Thursday’s Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich was a runaway winner for the National League Most Valuable Player award after helping the Brewers return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Yelich received 29 first-place votes and 415 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Thursday.
Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez was next with 250 points, followed by Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado with 203. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman finished fourth with 174, and the other first-place vote went to New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, the NL Cy Young Award winner, who finished fifth.
Acquired from the payroll-paring Miami Marlins about a month before spring training, the 26-year-old Yelich won his first NL batting title — and the first in Brewers history — with a .326 average. He set career highs with 36 homers and 110 RBIs and had a 1.000 OPS.
Yelich nearly became the NL’s first Triple Crown winner since Joe Medwick in 1937, finishing two homers shy of Arenado and one RBI back of Baez. Yelich was especially impressive in the second half, hitting .367 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs — including 11 homers in August and 10 in September.
The AL award was to be announced later Thursday. Boston outfielder Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez were the finalists.
Ashley Moyer-Gleich and Natalie Sago are among five officials who were promoted Thursday by the NBA to full-time status, making them the fourth and fifth women in league history to have that designation.
Moyer-Gleich and Sago now join former league refs Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner and current official Lauren Holtkamp as women who have the full-time designation. Holtkamp is not working games this season while she recovers from a knee injury.
The league also promoted Mousa Dagher, Matt Myers and Phenizee Ransom to the full-time level. All five of the newcomers started this season as non-staff officials.
The promotions give the NBA six new officials for 2018-19. Brandon Adair was added to the league ref roster at the start of the season.
HOUSTON (AP) — Carmelo Anthony is done in Houston.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey released a statement Thursday saying the team is “parting ways” with Anthony and “working toward a resolution.”
Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal during the offseason.
Morey added that: “Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”
He was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks in July before the Hawks released him to clear the way for him to sign with the Rockets.
Houston thought he could be the piece it needed to finally get past Golden State and win its first championship since back-to-back titles in 1994-95. Instead the Rockets limped out to a 6-7 start and the emergence of undrafted rookie Gary Clark made it appear that Anthony would have to take a reduced role.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian biathletes will have to undergo extra drug testing if their federation is to have a doping suspension lifted, the International Biathlon Union said Thursday.
The Russian Biathlon Union — one of the sport’s traditional powerhouses — was relegated to provisional IBU membership in 2017. The IBU said it was told by the World Anti-Doping Agency that Russian officials had allegedly paid bribes to cover up doping cases, and to influence delegates to vote for the country to host the world championship.
The IBU has presented a new road map, including extra out-of-competition testing for athletes and cooperation by Russian authorities in a WADA investigation into cover-ups at the Moscow drug-testing laboratory. Russia must also reimburse the costs of the IBU’s investigations and monitoring.
“It’s very hard to speculate on the timeframe (for Russia to be fully reinstated),” IBU president Olle Dahlin said. “If they don’t (comply with the conditions), it’s a long time to be a full member.”
Russian athletes are allowed to compete while their federation is sanctioned but it’s much harder for the country to host international competitions. The IBU stripped Russia of the 2021 world championships last year and hasn’t awarded the country any rounds of the World Cup through 2022 on calendars published last week.
The IBU said in August it was investigating four Russian biathletes suspected of past doping offenses. They reportedly include former national team athletes.
Three other Russian women were stripped of medals they won at the 2014 Olympics for doping. They have filed appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.