NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Red Sox escaped major penalties in Major League Baseball’s cheating investigation on Wednesday, with Commissioner Rob Manfred concluding that the 2018 World Series champions’ sign-stealing efforts were less egregious than the Astros’ when they won it all the previous season.
Ex-manager Alex Cora was formally suspended for the coronavirus-delayed 2020 season — but only for his role as a Houston bench coach.
In a statement, Cora said he was “relieved″ the investigations were finished and that Manfred found he ”did not violate any MLB rules as a member of the Red Sox organization in 2018 or 2019.”
The Red Sox upgraded the status of Ron Roenicke, who had been the interim manager pending the outcome of the investigation.
Replay system operator J.T. Watkins was the only member of the organization punished, suspended without pay for a year for violating the prohibition on in-game use of video to identify pitch signals. Watkins, who denied the allegations, was also prohibited from serving as the replay room operator through 2021.
Boston was also stripped of its second-round pick in this year’s amateur draft, No 52 overall.
NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiators for the governing body of the minor leagues asked questions during Wednesday’s bargaining session about what the administrative structure would be if Major League Baseball takes over their operation next year, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.
MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem did most of the talking during the one-hour electronic meeting, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Halem and MLB executive vice president Morgan Sword were on, along with D. Scott Poley, general counsel of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor leagues’ governing body. Owners from the negotiating committees of both sides also were involved.
The sides did not address MLB’s proposal to cut the minimum total of affiliated minor league teams to 120, the most contentious issue in talks to replace the Professional Baseball Agreement that expires after this season.
No date was set for the next meeting.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints canceled their offseason program because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and informed players they will not be required to report to club headquarters until training camp — whenever that may be.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said coach Sean Payton informed players of the decision on Wednesday, adding that the club will remain in regular communication with players between now and the opening of training camp.
The Saints decision comes as leaders in some states have begun to relax, or discuss relaxing, stay-at-home orders that have caused widespread economic hardship Louisiana, with a population of about 4.65 million, has seen the coronavirus take a relatively high toll in the state.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are ready for a made-for-TV rematch at a time when fans are craving live action.
And this time, they’ll have company.
Turner Sports says quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will join them for a two-on-two match sometime in May. Missing from the announcement were such details as when and where the match would be played, except that tournament organizers would work with government and health officials to meet safety and health standards.
Turner said all donations and fundraising from “The Match: Champions for Charity” would benefit relief efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event between the teams of Woods-Manning and Mickelson-Brady will be televised on TNT, with social and digital content leading up and during the event available through Bleacher Report and House of Highlights.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — Susie Maxwell Berning, one of six women to capture the U.S. Women’s Open at least three times, has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame announced the election Wednesday morning, making Maxwell Berning the fourth and final member of the 2021 induction class that includes Tiger Woods, Marion Hollins and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
Berning was elected from the female category, beating out Beverly Hanson, Sandra Palmer and Dottie Pepper.
Two years removed from winning her second national championship, Muffet McGraw retired as coach of Notre Dame on Wednesday.
The Hall of Fame coach has a resume that includes two national championships in 33 seasons at the school, a surprising decision to many of the countless players and coaches she has influenced on and off the court as a mentor and advocate for women.
Former Fighting Irish player and longtime assistant coach Niele Ivey will return to take over for McGraw. She was on the Memphis Grizzlies staff last year after 17 seasons at Notre Dame.
The 64-year-old McGraw became the 13th woman inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. She won 936 games, ranking sixth among Division I coaches, with 842 coming at Notre Dame.
Roger Federer used a string of tweets Wednesday to call for the merger of the governing bodies for the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours, sparking a conversation among players and fans.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion’s comments drew plenty of support, including from rival Rafael Nadal and 12-time major singles champion Billie Jean King, who founded the WTA and has long said men and women should share one tour.
“Am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united and come together as one?” Federer wrote, leading to a flurry of responses online.
The professional era in tennis started in 1968, and the ATP was founded in 1972, running the men’s game since. The women’s WTA began a year later. The idea, not new, but spotlighted by Federer: combine the two into a single body.
Professional women’s hockey is set to make its return to Canada with the National Women’s Hockey League officially announcing it is expanding into Toronto.
The yet to be named franchise has an ownership group headed by former Harvard captain Johanna Boynton, features former Brown University coach Margaret “Digit” Murphy as its president, and already has five players under contract, the NWHL said in a three-page release Wednesday.
The Toronto team increases the U.S.-based NWHL’s number of franchises to six, and comes a year after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded after 12 seasons because of financial instability.
The NWHL was founded in 2015, becoming North America’s first pro women’s league to pay its players a salary. It currently has teams in Boston, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey; Danbury, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully fired by league owner Vince McMahon just before the professional football league shut its doors.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Connecticut, alleges the commissioner received a termination letter from Alpha Entertainment on April 9, four days before the football league filed for bankruptcy protection.
Luck, the father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and a long-time football executive, alleges McMahon breached their contract. Luck is seeking monetary damages, the amount of which has been redacted from public copies of the lawsuit, along with terms of Luck’s contract.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jim Jones, a former academic assistant to football coaching great Woody Hayes who went on to serve as Ohio State athletic director in the 1980s and ’90s, has died. He was 83.
Jones died Wednesday in Bonita Springs, Florida, of natural causes, the university said.
Jones started at Ohio State as a physical education instructor in 1965 and moved to the athletic department in 1967. He served as academic adviser, mainly to the football team. for four years and often was referred to by Hayes as the team’s “brain coach.” He then moved to athletic department administration and was athletic director from 1987 until his retirement in 1994.