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    LeBron James chose Boston as the place he'll play next. Game 7 is on. And any talk about James' future is on hold. Delivering another performance for the ages, James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury and beat the Celtics 109-99 on Friday night to force a decisive climax to this back-and-forth series. James, playing in perhaps his final game for the Cavs in Cleveland, added 11 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but two minutes — to avoid elimination and delay any decisions about where he'll continue his remarkable career next season. 'Greatness,' Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. 'Gave it his all. We needed that, especially with Kevin going down. He delivered. He carried us home as usual.' The king is not dead, and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals. 'It feels good just to be able to play for another game,' said James, who had his seventh 40-point game of these playoffs. 'Like I've always said, Game 7 is the best two words in sports. ... We should relish the opportunity and have fun with it.' This series, in which home court has meant everything, will have a fitting conclusion Sunday at TD Center, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason. 'We have one game to be able to compete for a championship, and what more could you ask for?' James said. 'If I'd have told you at the beginning of the season we only needed one game to make the NBA Finals, we'd take it.' George Hill added 20 points, and Jeff Green 14 for the Cavs, who lost Love in the first quarter after he banged heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum. Terry Rozier paced the Celtics — now 1-6 on the road — with 28 points, and Jaylen Brown had 27. The Celtics were still within seven in the final three minutes before James made consecutive 3-pointers, punctuating the second by pounding his chest with both fists and screaming along with 20,562 others. Just for good measure, he added a three-point play and then was taken out of the game to a rousing ovation and chants of 'Cavs in 7!' 'Just a lot of heart, a lot of grit, being resilient,' James said. Boston's improbable run through the postseason without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will now take the Celtics back home, where they play with more intensity, togetherness and before fans hungry to see an 18th title banner raised to their arena's rafters. 'It's not going to be pretty,' Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. 'We've got to come out ready to get our nose bloody and our mouth bloody. We've got to come out ready to fight. You've got to find a way, whatever it takes.' Love went out with a head injury in the first quarter, forcing Lue to juggle his rotations and keep James on the floor longer than he wanted to. The three-time champion played the first 35 minutes without a break and then endured the final eight while nursing a sore lower leg. Backed by a sea of towel-waving fans wearing white 'Cleveland Whatever It Takes' T-shirts, James did just that to push the series to Boston, where he has had some of his biggest moments on the renowned parquet floor. In 2012, he had 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in Game 6 for Miami, which went on to win Game 7 and the NBA title. He also scored 45 in a Game 7 loss for Cleveland in 2008, and now has a chance to boost his stunning resume further if he can get the Cavs to a fourth consecutive Finals. James also has some bitter memories in Boston. He lost Game 6 in the East semifinals in 2010 to the Celtics and was soon on his way to joining the Heat. The real possibility that James was playing his last game in Cleveland hung over the game — and this city — in the hours leading to tip-off. Everyone had an opinion on what James will do next and that discussion filled the sports talk radio airwaves, bars and barber shops. The 33-year-old has said several times since coming home in 2014 that he wants to retire with the Cavaliers, but fans are uneasy because he can opt out of his $35.6 million contract this summer and test free agency. And, of course, he left once before in 2010, bolting for Miami. James has said he'll sit down with his family after the season ends to plot his next move, and he's already being courted in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York who can only dream about adding him to their rosters. For now, he's only going to Boston. NO LOVE The game began ominously for the Cavs as Love was forced to leave following his violent collision with Tatum. Love and Tatum were away from the ball and didn't see each other until it was too late. They banged heads and both immediately dropped to the floor with Love raising his left arm as if to signal he needed help. As Love stayed down, the Cavs huddled around him. He was helped off and walked to the bench unsteadily before heading to the locker room for further treatment and evaluation. The Cavs announced an hour later at halftime that Love wouldn't return. His status for Game 7 is uncertain. THE OTHER SIDE Tatum stayed in following his nasty collision with Love. The rookie passed the concussion testing that he was given on the bench. 