Wednesday Sports in Brief

MLB

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Pete Rose again asked Major League Baseball to end his lifetime ban, saying the penalty is unfair compared with discipline for steroids use and electronic sign stealing.

Rose’s lawyers submitted the application Wednesday to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who in December 2015 denied the previous request by the career hits leader.

“The time has come to recognize that Mr. Rose’s penalty has become grossly disproportionate relative to Major League Baseball’s treatment of severe wrongdoing by ownership, management and players,” the petition said.

Rose agreed to the lifetime ban in August 1989 after an investigation for MLB by lawyer John Dowd found that Rose placed numerous bets on the Cincinnati Reds to win from 1985-87 while playing for and managing the team.

“There has never been any allegation that Mr. Rose’s misconduct was intended to gain a competitive advantage over other teams,” stated the petition, which was first reported by ESPN. “When it comes to subsequent violations of Major League Baseball rules — namely steroid use and electronic sign stealing — this is clearly not the case. They have intentionally and dramatically affected the results of plays and games, including the outcomes of two consecutive World Series. These acts manifestly and deliberately violate the spirit and letter of the rules.”

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner understands why his players feel cheated by the Houston Astros.

If Houston had not been using a video camera to steal opposing catcher’s signs in 2017, maybe the Yankees would have won the AL Championship Series instead of losing to the Astros in seven games.

“When the report came out, I was as upset as anyone,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday at the baseball owners meeting. “Clearly, there were direct implications to my organization, our team, our 2017 team. But at some point I think we all for the sake of the game and the good of the game, need to move on.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a report on Jan. 13 that concluded the Astros broke rules against electronic sign stealing in 2017, including during the postseason. Houston won all four home games against the Yankees in the playoffs, when Astros players had the advantage of the sign-stealing system, and lost all three in the Bronx.

Steinbrenner is among the Yankees who wondered: what if?

“I think enough people have brought that to my attention and I’m a reasonably smart guy. I’ve certainly thought that,” Steinbrenner said.

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees left-hander James Paxton had back surgery Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined until May or June.

New York said Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas performed a microscopic lumbar discectomy, in which a herniated disk is repaired, and removed a peridiscal cyst. The Yankees estimated Paxton’s timeline to pitch in a major league game is three to four months.

Paxton left his final regular-season start, at Texas in Sept. 27, after one inning with what the Yankees said was a tight left glute muscle. That ended Paxton’s career-best streak of victories in 10 consecutive starts. He was 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in three postseason starts, allowing five runs in 13 innings.

NBA

Robert Covington is going to the Houston Rockets and Clint Capela is headed to the Atlanta Hawks as the headline moves in a complicated four-team trade that was approved by the NBA late Wednesday night.

All told, it included 12 players and three draft picks.

The Rockets got Covington and Jordan Bell from Minnesota, plus Golden State’s 2024 second-round pick from the Hawks. Atlanta got two centers, Capela and Nenê from Houston.

Denver got Gerald Green from Houston along with the Rockets’ 2020 first-round pick. The Nuggets also landed Keita Bates-Diop, Shabazz Napier and Noah Vonleh from Minnesota.

Minnesota got Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick and Evan Turner from Atlanta, plus Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Juancho Hernangomez from Denver.

MIAMI (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations says Andre Iguodala is headed to Miami after the Heat and Memphis Grizzlies agreed Wednesday night on his long-awaited trade.

As part of the deal, Iguodala agreed to a two-year extension, with the second of those years being a team option, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade has not been finalized.

The person also said Miami and Memphis were still working to complete terms of what the Heat are giving up in the deal, and that a third team — Oklahoma City, in a package that would include Danilo Gallinari potentially headed to the Heat — was still in play. Oft-injured forward Justise Winslow said he was part of the deal and was headed to Memphis, the former Heat starter reaching out to fellow former Duke players Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen with a message.

—By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds.

