Thursday’s Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets’ season of high expectations took another serious hit when All-Star closer Jeurys Familia was diagnosed with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder that might require surgery.
The arterial clot will be examined Friday in St. Louis by Dr. Robert Thompson, who treated starter Matt Harvey last year for thoracic outlet syndrome, the Mets said in a statement.
New York entered the year with hopes of returning to the World Series behind their dominant starting staff and a lineup led by slugger Yoenis Cespedes. But the Cuban outfielder tops a crowded disabled list that includes pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo; first baseman Lucas Duda; catcher Travis d’Arnaud; and captain David Wright.
Familia’s surprise diagnosis came on an off day before New York opens a series in Milwaukee. General manager Sandy Alderson is expected to provide more details on the 27-year-old right-hander before Friday’s game. Treatment could include blood thinners and surgery.
In 2012, Mets pitcher Dillon Gee had surgery to remove a blood clot from his arm and missed the rest of the season.
Russian hockey officials announced that Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin played through injury before Washington was eliminated from the NHL playoffs in the second round by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ovechkin finished the playoffs dealing with a lower-body injury that required pain-numbing injections, the Russian Hockey Federation said in noting that Ovechkin would not be able to play for Russia at the world championships in Europe because of it. A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the injury and treatment to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced it.
Ovechkin never let on that he was playing hurt. He had five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games as the Capitals flamed out again, eliminated in seven games by the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins . Coach Barry Trotz is expected to address all team injuries at his post-season news conference Friday.
It was not immediately clear when Ovechkin was injured or how severely. He did not miss a game but briefly left late in the first period Game 5 of the first round after clutching his knee following a hit from Toronto’s Nazem Kadri, returning for the start of the second.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo Sabres hired Pittsburgh Penguins associate general manager Jason Botterill to oversee a franchise that owner Terry Pegula criticized for lacking structure and discipline.
Botterill takes over three weeks after Tim Murray was fired, and one day after Pittsburgh advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by defeating the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series.
Botterill’s first priority will be hiring a coach to replace Dan Bylsma, who was also fired in Buffalo’s second front-office house-cleaning in 3 1/2 years.
The former NHL player has spent the past 10 years working up the Penguins’ executive ranks. Over the past three years, Botterill has been GM Jim Rutherford’s right-hand man in handling scouting, contract and player development matters.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Josh Gordon won’t be back in the NFL anytime soon.
A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that the Cleveland Browns wide receiver has been denied reinstatement by the NFL. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced publicly, says Gordon can reapply for reinstatement in the fall.
Gordon has been suspended several times by the league, including the current ban for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He also was suspended for 10 games in 2014, then for the 2015 season, all for substance abuse violations.
Now 26, Gordon rejoined the Browns last summer, then entered a rehab facility in September. He appeared days away from returning to Cleveland’s roster but voluntarily entered the facility, saying he wanted to ”gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person.” He completed a 30-day stay for an unspecified condition.
After leading the NFL in yards receiving in 2013, Gordon barely has played, getting into only five games in 2014.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL will provide more content on Twitter, using the social media platform to air a 30-minute show five days per week during the season.
A deal between the NFL and Twitter also includes using Periscope and Twitter for pregame coverage, highlights, historical content, breaking news and analysis.
The NFL will produce the live digital show during the season on Twitter, and it will be hosted by NFL Network talent. It will cover breaking news, game highlights and fantasy projections.
The NFL and Twitter have had a partnership since 2013.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Cardinals released Daryl Washington, the linebacker who had been reinstated by the NFL after three seasons away from the game.
The team said in a statement that after meeting with Washington, ”we have collectively decided it was best to release Daryl and give him an opportunity to continue his career elsewhere.”
Washington was suspended by the league for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy as well as a domestic violence incident.
The 30-year-old linebacker last played in a game in December 2013. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2012 and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2013. The decision to release Washington came after he met Monday with Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Canadian rookie Mackenzie Hughes played bogey-free in his debut at The Players Championship and shot a 5-under 67 to share the lead with William McGirt.
Hughes already has won in his first PGA Tour season at Sea Island. He had one of only four bogey-free rounds at TPC Sawgrass. McGirt had a pair of eagles on the back nine for his 67. Among those at 68 were Spain’s Jon Rahm.
As usual, the Stadium Course packed plenty of excitement – an ace of the island green for Masters champion Sergio Garcia – and plenty of punishment. Adam Scott had a one-shot lead when he finished with a pair of double bogeys.
The sympathy cards came from places like Germany and Italy, where Steven Holcomb was their bobsled enemy. Mourners flew in from all across the country. Generations of Olympians packed a ballroom, sharing in grief.
They wept. They hugged. They laughed.
”Steven Holcomb was like no one else,” Olympic teammate Steven Langton said. ”He was one of the finest to wear the red, white and blue.”
Sentiments like those came for hours Thursday in the tiny Olympic town of Lake Placid, New York, when friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of America’s most successful bobsled driver. The 37-year-old Holcomb was found dead in his sleep Saturday at the Olympic Training Center, the dorm where not only many of his teammates live but where the offices for USA Bobsled and Skeleton are housed.
”Steve was, and always will be, our champion,” said Tony Carlino, who manages the Mount Van Hoevenberg track where Holcomb dominated.