Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Wednesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:
– LAS VEGAS – Conor McGregor claims no fighter can train for his unique combination of brute punching power and athletic elusiveness. While the Irish UFC champion’s strengths and smarts have propelled him to the pinnacle of mixed martial arts, those skills might not translate well into the boxing spectacle of the summer.
– CINCINNATI – The Cubs expect to rest NL MVP Kris Bryant for a day after he got hit on the hand by a pitch, and the defending World Series champs try to extend their second-half surge against the Cincinnati Reds. Left-hander Mike Montgomery returns to the Cubs’ rotation, filling in for the injured Jon Lester. Righty Asher Wojciechowski makes his eighth start for the Reds. Game starts 7:10 p.m.
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– HOUSTON – Washington’s Edwin Jackson opposes Houston’s Mike Fiers as the Nationals look to extend their winning streak against the Astros to 10 games in a matchup between runaway division leaders. Game starts 8 p.m.
– CLEVELAND – Indians ace Corey Kluber, who is 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA at home this season, faces Boston in a matchup of division leaders. Drew Pomeranz was pitches for the Red Sox – the left-hander was forced to leave his last start in the fourth inning with back spasms. Game starts 7:10 p.m.
– NEW YORK – Protesters plan to converge on the NFL headquarters to demonstrate in support of Colin Kaepernick, who became a polarizing figure for kneeling during the national anthem and is currently teamless. Protest starts 5 p.m.
– BEREA, Ohio – Big-armed rookie DeShone Kizer is Cleveland’s new starting quarterback. Coach Hue Jackson picked the second-round pick from Notre Dame over veterans Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler to start this week’s exhibition at Tampa Bay, and unless he flops, Kizer will start the season opener against Pittsburgh.
– Lane Kiffin is perfectly comfortable in his own skin, and the new FAU coach insists he doesn’t care what others think. College football’s lightning rod is no longer in the pressure cookers that are the SEC, the Pac-12 and the NFL. He has taken over a team that has lost 27 of 36 games over the past three seasons, one that was picked near the very bottom of Conference USA this season.
– AUSTIN, Texas – For more than a year, federal lawsuits against Baylor University have piled in and piled on, accusing the nation’s largest Baptist school of mishandling, ignoring or stifling claims of sexual and physical abuse of students for years. After months of bad publicity, the firing of a popular football coach and demotion and departure of a school president, Baylor is starting to make those cases go away with settlements just as evidence gathering is heating up.
– England record-scorer Wayne Rooney retires from international soccer after spurning an offer to return to the squad.
– AUGUSTA, Ga. – Billy Payne is retiring as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, ending 11 years of substantial change that included the club having its first female members and playing a leading role in growing the game around the world.
– SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – As the Little League World Series progresses, it turns out the pitching is pretty sharp. It’s not just Greenville, North Carolina, the team with two no-hitters, either. Starters fire fastballs at velocities north of 70 mph from just 46 feet away. Then, what makes things really interesting, are the curveballs that tail away and send hitters back to the dugout.