'I didn't see him coming, it was bad,' Tatum said. 'I have a knot on the back of my head and he didn't return. I wish the best for Kevin Love because he's a great player and it's been a long season.' TIP-INS Celtics: Own a 37-0 record when leading a series 2-0. ... Dropped to 1-4 in Game 6s over the last four postseasons. ... Coach Brad Stevens praised James for his consistency, and ability to exceed expectations. 'Nobody else has what he has on his shoulders playing the game,' he said. 'I think that the way in which he's done that and all of the years now that he's made The Finals and gone deep into the playoffs, it's unbelievable.' Cavaliers: Improved to 6-2 in elimination game since 2015. James has scored at least 40 in five of those wins. ... James' teams are 5-2 in Game 7s. ... This was the seventh 40-point game for James this postseason. Michael Jordan also had seven, one off Jerry West's record set in 1965. ... James passed Karl Malone (2,062) for sixth place on the career postseason rebounds list.
  • Jose Altuve tied it in the eighth inning with a two-run double off Andrew Miller and then scored the go-ahead run on Marwin Gonzalez's squeeze bunt, and the Houston Astros scored 11 times in the final two innings to beat the Cleveland Indians 11-2 on Friday night. Houston rallied hard for their fifth straight victory, getting three runs off Miller (1-3) during a four-run eighth before George Springer's three-run homer helped make it a blowout in the ninth. Miller was pulled after allowing Altuve's double, and Gonzalez then laid down a perfect bunt toward the mound off Cody Allen. Allen picked up the ball, but his flip to catcher Yan Gomes was too late to get Altuve as he dived across the plate. Springer's homer off Josh Tomlin highlighted the ninth, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate. Houston has won 13 of 16 and is 4-1 against Cleveland this season. Miller escaped a seventh-inning jam by getting pinch-hitter J.D. Davis to hit into a double play with the bases loaded. The left-hander was charged with three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Allen loaded the bases and then walked Max Stassi. Joe Smith (2-1) recorded the final out in the seventh. Corey Kluber and Dallas Keuchel locked up in a battle of AL Cy Young Award winners. Kluber pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and Keuchel gave up two runs in six innings. Kluber was the Cy Young winner in 2014 and last season, while Keuchel won the award in 2015. Cleveland scored in the third on Jose Ramirez's RBI double and again in the sixth on Jason Kipnis' groundball with the bases loaded. Miller has struggled since missing two weeks with a strained hamstring. George Springer led off the eighth with a double and Alex Bregman walked. Both runners scored when Altuve doubled into the left field corner. BIG NIGHT Game 6 of the Eastern Conference playoffs between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena — located across the street from Progressive Field — marked the 14th time the teams have played at home the same day since the start of the 2015 NBA playoffs with the Cavaliers hosting a postseason game. MOVING UP Kluber struck out seven and moved into third place in franchise history with 1,279 career strikeouts. He trails Hall of Famer Bob Feller (2,581) and Sam McDowell (2,159). STREAKS Correa set a team record with his 51st consecutive game without an error at shortstop. Roger Metzger played 50 straight games without an error in 1976. Brantley extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a third-inning double. TRAINER'S ROOM Astros: OF Josh Reddick (leg infection) remains in Houston. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday. Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (sore shoulder) will return to Cleveland next week to be examined by the team's medical staff. The All-Star is in extended spring training in Arizona and hasn't pitched this season. UP NEXT RHPs Lance McCullers Jr. and Carlos Carrasco meet Saturday in a rematch of a May 20 game in Houston. McCullers held the Indians to one hit over seven innings and beat the Indians for the first time in his career. Carrasco gave up a two-run homer to Brian McCann in the seventh inning and got the loss. