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Thursday’s Sports In Brief

By The Associated PressJune 28, 2019

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have been elected starters for one of the youngest All-Star Game lineups ever, leading the millennial-heavy National League for the Midsummer Classic in Cleveland.

Major League Baseball revealed the results from fan balloting for its All-Star starters. The All-Star Game is July 9.

The Dodgers’ Bellinger, Brewers’ Yelich and Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. are set to play outfield for the NL, leading a lineup averaging just 25.8 years old. Depending on who is chosen as the club’s designated hitter, the starting position players could be younger than the 1967 NL and 2017 AL clubs, which averaged 26.0 years old.

Angels star Mike Trout was the leading vote getter in the final round. He’ll be joined on the AL squad by three Astros — Alex Bregman, George Springer and Michael Brantley — and two Yankees — Gary Sánchez and DJ LeMahieu.

The lineups are full of unlikely names. LeMahieu didn’t crack New York’s opening day lineup. Rangers designated hitter Hunter Pence could only find a minor league contract as a free agent last offseason. Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte and Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco hardly garnered All-Star attention in previous years. Now they’re All-Star starters.

The elder statesmen in the NL lineup will be 29-year-old Freddie Freeman from Atlanta and 28-year-old Nolan Arenado of Colorado.

LONDON (AP) — An array of retired All-Stars and Hall of Famers conducted a youth clinic. Workers put final touches on new clubhouses, batting cages and bullpens.

No ducks on the pond quite yet — not so soon after flying across it. Having landed in London, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox relaxed, saw a few sights and tried to give Major League Baseball some buzz ahead of the first regular season games in Europe this weekend.

Mariano Rivera, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Hideki Matsui, Carlos Beltran, Nick Swisher and Aaron Boone worked with players ages 8-15 and then joined Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner to present a truck of baseball equipment to the London Mets youth club. There was a cloudless sky and the temperature was in the mid-70s on a day when London had no resemblance to its Big Smoke nickname.

In a land dominated by Premier League football — soccer to novices back in the States — baseball wants to make inroads. Olympic Stadium, home of the West Ham soccer club, has been reconfigured for baseball, an artificial turf surface imported and foul poles installed.

LONDON (AP) — New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is more likely to return in August than July after straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Stanton went on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, a day after he was hurt during an awkward headfirst slide into third base against Toronto. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would project only a possible range of time for his return.

Stanton strained his left biceps on March 31 in his third game, strained a shoulder and calf during his rehabilitation and returned June 18. He is hitting .290 with one home run and seven RBIs in nine games.

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Lakers’ price tag for Anthony Davis got a little steeper, with the tradeoff being that Los Angeles now has the flexibility to bring another max-contract star to play alongside him and LeBron James next season.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the Lakers will send Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones and a future second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal that will bring Davis to Los Angeles. The Wizards will send cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be finalized until July 6.

The trade was first reported by ESPN, and the cash element was first reported by The Washington Post.

Shedding those contracts — along with Davis waiving his $4 million trade kicker, as ESPN reported — will give the Lakers enough cap space to sign a max player, if they are so inclined.

COLLEGE SPORTS

NEW YORK (AP) — UConn is back in the Big East.

The Huskies were introduced at Madison Square Garden as the newest member of the conference in which they were a charter member 40 years ago. The marquee out front of MSG said “Welcome Home, UConn.”

Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman said the discussions began when basketball season ended in March.

The school is moving basketball and most of its other athletic teams from the American Athletic Conference to the Big East, with the programs potentially beginning play in the 2020-21 academic year.

The return to the Big East is designed to energize the school’s fan base by renewing some of the old rivalries with St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Villanova. It also will cut down the number of costly road trips to states such as Oklahoma, Florida and Texas for conference games. UConn currently is facing a deficit in athletics of more than $40 million. It has to pay $3.5 million to enter the Big East.

UConn President Susan Herbst said that since word of the move emerged, season ticket sales are way up for both basketball programs. She believes rejoining the conference will help raise revenue.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said there is no chance the conference will keep the University of Connecticut as a football-only member.

UConn this week agreed to rejoin the Big East Conference for basketball and most other sports. The Big East does not compete in football.

UConn Athletic Director David Benedict said he wanted to talk to Aresco about football and about UConn’s exit from the conference. The AAC bylaws require UConn to give 27 months’ notice before leaving the AAC. It also must pay a $10 million exit fee.

The Associated Press asked Aresco if it was possible the league would be interested in retaining UConn’s football program.

“The short answer is no, not a chance,” he said.

SOCCER

PARIS (AP) — Megan Rapinoe said she stands by previous comments that she would not visit the White House if the United States wins the Women’s World Cup.

Rapinoe spoke at a previously scheduled news conference a day after President Donald Trump called out the U.S. women’s national team star on Twitter. Trump referenced a video that surfaced on Twitter in recent days, posting: “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.”

Trump said he would invite the U.S. team “win or lose.”

Rapinoe’s initial comments were made during an interview for a magazine in January in which she was asked if she was excited about the prospect of going to the White House. In a video excerpt of the interview posted Tuesday, she can be seen using a profanity when she says she’s not going. She also expressed doubts the team would be invited.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis said she didn’t feel the controversy over the comments would be a distraction for the team, which is preparing for Friday night’s quarterfinal match against France.

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