20

Tampa Bay Rays to call up top prospect Wander Franco, source says

Top prospect Wander Franco is headed to the big leagues and will be called up from the minors by the Tampa Bay Rays, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Franco, 20, is a switch-hitting shortstop and can also play second and third base. Entering this season, he was the No. 1-ranked prospect in baseball, according to ESPN's Kiley McDaniel. Franco is batting .315 with 7 home runs and 35 RBIs in 39 games for Triple-A Durham this season. The Rays don't play on Monday but start a six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Times first reported the news of Franco's call-up.
June 20
June 20

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon tests positive, isolating in Montreal

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, the team announced Sunday. McCrimmon is currently with the team in Montreal, with Game 4 of the semifinal series being played at the Bell Center on Sunday night. "Kelly is self-isolating and will follow the protocols and recommendations from health officials and the NHL," the Golden Knights said in a statement. The news comes as Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme is also isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Ducharme received his second vaccination less than two weeks ago and said he is not experiencing any symptoms. "I wish I could be at the rink right now," Ducharme said on Sunday morning in a news conference. "I don't feel different than a week ago." Ducharme said he was "confident" he could be back behind the bench before the end of series against Vegas, though a schedule for his return remains murky. "Nothing's confirmed as far as that,"...
June 20
June 20

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara now advising NASCAR on growing fan base

METAIRIE, La. --  Alvin Kamara has officially become a two-sport star. The New Orleans Saints running back was named as NASCAR's first-ever growth and engagement advisor on Sunday, continuing his growing relationship with the sport over the past year. "I'm excited they carved out a role for me," Kamara said Sunday. "I got an office. I got a key card. I feel like I never had a job besides the NFL, so I got two jobs now. [Saints coach] Sean Payton going to have to give me some downtime." According to NASCAR.com, Kamara will "work directly with NASCAR leadership on strategic planning and creative opportunities that support its fan development efforts." "It's an honor to be able to team up with NASCAR and be their first-ever Growth and Engagement Advisor," Kamara said, according to the website. "I'm excited to use my passion as a fan to help shape their long-term efforts to grow the sport." Kamara, who grew up near Atlanta and went to college at  Tennessee,...
June 20
June 20

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones named Executive of the Year

On the day the Phoenix Suns played their first Western Conference finals game in more than a decade, Suns general manager James Jones was honored as the league's Executive of the Year. In a tight vote, which is conducted by the league's executives, Jones got nine first-place votes and had 65 total points, just edging out Utah Jazz vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey, who also had nine first-place votes and finished with 61 points.   Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks finished third with five first-place votes and 51 points, while several other executives -- including Leon Rose (Knicks), Tim Connelly (Nuggets), Travis Schlenk (Hawks), Mitch Kupchak (Hornets), Sam Presti (Thunder) and Neil Olshey (Blazers) -- each received at least one first-place vote. Jones, who took over as the team's head of basketball operations in 2018, was part of the brain trust that built the foundation of this Phoenix team, which broke through after missing...
June 20
June 20

New York Yankees turn game-ending triple play vs. Oakland Athletics, tie MLB record

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone knew it off the bat. "Usually, a triple play sneaks up on you," he said. "Right away, I'm thinking, 'That's a triple play.'" New York turned its record-tying third triple play of the season to strand the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, bailing out closer Aroldis Chapman from a shaky outing and closing down a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Gary Sanchez spoiled Sean Manaea's gem with a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga (7-2) and Lucas Luetge turned a 2-1 lead over to Chapman in the ninth. A day after reaching 103.4 mph during his 15th save -- his fastest pitch on a strikeout since the 2017 AL wild-card game -- Chapman walked Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder on nine pitches, topping out at 98 mph. He was visited by an athletic trainer because the nail in his left middle finger broke, but he stayed in the game to face ...
June 20
June 20

