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National

  • A-Rod may be finished already

    NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is allowed to play. Now we’ll find out if he can anymore.
    Coming off his second hip surgery in four years, the 38-year-old third baseman finally made his season debut Monday night for the New York Yankees — hours after he was suspended through 2014 by Major League Baseball as part of the Biogenesis drug investigation.
    The embattled slugger promised to appeal his penalty, which probably keeps him in pinstripes for the rest of this year. After that, who knows if he’ll ever take the field again?
    So he’s not banned yet, but maybe he’s all but finished. At least as A-Rod the All-Star.
    “I just hope that there’s a happy ending there somewhere,” he said.
    Time will tell.
    Time, and a steady dose of big league pitching. Time, and the daily grind of a major league schedule. Time, and the way his broken-down body rebounds after sliding into second or diving for a grounder.
    Four months on the sidelines is a long stretch for any player, especially one so late in his career. Not to mention, Rodriguez wasn’t exactly tearing it up before his latest injury.
    He went 3 for 25 (.120) without an RBI in the 2012 playoffs and wound up getting benched. Against right-handers, he was 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts.

  • Alex Rodriguez, others suspended by MLB for drugs

    NEW YORK (AP) — Defiant till the end, Alex Rodriguez is intent on evading baseball's most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal.

    Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

    The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, the New York Yankees slugger, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. He said he will appeal his suspension, which covers 211 games, by Thursday's deadline. And since arbitrator Fredric Horowitz isn't expected to rule until November or December at the earliest, Rodriguez was free to make his season debut Monday night and play the rest of this year.

    Sidelined since hip surgery in January, Rodriguez rejoined the Yankees five hours after the suspension in a series opener at the Chicago White Sox, scheduled to play third base and bat fourth.

    "The last seven months has been a nightmare, has been probably the worst time of my life for sure," Rodriguez said.

  • Woods shoots 70, coasts to 8th win at Bridgestone

    AKRON, Ohio (AP) — They say par is a good score in a major. If that's true next week at the PGA Championship, then Tiger Woods is already dialed in.

    Woods played safe and smart with a big lead, parring 16 holes in an even-par 70 Sunday to coast to a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone Invitational for his eighth win at the event — matching the PGA Tour record he shares for victories in a single tournament.

    As he walked to the scorer's trailer to finalize his score, he scooped up young son Charlie.

    After a second-round 61 in which he flirted with 59, Woods ended up at 15-under 265 to easily beat defending champ Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.

    Woods' mastery at Firestone Country Club allowed him to again match Sam Snead's PGA Tour record for wins in an event. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Earlier this year, Woods won at Bay Hill for the eighth time.

    As if he weren't already the favorite next week in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the lopsided victory reinforced it.

    No one ever got within six shots all day of the world's No. 1.

    When he had a good shot at a pin, he took it. Otherwise, he took few, if any, risks.

  • NFL preseason games begin Sunday

     

    Sunday's Game

    Miami vs. Dallas at Canton, 8 p.m.

    All game times are EDT.

    Thursday, Aug. 8

    Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

    Washington at Tennessee, 8 p.m.

    Cincinnati at Atlanta, 8 p.m.

    St. Louis at Cleveland, 8 p.m.

    Denver at San Francisco, 9 p.m.

    Seattle at San Diego, 10 p.m.

    Friday, Aug. 9

    N.Y. Jets at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

    Miami at Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m.

    New England at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

    Houston at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

    Kansas City at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

    Arizona at Green Bay, 8 p.m.

    Chicago at Carolina, 8 p.m.

    Dallas at Oakland, 10 p.m.

    Saturday, Aug. 10

    N.Y. Giants at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

  • Park looks to make Tour history

    ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The cheering jarred Inbee Park from her sleep.
    The 10-year-old went downstairs to find her father in front of the television in the middle of the night in Seoul as he watched Se Ri Pak become the first South Korean to win the U.S. Women’s Open.
    Within a week, Park wrapped her hands around a golf club for the first time, not knowing that it one day would lead her to the brink of history.
    “They were doing replays every day on TV, her hitting the shot out of the water with her socks off,” Park said. “It was cool to see her white feet. I didn’t know what was happening, but I thought it was really cool to be seen playing golf and being on TV. Everybody was talking about it. Golf looked really fun.”
    Fifteen years later, everyone is talking about Inbee Park.
    A win this week in the Women’s British Open — at St. Andrews, of all places — would make the 25-year-old Park the first golfer to win four majors in one season.
    Arnold Palmer created the modern Grand Slam, winning four professional majors in one year.
    Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam got halfway home before their pursuit of it ended. No one has ever had a better shot at it than Park, who has won three LPGA Tour majors this year.

