Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.
Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.
Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.
It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.
Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans rookie Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check to three NRG stadium employees who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Watson surprised three women who work in the team cafeteria at the stadium Wednesday.
In a video shared by the team he told the women: “For what you all do for us every day and never complain, I really appreciate you all, so I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Here you guys go.”
One of the women became emotional after learning of the donation and asked for a hug from the quarterback. He quickly obliged as a huge grin covered his face.
He also told them: “Hopefully, that’s good and that can get you back on your feet. And anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”
Watson donated about $27,000. He has a base salary of $465,000.
Major League Baseball hitters have once again swung — and missed — into the record book.
For the 10th straight year, MLB batters have set the mark for most strikeouts in a season. They did it Wednesday, raising the whiff total to 39,168. That topped the 38,982 who fanned in 2016.
The final game of the day was at Dodger Stadium and, fittingly, the last out came when Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen got San Diego’s Jabari Blash to swing at strike three.
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has fanned the most often, 204 times. He’s also hit 50 home runs, helping MLB set a record for the highest homer total in a season.
Boston ace Chris Sale leads all pitchers with 308 strikeouts.
With four days left in the regular season, the Milwaukee Brewers top the majors with 1,537 strikeouts. The AL West champion Houston Astros have the fewest at 1,050.
PHOENIX (AP) — San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain says he’ll retire after his start at home on Saturday against San Diego.
The 32-year-old Cain informed teammates of his decision in a closed meeting before Wednesday’s game at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cain pitched the first perfect game in Giants history in 2012.
Cain, 3-11 this season, made his big-league debut with the Giants in 2005. He pitched in two of the Giants’ three winning World Series appearances since 2010. The right-hander has a career record of 104-118 with a 3.69 ERA.
The three-time All-Star is nearing the end of his contract with the Giants, who have an option for one more season.
Before the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday, the crowd at Chase Field was informed of Cain’s retirement in a public address announcement. He doffed his cap to the fans and the Diamondbacks dugout in appreciation of the gesture.
The NHL has a clear message to coaches starting this season: Don’t challenge an offside call unless you are really, really sure.
At times last season, coaches challenged on the off chance a goal would get called back or to at least give players a breather because all it cost was a timeout. That is expected to change because a failed offside challenge will instead result in a penalty as the league tries to get the coach’s challenge closer to what it was intended to be.
The NHL’s Board of Governors gave final approval for the rule change Wednesday, replacing the lost timeout for a failed offside challenge with a two-minute minor penalty.
Last season, the second with coach’s challenges for offside and goaltender interference, there were 117 challenges for offside, 78 of which were upheld and 39 overturned. That’s a big increase from 2015-16 when there were 88 offside challenges, 53 upheld and 35 overturned.