Bryce Harper bowed to his new fans, Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox began the defense of their World Series crown and the great Mariano Rivera threw one more strike from the mound at Yankee Stadium.
Then, from ballparks across the land, it was time for opening day.
Lorenzo Cain made the big catch. Javier Baez swung a powerful bat. And Jordan Zimmermann came close to giving Major League Baseball a perfect start Thursday.
A week after Ichiro Suzuki and the Seattle Mariners swept two games from Oakland at the Tokyo Dome, everyone was in action.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ injured list, officially ending his franchise-record streak of eight consecutive opening day starts.
The Dodgers announced the move Thursday before they faced Arizona.
The move is retroactive to Monday, allowing Kershaw to return by April 4.
Kershaw developed inflammation in his left shoulder early in spring training, but the Dodgers waited nearly a month to determine whether Kershaw could be ready for opening day.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have acquired first baseman Kendrys Morales from Toronto, giving them a replacement for injured Matt Olson.
The A’s got Morales from the Blue Jays on Wednesday for minor league infielder Jesus Lopez and $1 million in international signing bonus pool allocation. Toronto will pay Oakland $11,445,000, meaning Morales costs Oakland only the $555,000 minimum.
Olson broke the hamate bone in his right hand during the opening series in Japan against Seattle. The first baseman is on the injured list, and the A’s hope the 35-year-old Morales will provide pop in Olson’s absence.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Saint Joseph’s University has hired Philadelphia 76ers assistant Billy Lange as its new basketball coach.
The school said Thursday that Lange would succeed longtime coach Phil Martelli, who was fired earlier this month after three straight losing seasons.
Lange joined the Sixers in 2013, initially focusing on player development.
He previously was associate head coach at Villanova and head coach at Navy, where he led the Midshipmen in 2007-08 to their first winning season in seven years. Lange had also served as an assistant coach at La Salle and at Philadelphia University.
LEWISTON, N.Y. (AP) — Patrick Beilein is following his father’s college basketball coaching career path by moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The 36-year-old son of Michigan coach John Beilein was hired on Thursday to take over at Niagara University. Patrick Beilein spent the past four seasons at Division II Le Moyne, where he had a 77-41 record.
BOONE, N.C. (AP) — Appalachian State has hired Presbyterian’s Dustin Kerns as its basketball coach.
Athletic director Doug Gillin announced Kerns’ hiring Thursday, pending approval of the school’s Board of Trustees and the North Carolina Board of Governors.
Kerns led Presbyterian to a 31-37 record in two seasons and guided the Blue Hose to a 20-16 finish this season and a berth in the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville leading scorer Jordan Nwora will enter the NBA draft pool and maintain his collegiate eligibility for now.
Nwora didn’t specify in a release Thursday if he would hire an agent. The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward says feedback from NBA clubs will determine whether he stays in the draft or returns for his third college season. He says either way, “that will allow me to find out what NBA teams want me to improve to enhance my draft stock, whether it is for this year or next year.”
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Greg Schiano has stepped down as defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, less than two months after taking the job.
The Patriots, who never announced the hiring of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers head coach, confirmed his departure by posting statements from Schiano and coach Bill Belichick on the team’s website.
Schiano said he needs to “spend more time on my faith and family.”
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart will miss the rest of the season with a right knee injury.
The Lakers announced the decision Thursday.
The second-year pro has missed four straight games and five of the last seven with right knee tendinitis. He had an ultrasonic debridement procedure on his right knee patellar tendon on Thursday morning.
Hart is expected to return to basketball activities in about 12 weeks, the Lakers said.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The NHL entered its third partnership in six months with a gambling operator on Thursday, another step in its embrace of business opportunities that come with legal sports betting.
The league announced the deal with William Hill shortly before Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke at a sports gambling summit organized by the American Gaming Association, a casino-industry trade group. Last fall, the NHL announced partnerships with MGM and FanDuel.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has asked a court to consolidate a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by players on the women’s national team with an action filed earlier by former goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The federation filed the motion Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. A hearing was scheduled for April 29.
The 28 members of the current women’s player pool filed their lawsuit earlier this month. It accuses the U.S. Soccer Federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination” that includes unequal pay with their counterparts on the men’s national team.
Solo filed a similar lawsuit in August in the Northern District of California.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United hired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as its permanent manager on Thursday as a reward for leading the team to 14 wins in 19 games in his impressive interim spell.
The former United striker has turned United’s season around after replacing Jose Mourinho as coach on Dec. 19, leading the team into the Champions League quarterfinals and also reviving its bid for a top-four finish in the English Premier League.
Solskjaer accepted a new three-year contract.
SYDNEY (AP) — Former Millwall and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill has announced his retirement from soccer at the age of 39.
Cahill retired from international soccer in November, ending a career in which he became Australia’s leading scorer with 50 goals from 108 appearances.
He continued playing for Jamshedpur in the Indian Super League, scoring two goals in 11 games before his contract ended.
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft want a Florida judge to block prosecutors from using secretly taken video that police say shows him engaging in paid sex acts with female massage parlor employees.
In court documents filed Thursday, Kraft’s attorneys challenged the warrant allowing Jupiter police officers to hide video cameras in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Kraft attorney Jack Goldberger wrote that police “deliberately misrepresented” facts used to get a judge to approve their search warrant. The cameras were installed in January after officers used an undisclosed ruse to gain access to the spa. They then used the cameras to monitor employees and customers over several days.
BOSTON (AP) — A former women’s soccer coach at Yale University pleaded guilty Thursday to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for pretending applicants were recruits to boost their chances of getting into the school.
Rudy Meredith, 51, is the third person to plead guilty in the wide-ranging school admissions scandal in which authorities say wealthy parents paid an admissions consultant to rig their children’s test scores and bribe coaches at sought-after schools. Prominent parents charged with paying bribes include actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin .
Meredith, who resigned from Yale in November, began cooperating with the FBI last year after investigators set up a sting in a Boston hotel room and caught him soliciting a $450,000 bribe from a father.
DALLAS (AP) — A federal judge in Texas ruled Thursday that a law firm must turn over thousands of records that lawyers believe will give a fuller accounting of how Baylor University responded to sexual assault allegations made by students.
Judge Robert Pitman said in his order that Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton must produce all materials related to its internal review that resulted in a 2016 summary report finding an “institutional failure at every level.”
Jim Dunnam, an attorney for plaintiffs who have filed federal claims against the nation’s largest Baptist university, said the records will include interviews with witnesses, emails between school administrators, information obtained from Waco police and other material.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Horse Racing Board voted Thursday to severely limit the use of whips on horses in racing statewide and approved medication changes on a smaller scale following the deaths of 22 horses at Santa Anita Park.
The board votes came during a passionate meeting in which a group that represents jockeys argued that the whips were not connected to the horse deaths and that any drastic changes should be delayed for more study.
Board members rejected that idea, with two saying they personally witnessed whips being overused on some of the horses that died at Santa Anita and that if the sport of horse racing is to survive, changes are necessary.