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    A blockbuster doping case got lost in translation with Chinese swimmer Sun Yang on the stand. Imprecise and incomplete exchanges relayed by courtroom translators into English and Chinese frustrated even Sun’s own lawyers on Friday during his opening statement and cross-examination in the first session of a scheduled 12-hour hearing. At one point, the three-time Olympic champion’s London-based lawyer, Ian Meakin, apologized for asking his client leading questions “but the translation was so bad.” In a landmark public hearing — the first in 20 years held in open session by the Court of Arbitration for Sport — Sun could be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The CAS judges are not expected to give a verdict until next year, and it was unclear at times how much of the early questions and testimony were exactly understood. “My apologies for the poor quality of the interpretation,” judging panel president Franco Frattini said when the hearing resumed after a break. The court did not select the translators. The appeal case was brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It centers on Sun’s right to refuse cooperation with three anti-doping officials who tried to take blood and urine samples at his home in China last year. A security guard instructed by Sun’s mother used a hammer to smash a box containing a vial of his blood during a late-night dispute after the swimmer questioned the collection team’s credentials. Sun detailed how he and his entourage doubted the paperwork and qualifications of officials conducting a properly scheduled mission to get the samples. “How are you able to trust them?” Sun recalled of a September 2018 incident that escalated into confrontation. Sun, one of China’s most popular sports stars, said he was not respected by the officials, including a chaperone he said asked to take his photograph. “This is really ridiculous,” Sun said in translated comments. When the case was first judged in January, Sun was only cautioned by a tribunal appointed by world swimming body FINA. Although Sun and his entourage were criticized for their conduct, the first tribunal panel said the sample mission was void and invalid because anti-doping protocol was not followed. Technically, Sun was judged to be not properly notified of needing to give samples. WADA has asked for a ban of between two and eight years, believing Sun voluntarily refused to submit to give samples. If WADA’s appeal is upheld, Sun risks a longer sanction because it would be his second offense. He served a three-month ban imposed by Chinese authorities in 2014 after testing positive for a banned stimulant. That initial ban was quickly addressed by Sun and his legal team on Friday. He said it was a prescribed medication for a heart issue because he sometimes fainted after training. Translation mishaps complicated matters as lawyers for WADA repeatedly asked Sun if he had learned in his long career of the serious consequences for refusing to give a sample. The 27-year-old athlete repeatedly answered that the lead anti-doping official had not warned him specifically. Sun’s anti-doping history was detailed, with 180 samples given at competitions and during training from 2012-18. A total of 60 were organized by the Sweden-based firm IDTM, which sent the collection team to Sun’s home. CAS judge Philippe Sands pressed Sun whether IDTM staff had shown different documents of authorization on the 59 previous occasions he gave samples without problems. The 2-meter (6-foot, 7-inch) Sun became a star in China as its first man to win an Olympic title in swimming. He won gold medals in the 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle races at the 2012 London Olympics. He added gold in the 200 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Sun also has 11 world championship titles and is a polarizing figure in the sport. He provoked anger among rivals by winning two titles in July while the CAS appeal was pending. Medalists from Australia and Britain refused to stand on the podium with him in Gwangju, South Korea. ___ More AP swimming: https://apnews.com/tag/Swimming and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The match between Villarreal and Atlético Madrid in the United States next month was called off Friday after the Spanish league lost a court battle against the Spanish soccer federation. The league said a Madrid court denied an injunction to force the federation to approve the staging of the match abroad. It had accused the federation of unfair competition. The league said the case against the federation will continue despite Friday’s ruling. It hopes to be able to stage a regular-season game in the U.S. beginning in February, when the case is expected to be settled. Last season, the league unsuccessfully tried to take a match between Girona and Barcelona to Florida, an attempt also hindered by the federation’s lack of approval. The league has a 15-year partnership with the group Relevent to promote soccer and bring games to the United States. “Staging an official LaLiga match abroad is part of a long-term LaLiga strategy for international growth,” the league said in a statement. “We hope that from February forth LaLiga will be able to organize an official match beyond Spanish borders.” The league complained the federation opposed the game but at the same time is organizing its own matches abroad, like the four-team Spanish Super Cup that it will host in January in Saudi Arabia. The Spanish Super Cup also was played abroad last season, in Morocco. The federation argued it was different to play a league game abroad because it would affect the other 18 clubs participating in the competition. Real Madrid and Barcelona had reportedly expressed their opposition to the game in the U.S. because it would be played in a neutral venue, thus favoring Atlético, the away team. Villarreal season ticket holders would have been compensated for losing out on a home game. They could have received a 40% discount on their next season ticket purchase, free entry, and travel for up to 3,000 fans to the away game at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium or a paid-for trip to Miami for up to 600 people. Similar compensation packages were offered to Girona fans last season, and many had already accepted them when the game near Miami was called off. ___ More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