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • Gleyber Torres became the youngest American League player to homer in four straight games, Aaron Judge threw out a pair of runners from right field and the New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Friday night in the opener of a series showcasing some of the sport's brightest stars. Shohei Ohtani, the two-way Japanese rookie sensation, came up with the potential tying run on base and two outs in the eighth. New York brought in closer Aroldis Chapman to face Ohtani with Justin Upton at first. Chapman threw a wild pitch that advanced the runner, Ohtani sent a 100 mph pitch just foul of the left-field pole, then grounded out on a 101 mph offering. While Ohtani is batting .309 to go along with a 4-1 pitching record, he is just 4 for 23 (.174) at the plate against lefty pitchers. The 23-year-old was 0 for 3 with a walk, booed lightly in his Yankee Stadium debut after deciding to spurn the Yankees and sign with the Angels. Mike Trout tied the score in the fifth for Los Angeles with his 16th homer. Torres drove in New York's first run with an infield hit in the second. He broke a 1-all tie in the seventh against Jim Johnson (2-2) with a drive over the right-field scoreboard, his ninth homer since coming up to the Yankees on April 22 and his fifth in four games. At 21 years, 163 days, he became the fourth-youngest player to homer in four straight games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only Miguel Cabrera (20 years, 362 days) in 2004, Andrew Jones (21-139) in 1998 and Albert Pujols (21-147) in 2001 were younger. All of them were in the National League. Chad Green (3-0) won in relief of Luis Severino. Chapman, pitching on five days' rest, got four straight outs for his 10th save in 11 chances, finishing a six-hitter. New York loaded the bases in the second and Torres hit a grounder down the third-base line. Zack Cozart made a backhand grab, but his one-hop throw ricocheted off Pujols' glove at first base as Didi Gregorius came home on the infield hit. Aaron Hicks initially held up but was forced to head home when Miguel Andujar headed for third. Pujols picked up the ball at the back of the infield dirt and threw to catcher Martin Maldonado, who tagged Hicks. Kole Calhoun singled with one out in the bottom half and advanced on Gary Sanchez's eighth passed ball of the season. When Upton lined a single to right with two outs, Judge threw from 216 feet at 100.5 mph, his hardest in the major leagues, according to MLB's Statcast. Sanchez caught the ball on the fly, then reached back and tagged Calhoun on the left calf. Judge threw out Maldonado trying to stretch a single in the seventh, taking a one-hopper in the right-field corner and throwing Gregorius at second for the tag. Trout walked his first two times up, increasing his major league-leading total to 48. He sent a 98.5 mph fastball to the opposite field into the second deck in right field for the only run off Severino, who allowed four hits in six innings. Angels starter Andrew Heaney allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six straight starts. TRAINER'S ROOM Angels: C Rene Rivera had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and likely will be sidelined for four to six weeks. ... RHP Matt Shoemaker had mild fluid in his pitching forearm, according to an MRI on Thursday in Los Angeles. Yankees: 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) likely will be activated from the DL on Saturday. ... RHP Tommy Kahnle (right shoulder tendinitis) was activated from the DL. UP NEXT RHP Jaime Barria is to be recalled Saturday from Triple-A Salt Lake to start for the Angels. He is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts for Los Angeles this season. RHP Sonny Gray (3-3) starts for the Yankees after allowing one run over eight innings to win at Kansas City on Sunday. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • A look at what's happen around the majors Saturday: FLIGHT PLAN The Yankees plan to activate first baseman Greg Bird from the DL before a game against the Angels, forcing New York to make a difficult roster decision. Bird has been sidelined since having right ankle surgery on March 27. New York likely will decide whether to cut from eight relief pitchers to seven or option Tyler Austin to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre despite his strong performance in Bird's absence. ODD-MAN OUT Boston is moving on without slugger Hanley Ramirez after designating him for assignment Friday to clear space for Dustin Pedroia to come off the DL. The Red Sox are responsible for the $15.25 million remaining on Ramirez's contract, but avoided triggering a $22 million salary for 2019 by cutting him loose. The move clears the way for Mitch Moreland to be the team's everyday first baseman, with J.D. Martinez a regular at DH and Blake Swihart picking up at-bats as a platoon partner at first base, catcher and DH. Pedroia is expected to make his first start of 2018 in a game against Atlanta. WELCOME ABOARD Denard Span and Alex Colome are expected to arrive in Seattle after the Mariners acquired them from Tampa Bay in the season's first major trade Friday. Span will hold