College conference commissioners pushing minimalist plan to regulate NIL

College sports' most powerful conference commissioners appear to be divided on the best way to move forward with name, image and likeness rule changes as the industry enters a crucial 10-day period for defining the future parameters for amateurism in the NCAA. A group of commissioners -- including Greg Sankey of the SEC, Jim Phillips of the ACC and Larry Scott of the Pac-12 -- are urging their colleagues to consider a new and minimalist approach to regulating the soon-to-arrive marketplace for college athlete endorsement deals, according to a letter obtained by ESPN. The letter says previous proposals to change NCAA rules will lead to "inevitable confusion, uncertainty and likely litigation against the NCAA and its member conferences and institutions." The NCAA's Division I Council, which is the governing entity that votes on rule changes for the top tier of college sports, is scheduled to meet this week and expected to make a decision by the end of the month on proposed rule...
June 20
June 20

Phil Mickelson finishes U.S. Open 11 over but praises Torrey Pines course

SAN DIEGO -- Phil Mickelson had a disappointing weekend at the U.S. Open, but he walked away from the national championship in his hometown at least feeling good about the way the Torrey Pines course played. Mickelson, 51, shot a 4-over-par 75 on Sunday and finished at 295, 11 over par. He had a chance to possibly get into contention with a good round on Saturday but fell well off the pace. "Obviously I'm disappointed I didn't play better,'' he said. "I'm very surprised that in the 30 years that I've played the U.S. Open, this is the best I've seen. I thought they did a remarkable job, and I'm really proud and happy that it's here at Torrey. "I think this afternoon is going to be awesome. The setup is the best I've ever seen, and it allows on some holes -- what they did really well is they made some of the hard holes harder pars, like 11 and 12, and they made some of the easy holes, like 2, easier so you can make birdies. That type of setup allows the players who are...
June 20
June 20

Vegas Golden Knights turn to Robin Lehner in net for Game 4 vs. Montreal Canadiens, sources say

The Vegas Golden Knights are turning to Robin Lehner as their Game 4 starter, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN. Lehner was the first goalie off the ice at Sunday's morning skate, which is typically an indicator of who will start that night's game. According to sources, Lehner and  Marc-Andre Fleury were notified of the decision Saturday. Coach Peter DeBoer had declined to reveal a starter in a news conference on Sunday. "I think I speak for all the guys on the team. We have confidence in both of them," defenseman Zach Whitecloud said. Robin Lehner has played just four times in the past 50 days. He was the Golden Knights' starter for all of last postseason, but has been benched during the postseason as Vegas rides the hot hand of Fleury. Lehner's only playoff start this year was a disaster. The Golden Knights, coming off an emotional Game 7 win in the first round, left Lehner out to dry in a 7-1 loss to Colorado in Game 1 of the second round....
June 20
June 20

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid fined $35,000 for scuffle in Game 6

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was fined $35,000 for "escalating the on-court altercation" between himself and Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Friday night, the NBA announced Sunday. Also, Hawks reserve center Bruno Fernando was suspended without pay for Sunday's Game 7 in Philadelphia for leaving the bench area during the altercation. The NBA said Embiid's fine was for pursuing "Collins in an unsportsmanlike manner and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview following an on-court incident." The incident occurred with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter, when Embiid fell onto Collins' legs after an offensive foul as he was attempting to go up for a basket.  Collins pushed Embiid off him but then Embiid walked into Collins with his hands outstretched as the two went toward the stanchion, with teammates from both sides trying to separate them. Fernando then left the...
June 20
June 20

Some MLB teams plan to ask umpires to check pitchers for foreign substances, sources say

