Thursday's Sports In Brief
CHICAGO (AP) Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout won the AL MVP award for the second time in three years, and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was voted NL MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Trout batted .315 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 steals. He scored 17 percent of Los Angeles' runs, the highest percentage for an AL player since Rickey Henderson with the 1985 New York Yankees.
A unanimous winner in 2014, Trout had finished second in three of the past four years. He becomes the first MVP from a losing team since Alex Rodriguez for Texas in 2003 and just the fifth player ever to accomplish the feat).
Bryant hit .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs in just his second year in the majors, helping the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908.
NEW YORK (AP) – Brian McCann still wanted to catch, a lot. So with his options limited in the New York Yankees' lineup, the seven-time All-Star gladly accepted a new opportunity in Houston.
McCann waived his no-trade clause and was sent, along with $11 million, to the Astros for a pair of young minor league pitchers.
The Yankees acquired right-handers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.
McCann's playing time diminished in the second half of the season as rookie Gary Sanchez emerged as a power hitter behind the plate. Sanchez hit 20 home runs in just 53 games.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Athletics are staying put under new leadership and determined to find the right location for an intimate new ballpark that brings together the community with a great vibe for fans. One that will be privately funded and, in time, increase revenue and improve the on-field product.
Committed new team President Dave Kaval just pulled off something similar in his other job: Building the San Jose Earthquakes' second-year, state-of-the art Avaya Stadium, which just so happens to boast the largest outdoor bar in North America.
Lew Wolff is selling all but a small stake in the A's and giving up his managing partner role, turning it over to John Fisher. Wolff will become chairman emeritus and Fisher the managing partner. In addition, prior team President Michael Crowley is stepping away from day-to-day operations after nearly 20 years in the role.
CHICAGO (AP) – Commissioner Rob Manfred says baseball wants to study high-profile positions within the sport to see if certain qualifications predict success, a step that ''has everything to do'' with minority hiring.
Baseball currently had no Latino managers before Rick Renteria took over the Chicago White Sox last month. Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals and Dave Roberts from the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only black skippers among the league's 30 teams.
But there were 10 minority managers as recently as 2009.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and the Carolina Panthers held off New Orleans' fourth- quarter rally to beat the Saints 23-20 in a game marred by injuries to key players.
Newton was 14 of 33 and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. to help the Panthers (4-6) win for third time in three games and pull even with the Saints for third place in the NFC South.
Jonathan Stewart also ran for a touchdown and Graham Gano had three field goals.
However, the Panthers lost former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (concussion), two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (shoulder), defensive end Mario Addison (foot) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) to injuries. Kuechly left the field on a cart while tears streamed down his face.
The Saints lost running back Mark Ingram to a concussion in the third quarter.
BOSTON (AP) – Doctors who decide whether an NFL player is healthy enough to go into the game shouldn't be paid by the teams that have a stake in winning and losing – an ''undeniable conflict of interest.''
That's what a report released by Harvard University experts in medicine, law and ethics says.
The study by the NFL Players Association-funded Football Players Health Study also recommends a short-term injured reserve for athletes recovering from a concussion, much like the system that baseball adopted five years ago.
The 500-page report includes 76 recommendations addressed to 20 NFL stakeholders – everyone from players and teams to equipment manufacturers and government regulators. The biggest message: Player safety will never be the top priority as long as those involved have competing calls on their loyalty.
HOUSTON (AP) – Duke Catalon scored three touchdowns and Houston hurried and harassed Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson all night to propel the Cougars to a stunning 36-10 victory that dashed the third-ranked Cardinals' playoff hopes.
Louisville (9-2) entered the game ranked fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings, but was outdone by a Houston team that saw its own playoff hopes foiled by two losses to unranked teams after a 5-0 start.
The Cardinals were unhappy they weren't ranked higher in this week's CFP rankings after losses by several top teams last week, and some players thought they let that angst affect their play.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – For decades, basketball players have dreamed of being like Mike.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook really is like Mike.
So says Mike himself.
Basketball great Michael Jordan inducted Westbrook into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday night and heaped high praise on Westbrook, one of the most visible and accomplished Jordan Brand athletes.
Westbrook is a two-time All-Star MVP and was the 2014-15 scoring champion. Last season, he posted 18 triple-doubles. This season, he has three triple-doubles and is averaging a Jordan-esque 31.8 points per game.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Coyotes forward Brad Richardson was carted off the ice on a stretcher in the second period of Arizona's 3-2 overtime loss at Vancouver and taken to a hospital.
Richardson injured his right leg on an innocent-looking hit from Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin with 8:37 left in the second period. The 31-year-old Richardson crumpled to the ice and threw his gloves off in agony under the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Tryamkin.
Medical staffs from both teams attended to Richardson by the boards in the Canucks' zone for several minutes before loading him onto a stretcher.