down left field regularly with Guillermo Heredia sliding to center and Dee Gordon taking over at second base for suspended star Robinson Cano. Colome led the major leagues with 47 saves last season and will help solidify a bullpen that's been relied on heavily early in the season. Seattle is set to continue a series against Minnesota. HOMECOMING Sean Newcomb, born in Massachusetts and raised about 45 miles from Fenway Park, returns with the Atlanta Braves to pitch against Boston. The 24-year-old lefty, a 2014 first-round draft pick by the Angels out of the University of Hartford, is 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He's won all four starts this month, allowing only one run and nine hits in 25 innings. Newcomb is 5-0 in eight outings since losing his first game of the season on April 2. Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 5.97) goes for the Red Sox. BIRTHDAY BOY Bartolo Colon makes his first start since turning 45 on Thursday when the Texas Rangers take on Kansas City. Pitching for his 11th major league team, the portly Colon (2-2, 3.51 ERA) is the oldest active player in the majors. His teammates honored him before Thursday's game, and his face ended up in the birthday cake during the celebration. Big Sexy has 242 career wins and needs one more to match Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic. BARRIA IS BACK Angels rookie Jaime Barria has yet to allow more than two runs in any of his five career starts, a streak the 21-year-old will test against New York at Yankee Stadium. Barria pitched one-run ball for seven innings against Houston in his last start but got a no-decision in a 5-3 loss, then was optioned briefly back to Triple-A. He'll oppose RHP Sonny Gray (3-3, 5.48), who is coming off eight dominant innings against Kansas City in his previous start. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will miss the remainder of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals after banging heads with Boston's Jayson Tatum. Love and Tatum inadvertently collided midway through the quarter and both dropped to the floor. Love, who missed a March 28 game at Charlotte with a concussion, immediately raised his left arm as if to signal he needed help. He stayed down for several minutes before he was pulled to his feet. Love walked unsteadily to the bench with guard George Hill holding one of his arms. Love sat briefly before heading to the locker room for further evaluation. The Cavs said Love is being evaluated for a concussion and being kept out as a precaution. Love was replaced by Jeff Green, who sparked the Cavs to a 54-43 halftime lead. Tatum stayed in the game. Love, who is in his fourth season with Cleveland and is the club's second-best player, is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in the series.
  • Clayton Kershaw marked the 10-year anniversary of his major league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers on the disabled list. However, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is getting closer to returning. Kershaw is set to throw a four-inning simulated game on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, the next step in his recovery from left biceps tendinitis. If he comes out of it with no issues, the Dodgers will decide whether to send him on a minor league rehab assignment or return him to their rotation. Kershaw hasn't pitched in a game since May 1 in Arizona, where he struck out six and walked one, but allowed a pair of home runs. He shut himself down during warmups for a May 4 bullpen session in Monterrey, Mexico, when he felt pain in the area where the biceps attach to the shoulder. He threw a 54-pitch bullpen on Wednesday, 24 more than originally planned. Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw wasn't pleased with his pitch execution, but otherwise felt fine. On Saturday, Roberts and management will be monitoring Kershaw's arm strength and health. 'When you're talking about potentially activating a player, you want that to trend the right way. Clayton would want that, too,' Roberts said Friday. 'I think that he's going to use his pitch mix and see the execution and see how the ball's coming out (of his hand).' Kershaw began this season with a 144-64 record and a 2.36 ERA in 292 career games, including 290 starts. The Dodgers have made just one World Series appearance during his career, losing to the Houston Astros in seven games last year. His playoff numbers aren't nearly as impressive as what he's done in the regular season. In seven postseason appearances, he is 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA. On May 25, 2008, the Dodgers sent Kershaw to the mound as their No. 1 prospect for the first time against the Cardinals at Chavez Ravine. The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, while striking out seven and not figuring in the decision, a 4-3, 10-inning win by the