NFL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Kansas City Chiefs fans braved sub-freezing wind chills on Wednesday to celebrate the team’s first Super Bowl victory in 50 years, and if Coach Andy Reid is to be believed, they’ll be back for an encore next year.

Fans lined the 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) parade route to thank their football heroes for bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Kansas City and ending a Super Bowl drought that began after the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in 1970.

Reid thanked the fans for their continued support and for attending the parade.

The event was nearly marred about three hours before the parade began, when an impaired driver broke through a barrier and sped along the parade route. Stop Sticks were thrown and patrol vehicles put the car into a forced spin, stopping it near a crowd of fans. The driver and another person were arrested at gunpoint, according to officials and video footage of the incident.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

McKinnley Jackson, a huge and talented defensive tackle from Mississippi, was one of the few five-star recruits whose college choice was a mystery coming into signing day.

The five-star prospect picked Texas A&M over Alabama and LSU, allowing one more school to break into a small group that landed the majority of the top available players. Signing day is typically about the rich getting richer, and this year the best classes were especially top heavy.

According to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, there were 31 five-star prospects in this year’s class. Six schools signed 22 of those players. Clemson led the way with five as part of the highest-rated class coach Dabo Swinney has ever signed. Alabama and Georgia each landed four five-star players. National champion LSU, Ohio State and Oregon each had three.

For the second time in three seasons, 247 Sports crowned Georgia the recruiting champion, with Alabama and Clemson close behind.

Looking at the top 100 players rated by 247 and again a handful of schools cleaned up. Georgia (11), Alabama (10), Clemson (10), LSU (9) and Ohio State (7) signed 47 of them.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Howard University has hired Larry Scott as its new head coach.

Scott’s hiring was announced Wednesday, less than two months after Ron Prince stepped down after less than a season on the job.. Prince resigned on Dec. 7, about a month after he was placed on administrative leave amid an ongoing investigation into allegations about his conduct, including verbal abuse of players.

Scott had been tight ends coach at Florida under Dan Mullen the last two seasons.

GOLF

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Phil Mickelson is still not exempt for the U.S. Open and says he won’t accept a special invitation.

The U.S. Open is the one major keeping Mickelson from the career Grand Slam and no other major has given him more grief. His six runner-up finishes, most recently at Merion in 2013, is a U.S. Open record.

The U.S. Open occasionally awards a special exemption to the game’s best players when they are not eligible. Ernie Els has received such an exemption each of the last two years. Jack Nicklaus received eight of them.

Mickelson, who has won five majors, is certain to receive at least one if he needs it.

But he made clear Tuesday he doesn’t want one.

“I won’t accept it,” Mickelson said at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he won last year for his 44th career PGA Tour victory. “So I am either going to get in the field on my own or I’ll have to try to qualify. I’m not going to take a special exemption.”

SOCCER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande will be sidelined for several weeks with a broken bone in his right foot.

LAFC coach Bob Bradley revealed the injury to his third-leading goal-scorer Wednesday after preseason training. He says Diomande will not be ready when the regular season begins next month.

Diomande was a valuable alternative to MLS MVP Carlos Vela last season at the top of the attack while LAFC won the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best regular-season record.

The Norwegian forward appeared in 25 games and made 15 starts, scoring eight goals and adding seven assists.

COLLEGES

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Candice Storey Lee won’t talk about how long she might be in charge of Vanderbilt’s athletic department, having already made history as the first black woman to hold that job in the Southeastern Conference.

However long this role lasts, Lee is very aware of how much this means.

“It’s not lost on me the responsibility that I have that people who, both those who look like me and those who don’t, know that they can have opportunities to excel really in any space that they want,” Lee said Wednesday night before Vanderbilt hosted No. 18 LSU in men’s basketball.”

Vanderbilt named the former basketball player who has spent her professional career with the Commodores as their first female athletic director Tuesday when the university announced it had accepted Malcolm Turner’s resignation after a year on the job. Lee said she’s been busy for the past 24 hours keeping her head down and working with Vanderbilt’s coaches and staff, not thinking much on what this means overall.