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News, sign-stealing reaction from MLB camps

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Stay up to date with news from around Major League Baseball’s spring training camps as players react to the tumultuous offseason’s sign-stealing scandal, get back on the field and jostle for positions on opening day rosters.

Gary Sanchez responds to Astros cheating with nudity pledge

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez found the most creative way yet to respond to the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Sanchez spoke to the media on Wednesday and threw some shade at Jose Altuve and the now-infamous video of him clutching his jersey as he ran to home base after a walk-off home run in 2017’s American League Championship Series.

“If I hit a homer and get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants,” Sanchez told The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler. “They can rip everything off.”

There was speculation that Altuve didn’t want his jersey ripped off because that would reveal a device that gave him an electric shock to alert him to what pitch was coming. Though that was never proven by MLB, it doesn’t seem like Sanchez is convinced. He knows what he would want in that situation, and that is for his teammates to rip every single shred of clothing from his body in celebration.

Jim Crane to discuss sign-stealing scandal with players

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane wants to talk strategy with his team before the season starts. Crane will meet with Astros players Wednesday to discuss how the team should approach questions about the sign-stealing scandal in 2020, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The timing of Crane’s meeting is important, as the Astros will open the clubhouse up to the media Thursday. Players will have to answer questions about the scandal for the first time since the team’s FanFest. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were among the players to speak at FanFest, but they avoided giving in-depth answers to questions about the scandal.

A few days after FanFest, Crane said Astros players will apologize for the sign-stealing scandal during spring training. Crane appears to be following up on that promise with Wednesday’s meeting. Whether the Astros’ players are receptive to that message will be seen Thursday.

Cole Hamels sidelined due to shoulder discomfort

The regular season hasn’t even started and the Atlanta Braves are already dealing with a troublesome injury. Cole Hamels is experiencing left shoulder discomfort and will be shut down for a few weeks, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

The 36-year-old Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves in the offseason. He put up a 3.81 ERA over 141 2/3 innings with the Chicago Cubs in 2019.

The Braves will re-evaluate Hamels’ injury in three weeks. Even if Hamels is ready to go at that point, he won’t have enough time to make the team’s opening day roster, according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Given the severity of shoulder issues, the Braves may want to take a cautious approach with Hamels.

Pirates replace Starling Marte with Jarrod Dyson

The Pittsburgh Pirates may have found their replacement for Starling Marte. The team agreed to a deal with Jarrod Dyson on Wednesday, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com.

Dyson, 35, shouldn’t be expected to replace Marte’s production. Over 10 seasons in the majors, Dyson has a .247/.319/.338 slash line. He’s more known for his speed and defense.

While Dyson has mostly been used as a part-time guy over his career, he could be pushed into a starting role in Pittsburgh.

Feb. 11: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch until at least mid-May

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani won’t be a two-way star to begin the season. Ohtani, 25, will be limited to designated hitter duties throughout April as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery and a knee procedure, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.

The Angels don’t envision Ohtani getting back on the mound until mid-May. It’s unclear if that’s when the team expects Ohtani to pitch in the majors again, or if that’s when he’ll begin building up his stamina.

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018. He spent all of last season as the team’s primary DH, hitting .286/.343/.505 over 425 plate appearances. Ohtani’s season ended a few weeks early, as he needed knee surgery to repair a bipartite patella.

When Ohtani joined the Angels prior to the 2018 season, he was considered to have higher upside as a pitcher. In 10 starts, Ohtani posted a 3.31 ERA and struck out 63 batters over 51 2/3 innings.

Dellin Betances says he’ll be ready by opening day

New York Mets reliever Dellin Betances offered up some promising news Tuesday. The 31-year-old righty said he expects to be ready to go opening day after battling various injuries in 2019, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Betances was limited to one game last season due to shoulder and lat injuries. After striking out the only two hitters he faced, Betances partially tore his Achilles tendon while celebrating his return. He became a free agent a few weeks later and signed with the Mets in December.

A healthy Betances would provide a significant boost to the team’s bullpen. Over 381 2/3 career innings, Betances has a 2.36 ERA. He’s expected to open the season as a setup man, but could become the Mets’ closer if Edwin Diaz struggles again.

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Mamukelashvili shot at buzzer lifts Seton Hall over Butler | News, Sports, Jobs

