Thursday’s Sports In Brief
NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth place on the career homer list, connecting for No. 661 Thursday night an at-bat after he was robbed of the milestone drive by a leaping catch.
The New York Yankees star hit a liner off Baltimore’s Chris Tillman into a secure area just to the left of Monument Park in center field in the third inning. A-Rod sent a soaring shot in the first that Delmon Young caught by reaching over the top of the wall in right field.
Next up for Rodriguez: Babe Ruth at 714 home runs.
The Yankees, who said they will not pay a $6 million bonus after he matched the Say Hey Kid on Friday in Boston, put a message on the main videoboard saying, ”661 Home Runs. Alex Rodriguez just surpassed Willie Mays for sole possession of 4th place on baseball’s all-time home runs list.”
The slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base, and fans gave Rodriguez a standing ovation.
SALEM, Mass. (AP) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Thursday night the scandal surrounding his use of deflated footballs in the NFL playoff last season hasn’t detracted in any way from his Super Bowl title.
”Absolutely not,” Brady told a friendly university crowd in his first public appearance since an NFL investigation concluded Brady likely knew Patriots employees were cheating.
”We earned everything we got and achieved as a team, and I am proud of that and so are our fans,” he said.
Brady declined to discuss his thoughts about the 243-page report that said that he was likely at least aware two team employees were breaking rules by deflating footballs for him.
”I don’t really have any reaction. It has only been 30 hours. I’ve not had much time to digest it,” Brady said. ”When I do I will be sure to let you know how I feel about it. And everybody else.”
IRVING, Texas (AP) – The Dallas Cowboys have signed former LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins, who had been a projected first-round pick in last week’s NFL draft until his name came up in a police investigation.
Collins, a 2014 All-Southeastern Conference lineman, has never been named a suspect or person of interest in the shooting death of 29-year-old Brittney Mills. Police acknowledged days before the draft that they wanted to talk to Collins because he knew Mills.
After he went undrafted, Collins met with police, who say he has answered all of their questions. Collins also submitted to a paternity test that proved he’s not the father of Mills’ infant son, who was born alive after the shooting but died days later.
WASHINGTON (AP) – John Wall has five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand, and the All-Star guard’s playing status has not been determined.
Wall was hurt in Game 1 of Washington’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Atlanta Hawks. Initial X-rays were negative, but ”multiple examinations” on Wednesday revealed the injuries, the Wizards announced Thursday.
Washington hosts Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday. The top-seeded Hawks won Game 2 to even the series at 1-1.
”Obviously not the news you want to hear,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said following the team’s practice on Thursday. ”With the swelling, we knew maybe there was not good news there. We’re still consulting with doctors. It’s still pretty swollen.”
Wall, who led the Wizards with 17.6 points and 10 assists per game during the regular season, was not made available to speak with reporters.
NEW YORK (AP) – Floyd Mayweather said in an upcoming interview with Showtime that at this moment he’s not interested in a rematch with Manny Pacquiao ”because he’s a sore loser and he’s a coward.”
The interview was recorded late Tuesday night and will air Saturday night after the network’s replay of boxing’s richest fight, which Mayweather won by decision last weekend in Las Vegas to stay undefeated.
Asked if he thought Pacquiao was hampered by the right shoulder injury that later required surgery, Mayweather tells Jim Gray, ”Absolutely not.”
”Excuses, excuses, excuses,” he said later.
”He was fast,” Mayweather insists in quotes released Thursday. ”His left hand was fast. His right hand was fast and he was throwing them both fast and strong.”
Using an expletive for emphasis, Mayweather adds that ”I’m not going to buy into” it, ”and I don’t want the public to buy into” it.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Quarterback Everett Golson has announced he is leaving Notre Dame and will use his final season of eligibility elsewhere after graduating later this month.
Golson issued a statement to Fox Sports on Thursday saying he has decided to transfer. A call left on Golson’s cell phone by The Associated Press wasn’t immediately returned.
Golson refused to talk to the media all spring after The Times-Picayune in January quoted a source as saying he had reached out to LSU about transferring there less than a week after the Irish beat the Tigers in the Music Bowl.
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law what’s been dubbed the ”Todd Gurley bill” – making it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison to entice student athletes to break NCAA rules for money.
Deal’s office said Thursday that he had signed House Bill 3, numbered to reflect the jersey number of the famous former University of Georgia running back who was suspended from the Bulldogs’ football team for four games last fall for accepting money for autographs.
Gurley may never need to sell another autograph – the St. Louis Rams chose him as the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft last week, so his contract will be in the millions.
He was a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy last year when he was suspended for accepting money from a memorabilia dealer for autographs: $400 on jerseys and other items. Then he suffered a year-ending knee injury his first game back and announced in December he’d end his collegiate career to declare for the draft.