Baseball's rule against the use of foreign substances has been buried for decades underneath a gentlemen's agreement held among managers, who almost uniformly refused to ask umpires to check opposing pitchers because they knew that their own pitchers would not be checked. But with Major League Baseball set to order umpires to enforce the foreign substance rules starting Monday, at least three teams intend to set aside that old agreement, according to sources. If the managers of those teams receive information that seems suspicious -- video capturing an opposing pitcher perhaps using foreign substances, or data about an unusual spike in spin rate -- they will ask umpires to check opposing pitchers. If just a handful of teams start to ask for foreign-substance checks, the gentlemen's agreement could become obsolete, with most or all teams willing to monitor opposing pitchers. A high-ranking talent evaluator explained his organization's perspective the other day, while asking not to...
June 20
June 20

Sources: Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie plans to decline $12.3M player option

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie plans to decline the $12.3 million player option on his 2021-22 contract and become an unrestricted free agent before Monday's deadline, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Dinwiddie missed most of this season because of an ACL injury in his right knee, appearing in just three games. He was attempting to potentially return in the NBA Finals, but the Nets were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. Dinwiddie, 28, has struggled with ACL injuries before. During his junior year at Colorado, Dinwiddie tore his left ACL in a game and missed the remainder of the season.  Dinwiddie was a key player for Brooklyn last season, starting in 49 games when  Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert were out with injuries. He averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists in the 2019-20 season, but was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late June and did not travel to Orlando with the Nets for the season...
June 20
June 20

Brooklyn Nets faced 'one too many obstacles this year,' Steve Nash says

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets couldn't stave off the effects of mounting injuries any longer. After defying the odds that hamstring strains and ankle sprains had dealt, after mesmerizing and even historic performances, the Nets just didn't have quite enough to outlast the Milwaukee Bucks in a 115-111 overtime loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Kyrie Irving sat on the sideline in street clothes on Saturday night, and although  James Harden played in Game 7, he did so "on one leg," as Nets coach Steve Nash put it, as he battled through a hamstring injury that required his right leg to be wrapped in elastic therapeutic tape. Despite all of that, Nash thought his group had hope. "I still thought we could win it," Nash said. "And clearly, I think we proved tonight that we could. Game could have gone either way. You always know there's a chance. Anything can happen. I think we just faced one too many obstacles this year. Because our...
June 20
June 20

Sha'Carri Richardson earns 100-meter berth, reveals mother died last week

Minutes after securing her first Olympic berth on Saturday following a dominant victory in the 100 meters, American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson revealed during an emotional post-race interview that her biological mother died last week. Immediately after earning her spot as part of the U.S. Track & Field contingent for Tokyo, Richardson ran into the stands and embraced multiple family members. She was then asked by NBC about the moment. "My family has kept me grounded," Richardson said. "This year has been crazy for me. Going from just last week, losing my biological mother, and I'm still here." Asked to repeat what she had just said, Richardson said, "I'm still here. Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still here to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud. And the fact [is] nobody knows what I go through. Everybody has struggles and I understand that, but y'all see me on this...
June 20
June 20

Anderson Silva stuns Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by split decision in boxing match

Anderson Silva made a career in MMA out of making the impossible look possible. Now, he has done the same thing in boxing. Silva, a UFC legend, defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. via split decision (75-77, 77-75, 77-75) in a shockingly impressive boxing performance Saturday night at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico. A heavy underdog, Silva had not competed in boxing since 2005 and had just two pro boxing matches coming in. Chavez Jr., the son and namesake of Mexico's most popular boxing superstar, is a former WBC middleweight champion. "I love fighting," Silva said in his postfight interview. "Boxing was my dream for many years. I needed to show my respect for boxing. I need to come here and do my best." The bout was contested at 182 pounds with eight three-minute rounds. Chavez Jr. missed weight by 2.4 pounds Friday, forfeiting $100,000 of his purse to Silva. The event was dubbed "Tribute to the Kings" with the headliner pitting Chavez Sr. against Hector Camacho Jr., the son...
June 20
June 20