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By Tom Canavan
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With the game tied and less than a second to play, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard had a feeling Butler would be looking for Pirates’ leading scorer Myles Powell to get the ball.
So he called a play Sandro Mamukelashvili, one he had seen a couple of months ago watching the Sacramento Kings on television in the wee hours of the morning.
Mamukelashvili hit an off-balance shot in the lane at the buzzer to give No. 16 Seton Hall a stunning 74-72 victory over No. 21 Butler on Wednesday night.
The game-winning shot came on an inbounds play after the officials reviewed a missed shot by Quincy McKnight and added two tenths of a second, putting 0.6 on the clock.
“The play was to throw it up and have Sandro go get it and hope for a miracle,” Willard said.
Mamukelashvili, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, said he had time to briefly catch the inbounds pass by McKnight and put up it, where it hit the rim and rolled in.
“I don’t know if it was difficult or not. I just shot it,” said the junior from the Republic of Georgia. “At that moment I just wanted to score the basket. Probably it is a difficult shot, but Quincy just threw it so good it made it look easy.”
After being mobbed by his teammates, Mamukelashvili went to the corner and hugged his father, Zurab, who had made the trip overseas to see his son for the first time since May.
“It’s a cancer day and my father is a cancer survivor so it was just great, great,” the power forward said after Seton Hall (19-7, 11-3) ended a two-game losing streak.
Butler (19-7, 7-7) had made three 3-pointers in the final 64 seconds to wipe out a five-point deficit. Sean McDermott hit the last two, tying the game at 72 with 8.8 seconds left.
“Each and every night it’s going to come down to one or two possessions,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said of Big East games. “You know that. It’s my third year and it hasn’t changed.”
Jordan said he brought in 6-foot-10 John-Michael Mulloy to add more size to his lineup, thinking the play would go to 7-foot-2 Romaro Gill. It went to the kid known as ‘Mamu’.
“He just made a great shot,” Jordan said.
McKnight led the Pirates with 18 points. Powell had 16 and Gill 15 points.
Kamar Baldwin had 20 to lead the Bulldogs, while big man Bryce Golden added 17 points before fouling out with 2:19 to play.
McKnight hit a 3-pointer to break a 63-all tie with 1:49 to play and Gill slammed home a dunk with 1:04 to go to make it 68-63.
Jordan Tucker started the run of Butler threes and McDermott answers four free throws by McKnight with his threes to set up the final play.
Butler hit nine of its first 15 shots and opened a 22-12 lead on a 3-pointer by Golden midway through the first half.
Seton Hall, which was limited to 33% shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes managed to get within 34-28 at the half on two free throws by Gill, who led the Pirates nine points.
BIG PICTURE
Butler: Since opening 15-1, the Bulldogs are 4-7 and may fall out of the Top 25. They are an NCAA Tournament team and Baldwin is fun to watch. Still one win from their 20th 20-win season in 24 years.
“I was proud of our guys for their response,” Jordan said of the late comeback. “Never thinking it was over, believing the whole time and stepping up and making big plays.”
Seton Hall: Got back on track after losses to No. 15 Creighton and Providence. They are 4-3 against ranked teams and remain in first place in the Big East.
TIP-INS
This is only the second time in 17 games Butler has lost when leading at halftime. … It’s the ninth time Seton Hall has won after trailing at halftime. … Baldwin has led Butler in scoring in 11 of the last 14 games. … The Pirates shot 57% from the field in the second half, 16 of 28.
UP NEXT
Butler: at No. 15 Creighton on Sunday.
Seton Hall: Faces St. John’s at home Sunday afternoon.


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Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame inducts legacy athletes

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OTTAWA —
The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame held an induction ceremony Wednesday, paying tribute to some star legacy athletes.

Dave Best, the chair of the Hall, said it plays a special role in Ottawa.

“We have over two hundred and eighty members in it now,” he said. “We honour people who are sport leaders they help celebrate our sporting heritage as a sport leader as an athlete,  a coach as a team builder or a media rep people who have really brought prominence and publicity and cheering to the city.”

Wednesday’s inductees include Jean Beardsley for curling, Eddie Carroll for boxing nad Wilfrid Mathieu for speed skating.

Three teams, including the 1892 Ottawa tug-of-war Canadian champions, were inducted. The Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup winners from 1915 to 1927 and the Ottawa Silver Seven, an original hockey dynasty, were also inducted.

This is the first group of legacy athletes to be honoured and the hall will continue to recognize more in the future.

The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame is located at 195 Elgin St. and is open to the public free of charge.

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2 Baraga teens found dead in vehicle, a third hospitalized | News, Sports, Jobs

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L’ANSE — Two Baraga County teens were found dead in a car Monday afternoon, while a third is now in a Green Bay hospital.

Baraga County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call of a possible drunk driver at the end of Silver Road in L’Anse Township at approximately 4:15 p.m. Monday, a sheriff’s department press release states.

Two boys, identified as Christopher Turpeinen, age 17, of Pelkie and Dylan Roberts, age 17, of L’Anse were found deceased inside the vehicle, which was running, the release states. A third victim, 17-year-old Hunter Pelon of Baraga, was unconscious. She was taken out of the vehicle and lifesaving measures were initiated, according to the release.

Pelon was transported to Baraga County Memorial Hospital by Bay Ambulance and was later transferred to a hospital in Green Bay. Law enforcement officials said Pelon was in stable condition on Tuesday.

The two male victims were pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner, officials said.

While the cause of death is unknown at this time, the release states, asphyxiation is suspected. Autopsies have been scheduled and the case remains under investigation.

Bay Ambulance and the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Police assisted at the scene.

L’Anse Area Public Schools confirmed in a Facebook post that the three victims were students there.

The post states that community social workers and counselors would provide services at the school to support students and staff. Additional counseling services will continue to be available if needed, the post stated.



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