Thursday Sports in Brief

Sports
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)Tua Tagovailoa said being assured he’d likely remain a high NFL draft pick could make ”the biggest decision of my life” a little easier.

The Alabama quarterback is still weighing his options and going through rehab for the right hip injury that ended his junior season – and potentially his career with the 11th-ranked Crimson Tide. Once regarded as a potential No. 1 overall pick, Tagovailoa said Thursday that if he feels he’ll still be a Top 10 or 15 pick, that might be too tempting to stick around.

”I think that’d be tough to pass up,” he said, sitting in a chair where the podium normally rests during Alabama news conferences. ”But I think there’s a lot more to it than that in some aspects.”

Tagovailoa stopped there, saying he wants to have that conversation with his family not reporters.

MLB

CINCINNATI (AP) – All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas completed a $64 million, four-year contract Thursday with the Cincinnati Reds, the biggest free agent deal in franchise history.

They agreed to the deal earlier in the week. Moustakas was in town to sign it Thursday and get introduced at the team’s annual fan festival.

The Reds have become active in free agency the last two years, trying to escape a rut of six straight losing seasons. They signed Moustakas from the NL Central-rival Brewers. The 31-year-old infielder will plug the Reds’ hole at second base, which opened when Scooter Gennett got hurt and then was traded at midseason.

Cincinnati scored the fourth-fewest runs in the NL last season despite one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. Bulking up on offense is their top priority in the offseason.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Twins and starting pitcher Michael Pineda agreed Thursday to a two-year, $20 million contract to bring the right-hander back after a suspension for a banned diuretic, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because the deal had not been announced and was subject to a successful physical exam.

Pineda went 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 146 innings over 26 starts for the Twins in 2019, his first season with the team, before Major League Baseball announced Sept. 7 a 60-game suspension for a positive test for hydrochlorothiazide, which can be used for weight loss and blood pressure management. It’s outlawed because it can mask the presence of steroids.

That kept Pineda out of the postseason for the American League Central champion Twins, who were swept in three games in the Division Series by the New York Yankees. Pineda, who will turn 31 next month, will have 39 games left on the suspension to serve before he can take the mound for the Twins in mid-May.

-By AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell.

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been hired in the same position by the San Diego Padres.

Rothschild is one of several newcomers on rookie manager Jayce Tingler’s staff announced Thursday. Rothschild spent the last nine seasons with the Yankees before being fired after last season. He replaces Darren Balsley.

Other newcomers include bench coach Bobby Dickerson, first base coach Wayne Kirby, and Ben Fritz as bullpen coach. Dickerson comes from the Phillies and Kirby from the Orioles. Fritz enters his sixth season with the Padres organization and his first at the big league level.

Glenn Hoffman returns as third base coach. Skip Schumaker has been elevated to associate manager after serving as the first base coach the last two seasons. Damion Easley was promoted from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach. Rod Barajas will serve as catching and quality control coach. He was bench coach last season before being named interim manager for the last eight games after Andy Green was fired.

NEW YORK (AP) – Outfielder Jake Marisnick has been acquired by the New York Mets from the Houston Astros for two prospects — left-hander Blake Taylor and outfielder Kenedy Corona. Marisnick is an excellent defender with speed but a weak hitter. He could play center field and allow the Mets to use Brandon Nimmo primarily in left. Michael Conforto figures to get most of the starts in right. Juan Lagares played 125 games in center for New York last season and became a free agent. The 28-year-old Marisnick hit .233 with 10 homers, 34 RBIs and 10 steals last season.

Marisnick is an excellent defender with speed but a weak hitter. He could play center field and allow the Mets to use Brandon Nimmo primarily in left. Michael Conforto figures to get most of the starts in right.

Juan Lagares, who played 125 games in center for New York last season, became a free agent.

NASCAR

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Joe Gibbs was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence, capping a year in which he was elected to NASCAR’s Hall of Fame, won his fifth Cup championship as a car owner and thoroughly dominated the competition.