Dodgers. He would earn his first big league win two months later, tossing six scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory over Washington. At the time, Kershaw was the fourth-youngest starter in Los Angeles history and the majors' youngest player at 20 years, 65 days. He went 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 22 games over two stints in his first MLB action that season. Since then, he has established himself as one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, winning NL MVP honors in 2014 and Cy Young Awards in 2011, '13 and '14, and being a seven-time All-Star. Kershaw has led the majors in ERA (2.37), opponents' average (.206), WHIP (1.00), shutouts (15) and winning percentage (.681) since making his debut. He ranks second among big leaguers in strikeouts with 2,168, fifth in wins (145) and third in complete games (25). 'There's obviously a remarkable evolution but in that same breath, just the consistency that he's had over those 10 years being so dominant,' said Roberts, who is in his third season with the Dodgers. 'Just to get to know him in the last couple years has been great for me and my growth. He's such a tremendous human and obviously a future Hall of Famer.' Kershaw has come a long way off the field, too. He married his wife, Ellen, in 2010 and the couple has two children, Cali and Charley. The couple, who live in Dallas in the offseason, founded their nonprofit Kershaw's Challenge in 2011 that works with organizations in the U.S. and aboard to help at-risk communities and children. 'His philanthropic heart and mind has really helped other guys,' Roberts said, noting Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Kenley Jansen are active in Los Angeles area charities. 'When you see a guy like that take the lead, others follow. When he's not active, he's out here on the bench cheering on the guys in the game. That's how he gets a lot of respect from the other guys.' ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • Disgruntled fans broke into a Brazil training session for the World Cup on Friday and some booed the national team over a lack of contact with local supporters. A few dozen even mocked chanted 'It was 7-1! It was 7-1!' in a reference to the team's humiliation against Germany four years ago. The open training in Teresopolis was the only chance local fans had to be with Brazil players since the beginning of preparations Monday. Brazil gave up on its traditional pre-World Cup friendly on home soil before the tournament and will only play again June 3 in Liverpool against Croatia. In the first and only meeting with players before they travel to the tournament in Russia, about 200 people were initially allowed in the Granja Comary training ground, but many others broke into the venue after being stopped by police for hours at the gates. No one was injured, but the frustration was evident. 'I come here to see Brazil since 1998 and it was never this distant,' teacher Hilario Santos said. 'Even the street on the other side of the Granja, where players usually stopped to give autographs, has been closed. That only adds to the disconnect between team and fans.' Since it hosted the World Cup four years ago, Brazil has become less interested in attention, especially after the crushing against the Germans in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte. Coach Tite repeated the team would need more privacy to prepare for the tournament in Russia. In the end of Friday's training Brazil players and Tite gave autographs to those that managed to enter, easing the pressure from fans two days before the team flies to London to set camp from Monday to June 8. But even those fans that entered had their complaints. 'I am very happy because Neymar signed my shirt, but I wanted to see him play at the Maracana, too,' 11-year-old Paula Horacio said. 'He already spends a lot of time in Europe, it would be nice to have him around more.' Left-back Filipe Luis said he only heard positive messages from fans. 'We felt their love today, everyone here feels more comfortable when we see fans giving their support,' Luis said. Neymar, who is recovering from a right-foot surgery, was the most sought player by fans and spent about 15 minutes giving them autographs. Tite, a central part of Brazil's change from possible flop to World Cup favorites, also had supporters on his side wishing him well on his birthday.