  • The Browns were seconds away from a season-changing win when Myles Garrett lost his composure in a moment of rage rarely seen on an NFL field. Garrett tore off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet, wildly swung it and hit the QB in the head, a shocking act that will likely result in a lengthy suspension for Cleveland’s star defensive end and perhaps cost the Browns any chance of making the playoffs. Garrett’s outburst came with 8 seconds left in Cleveland’s 21-7 win over the rival Steelers on Thursday night, a game that will not be remembered for anything that happened in the first 59 minutes. Garrett faces a stiff NFL suspension and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will likely be disciplined for kicking Garrett in the head. “I lost my cool and I regret it,” Garrett said. “It’s going to come back to hurt our team. The guys who jumped into the scrum, I appreciate my team having my back, but it never should have gotten to that point. “It’s on me.” Players from both sidelines spilled on the field during the melee, which began after Garrett wrestled Rudolph to the ground well after he completed a short pass on a meaningless play. Garrett, Pouncey and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi were ejected. Rudolph got his hand on Garrett’s helmet first as the players grappled on the ground, but Garrett escalated the brawl after he got back on his feet. He yanked the helmet off Rudolph and slammed it into the top of the quarterback’s head. Rudolph threw his arms in the air in disbelief after the impact, and Pouncey retaliated by punching and kicking Garrett. “I thought it was pretty cowardly and bush league,” Rudolph said. “I’m not going to back down from any bully. I felt like I had a bone to pick with him. I appreciate the line always having my back, but I was angry.” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield called Garrett’s actions “inexcusable” and Fox commentator Troy Aikman said they were “barbaric.” Mayfield said he didn’t speak with Garrett, but he expects his teammate to be accountable. “This is a physical, violent game and there’s moments if you don’t keep your cool, bad things can happen and he knows that. It’s inexcusable and he knows that,” Mayfield said. “There’s no other way around it, he’s going to own up to it and he’s going to handle it and this locker room is going to have to come together because this is going to be a soap opera on the outside much like the media has portrayed us to be for the whole season.” The incident overshadowed a win that put Cleveland back in the playoff picture and breathed some life into a season that had been slipping away. “It feels like we lost,” Mayfield said. Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was shown replays of the brawl on the NFL Network set. “It's ugly,” Beckham said. “It's not something we want in the NFL.” Rudolph, a second-year player who took over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2, has already missed time this season with a concussion after he was knocked unconscious from a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin refused to discuss the disturbing end-game situation. Several Pittsburgh players were eager to give their views on what happened. “I don’t know how he got to the point that it’s OK to use a helmet as a weapon,” said Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. “I know we play a sport that’s violent, but it should never have gotten handled like that. That dumb stuff shouldn’t be allowed. “For someone to use a helmet as a weapon is uncalled for. I know you’ve got to ask me the question, but he’s got to answer for that.” Before the ugly ending, Mayfield threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard plunge as Cleveland held on to defeat the banged-up Steelers for just the fourth time in 10 years and improved to 2-0 in the AFC North for the first time. The Browns (4-6) have won two in a row after dropping four straight, a skid that put coach Freddie Kitchens’ job in jeopardy. But Mayfield’s 8-yard TD pass to undrafted rookie tight end Stephen Carlson with 5:25 left helped clinch a rare win over the rival Steelers. And a softer upcoming schedule has eased the pressure on Kitchens and given the Browns some hope they can end the NFL’s longest playoff drought. The loss was especially damaging to the Steelers (5-5). Pittsburgh lost its top two playmakers as running back James Conner (shoulder) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) suffered injuries in the second quarter and didn’t return. Without them, Rudolph didn’t have enough help and threw four interceptions. In the third quarter, Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson got concussed from a vicious hit by Browns safety Damarious Randall, who was ejected. Browns running back Nick Chubb had 92 yards and went over 1,000 this season. Despite the injuries, the Steelers were within 14-7 entering the fourth quarter after Rudolph connected with Jaylen Samuels for a 3-yard touchdown pass. CALLAWAY RELEASED The Browns have been wrapped up in drama all season, and that was the case again Thursday as the team released wide receiver Antonio Callaway just hours before kickoff. Callaway, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy earlier this season, was benched by Kitchens for arriving late to Sunday’s game against Buffalo. KAEPERNICK WORKOUT The Browns are one of 11 teams committed to attending former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta this weekend. Owner Dee Haslam said didn’t know who from the team would be at the workout to evaluate Kaepernick, who hasn’t played since 2016 and became a polarizing figure when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice. “We are in support of anybody getting an opportunity to play football,” Haslam said. “We love that.” INJURIES Steelers: Along with the others, Pittsburgh lost LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (concussion) and CB Artie Burns (knee). Browns: Safety Morgan Burnett sustained an Achilles injury in the first half and didn’t return. WATT’S UP Steelers LB T.J. Watt took down Mayfield in the third quarter, giving him eight sacks in five career contests against the Browns. Watt has at least one-half sack in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. UP NEXT Steelers: Visit winless Cincinnati on Nov. 24. Browns: Host Miami on Nov. 24. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • No. 3 Michigan State and No. 12 Seton Hall put on a mid-November show worthy of March Madness. It was showdown of two of college basketball’s best teams and a showcase of two of the nation’s marquee players. Of course, the eventual hero was a freshman who had failed to score a point in his first two games. That’s college basketball, though. Freshman Malik Hall hit a layup with 26 seconds to play and scored all 17 of his points in the second half as Michigan State overcame a late five-point deficit to Seton Hall 76-73 Thursday night. “For a November 14 college basketball game, the atmosphere was great,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “It was two high-level teams, with high level players going at it, it was a lot of fun.” Both Willard and Tom Izzo of Michigan State are going to like what they saw from their preseason All-Americas fighting adversity. Myles Powell of Seton Hall (2-1) had a high ankle sprain and Cassius Winston of Michigan State (2-1) played his second game following the tragic death of his brother, Zachary, last weekend. Winston scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half for the Spartans (2-1). Powell scored 37 points in a game most felt he would miss. “I don’t know who could guard Powell,” Izzo said. “He just did an incredible job. He deserves every accolade he gets, but I’ll tell you what, Cassius Winston does too. It might not seem like it tonight, but to play with a broken heart he has, and to play with the mental part of the game that he’s been through, I think we saw two superstar guards tonight, but in different ways.” Winston made two free throws with 3.4 seconds to play to give Michigan State its final three-point lead. The Spartans then saw a desperation half-court heave by Powell bounce off the top of the rim as the final buzzer sounded. Hall, who didn’t score in the Spartans’ first two games, made all seven of his shots, including three 3-pointers. His only missed shots were two free throws with 3:39 to play. “The kid played terrific,” Willard said of Hall. “Seven of seven and making the shots he made, that was really game. He’s a game changer.” Powell finished 12 of 27 from the field with six rebounds and two assists. “I don’t know if God could have stopped him on some of those shots tonight,” Izzo said of Powell. Trailing 66-62 after Winston hit a 3-pointer with 4:51 to play, Sandro Mamukelashvili hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 9-0 Pirates’ run that Powell ended with his fifth and sixth 3-pointers of the game to give Seton Hall a 71-66 lead with 2:41 to play. Rocket Watts closed the gap to two points with a line-drive 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:44 to go and Winston, who picked up two early fouls, briefly put the Spartans back in front 72-71 with a 3-pointer with 1:02 left. Powell, who played 34 minutes on what his coach described as a high ankle sprain he suffered last weekend, gave The Hall its last lead when he hit two free throws with 43 seconds to go. Hall’s layup put Michigan State ahead 74-73. Mamukelashvili drove the lane and missed a shot on which the officials ignored contact. After Winston missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 14 seconds to go, Powell drove the lane, drew contact and didn’t get a call. Willard felt his players were fouled but insisted the officials called a good game. Myles Cale added 12 for the Pirates (2-1). The game drew a crowd of 14,051, and the fans witnessed a contest with 14 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than seven points. BIG PICTURE Michigan State: The superb Spartans should move up in the AP Top 25 with No. 1 Kentucky’s loss. Seton Hall: The Pirates are a definite NCAA Tournament team for the fifth straight season. UP NEXT Michigan State: Hosts Charleston Southern on Monday night in an on-campus game in the Maui Invitational. Seton Hall: At St. Louis on Sunday to face the 3-0 Billikens. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Kristaps Porzingis couldn’t even hide from the taunts during the national anthem. He’s an enemy now to Knicks fans, and they treated him as rudely as any foe that has played at Madison Square Garden in recent years. “I get it around this league,” Knicks forward Marcus Morris said, “but it was a different level.” Morris made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and New York beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-103 on Thursday night. Porzingis was the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft who developed first into a fan favorite and then an All-Star. But he soured on the Knicks, and the fans have clearly soured on him. They jeered him when the Mavs hit the floor for pregame warmups, continued during the national anthem, when Porzingis won the opening tip and whenever else he touched the ball in the early going. 'I wouldn't say it affected me,” Porzingis said. “I heard it of course. It was pretty loud. But I tried to play my game, stay focused and not think too much about what's going on on the outside.' Morris also knocked away the Mavericks’ inbounds pass with under a second left, sending the Knicks to just their third victory in 12 games this season. Porzingis finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds in his first game in New York as a visitor. Luka Doncic had 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in his fifth triple-double of the season. Morris scored 20 points and Julius Randle had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who were playing their first home game since they were routed Sunday by Cleveland. Afterward, team President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry held a press conference to express their disappointment with the team’s start. They were much better in this one, fueled by a crowd like few others during the down years while Porzingis was a Knick. Porzingis was playing at MSG for the first time since tearing his ACL on Feb. 6, 2018. While rehabbing the injury, he was surprisingly dealt to Dallas on Jan. 31 after Knicks management said he told them in a meeting that day that he didn’t want to stay with the franchise. Porzingis has declined to talk about what caused the deterioration of his relationship with the team, so he understood why there would be such a harsh reception. 'It's what they know. It's what they've heard,” he said. “It is what it is. We came here to win a game and we're frustrated we didn't get it done.' Porzingis looked rattled at the beginning and then confused in the middle, appearing to walk toward the wrong tunnel at halftime before stopping and turning to exit the opposite direction. He couldn’t silence the early boos with a basket, missing his first four shots before finally getting his first field goal on a tip-in about four minutes into the second quarter. 'I've been coming here a long time. Nothing surprises me in here. It was what it was,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We knew it was going to be a difficult atmosphere regardless of what the exact response was.' Doncic missed his first six 3-pointers, then made three in a row late in the third quarter. When he finally missed another, Porzingis soared in to slam home the miss with 0.4 seconds left and tie it at 87-all headed to the fourth. TIP-INS Mavericks: After going 1 for 11 on Monday in a loss at Boston, Porzingis finished 7 for 17. ... Tim Hardaway Jr., who was part of the trade with Porzingis, scored 12 points off the bench. Knicks: Mitchell Robinson had 16 points and eight rebounds after being cleared to return from a concussion following a three-game absence. ... The Knicks ended a five-game winning streak by visiting teams in the series, including their victory last Friday in Dallas. SMITH STARS Dennis Smith Jr., the former Mav who came to New York in the Porzingis trade, had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He was shooting just 1 for 14 for the season coming into the game, having recently returned after missing seven games following a death in the family. “Just grateful,” Smith said. “Glad to be playing. Glad to be out there with these guys. Glad to have people that believe in me, so just a lot of gratitude.” UP NEXT Mavericks: Host Toronto on Saturday. Knicks: Host Charlotte on Saturday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Paul George expected to shoot well in his Clippers’ debut because his surgically repaired shoulders felt great. It was the rest of his game — from ball handling to defense — that concerned him. Jrue Holiday scored 36 points and stole the ball from George three times in the final minutes to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 132-127 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday night. “I thought I was terrible,” said George, who was limited to 24 minutes by early foul trouble but still scored 33 points. “That’s the best my shoulders have felt in a really long time, so I knew coming into tonight shooting wouldn’t be a problem,” George added. “Just playing basketball is what I’m lacking right now.” George was playing for the first time since signing as a free agent with the Clippers because he’d been recovering from procedures in May on his right shoulder and June on his left. “A lot of breakdowns happened because of my lack of being out there with those guys,” George said. “I’m here to win games and I didn’t get a win. ... We had a chance to win tonight and a couple bad possessions in a row that we have down the stretch and we lose. That’s what I gauge good games and bad games on.” Holiday, who had six steals in all, intercepted of Lou Williams’ attempted bounce pass in the final seconds to seal the victory. The play capped off a night in which Holiday scored 12 in the final 4:20, including a pair of pivotal 3s. “It felt good,” said Holiday, who hadn’t scored as many as 20 points in any of his previous eight games. “It’s all about timing and rhythm. I felt like I got a little bit of that back tonight.” Derrick Favors, in his first season with New Orleans, had 20 points and a career-best 20 rebounds in the first 20-20 game of his 10-year career. “I’m starting to get comfortable now and just try to keep it going throughout the year,” Favors said. “It was a great game for me, a great game for the team, and we came out and played hard, but we just have to stay consistent.” Frank Jackson added 23 points in a reserve role. The Clippers played without Kawhi Leonard, who was being rested for the third time this season to ease stress on his sore knee after playing a night earlier in a loss at Houston. But the Pelicans were hardly sympathetic with starters Brandon Ingram (right knee) and Lonzo Ball (groin) sidelined, as well. George’s 3 cut the Pelicans’ lead to 126-123 with 42 seconds left. But the Clippers left Jackson unguarded on the perimeter on the other end, and he took his time squaring up and connecting on his fourth 3 of the game to restore New Orleans’ six-point lead with 30 seconds left. J.J. Reddick, who started and scored 19, hit two free throws with 11.4 seconds left to help wrap up just New Orleans’ third victory in 11 games this season. Williams scored 31 points and Rodney McGruder 20 for the Clippers, who’ve dropped two straight. TIP-INS Clippers: Montrezl Harrell had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. ... McGruder came in 1 of 6 on 3s for the season and hit 5 of 7 in New Orleans. ... The Clippers were 11 of 24 from 3, with George hitting 3 of 5. ... Patrick Beverly also sat out with a sore left calf Pelicans: E’Twaun Moore scored 15 in his first start of the season as the Pelicans used their eighth starting lineup in their first 11 games. ... Guard Josh Hart (left knee and ankle sprains) and center Jahlil Okafor (left ankle sprain) both joined Ingram, Ball and top draft choice Zion Williamson in street clothes on the bench. MOMENTUM SHIFTS The Pelicans trailed 43-36 early in the second quarter when they put together the game’s first big run. Favors scored six straight points on a free throw, a tip-in and his first 3-pointer of the season from the left corner. Holiday’s 3 soon after capped a 13-1 run which put New Orleans up 50-44. Holiday added two more 3s, and Jackson another to widen New Orleans’ lead to 14 at 66-52. Holiday’s driving dunk and finger roll pushed his two-quarter point total to 24, and the Pelicans led 72-59 at halftime. George opened the second half with a driving layup, pull-up jumper and a 3 as part of an 11-2 run to make it 74-70. Los Angeles inched ahead when Williams hit a 3 and followed with a driving layup as he was fouled to make it 88-86. Neither team led by more than eight after that. UP NEXT Clippers: Host Atlanta on Saturday night in the first of five straight home games. Pelicans: Begin a weekend of back-to-back games at Miami on Saturday night, followed by a home date with Golden State on Sunday night. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Carmelo Anthony is getting another shot in the NBA. The 10-time All-Star is returning to the league with the Portland Trail Blazers, a person with knowledge of the details said Thursday. Anthony hasn’t played since a short stint with the Houston Rockets ended a little more than a year ago after just 10 games. But the Blazers hope there is still enough game left in the 35-year-old forward to help them overcome a 4-8 start. Anthony’s deal with Portland was confirmed to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced. It was first reported by ESPN.com, which said that Anthony would join the team on its upcoming road trip. Anthony is a three-time Olympic gold medalist but struggled at the end of his recent stops in Oklahoma City and Houston following 6 ½ seasons in New York. He continued to work out with NBA players, and his many friends and supporters insisted he was still good enough to play in the league. Now he will get a chance to prove it. “It’s about damn time!!” Dwyane Wade wrote on Twitter. Anthony was acquired by the Chicago Bulls from Houston on Jan. 21, with the intention of trading him before the deadline or letting him go. He averaged 13.4 points in 10 games with the Rockets last season, but the team quickly decided Anthony wasn’t the right fit with the system they play under Mike D’Antoni. Anthony can still score — he ranks among the top 20 on the NBA’s career list — but his preferred style of doing it has been replaced by a faster-paced game that exposes his defensive weaknesses. Anthony was traded by Oklahoma City to Atlanta in July 2018, a move that preceded the Hawks releasing him to sign with the Rockets. The Bulls, technically, were his fourth franchise in seven months. Eight of Anthony's 10 appearances for the Rockets came off the bench after the No. 3 pick in the 2003 draft had started all 1,054 games he'd played in his first 15 NBA seasons. He has averaged 24 points in 16 seasons. Anthony fills a need for the Blazers, who are short-handed at forward. Zach Collins recently had shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out for at least four months. Rodney Hood has been bothered by back spasms, but returned for the team’s loss to Toronto. Center Jusuf Nurkic remains out after breaking his leg in a game last month and isn’t expected back until after the start of the new year. Pau Gasol was signed by the Blazers in the offseason but is still rehabbing from foot surgery. The Blazers were reportedly interested in Anthony in the summer of 2017. Portland guard CJ McCollum tried to woo him with a photoshopped Instagram post that showed the future Hall of Famer in a Blazers jersey. ___ Associated Press sports writer Anne M. Peterson in Portland, Oregon, contributed to this report. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • It had never been so difficult for Mike Trout to arrive at the ballpark, get his mind and body ready, and perform at the level baseball fans have come to expect. And still, nobody did it better in the American League. Trout overcame injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP award Thursday night, getting 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second, and that duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes. Trout also won the award in 2014 and ’16. “This year was probably the toughest year,” Trout said. Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger made it a Southern California sweep, beating out the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the NL prize. Bellinger got 19 of 30 first-place votes, Yelich got 10, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon got one while finishing third. Yelich won the award last year. Trout had season-ending foot surgery in September while the Angels languished to a fourth-place finish. The outfielder played just 134 games but still set a career high with 45 homers. He batted .291, led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and drove in 104 runs. The 28-year-old shined even following the death of close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. Trout smashed a 454-foot homer wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 in the team’s first game back, when LA pitchers threw a combined no-hitter. After often deferring to veterans as a young star, Trout put himself into a leadership role following Skaggs’ death. “It was my time,” Trout said, adding that “it was extremely tough mentally and emotionally for us at the end of the year.” Trout is the 10th three-time MVP and joins an elite group: Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt. Bonds is the only player with more than three MVPs — he won seven. Only Musial was younger when he won his third. Trout also has a record-tying four second-place finishes. He’s been the winner or runner-up in seven of his eight full seasons. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body. MLB is cooperating with a federal investigation after Eric Kay, a 24-year employee of the Angels' PR department, told the Drug Enforcement Agency he had provided opioids to Skaggs and used them with the pitcher for years, according to ESPN. Trout played through the pain of that loss and the lingering foot issue, which hampered him for about a month before he chose to have surgery. He learned he won the award while on his yearly hunting trip in Iowa, and he said he’ll begin lower-body workouts in conjunction with the Angels’ training staff when he returns. The 24-year-old Bellinger and his loose, left-handed swing launched 47 home runs with a .305 average, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS. He was the best player on the NL’s top team in the regular season, propelling Los Angeles to 106 wins. He’s the 10th different Dodgers player to win MVP and first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. Bellinger teared up after learning he’d been chosen, saying it was the first time he had cried since the death of his first dog, Angel the golden retriever. He was especially emotional after hugging his father — former big leaguer Clay Bellinger. “He was just there for me every single day,” Cody Bellinger said. It was clear by midseason that Bellinger and Yelich were the favorites for the NL prize. Yelich had better offensive numbers, including a league-leading .329 average and a major league-best 1.100 OPS, but his season was cut short in September when he broke his right kneecap on a foul ball. “I pretty much figured that once I got hurt, that was a wrap on that but I guess you never really know until the end. But that was my mindset. As soon as I got hurt, I figured all that MVP stuff went out the window,” Yelich said. Said Bellinger: “I think he pushed me to be a better player.” Advanced metrics showed both races to be tight. Bellinger and Yelich tied for the NL lead with 7.8 wins above replacement (WAR) as measured by Fangraphs, and Trout edged Bregman 8.6 to 8.5. Bregman topped Trout 8.4 to 8.3 by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, while Bellinger bested Yelich 9.0 to 7.1, mostly due to stronger defensive ratings. Bellinger won the Gold Glove Award in right field but also played center and first base. He’s the first Dodgers position player to win MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988. “This award man, it just makes me so much hungrier to keep performing,” Bellinger said. “The feeing that you have, why would you ever not want to receive this? So I have to keep working hard at what I do and hopefully keep getting better.” ___ AP freelance writer Andrew Wagner contributed to this report. ___ Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Atlanta Braves have bolstered their bullpen by signing Will Smith on a three-year, $39 million contract. Smith will join his former setup man, Mark Melancon in Atlanta. All of a sudden, the Braves have one of the deepest bullpen’s in the MLB that will be highlighted by Smith, Melancon, Shane Greene, Darren O’Day and Luke Jackson. Smith was one of the hottest names on the trade market around the deadline this year, but the San Fransisco Giants refused to trade their closer. At the age of 29, Smith earned his first All-Star nomination this year with the Giants. Smith’s career stats 410.2 ip 49 saves 26 wins 3.53 era 1.247 whip 115 era+ 3.29 fip 494 k Smith was the best closer in baseball this past season, leading all National League pitchers in Win Probability Added (5.6), which was an entire point better than Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.5), who finished with the second-best WPA for NL pitchers. Smith’s 2019 stats 65.1 ip 34 saves 6 wins 0 losses 2.76 era 1.026 whip 152 era+ 3.23 fip 96 k 29.2 k-bb% 88.7 lob% 42.0 gb%
  • The state board that oversees Louisiana’s Superdome approved a contract Thursday for the first phase of a $450 million renovation of the 44-year-old New Orleans landmark that became a symbol of the city’s rebirth following Hurricane Katrina. The unanimous vote by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District was to approve a $53 million contract for initial work on the stadium upgrade. The renovations will be the most extensive since 2005, when the dome became a last-resort haven for thousands of Hurricane Katrina’s victims despite being heavily damaged. The upgrade is seen as a key element in getting a new long-term commitment from the Saints to keep the NFL franchise in New Orleans, and to attract future Super Bowls and other major events. The state is to cover $90 million of the project cost. The Saints are to put up $150 million and the district is to pay $210 million. Broadmoor LLC, a New Orleans area contractor, won the contract for the first-phase work that is to begin in January. The complete renovation is expected to take about four years to complete, with work planned around NFL seasons, major college football games and other major events, including the annual Essence Festival. The dome has been the home of the New Orleans Saints since opening in 1975. Included in the first phase of the upcoming renovation will be removal of some 80,000 square feet (7,430 square meters) of broad concrete ramps. That will make way for installation of new stairways and elevators. Future changes include expanded, remodeled concourses and end-zone field-level seating. The Superdome renovations are part of Gov. John Bel Edwards' efforts for a new state contract with the Saints aimed at keeping the team in New Orleans through 2015.

Georgia Sports News

  • PHOENIX (AP) - Kelly Oubre Jr. followed his worst game of the season with his best and it's a huge reason the Phoenix Suns kept rolling through their early season schedule. Oubre scored a season-high 30 points, Devin Booker added 27 and the Suns beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-112 on Thursday night. Phoenix (7-4) took a 104-90 lead into the final quarter after Oubre nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third and kept a comfortable lead throughout the fourth. The Suns are off to their best start through 11 games since 2009, when they started 9-2. Oubre's big performance came two days after a rare off-night. He scored just one point in 19 minutes in a loss to the Lakers. 'It feels good, but at the end of the day I try not to get too high or too low,' Oubre said. 'I could have been super low and not done this today. Just trying to stay level is my main thing. Being like water.' Dario Saric added 23 points after shooting 9 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. 'I just think Dario is a guy that I need to incorporate more,' Suns coach Monty Williams said. 'He makes the right plays, he can shoot the ball, he's efficient.' Atlanta (4-7) was led by Jabari Parker, who scored 24 points. Trae Young had 21 points and 13 assists two nights after a 42-point, 11-assist performance in a win over Denver. The banged-up Hawks were missing several key players due to injuries. 'Not a fun game,' Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. 'That's all I got. It's all we got. We've got no bodies. It's just one of those nights the whistle didn't go our way.' Parker wasn't thrilled with the officiating, either. The Hawks were called for 31 fouls, including several on the offensive end. 'I am from Chicago, Illinois,' Parker said. 'I played in the public league and we never called offensive fouls that much, but I mean, that was the pace of the game, that's just how it went down and hopefully we can get them back when we come home.' Booker scored 19 points in the first half as the Suns built a 67-61 halftime lead. Young had 17 points and six assists for the Hawks. MISSING PIECES Both the Hawks and the Suns were missing key pieces to their teams because of 25-game suspensions for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug program. Suns center Deandre Ayton played in just one game before being suspended for using a diuretic. Hawks forward John Collins tested positive for a growth hormone called Peptide-2. Ayton was the No. 1 pick one year ago and had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his only game this season. Collins was averaging 17 points and 8.8 rebounds before his suspension. BEMBRY, REDDISH EJECTED Hawks guard DeAndre' Bembry was ejected in the third quarter after getting called for two quick technical fouls. He got the first technical for taunting after blocking Ricky Rubio's shot. He earned the second a few seconds later for arguing. Booker also was called for a technical during the commotion. Rookie Cam Reddish was ejected with about four minutes left after getting two flagrant fouls on two separate plays on offensive fouls when he hit a Suns defender in the face with his elbow. LEN'S BIG GAME Atlanta center Alex Len had one of his best games of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Len was booed occasionally throughout the game. He was drafted by the Suns with the fifth overall pick in 2013, but struggled during five rough seasons before signing with the Hawks. TIP-INS Hawks: Kevin Huerter (left shoulder), Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) and Vince Carter (personal reasons) didn't play on Thursday. Coach Lloyd Pierce said the Hawks are relieved that Huerter doesn't need surgery for his injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Suns: Rookie guard Ty Jerome still hasn't played this season because of a right ankle sprain he suffered just before the beginning of the regular season. ... Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points on Thursday and Cam Johnson added 15. UP NEXT Hawks: Continue their road trip at the Clippers on Saturday. Suns: Host the Celtics on Monday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Atlanta Braves have bolstered their bullpen by signing Will Smith on a three-year, $39 million contract. Smith will join his former setup man, Mark Melancon in Atlanta. All of a sudden, the Braves have one of the deepest bullpen’s in the MLB that will be highlighted by Smith, Melancon, Shane Greene, Darren O’Day and Luke Jackson. Smith was one of the hottest names on the trade market around the deadline this year, but the San Fransisco Giants refused to trade their closer. At the age of 29, Smith earned his first All-Star nomination this year with the Giants. Smith’s career stats 410.2 ip 49 saves 26 wins 3.53 era 1.247 whip 115 era+ 3.29 fip 494 k Smith was the best closer in baseball this past season, leading all National League pitchers in Win Probability Added (5.6), which was an entire point better than Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.5), who finished with the second-best WPA for NL pitchers. Smith’s 2019 stats 65.1 ip 34 saves 6 wins 0 losses 2.76 era 1.026 whip 152 era+ 3.23 fip 96 k 29.2 k-bb% 88.7 lob% 42.0 gb%
