Friday's Sports in Brief
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred expects to have a decision within a few days on two of the first three cases covered by the sport's new domestic violence policy.
Major League Baseball has been investigating New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Any discipline under the policy must be for ''just cause.''
Manfred says ''The standards of proof in a labor arbitration and a criminal case are very different.''
He did not specify which cases he hopes to decide soon.
MIAMI (AP) – A Florida-based sports agent who has worked for a company in a joint venture with entertainer Marc Antony's firm was arrested on federal charges involving illegal smuggling of Cuban baseball players from the communist island to the U.S.
Homeland Security Investigations spokesman Nestor Iglesias in Miami confirmed Bart Hernandez was arrested in a joint operation with the FBI. A grand jury indictment charges Hernandez with two conspiracy counts that revolve around current Seattle Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin, who previously played for the Texas Rangers.
In addition to the criminal charges, federal prosecutors seek forfeiture from Hernandez of $1.5 million plus any interest he has in the contracts of Martin and other ballplayers, as well as an arbitration proceeding involving Martin, according to the indictment. Prosecutors also want to seize a 2001 Honda motorcycle.
Hernandez has worked for Praver Shapiro Sports Management, which in November announced a joint venture with Antony's Magnus Media.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Rams released veterans James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, and also cut tight end Jared Cook.
In what appears a salary-cap purge as the team relocates from St. Louis, the Rams parted with star linebacker Laurinaitis and defensive end Long. Laurinaitis has been one of the NFL's leading tacklers throughout his seven-year pro career. Long, the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, has been their top pass rusher for most of his eight seasons.
Cook joined the Rams as a free agent before the 2013 season and set franchise records for most receiving yards by a tight end both in a single season (671 in 2013) and in a single game (141 on Sept. 8, 2013 vs. Arizona).
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller retired after an 11-year career with the franchise that included a pair of Super Bowl titles.
The 33-year-old Miller had one year left on his current contract. The 30th overall pick in the 2005 draft caught 60 passes for 535 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. His 592 career receptions, 6,569 yards receiving and 45 touchdowns are all franchise marks for a tight end.
Miller missed just eight regular-season games during his career, with the fans at Heinz Field often chanting ''Heeeath'' every time he caught the ball. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has often called Miller the best teammate he's ever had.
Miller's retirement leaves just three players from the 2005 team that won the Super Bowl: Roethlisberger, linebacker James Harrison and long snapper Greg Warren.
IRVING, Texas (AP) – Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory has been suspended for the first four games in 2016 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
The league announced the suspension, saying Gregory will be eligible for offseason workouts and preseason practices and games.
Gregory slid to the second round in the 2015 draft because of questions about his behavior. He tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine.
The former Nebraska star didn't get a sack in 12 games as a rookie, missing four contests with a sprained right ankle. Gregory was projected as a top 10 talent going into last year's draft, but the Cowboys ended up getting him with the 60th pick late in the second round.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – NASCAR has beefed up its punishment system and will define specific behavioral offenses with predetermined penalties.
The new system will serve as a personal conduct code for members in all three national NASCAR series. Unveiled two days before the season-opening Daytona 500, the guidelines deal with on- and off-track infractions.
Among the sanctions, NASCAR will punish a competitor who takes premeditated action against a driver in the Chase.
Matt Kenseth complained last season about a two-race suspension for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano during the Chase. He said there was no precedent for NASCAR to suspend him for his action.
The wide-ranging rulebook can serve punishments for infractions ranging from domestic abuse to critical comments directed toward the series.
NASCAR will not issue punishments via a class system like it does for technical infractions.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A judge dismissed a lawsuit in which two former University of North Carolina athletes alleged the school failed to provide them and other athletes a quality education by directing them toward sham classes.
Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin sided with arguments from attorneys representing UNC-Chapel Hill. They said both the statute of limitations and sovereign immunity prevented former football player James Arnold and former basketball player Leah Metcalf from pursuing their case.
UNC-Chapel Hill became embroiled in an academic scandal beginning with an NCAA investigation in 2010. That probe led to the firing of coach Butch Davis, a one-year postseason ban and 15 fewer football scholarships.
Eventually, the school hired former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein to look into irregularities in the formerly named African and Afro-American (AFAM) Studies department. The study found more than 3,100 athletes and everyday students took no-show classes in the department for nearly two decades, resulting in artificially high grades while faculty and university administrators either missed red flags or looked the other way.