  • Justin Rose considered his first 15 holes in the second round at Colonial pretty flawless. The last three worked out OK, too, even with the only bogey for the leader of the Fort Worth Invitational. 'Last three holes got a bit scrappy,' Rose said after a 6-under 64 that got him to 10 under Friday at Hogan's Alley. After missing the green at the 422-yard seventh hole, the Englishman chipped in from 16 feet for a birdie. He missed the green again at the par-3 eighth for a bogey. Then after his tee shot into the rough and an approach that just cleared the water fronting his final hole, the world's fifth-ranked player two-putted for a closing par. That was good enough for one-stroke lead over Argentina's Emiliano Grillo , whose 67 included six consecutive holes without a par. Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka (63) and Satoshi Kodaira (67) were 7 under. Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ who won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in his season debut last October and has four top-10 finishes, said he played 'about as good as' he has overall in a long time. Things really got going after caddie Mark Fulcher offered a few words when Rose was a bit frustrated about a couple of missed putts while starting the round with four consecutive pars. 'Fulch kind of said, 'Come on, mate. Stay with me. Stay patient.' I got rewarded with the very next hole making a 10-footer for birdie,' Rose said. 'I made enough good putts on the back nine today where I have some confidence going into the weekend.' The birdie at the 457-yard 14th hole was the first of three consecutive birdies for the 37-year-old South African, who has eight PGA Tour wins. Grillo was at 10 under when he rolled in a 28-footer at No. 17, his fourth birdie in his first eight holes. But his ensuing tee shot went way right into a concrete ditch, and his ball floated with the flowing water before being snagged by a fan just before it dropped into a drainage area. After the penalty stroke and drop, Grillo hit into a greenside bunker and bogeyed. 'It's a little bit on the downslope and it's all concrete, so the ball was rolling,' Grillo said. 'I was able to make some birdies in there. I got very unlucky on the first hole and No. 3 there.' The second nine for Grillo started bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. Defending Colonial champion Kevin Kisner was even after a 68 on Friday. Jordan Spieth, one of the locals and No. 3 in the world, also shot 68 and is 3 under. Aaron Wise, the 21-year-old rookie coming off his first PGA Tour victory a week ago at the Byron Nelson, missed the cut after a 73 left him 3 over — the same as Webb Simpson, who won The Players Championship this month. After a 62 to take the first-round, Kevin Na struggled on the back nine for a 73. He went into weekend 5 under and in a logjam of nine players tied for sixth place. Tyrone Van Aswegen was alone in fifth after consecutive 67s. Na was 10 under after a 5-foot putt at the ninth hole, a more traditional birdie than the 92-foot chip-in from the rough he had to end the first round. But Na then had bogey at the 631-yard 11th hole, and double bogey at the 440-yard 12th hole before a three-putt bogey on the par-3 13th. Koepka, who said he has dislocated his left wrist twice in the last two months, was 7 under through 11 holes Friday — and that is how he finished. 'I probably could have snuck about two, three more,' he said. 'But you know what, I'm pleased. If you had told me I was going to shoot 7 under before I teed off, I would've taken it.' On his first two holes Thursday, his return to the PGA Tour after a course record-tying 9-under 63 on the final day at The Players Championship, Koepka had a bogey and then double bogey at a par 5. But he has 12 birdies and two bogeys in his last 32 holes, three weeks before the U.S. Open. 'I feel like I've been playing well. I just haven't put four days together,' Koepka said. 'But I feel like it's trending in the right direction. I actually feel like exactly where I was last year at the same time. ... Hopefully in a couple weeks' time, it'll be the same result.' ___ More AP golf: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf
  • Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Justify won't have to further contend with Audible in pursuit of the colt's bid for the Triple Crown. Trainer Todd Pletcher said Friday that Audible will be pointed toward a summer campaign, with the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 28 or the $1 million Haskel Invitational on July 29 being the top options for his next start. Florida. Derby winner Audible finished third in the Kentucky Derby. Both Justify and Audible are co-owned by WinStar Farm and there had been much speculation whether the owners would pit them against each other when Justify tries to complete a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont on June 9. Elliott Walden, WinStar president and CEO, was at Belmont Park on Friday to see Audible and discussed the situation with Pletcher. The trainer says Audible isn't doing as well as he was leading into the May 5 Derby and he doesn't think the colt is where he needs to be to win the 1 ½-mile Belmont. However, Noble Indy is a possibility to run in the Belmont. He finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby and is also co-owned by WinStar. Pletcher said Noble Indy put himself into the Belmont mix after completing a half-mile workout Friday.
