Wednesday Sports in Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James has moved past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list.
This achievement was particularly special to James, who grew up in Ohio idolizing Jordan. James tweeted his excitement about the milestone shortly before the game: “Can’t even front. This is going to be UNREAL!! Wow man.”
James began the night needing 13 points to reach the mark. He now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643).
James finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but powerful Denver beat the Lakers 115-99.
Golden State had an open roster spot and chose to use it at center. The Warriors lost Damian Jones in December, and he underwent surgery for a torn left pectoral muscle.
Bogut, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick out of Utah, appeared in 23 games for the Lakers last season and made five starts. He averaged 1.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in 9.4 minutes.
NEW YORK (AP) — NBA content will be available on Alibaba’s platforms for the first time through an expanded partnership between the league and Chinese e-commerce company.
The league says Wednesday that programming such as game highlights and classic NBA games will be among the content available on the new “NBA Section” to the nearly 700 million Alibaba consumers. There will also be an enhanced online shopping experience for Chinese customers.
The content will be available through the regular season and postseason.
NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright has been suspended for 80 games following a positive test for Human Growth Hormone.
Major League Baseball made the announcement Wednesday, the latest in a series of setbacks for the 34-year-old knuckleball pitcher.
Wright accepted a 15-game suspension in spring training last year under the league’s domestic violence policy.
The commissioner’s office says he tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2).
BOSTON (AP) — It’s not collusion, it’s a “distributional problem” that has shut dozens of baseball players out of the free agent market this offseason, commissioner Rob Manfred said on Wednesday.
Speaking to a group of Boston business executives, Manfred said the percentage of revenue going to the players hasn’t changed in the past 15 years or so. If players are unhappy about how it’s being spent, Manfred said, he’s happy to talk to them about solutions.
BOSTON (AP) — Major League Baseball is investigating whether new Philadelphia slugger Bryce Harper committed a tampering violation when he lobbied for Mike Trout, who isn’t a free agent for two more seasons, to join the Phillies.
Speaking to a group of Boston business executives on Wednesday, commissioner Rob Manfred said he doesn’t want players recruiting other players, a practice that has been winked at in the NBA. Manfred said he didn’t want to see the same thing happen in baseball.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees ace Luis Severino expects to resume a throwing program in two weeks.
Severino will miss his scheduled start on opening day on March 28 because of right shoulder inflammation. He was scratched from his first planned start of spring training on Tuesday after feeling discomfort after throwing his first slider in a pregame bullpen session.
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Royals catcher Salvador Perez underwent Tommy John surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow, a procedure that will sideline the six-time All-Star for the upcoming season.
The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Dodgers’ team physician. The recovery time is usually about a year, meaning Perez could be back for opening day next season.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears have signed kicker Chris Blewitt.
Blewitt left Pittsburgh as the school’s career scoring leader with 363 points after making 55 of 79 field goals and 198 of 204 extra points from 2013-16. But he has not played in the NFL.
The Bears announced the signing on Wednesday.
Chicago plans to release embattled kicker Cody Parkey when the league year begins on March 13.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Safety Darian Stewart is joining a crowded field of free agent safeties following his release Wednesday from the Denver Broncos, where he won a Super Bowl ring.
A starter in Denver since 2015, Stewart was a part of the famed “No Fly Zone” secondary that also featured safety T.J. Ward and cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.
With Stewart’s departure, Harris is the only remaining member of that secondary that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 three years ago.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — NASCAR is leaving Las Vegas and taking its annual Champion’s Week and awards to Nashville, Tennessee.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards will be held Dec. 5 at the Music City Center in Music City, NASCAR announced Wednesday.
NASCAR will move its Xfinity Series Awards and trucks series awards to Nov. 22 with the home tracks champions awards Nov. 23 still in Charlotte at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas System regents have been asked to name the basketball court at Bud Walton Arena in honor of former men’s basketball coach Nolan Richardson.
The proposal by university Chancellor Joe Steinmetz announced Wednesday would name the Walton Arena floor the Nolan Richardson Court. Regents will consider the resolution at its March 27-28 meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Richardson led the Razorbacks to 13 NCAA Tournaments, back-to-back Final Fours and the 1994 national championship.
FIFA continues the push to expand the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams, considering Kuwait and Oman becoming co-hosts with Qatar, which remains in the middle of a complicated diplomatic standoff with several Arab neighbors.
Qatar’s infrastructure is already stretched for the Middle East’s first World Cup , and FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to add 16 more countries to the planned 32-team tournament. That’s too many games for the eight stadiums spread over just a 30-mile radius in Qatar, a tiny nation with just 2.7 million people, most of them foreign workers.
Infantino has been lobbying for an expanded 2022 tournament for months, even suggesting some games in Saudi Arabia, which is leading the bitter isolation campaign with several Arab neighbors against Qatar. Kuwait has been trying to mediate the crisis.
FIFA is now looking at Kuwait and Oman, a person with knowledge of the situation told the AP on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. Infantino visited Kuwait last month and Oman on Sunday.
—By AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris.
LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray says he is pain-free after hip surgery but likely won’t play at Wimbledon.
Murray tells the BBC in an interview he wants to continue playing but the surgeons “couldn’t give me any guarantees.”
The three-time Grand Slam champion says “I don’t feel any pressure to come back. If it allows me to play that’s brilliant.”
After an emotional Australian Open exit in January, Murray had an operation to repair his damaged right hip with a metal implant. The 32-year-old Murray says he is now without pain for the first time in 18 months but cannot do “any high-impact movement.”
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Olympic slalom champion Frida Hansdotter says she will retire from Alpine skiing’s World Cup after next week’s season-ending meeting.
The 33-year-old Swede has been one of Mikaela Shiffrin’s biggest rivals since the American star started dominating slalom in the 2012-13 season.
Hansdotter finished on the podium behind Shiffrin in three world championship races, then took the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic title when defending champion Shiffrin was fourth.
LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban baseball and Little League International said Wednesday that young Cuban players will soon be able to participate in international Little League tournaments.
The agreement follows a deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that will allow Cuban players to legally play professionally in the United States for the first time.
The two organizations said that Cuba’s programs for children between 4 and 12 will now be included in Little League’s international programs, including the Little League International Tournament. The Cubans will have a chance to qualify at the Caribbean Region Tournament in Curacao in July.