Thursday Sports In Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) Don Mattingly won’t return as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers next year after agreeing with his bosses that he and the team needed a fresh start.
Before they came to that decision, the parties discussed extending Mattingly’s contract beyond next year, its final season.
”When we started on Friday we expected him to be our manager in 2016,” Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said at a Dodger Stadium news conference. ”I think that was his thought process also.”
But things clearly changed as the discussions wore on. Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi repeatedly declined to specify why the sides parted ways, all the while expressing their respect and admiration for Mattingly.
”If there is a reason that this happened we would share it,” Friedman said. ”It’s not so black-and-white here. There’s a huge middle, and it’s gray there. We’re not hiding anything. It really is how things played out.”
TOKYO (AP) – A gambling scandal has hit Japanese professional baseball at the worst possible time.
Just days before Japan’s version of the World Series begins and as baseball is vying to get back in the Olympics, the sport has been hit by an ugly incident involving the most popular team.
Nippon Professional Baseball announced that two more pitchers from the Yomiuri Giants had bet on professional baseball games.
The announcement follows revelations two weeks ago that Giants pitcher Satoshi Fukuda had bet on games involving his team as well as Major League Baseball. Fukuda did not appear for the top team this season, so there is no suspicion that he fixed games, but gambling is a violation of NPB’s charter.
Yomiuri president Hiroshi Kubo said pitchers Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto admitted to gambling on baseball, but have not been involved in any game-fixing.
DENVER (AP) – When Gus Kenworthy would let his mind wander into how his perfect Olympics might play out, he pictured a certain scene.
He’d land his best tricks on his final run, win a medal and then – the capper – jump into the stands, ski boots and all, to share a big hug and kiss with the man who meant so much to him.
”That would’ve been an amazing way to come out,” said Kenworthy, the freestyle skier who won the silver medal in Sochi.
But the timing, to say nothing of the country, wasn’t quite right to tell the world he was gay. And so Kenworthy left Russia in February 2014 known best as the compassionate daredevil who adopted several stray dogs he came across in the mountains – and as the man who was part of an historic U.S. sweep of the first Olympic ski slopestyle contest.
Because he wasn’t ready, the journey to Sochi was far less perfect than it could’ve been for the 24-year-old from Telluride, Colorado, who on Thursday, in interviews with The Associated Press and ESPN The Magazine, revealed to the public that he is gay.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) – LeBron James has not practiced since getting an injection in his back, but the Cavaliers remain confident he’ll be ready to start the NBA season.
James did ”light work” on the court Thursday, with the Cavs gearing up for Tuesday’s opener in Chicago. The four-time MVP has been limited since his anti-inflammatory shot, similar to the one early last season when he was slowed by knee and back issues.
”We’re being very conscientious and cautious with him in terms of his feeling,” coach David Blatt said. ”He’s fine and he’s going to be fine. We’re just going slowly and carefully with him. He’ll be out there very soon.”
So will forward Tristan Thompson, who signed his five-year, $82 million contract and is expected Friday to practice with his teammates for the first time since last season. The valuable rebounder held out for a long-term deal. His agent, Rich Paul, and the Cavs reached an agreement Wednesday, ending a months-long standoff.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Louisville coach Rick Pitino vows to Cardinals fans that he ”will not resign and let you down” as investigations continue into an escort’s book allegations that one of his former staffers hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.
In a season preview Thursday on his website, the Hall of Fame coach apologized to fans for having to ”endure the pain” of allegations by Katina Powell that Andre McGee paid strippers to perform 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players’ dormitory.
The 63-year-old Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities described in Powell’s book and said Thursday, ”someday I will walk away in celebration of many memorable years but that time is not now. I do not fight these accusations by others but rather turn the other cheek.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Lamar Odom is believed to have overdosed on cocaine and other drugs before he was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel, according to search warrant records.
The court document includes testimony to a Nevada state judge from Michael Eisenloffel, a Nye County sheriff’s detective, on Oct. 13 after the former NBA star was found at the Love Ranch in Crystal.
”I believe that Mr. Odom may be – or may have been – under the influence of a controlled substance,” Eisenloffel told Fifth Judicial District Judge Robert Lane.
The document was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Odom was hospitalized in Las Vegas and transferred to Los Angeles, where his family said Thursday he was undergoing therapy and is showing improvement.