  • Phelps considering possibility of return

     BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When Michael Phelps walked away from swimming after the London Olympics, he was adamant about one thing: His career was over.

    Now, it sounds like he's not so sure.

    While saying he's never been happier with his life — and certainly doesn't miss the grind of what it took to become the winningest athlete in Olympic history — Phelps left the door open to change his mind before the 2016 Rio Games.

    "I don't know what's going to happen in the future," Phelps said Monday. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

    In Barcelona for the world swimming championships, Phelps spoke to The Associated Press and other international media organizations in a series of one-on-one interviews set up by his sponsor, Speedo. When asked by the AP, yes or no, whether he'll compete at the next Olympics, Phelps coyly said he hasn't planned that far ahead in his life.

    That's a striking change from his comments before and immediately after the London Games, when he insisted his retirement was set in stone and it had always been his goal to quit swimming before he turned 30.

    Phelps will be 31 at the time of the opening ceremony for the Rio Games.

  • Yankees tell A-Rod to rehab

    NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is investigating him, the Yankees are angry with him and Alex Rodriguez is miffed.
    A-Rod's strained relationship with his team hit another low on Thursday when he kept pushing to be activated from the disabled list and New York kept pushing back. He wound up having a lawyer join in when the sides discussed how to rehabilitate his slightly injured leg.
    Already a target of Major League Baseball's drug investigation, the third baseman angered the Yankees when he obtained a second medical opinion on his strained left quadriceps this week without informing the team in writing, a step required by the sport's collective bargaining agreement. The Yankees intend to discipline him, most likely with a fine.
    "Do you trust the Yankees?" Rodriguez was asked Thursday during an interview on WFAN radio.
    A-Rod's answer was telling.
    "Um. You know, I'd rather not get into that," he responded. "I'm just frustrated that I'm not on the field tomorrow."
    Sidelined since hip surgery in January, Rodriguez issued a statement saying he wanted to be activated for Friday's homestand opener against Tampa Bay. But that wasn't in the Yankees plans.

  • Braun suspended for rest of year

     NEW YORK (AP) — The first star to fall in baseball's latest drug investigation is one of its biggest: Ryan Braun.

    The 2011 National League MVP was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the start of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

    The Milwaukee Brewers star accepted the 65-game ban, 15 games more than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.

    "I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," he said in a statement.

    Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic.

  • Woods still in hunt at Open

    GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — Tiger Woods plodded along most of the day. He lipped out a putt from 2½ feet. He settled for a bunch of pars.

    Then, with his final stroke, he looked like the Tiger of old.

    Woods rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on Muirfield's tough closing hole Friday, raising his putter toward the blue sky with a flourish, fully aware he was positioned again to break the longest major drought of his career.

    "It will be a fun weekend," Wood said. "This golf course is going to be difficult."

    He finished with an even-par 71 that looked pretty good under the circumstances. This was another day for surviving the perilous, rock-hard setup, and Woods walked to the clubhouse just three shots behind first-round leader Zach Johnson, one of the last guys to tee off.

    Not bad, considering Woods went through a stretch of 12 holes without a birdie before stealing one at the 18th.

    "I was kind of fighting it," he said.

    Everyone was.

    Lee Westwood was one of the few morning starters to put up a score in the 60s, but even he was staggering a bit by the end. After a brilliant front nine — he carded five birdies — the 40-year-old Englishman bogeyed three of the last six holes to finish with a 68.

  • Team USA tops Finland to finish 9th at World Games

    The USA men’s basketball team at the World University Games came back after being bounced from medal contention to pick up ninth place.
    Team USA knocked off Finland 97-70 Tuesday to earn ninth in the WUG, the best possible finish for a team not in the medal competition.
    Former Los Alamos High School standout and current New Mexico Lobo Alex Kirk scored 8 points and had 4 rebounds in 9 minutes of play Tuesday for Team USA.
    The USA held Finland to just 6 points in the second quarter en route to the win.
    To get to the final round of the WUG, which was hosted this year by the city of Kazan, Russia, the USA topped Norway 91-51 Sunday and Germany 92-70 Tuesday.
    The USA finished the WUG with a 6-2 showing. Unfortunately, the two losses would be enough to knock the Americans out of medal contention.
    After rolling over its first three opponents in pool play, the USA lost to Australia and Canada in consecutive games — only the first two teams in each pool advanced to medal-round competition.
    Australia, which finished as the runner-up in the USA’s pool, advanced to the WUG championship game Tuesday, where it met tournament host Russia. Russia jumped out to a big 25-15 lead after one quarter and cruised the rest of the way to top Australia 81-74.