Thursday’s Sports In Brief


MIAMI (AP) The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents.

The documents are part of a federal lawsuit in Miami and describe a dangerous odyssey of shady characters, unpaid smuggling debts and threats of violence that have followed Puig since he left Cuba by boat in June 2012.

The tale is based almost entirely on the account of the boxer, Yunior Despaigne, who says he is afraid he will be hurt by the smugglers or their associates if Puig hasn’t paid them money he owes.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Sean Rodriguez grounded into a triple play for the second time in his career in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 10-2 loss to New York Yankees on Thursday night.

Rodriguez hit a hard grounder to third off CC Sabathia with runners on first and second in the second inning against the Yankees. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte fielded the ball, stepping on the bag to retire Evan Longoria and throwing to second baseman Brian Roberts to get Wil Myers. The play ended when Scott Sizemore, playing at first base for the first time in his career, made a nice scoop of Roberts’ relay to get Rodriguez.

It was the first triple play the Rays hit into since Rodriguez grounded into one on Aug. 16, 2011, at Boston.

Sabathia was pitching the previous time the Yankees turned a triple play, April 12, 2013, against Baltimore.

CHICAGO (AP) – First basemen Mike Napoli was back in Boston’s starting lineup against the White Sox two days after dislocating a finger on his left hand.

Napoli hurt his ring finger on a headfirst slide into second base in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against Chicago.

He went 1 for 3 on Thursday .


Jabari Parker is hoping to become Duke’s latest one-and-done star to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-8 All-American forward said Thursday he’ll enter the NBA draft after being the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history. He was also the first freshman to lead the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, and the first freshman in three decades to be selected team MVP.

Now he has the chance to do what Kyrie Irving did in 2011: follow a one-year stay at Duke by being the first name called in the June draft.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement that it was ”an honor for us to have him in our program.”

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Missouri coach Frank Haith is in position to replace Danny Manning at Tulsa.

A person with knowledge of the situation at Tulsa says Haith is the front-runner for the job, and he traveled to the school to discuss a possible deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized.

Haith coached at Miami (Fla.) before taking over at Missouri. He led Missouri to a 30-5 record in 2011-12 and was The Associated Press Coach of the Year. The Tigers went 23-12 this season.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky guard James Young will enter the NBA draft, becoming the first of the Wildcats’ heralded freshmen to turn pro.

The 6-foot-6 Young led Kentucky with 82 3-pointers last season. The Wildcats’ second-leading scorer averaged 14.3 points and 4.3 rebounds.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – About 2,500 people gathered at Michigan State’s Breslin Center to honor Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl whose battle with nerve-cell cancer inspired the Spartans’ basketball program and strangers who followed her story.

A picture of her blowing a kiss was shown on video boards as Michigan State star Adreian Payne, who befriended Lacey during one of her hospital stays, led the family off the covered court after the 1-hour, 40-minute ceremony.

Lacey died April 8 in the arms of her mother and father at their home in nearby St. Johns.


PHOENIX (AP) – Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper lost his bid to be released on bail in a sexual assault case after an Arizona judge found there’s enough evidence to move forward with charges against him in that state.

Sharper’s lawyers had questioned the evidence authorities are using to justify keeping him in jail in California, where he faces separate charges that he drugged and raped two women in October after meeting them at a West Hollywood nightclub.

His lawyers had hoped to win a favorable ruling from the Arizona judge to persuade the California judge to set him free on bail.

MONTREAL (AP) – Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League.

The veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes after impressing team officials at a minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla. He last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Top-seeded Indiana won’t have Andrew Bynum for its first-round series against Atlanta.

Coach Frank Vogel believes the Pacers’ oft-injured center could work his way back for the playoffs, but he won’t be available for the first round, which opens Saturday in Indianapolis.


BOSTON (AP) – An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested in a gun trafficking investigation related to the murder case against Hernandez.

Oscar Hernandez Jr., 23, of Orlando, Fla. – no relation to Aaron Hernandez – was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Boston on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying under oath. He appeared Thursday in federal court in Orlando, where a magistrate judge ordered him detained pending his transfer to Boston to face the charges.

MESA, Ariz. (AP) – Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was released from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

Records released by West Mesa Justice Court show McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

McNabb, 37, was arrested Dec. 15 in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix, according to court records.


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Matt Kuchar continued his stellar play from the Masters by putting together a strong start at the RBC Heritage, shooting a 5-under 66 to share the first-round lead with Scott Langley and William McGirt.

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) – Angela Stanford shot an 8-under 64 on a wind-swept course to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship.

Stanford took the lead early with five birdies in a row on the front nine and finished the day with eight birdies. The best round of the tournament so far left the five-time LPGA Tour winner at 8-under 136.

Hawaii favorite Michelle Wie was a stroke back after a 67 that included five birdies.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Former Northern Kentucky University athletic director Scott Eaton pleaded guilty to stealing more than $300,000 from the school during a six-year scheme that included taking gift cards meant to help feed student-athletes, the state’s attorney general said.

Eaton, 50, who supervised the school’s expansion into Division I athletics, pleaded guilty in Campbell Circuit Court to one count of theft by unlawful taking, Attorney General Jack Conway said. Eaton agreed to serve the maximum term of 10 years in prison and repay $311,215 to the school.

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota State football players ended their boycott of spring practice and said they will play for coach Todd Hoffner, who was reinstated after being exonerated of having child pornography on his cellphone.

The players had refused to practice Wednesday as a show of support for interim coach Aaron Keen, who took over after Hoffner was arrested in 2012 because images of his naked children were found on a university-issued cellphone. A judge later said he had been wrongly accused and the images were an innocent video of his children playing after a bath.


LONDON (AP) – American goalkeeper Tim Howard signed a two-year contract extension to stay with Everton until 2018.

The 35-year-old has been at Goodison Park since 2006 following stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (1998-03) and Manchester United (2003-07).


MONACO (AP) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic raced into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals in dispatching Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-0, 6-1 in 47 minutes.

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal also had little trouble, beating Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-3, while fourth-seeded Roger Federer shook off a slow start in a 6-4, 6-1 win against Czech player Lukas Rosol.


HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam withdrew as the host of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked funds and the country’s reputation could be at risk if things didn’t go smoothly.

The government’s initial decision to host the games had generated little excitement domestically, and there had increasing opposition in the media and on blogs. Many questioned whether the cost – in the hundreds of millions of dollars – was worth it given the country was still struggling to emerge from the global financial crisis.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Over 2,000 construction workers returned to their jobs at the Olympic Park, ending a two-week strike that further slowed the trouble-plagued 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Mais, the consortium building venues at the main Olympic cluster 15 miles west of central Rio, said no more work stoppages were foreseen.