  • Rather than waiting to see where the Seattle Mariners are sitting by the time the trade market heats up, general manager Jerry Dipoto decided to be proactive. Rewarding a strong start in spite of numerous injuries and the suspension of Robinson Cano, the Mariners pulled off the first big trade of the season Friday, landing outfielder Denard Span and right-handed reliever Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers. It's not a blockbuster deal, but it does immediately improve the Mariners after spending the first two months dealing with a number of significant injuries and still finding themselves near the top of the AL West. 'They're going to fit in our clubhouse and really fit too to what we think are critical needs,' Dipoto said. 'The fact we were able to do it and maintain another four, five months of their contribution for this year, it's so much different than an ordinary in-season or July-type of pick up.' Seattle was seeking outfield depth and a boost for a heavily used bullpen to keep up momentum from a strong start to the season, despite injures to five starting position players, including Cano prior to his suspension. The Mariners entered Friday nine games over .500 and off to their best start since 2003. 'I think it's an awesome message that everything we've dealt with in the last eight-to-10 days here — it starts at the ownership level and front office — that we're all in on this season,' Seattle manager Scott Servais said. 'That even though we had a setback with Robbie and the injury and suspension it's not going to derail us. Our eyes are set on the goal and that's getting to the playoffs and I think this helps us.' Tampa Bay will send Seattle $4.75 million to cover a portion of the $13,840,860 the Mariners took on with the acquisition of Span and Colome, although the Mariners had an unexpected $11 million freed up due to Cano's suspension. Span is assured $10,193,548 — $6,193,548 remaining of this year's $9 million salary and a $4 million buyout of a $12 million mutual option. Colome has $3,647,312 left in his $5.3 million salary this year and can become a free agent after the 2020 season. Seattle sent minor league right-handers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero to Tampa Bay, but the Rays continued to shed salary from a roster that was already 28th out of 30 clubs on opening day according to MLB figures. 'This usually is the time where you're still learning about your club and where you're at competitively,' Rays GM Erik Neander said. 'I think some circumstances changed in Seattle with respect to where their team is at, where their finances were at and that led to some motivation from them to seek and try to find ways to improve their team.' Colome may be the most important piece of the acquisition for Seattle because of what he'll add to the bullpen, and he will be under club control for a few more years. He was an All-Star in 2016 with the Rays and led the major leagues with 47 saves last year, but will likely need to accept a setup role in Seattle with closer Edwin Diaz leading the AL with 17 saves this season. Colome has 11 saves this year, but has allowed 10 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings. 'I just think it adds an unbelievable depth to a really good group already,' Servais said. 'When you're running guys in there three, four days in a row, you don't have to over-extend anybody.' Span has played both center field and left field in his career. He was hitting .238 in 48 games with the Rays, but his ability to play multiple spots in the outfield is the big benefit to Seattle after Dee Gordon's move to second base following to Robinson Cano's suspension. Dipoto said Span will likely be the regular left fielder with Ben Gamel transitioning to a reserve role and Guillermo Heredia holding down center. Tampa Bay acquired Span from San Francisco in December after he signed a three-year free agent contract with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. Span was still processing the deal before leaving Tampa Bay. He said when he got through spring training without being traded, he believed it would be closer to the trade deadline before possibly getting moved. 'I'm really looking forward to this new challenge, but this is home for me,' Span said. 'It is disappointing. I can say that for sure. I was just trying to get settled in here and we were winning, we were having a good time. Maybe if this had happened after the first week of spring training or whatever, I would have been more prepared.' The Rays also sent minor league right-hander Peter Bayer to Oakland for right-hander Wilmer Font. Oakland acquired Font from the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25 and designated him for assignment Wednesday. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball