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Off the wire

by The Associated Press | July 30, 2021 at 2:09 a.m.


Indians' manager steps down

Indians Manager Terry Francona is stepping down for the remainder of this season to address some lingering health issues. The 62-year-old Francona has been wearing a boot on his right foot all season after undergoing toe surgery for a staph infection in February. The toe issue has exasperated hip problem, which will require surgery. Francona will have his left hip replaced Monday at the Cleveland Clinic, and once he recovers from that procedure, he'll have a rod inserted into his foot. One of baseball's best and most popular managers, Francona is in his ninth season with Cleveland. He's had a winning record each year and he's just five wins from tying Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau (728) for the most wins in team history. Francona led the Indians to the World Series in 2016, when the club lost in seven games to the Chicago Cubs.

M's pitcher suspended

Turns out Hector Santiago was using more than sticky stuff. The Seattle Mariners pitcher was suspended for 80 games Thursday by Major League Baseball following a positive test for external testosterone, exactly one month after he was banned for 10 games when he became the first player penalized under the sport's crackdown on grip-enhancing substances. While the sticky substance penalty was with pay, the suspension under MLB's drug program will cost him about half his $700,000 major league salary. A 33-year-old left-hander, Santiago is 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season. He is a 10-year big league veteran, going 48-51 with a 4.12 ERA and six saves for the Chicago White Sox (2011-13, 2018-19), Los Angeles Angeles (2014-16), Minnesota Twins (2016-17), New York Mets (2019) and the Mariners.


Cavs acquire Ricky Rubio

The Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to acquire veteran guard Ricky Rubio in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday night before the NBA Draft. Cleveland is sending small forward Taurean Prince, cash and a second-round pick in 2022 to the Timberwolves for the 30-year-old Rubio, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NBA has to approve the trade. The deal is happening as Rubio is in Tokyo playing on Spain's Olympic team.

Pelicans center arrested

New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes was arrested in Los Angeles after a struggle with officers who responded to a report of a domestic dispute and used a Taser before handcuffing him, authorities said Thursday. The 21-year-old player was booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, and a woman declined to cooperate with the investigation into the domestic dispute call early Wednesday, a Los Angeles Police Department statement said. Hayes (6-11, 220) was treated for unspecified injuries from the struggle before going to jail, police said. He was released on bond that day, online jail records show. Police said officers found Hayes in the front yard of a home at about 2:50 a.m. The officers said they needed to speak with the victim and asked Hayes to remain outside while they did. The department said police body-worn cameras recorded Hayes repeatedly trying to get into the residence as officers blocked him and ordered him to stay outside. The officers requested backup and tried to place Hayes' hands behind his back but he broke free and pushed an officer into a wall, police said. The officers forced Hayes to the ground but he tried to get up, and they twice used a Taser, bodyweight and other measures before handcuffing him, the statement said.


U.S. reaches Gold Cup final

Gyasi Zardes scored in the 86th minute and the United States beat Qatar 1-0 on Thursday night in Austin, Texas, to reach the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Zardes, one of the few first-line U.S. players on a mostly junior varsity roster at the tournament, replaced Daryl Dike in the 63rd minute and combined with two other second-half subs, Nicholas Gioacchini and Eryk Williamson. Gioacchini picked up a Qatari clearance attempt and fed Williamson, who returned the ball. Gioacchini passed to Zardes, and he scored his 14th goal and second of the tournament. The 20th-ranked U.S. matched its record with 13 consecutive home wins and advanced to Sunday night's final in Las Vegas against Mexico. CONCACAF filled out the field for the Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, with 2022 World Cup host Qatar as an invited guest. Goalkeeper Matt Turner made three big first-half saves for the U.S.


Sorenstam leads Open

Annika Sorenstam shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday in her U.S. Senior Women's Open debut for a share of the lead in the rain-suspended first round. The 50-year-old Sorenstam, a three-time U.S. Women's Open champion in her Hall of Fame career, had six birdies and a bogey at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn. Dana Ebster offset a double bogey on the par-5 seventh with an eagle on the par-5 11th -- holing a 115-yard shot with a 9-iron -- to join Sorenstam atop the leaderboard. The 51-year-old Ebster is a part-time golf instructor and assistant coach at Modesto Junior College in California.

Smith turns in a 62

Jordan Smith made seven birdies on his back nine to shoot an 8-under 62 and take a two-shot lead after the first round of the World Invitational in Galgorm, Northern Ireland. Smith birdied his opening hole and followed it with eight pars before his run of birdies. Germany's Matthias Schmid and Scotland's David Drysdale were tied for second. The World Invitational, which is sanctioned by the European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, sees men's and women's tournaments taking place simultaneously. Players will complete 18 holes at Galgorm Castle and 18 at Massereene Golf Club before a halfway cut is made in each tournament, with a further cut after 54 holes to the top 30 players and ties. In the women's event, Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh carded a 7-under 66 to share the lead with American Jennifer Kupcho and South Korea's Chella Choi. Former University of Arkansas golfer Alana Uriell shot a 2-under 70 on Thursday.


Saad signs 5-year deal

The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a five-year contract and the Tampa Bay Lightning agreed to terms with Corey Perry for two years Thursday as the two recent Stanley Cup champions brought in more winning experience on the second day of free agency. The 28-year-old Saad spent last season with Colorado, putting up 24 points during the regular season and scoring seven goals in 10 playoff games. The winger counts $4.5 million against the salary cap on his new $22.5 million deal signed Thursday. Saad won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and is heading to his fifth NHL organization. Perry signed a $2 million, two-year deal with Tampa Bay.

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