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Hawks guard Kevin Huerter is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left rotator cuff strain. Huerter also was diagnosed with a shoulder capsule strain when examined Thursday in Atlanta. Huerter left the team's West Coast trip after he was hurt in Tuesday night's 125-121 victory at Denver. The Hawks say Huerter, who is averaging 9.3 points, will have rehabilitation and treatment before being examined again in two weeks. Huerter suffered the injury when fouled by Denver's Nikola Jokic while going up for a shot. The second-year player immediately grabbed his shoulder and headed to the locker room. The Hawks were at Phoenix on Thursday night. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Matt Ryan is coming to town, which tends to mean trouble for the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons quarterback has dominated the rival Panthers of late, going 6-1 in his past seven starts while averaging 318 yards passing with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Ryan is 14-8 against Carolina. So, while much of the attention this week has been on Carolina's porous run defense - they've allowed opponents to run for a combined 516 yards and 10 touchdowns in the past three games - defensive coordinator Eric Washington knows the Panthers can't forget about old No. 2 and his favorite target Julio Jones. 'We know what he's capable of and they have explosive talent at the wide receiver position,' Washington said of Ryan. 'So we need to make sure we do a good job of getting him in third down situations they don't want to be in. And we have to be really efficient with our pass rush. The ball tends to come out fast on third-and-medium.' That won't be easy. Carolina's top cornerback James Bradberry is coming back from a groin injury this week, but the team's second- and third-best cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell missed the first two days of practice this week with injuries and may not play. That means the Panthers (5-4) could have to lean on young players such as Javien Elliott, Cole Luke and Corn Elder, who was re-signed earlier this week because of injury concerns. The Falcons (2-7) may not be contending for a playoff spot, but showed last Sunday they still have plenty of life - and firepower - by throttling the Saints 26-9 NEW LOOK AT RUNNING BACK If Devonta Freeman is held out with a sprained foot, as expected, the Falcons will have a new look at running back. The position was considered to be the team's deepest spot before Ito Smith was placed on injured reserve last week following a concussion and a neck injury. Brian Hill played well behind Freeman last week and is expected to start. Former Panthers backup Kenjon Barner would be the top backup and Qadree Ollison, who was active for the first time against the Saints, could play a bigger role. Notably, Barner was used in the wildcat formation, filling the role formerly held by Mohamed Sanu before the receiver was traded to New England. There could be more direct snaps for Barner against the Panthers. NEW KICKER IS A KEEPER The Falcons may have found their kicker, at least for the remainder of the season, in Younghoe Koo. Koo made four field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder, in last week's win at New Orleans in his Falcons debut. Koo was signed after veteran Matt Bryant's second stint with the team didn't go well and Giorgio Tavecchio couldn't hold the job. Koo was the NFC special teams player of the week following his successful debut. He made three of six field-goal attempts with the Chargers in 2017 and kicked for the Atlanta Legends of the short-lived Alliance of American Football earlier this year. Koo, from South Korea, played for Georgia Southern. TACKLE CHANGE The Panthers drafted Greg Little in the second round earlier this year to be their left tackle, but two concussions have limited him to two games and one start this season. However, Little has now been cleared from the concussion protocol and is expected to start Sunday at left tackle with Dennis Daley sitting bothered by a groin injury. The Panthers have won both games that Little has played this season. SACKS SURPRISE Before last week's game, Atlanta ranked last in the league with only seven sacks. Suddenly the Falcons rediscovered their pass rush with six sacks against the Saints, including 2 by defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Vic Beasley Jr., who has been unable to duplicate his 2016 production, when he led the NFL with 15 sacks, added 1 sacks. 'To me, it was just a good example to show what we're capable of,' Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. 'If we apply those things time after time, those are the results that we hope to get.' MORE OF MOORE The Panthers are getting more production of late out of second-year wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career. Moore had seven catches for 101 yards against the Titans two weeks ago and followed that up with a nine-catch, 120-yard performance last week against the Packers. Moore is leading the Panthers in receptions (54) and yards receiving (684). The next goal for him is getting into the end zone - he only has one TD catch. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,073 (Nov. 14, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how Georgia coach Kirby Smart matches wits with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart is respected as a top defensive mind, but he hasn't always gotten the better of his head-to-head matchups with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. I'll discuss on today's show why the backstory between Smart and Malzahn is another compelling plot line in UGA's game with Auburn. 10-minute mark: I discuss the latest on 4-star tight end Theo Johnson. 15-minute mark: Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart joins the show. Some of the topics covered include The rich history of UGA's rivalry with Auburn A look at how tough a matchup Auburn is for the Bulldogs What to make of the College Football Playoff selection committee ranking UGA fourth Tuesday night Whether UGA can win a national championship as a defensive-led team 25-minute mark: I discuss wide receiver Lawrence Cager's status for Saturday. 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including Auburn reportedly installing new LED lights at season's end, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp's comparison between UGA and Alabama and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoop's comments about possibly returning to college coaching. 35-minute mark: I share Smart's response to a question about UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman possibly being a candidate to become Arkansas head coach, and I preview the weekend's top games. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn appeared first on DawgNation.