Milwaukee Bucks survive instant classic to make Eastern Conference Finals

NEW YORK -- When Kevin Durant's unbelievable shot fell through the net with one second left in regulation Saturday night, tying an unforgettable Game 7 between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, it felt like this was destined to be another heartbreaking end to a Bucks season. Instead, it only briefly delayed their satisfaction. Milwaukee managed to outlast Brooklyn at Barclays Center and won 115-111 in overtime in an instant classic that saw both teams play to the brink of exhaustion. "That was, like, the longest game ever," Bucks forward  P.J. Tucker said. "It seemed like we were playing for hours. Just like a boxing match [that] just wasn't going to end." Ultimately, though, it was the Bucks who moved on to the conference finals, where they will face either the Philadelphia 76ers or the  Atlanta Hawks. They overcame Durant's incredible shot -- the ultimate gut punch -- to survive a...
June 20
June 19

LA Clippers' Kawhi Leonard ruled out for Game 1; status for remainder of series vs. Suns uncertain

PHOENIX -- LA Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out of Sunday's Game 1 against the Phoenix Suns because of a sprained right knee, and his status for the remainder of the Western Conference finals remains uncertain. Leonard did not travel with the team to Phoenix on Saturday. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he is not sure yet of Leonard's status for Game 2, and that he has to prepare as if Leonard isn't available game to game until the star returns.   "I'm not sure," Lue said when asked if Leonard could join the team at some point on this trip. "I know [he is out for] Game 1 for sure. Right now he's back home getting treatment. We're not sure about Game 2 yet." Leonard has missed the past two games since injuring his knee in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Utah Jazz. Leonard was unable to finish the final four-plus minutes of that game. Terance Mann started in place of Leonard and scored 39 points in Game 6 to close Utah...
June 19
June 19

Chan Sung Jung outpoints Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night to stay in title picture

LAS VEGAS -- Chan Sung Jung kept his UFC featherweight title hopes alive on Saturday as he defeated Dan Ige in a highly technical, highly competitive five-round affair. Jung (17-6) outpointed Ige (15-4) on the official scorecards 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47. The 145-pound contest headlined UFC Fight Night inside the Apex. The fight was probably closer than the final scores indicated. According to UFC Stats, Jung, also known as "The Korean Zombie," and Ige landed almost the exact same amount of strikes, with Jung landing 140 to Ige's 138. Jung scored a knockdown in the second round, but Ige wobbled Jung with a left hand in the fifth. "I wanted to show all my skills and the capabilities of becoming a champion," Jung said via an interpreter. "I wanted to show everything and bring everything in this fight. In the fifth round, I wanted to do some kind of submission, so I do feel a little bit upset about that." Ige, who called for the fight against Jung well before it was...
June 19
June 19

UFC fighter Luis Pena arrested in Florida on robbery, battery charges

UFC fighter Luis Pena has been arrested on charges of robbery and assault. Pena was taken into custody Friday by the Coral Springs (Florida) Police Department on three counts: robbery by sudden snatching, battery and criminal mischief, according to online records. As of Saturday evening, he was being held at the Broward County Detention Center on a hold from Palm Beach County. MMAFighting.com was the first to report the news. Coral Springs PD spokesperson Christian Swinson confirmed that Pena was apprehended by the law enforcement agency Friday after a warrant for Pena's arrest was called in from an outside jurisdiction. After getting a tip that Pena was in Coral Springs, officers made contact with the MMA fighter, confirmed his identity and brought him in, Swinson said. In Florida, robbery by sudden snatching is a potential felony. Requests for more information about the charges were not immediately returned by Florida law enforcement agencies Saturday. On Wednesday, Pena...
June 19
June 19

Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul ruled out for Game 1 vs. LA Clippers

Phoenix Suns star point guard Chris Paul has been ruled out for Sunday's Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the LA Clippers, the team announced on Saturday. Paul was placed into the league's health and safety protocols on Wednesday, and his return to play remains indefinite. "Because of the climate that we live in, things change from day to day," Suns coach Monty Williams said Saturday of Paul's timetable. "I've tried to take things one day at a time ... but for me, based on the information and based on the history of this particular protocol, everything is day-to-day. And so that's how I have to approach it. I wish I could tell you a time so you guys wouldn't have to ask me all the time, but at this point I can't. It's pretty much day-to-day." It has not been announced if Paul is in the protocols because of contact tracing or if he tested positive for COVID-19, though in the league's recent update of player testing since June 9, one out of 164 players...
June 19
June 19

As strikeout and walk rates drop, MLB umpires prepare to begin checking pitchers for foreign substances Monday, sources say

Beginning Monday, major league umpires will check pitchers for foreign substances after they've pitched -- with the exception of the closer, who will be inspected before entering the game -- sources familiar with the process said. Pitchers will be inspected between innings and/or after they come out of the game unless they're exhibiting suspicious behavior during an inning. In that case, umpires have the right to inspect a pitcher between batters -- but not during an at-bat. Initially, umpires will check the glove, hat and belt of pitchers, but if they suspect a reason to look elsewhere, they'll have the right to inspect other parts of a player's uniform. Closers will be inspected before they pitch in order to avoid awkward confrontations with umpires in case they blow a save and the game ends in a walk off. If a pitcher is found to have a foreign substance on him he'll be ejected from the game and suspended 10 days. Umpires were informed of the details in a conference call on...
June 19
June 19

American Athletic Conference boss Mike Aresco calls guaranteeing each Power 5 champion a CFP berth 'step in the wrong direction'

In response to a statement released Friday by outgoing Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco told ESPN on Saturday that guaranteeing each Power 5 conference champion a spot in a potential 12-team playoff format would be "an enormous step in the wrong direction." Aresco said the Pac-12  was the only conference to raise the issue this week at the two-day College Football Playoff meetings in Chicago, where all 10 FBS commissioners met to formally review a proposal for a 12-team format. After the meetings on Friday, Scott released a statement saying the Pac-12 "supports expansion of the CFP and believes that the Autonomy Five champions should annually qualify for the CFP." "I didn't sense any other traction for it," Aresco said. "That would be an enormous step in the wrong direction from the working group's proposal as far as I'm concerned. The top six conferences, without favor, is merit-based. It's fair. It doesn't reward privilege for...
June 19
June 19

Dynamo beats Isidro Metapan 1-0

HOUSTON -- Brian Ching scored in the 68th minute, lifting the Houston Dynamo to a 1-0 victory over El Salvador's Isidro Metapan at Robertson on Wednesday night in the teams' first game of CONCACAF Champions League Group A play. Ching, a second-half substitute, scored seven minutes after entering the game. Fellow second-half sub Stuart Holden sent a through ball into the area to Ching, who fired a shot past goalkeeper Alvaro Alfaro. Houston held Metapan to no shots on goal and three total shots overall. The Dynamo had five shots on goal and eight total. Houston (1-0-0, 3 points) is tied with Panama's Arabe Unido (1-0-0, 3 points) atop Group A. Unido beat Mexico's Pachuca 4-1 on Wednesday in Panama. Houston will play Unido next Wednesday in Panama in its next CONCACAF Champions League game. Metapan (0-1-0, 0 points) will face Pachuca (0-1-0, 0 points) on Tuesday.
June 19
June 19

Los Angeles Lakers don't renew contract of head trainer following injury-riddled season, sources say

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the market to hire a new head athletic trainer after injuries ravaged their 2020-21 season. Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN. Hsieh worked for the franchise for more than a decade, beginning as the head athletic trainer in charge of the health and wellness program for the Lakers' G League affiliate then working as an assistant trainer for the Lakers before taking over as head athletic trainer in August 2019. She became the first woman to be the head athletic trainer on a championship team in American major professional sports history when Los Angeles won the title in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, in October. However, the Lakers' repeat bid fell short with a first-round exit to the Phoenix Suns, with Anthony Davis (groin), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left knee) and Alex Caruso (ankle) all hampered in the series. This after a regular...
June 19

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