Gibbs was surprised with the honor, given at the start of Thursday night’s season-ending awards ceremony.

The award named for NASCAR’s late founder is not given every year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the last recipient in 2017 and it was not awarded last year. There have been only 26 winners since the award began in 1965. Gibbs received the award from Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of its namesake.

Gibbs drivers won 19 of 36 races this season including last month’s championship-clinching win by Kyle Busch. Gibbs had three drivers in the four-driver finale and it was Busch who emerged the victor for his second career Cup title.

SOCCER

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) – Everton has fired manager Marco Silva, a day after losing 5-2 at Merseyside rival Liverpool to slip into the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Silva, who was in charge at Goodison Park for 18 months, becomes the fourth manager in a little over two weeks to lose his job in England’s top division, after Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores at Watford.

Everton said Duncan Ferguson will take temporary charge of the team for the game against Chelsea on Saturday. The club said in a statement that it ”aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible.”

Former manager David Moyes has been linked with a return to the club.

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Soccer will try to reach an agreement for its 30th team to be Charlotte, North Carolina.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper made a presentation to MLS owners Thursday when they met in a hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge. Tepper would own the team, which would play at Bank of America Stadium, home of his NFL franchise. MLS Commissioner Don Garber all but confirmed the expansion fee will be $300 million.

”The MLS board authorized the MLS expansion committee to enter into what I expect to be final negotiations with David to have Charlotte be our 30th team,” Garber said. ”No formal approval was granted today. What was approved was the expansion committee to now meet with David and his his staff to try to finalize an agreement.”

Charlotte would be the third MLS team to share a stadium in a long-term relationship with the NFL, joining Seattle and Atlanta.

MILAN (AP) – A leading Italian sports daily faced widespread criticism for a headline reading ”Black Friday” and featuring two black soccer players on Thursday’s cover.

Corriere dello Sport ran photos of Roma defender Chris Smalling and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku ahead Friday’s match between the teams in Milan on Friday.

Both players – former teammates at Manchester United – condemned the headline on social media while Roma said the newspaper would be banned from its training ground for the rest of the month.

The newspaper defended the headline as ”innocent,” saying its intent ”was only praising diversity” and that it had been ”transformed into poison by those who have poison inside.”

However, Smalling and Lukaku disagreed.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Dorka Juhasz scored 15 points and Kierstan Bell added 14 as Ohio State knocked off No. 2 Louisville 67-60 in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game on Thursday night.

Ohio State took a 60-53 lead with 5 minutes left after Bell turned a steal into a layup and Juhasz scored from underneath. The Cardinals closed to within 62-57 at the 3-minute mark and were within five points with 17 seconds left, but couldn’t score. A pair of foul shots by Madison Greene sealed it late for the Buckeyes.

Dana Evans had 18 points for the Cardinals (8-1), who were plagued by poor shooting, especially down thee stretch when they had to chase the Buckeyes.

Louisville had vaulted to No. 2 behind Stanford this week after knocking off then-No. 1 Oregon last weekend in the the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

SPORTS BROADCASTING

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said team radio analyst Tim Ryan personally apologized to him and several players for comments Ryan made regarding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a sports talk show.

Ryan was suspended by the team for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints after he said during an interview on the 49ers’ flagship radio station that Jackson was adept at carrying out fakes because of his ”dark skin color with a dark football.” Ryan also issued a statement of apology through the team Wednesday.

Sherman said he didn’t believe there was any malicious intent behind Ryan’s comments.

COURTS

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Former sportscaster Kelli Tennant is seeking dismissal of her sexual assault lawsuit against Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton, a court document shows.

The request for dismissal of the civil case was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The dismissal form did not include any information on the reason for dismissal.

Tennant sued Walton last April, shortly after he became the Kings’ coach following his dismissal from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tennant alleged that Walton attacked her when he was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, which was from 2014 to 2016.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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