Tuesday’s Sports in Brief
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will miss the first four games of the 2018 season for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
NFL officials confirmed that Edelman would be suspended without pay for the Patriots’ first four regular-season games. ESPN had reported last month that Edelman was facing a four-game suspension.
Edelman, 32, missed the 2017 season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He had 98 receptions in 2016, the third time in a four-year stretch that he caught over 90 passes.
Edelman will miss a home game against Houston, trips to Jacksonville and Detroit, plus a home game against Miami.
He will be eligible to return to the Patriots’ active roster on Oct. 1, enabling him to make his 2018 debut Oct. 4 against Indianapolis.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s conduct and substance-abuse policy.
The NFL said that Foster will also be fined for violations from a weapons offense and misdemeanor drug charge that were resolved earlier this offseason.
Foster says he accepts the league’s decision and apologized for hurting the team.
Foster will miss San Francisco’s games against Minnesota and Detroit before being allowed to return on Sept. 17 before the Niners play Kansas City.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA estimates an increase of about 40,000 miles of travel in the postseason if it scrapped its current conference format and took the top 16 teams.
Calls to change the system were renewed this week when LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers, which could create another strong Western Conference team after Houston and Golden State had the league’s top two records last season. They met in a thrilling West final before the Warriors swept the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Commissioner Adam Silver has said ideally there would be a format allowing the two best teams to meet for the title, but has repeatedly expressed concern about the additional travel that would be created if teams were seeded 1 to 16 in the postseason, instead of the current format in which it’s the top eight teams in each conference.
SEATTLE (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels activated two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani from the 10-day disabled list and used him as the designated hitter in their game against the Seattle Mariners.
Ohtani and his injured right elbow are only cleared to hit for now, but Los Angeles said he will be re-evaluated as a pitcher in three weeks.
Ohtani received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection to help heal the Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani was cleared for a hitting program Friday and took part in two simulated games against minor league pitchers over the weekend.
“We’re going to see how many looks we can give him as a (designated hitter) and hopefully he’ll give us a lift there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Ohtani went 0 for 4 in Los Angeles’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners.
MOSCOW (AP) — England ended its long run of penalty misery and reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years, beating Colombia 4-3 in a shootout.
Eric Dier scored the decisive kick after a 1-1 draw.
England will play Sweden in the quarterfinals in Samara on Saturday. It is the furthest England has progressed in any tournament since the David Beckham era, when a golden generation of players exited the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in the last eight.
England took the lead in a scrappy match when Harry Kane scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute. Yerry Mina headed in an equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time.
England trailed 3-2 in the shootout after Jordan Henderson’s shot was saved, but Mateus Uribe hit the bar and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then saved Carlos Bacca’s kick.
MOSCOW (AP) — The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.
The 48 group stage telecasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.
Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.
Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.
Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.