Friday’s Sports in Brief
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The worst season in the history of Vanderbilt men’s basketball has cost coach Bryce Drew his job.
Vanderbilt went 9-23 and was the first team in 65 years to go winless in the Southeastern Conference. Drew had a 40-59 record in three seasons with the Commodores.
The announcement by new athletic director Malcolm Turner came a week after the Commodores’ season ended. Vanderbilt said Turner will head a coaching search with support from Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Robert Garrigus became the first PGA Tour player suspended for a drug of abuse, saying on Twitter that he had a relapse with marijuana.
The tour announced that the 41-year-old Garrigus, whose only PGA Tour victory was at Disney at the end of the 2010 season, has been suspended for three months under the conduct policy that applies to substances of abuse.
While marijuana is legal in some states, it is on the banned substance list under the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy.
Garrigus has spoken openly about his history of addictions, which began before he reached the PGA Tour. He checked himself into a 30-day program at Calvary Ranch near San Diego in 2003 and said, “I spent 30 days to change the rest of my life.”
He made it to the PGA Tour in 2006 and had his most consistent year in 2012, when he had four runner-up finishes, made it to the Tour Championship for the only time and cracked the top 40 in the world ranking by the end of the year. In his Twitter message, Garrigus apologized to his family, fans and sponsors and said he hopes he can make it up to them. He says he pointed out that marijuana is legal in many states not to make an excuse, but as a warning.
The St. Louis Cardinals knew that Paul Goldschmidt had one year left on his contract when they acquired the slugging first baseman in an offseason trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They also made no secret of their desire to sign him to a long-term deal.
Now, the Cardinals and the 31-year-old Goldschmidt are nearing completion of a $130 million, five-year agreement through the 2024 season that would make him the highest paid player in club history, a person familiar with the terms told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Goldschmidt still must pass a physical, which is mostly a formality. It is expected to take place later Friday, with an announcement likely Saturday.
The Athletic was first to report that a deal was imminent.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Athletics first baseman Matt Olson underwent surgery on his right hand after getting injured on a foul tip in his final at-bat during Thursday’s 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Mariners in Tokyo.
Olson’s procedure was performed by Dr. Steven Shin at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. The team said the operation involved a right hamate excision. No timeline for his recovery was provided.
The Gold Glove first baseman played all 162 games last season as the A’s returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Olson hit 29 homers and drove in 85 runs last year in his first full major league season.
PHOENIX (AP) — Cincinnati Reds All-Star second baseman Scooter Gennett injured his right leg while fielding a grounder against Milwaukee and was helped off the field.
Gennett ranged to his left for a ball off the bat of Yasmani Grandal leading off the second inning. Gennett slid to make the stop and threw to pitcher Robert Stephenson covering first for the out. Gennett went to his knees and was helped off by Reds head athletic trainer Steve Baumann and manager David Bell.
Cincinnati says Gennett was to have an MRI.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and double-play partner Jason Kipnis have been ruled out for opening day by the Cleveland Indians.
The team said that neither player will be ready for Thursday’s opener at Minnesota. Lindor will start the year on the 10-day injured list. He has been recovering from a right calf strain that’s limited him during spring training. He has yet to appear in a Cactus League game but has participated in intrasquad minor league games. Potentially frigid weather in Minneapolis is an extra concern for Cleveland.
Kipnis had an MRI on Thursday which confirmed a mild right calf strain. He won’t do any baseball activities for 7 to 10 days before being re-evaluated.
Eric Stamets is likely to replace Lindor at short, and either Jose Ramirez or Max Moroff will likely slot in at second.
SPORTS & BUSINESS
NEW YORK (AP) — Papa John’s has a new pitchman: Shaquille O’Neal.
The chain says the basketball Hall of Famer will appear in TV commercials and promote Papa John’s in other ways. He will also join the company’s board of directors and invest in nine of its restaurants in the Atlanta area.
Papa John’s is trying to revive its image after the company’s founder and namesake, John Schnatter, was reported to have used a racial slur during a media training session. Schnatter, who was the face of the company, has apologized for the slur and the company scrubbed his face from the company’s logo and advertisements last year. Schnatter is still the Louisville, Kentucky-based company’s biggest shareholder.
Papa John’s International Inc. says it will pay O’Neal more than $8 million in cash and company stock for a three-year endorsement deal.
DETROIT (AP) — Mike Cofer, a Pro Bowl linebacker who played a decade with the Detroit Lions and is second on the team’s career list in sacks, has died. He was 58.
The Lions said Cofer died Thursday. Cofer’s son Phil plays basketball for Florida State. The school said he found out about his father’s death after the Seminoles’ victory over Vermont in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. Chuck Walsh, a Florida State spokesman, said Mike Cofer had been dealing with a long illness.
Cofer played 123 games with the Lions from 1983-92. He’s the only linebacker in team history to reach eight sacks in a season. He did it four times.
SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Olympic champion Alina Zagitova won the free skate to capture her first title at the figure skating world championships.
Skating to “Carmen,” the 16-year-old Russian built on her lead from the short program with a strong free skate that included a triple-lutz, triple-toe loop combination in the first half of her program. She added five more triple jumps to finish with 237.50 points.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the worlds when she opened her Tango routine with a quad salchow. The 19-year-old Kazakh finished second with 224.76 points.