Associated Press Sportswatch

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press


Players weigh in

UNDATED (AP) -- The postgame comments rolled in last night after the revelation that Milwaukee's Ryan Braun had been suspended yesterday afternoon by baseball for the rest of the season for "violations" of baseball's drug program. Perhaps the quote from Seattle pitcher Joe Saunders summed it all up when he said, "I think everybody's frustrated, especially the players. I think we all feel a little bit cheated."

The suspension is costing Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, about $3 million and the final 65 games of the season. In a statement he admitted to making some mistakes in the past and said he is willing to accept the consequences.

Baseball attempted to suspend him for an elevated testosterone level following that MVP season, but he got off on a technicality.

Now fans are left asking the question, who will be suspended next? Speculation has been as many as 20 players may be hit with a suspension following baseball's investigation of a Florida clinic accused to distributing performance-enhancing drugs.


Rays and Dodgers look to win again

UNDATED (AP) -- The Dodgers and Rays just keep on winning and the result has put both clubs smack dab in the thick of their divisional races.

For the Rays, they've won 18 of 20 and are just a half-game back of Boston for first place in the American League East. Last night, Matt Moore led the way with a two-hitter as the Rays beat the Red Sox in Boston 3-0 for their sixth straight win. Tonight they can pass the Sox and take over the top spot with a win.

The Dodgers accomplished their mission last night by moving past Arizona for first place in the National League West. Playing in Toronto, the Dodgers beat the Blue Jays 14-5 while Arizona lost to the Cubs 4-2. The end result is the boys from L.A. are in first now by a half game. The Dodgers look for another win tonight, their 22nd in 27 games, as they face the Jays again.

There's a doubleheader being played in San Francisco tonight as the Reds face the Giants. This will be a traditional, two games for the price of one double dip as they make up a rainout from July 4 in Cincinnati. That means despite the fact the games are in San Francisco, the Reds will be the "home team" in the nitecap.


Report: Big deal in the offing for Pedroia

BOSTON (AP) -- All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia (peh-DROY'-uh) is reportedly close to agreeing to a mega-money deal with the Red Sox. A person with knowledge of the talks says Pedroia is in the process of agreeing to a deal with Boston adding $100 million over seven seasons through 2021.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet complete.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound sparkplug was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and AL MVP in 2008.


Cabrera to be evaluated

CHICAGO (AP) -- All-Star Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers left last night's game against the White Sox in Chicago with a sore hip flexor. He is slated to undergo tests today. The reigning American League Triple Crown winner is listed currently as day to day.


Jags' running back gets green light

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Practice begins Friday for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the club got some good news today as running back Maurice Jones-Drew was cleared by team doctors to practice. He underwent surgery last December to correct a problem that caused him to miss the last 10 games of last season.

He missed all of the team's offseason workouts and OTAs in the spring, but had vowed he would be ready for the start of training camp. Jags coach Gus Bradley says the club will be smart in how it uses the NFL's 2011 rushing leader.


Cundiff signs with Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Jets have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran kicker Billy Cundiff. He will compete with Nick Folk for the job in training camp. Cundiff was last with the San Francisco 49ers, who signed him during the playoffs last January to compete with a struggling David Akers but didn't play.

A Pro Bowl pick in 2010, Cundiff is now with his 12th organization since being signed as an undrafted free agent by Dallas in 2002.


Devils and Sabres ink players

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Veteran forward Jaromir Jagr (YAH'-oh-meer YAH'-gur) has landed with another team. He has been signed by the New Jersey Devils to help fill the void left when Ilya Kovalchuk (EEL'-yah KOH'-vul-chook) retired recently.

The 41-year-old Jagr split last season with Dallas and Boston, scoring a combined 16 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. He is the NHL's active leading scorer.


Sabres ink Hackett

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Goaltender Matt Hackett has signed a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres.He joined the Sabres last season in a trade with Minnesota and played in three games for Buffalo's American Hockey League club. He was drafted by the Wild in the third round of the 2009 draft.


Big Ten secures another bowl deal

DALLAS (AP) -- The Big Ten Conference will have a team in either the Heart of Dallas Bowl or the Armed Forces Bowl each year through the 2019 season. As part of an extension with the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Big Ten will also send teams to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, rotating between the two games over a seven-year period.

This season, the Big Ten will play a team from Conference USA in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. That game is on New Year's Day at the historic Cotton Bowl stadium.



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- As part of a 10-year deal, NASCAR will return to NBC in 2015. The move ends NASCAR's eight-year partnership with both ESPN and Turner Sports. NBC will telecast the final 20 Sprint Cup races each season and the final 19 Nationwide Series races.

NBC will share the 38-race NASCAR schedule with Fox, which extended its contract with NASCAR last year.


Bowl revenues disbursed

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State's nearly $2.3 million share of bowl revenue has been divided among the Big Ten's 12 member schools, including Penn State, to distribute for child-focused causes. The Nittany Lions finished 2012 bowl-eligible at 8-4, but were banned from the postseason as part of NCAA sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The $2.3 million represents Penn State's share of conference bowl revenue had the school been allowed to play in the postseason.


Griffith dies at 75

UNDATED (AP) -- Former welterweight champion Emile Griffith has passed away at the age of 75. The International Boxing Hall of Fame says he died at an extended care facility in Hempstead, N.Y., where he was being treated for dementia.

Griffith's Hall of Fame career was overshadowed by the death of opponent Bennie Paret from injuries in the ring in 1962. The fight took place on national TV and Griffith knocked out his bitter rival in the 12th round to regain the welterweight title. Paret went into a coma and died from his injuries 10 days later.

AP-WF-07-23-13 2050GMT

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