BC-AP Sports Digest,2053

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John Smoltz says baseball must change — and fast. The Hall of Fame pitcher speaks about the need to make the game more appealing to fans young and old on PodcastOne Sports Now with co-hosts Tim Dahlberg and Jim Litke. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins College Football Writer Ralph Russo on the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast to discuss the suspension of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. Also, ESPN's Rece Davis, a voter in the AP college football poll, weighs in on the preseason rankings. https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

TOP STORIES

GLF--NORTHERN TRUST

PARAMUS, N.J. — Sean O'Hair has the early 36-hole lead with Phil Mickelson one shot behind at The Northern Trust, the first of four playoff events. Tiger Woods began the day trailing by five strokes. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.

TEN--US OPEN

NEW YORK — It's now been 10 years since Roger Federer since he won his last U.S. Open. But even at 37 he believes he'll be sharp enough to navigate a difficult draw and compete for another championship when main-draw play at the year's final Grand Slam tournament begins Monday. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

BOX--BARE-KNUCKLE BOOM

LOS ANGELES — David Feldman is staging his second bare-knuckle boxing show this weekend in Mississippi, and the promoter is already making big plans for this long-dormant sport. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 9 p.m.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

FBC--MICHIGAN-COUNTING ON PATTERSON

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh was hailed as a savior when he returned to Michigan, where he was a star quarterback. He has yet to turn around college football's winningest program, partly because he hasn't had a strong quarterback. He now has one in Mississippi transfer Shea Patterson. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos, video by 5 p.m.

COMMENTARY

FBC--PAUL NEWBERRY-URBAN LIAR

In less than a month, Urban Meyer will be back on the job. Never mind the deceiving, the conniving, the covering up. He'll return to the Ohio State sideline not much poorer for his troubles and fully intent on reclaiming his swagger before the leaves change colors. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 p.m.

BASEBALL

BBN--CARDINALS-ROCKIES

DENVER — The Cardinals play the Rockies in a game between teams in the thick of a playoff chase. Miles Mikolas (13-3) starts for St. Louis, which is coming off a sweep of the Dodgers to pull within three games of the Cubs in the NL Central. Colorado trails Arizona by a game in the NL West. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8:40 p.m.

BBN--DIAMONDBACKS-BUCHHOLZ'S BOUNCEBACK

PHOENIX — Clay Buchholz went through a string of injuries, even a stint in the minors, putting his future in doubt. With a new approach to pitching, the right-hander has resurrected his career and given the Arizona Diamondbacks a big push toward the playoffs. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

TENNIS

TEN--US OPEN-THE NEXT ONES

Alexander Zverev has shown he can win run-of-the-mill tournaments and Masters titles, too. He's shown he can make it to the second week of a major. What everyone is watching — and waiting — for now is a Grand Slam semifinal, final or trophy. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 950 words, photos.

— With:

— TEN--US OPEN-WOMEN'S CAPSULES — By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— TEN--US OPEN-MEN'S CAPSULES — By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— TEN--US OPEN-50 YEARS — Players share memories of Open, which is celebrating its 50th year as a pro tournament. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.

— Also:

— TEN --FRENCH OPEN--WILLIAMS CATSUIT — French Open says "non!" to Serena's black catsuit. SENT: 150 words, photos.

— Semifinals of U.S. Open tuneups in Winston-Salem, N.C., and New Haven, Conn.

NFL

FBN--PATRIOTS-PANTHERS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tom Brady and Cam Newton are expected to see their most extensive playing time in the preseason when the Patriots face the Panthers. Brady could be on the field for the first half, and Rob Gronkowski could see his first action. By Steve Reed. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

FBN--BRONCOS-REDSKINS

LANDOVER, Md. — Adrian Peterson makes his Washington Redskins debut against the Broncos. The running back's workload may depend on how much the starting offensive line plays. He faces a Denver defense putting its emphasis on stopping the run. By Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

FBN--GIANTS-JETS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to start again when the Jets face the Giants in preseason play. Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley, recovering from tweaked a hamstring, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will likely sit. By Dennis Waszak Jr. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

— Also:

— FBN--PACKERS-RAIDERS — By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 10:30 p.m.

— FBN--LIONS-BUCCANEERS — By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

— FBN--SEAHAWKS-VIKINGS — By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--T25-GEORGIA-FROMM'S FIGHT

ATHENS, Ga. — It will be difficult for Jake Fromm to top his 2017 freshman. The Georgia quarterback won at Notre Dame, took the Bulldogs to their first SEC crown since 2005 and won the Rose Bowl. Now's he's fighting with top recruit Justin Fields to remain the starter. By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.

FBC--FLORIDA ATLANTIC-WEIS

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic's offensive coordinator isn't recognized on campus, presumably because he blends in with students. Charlie Weis Jr., son of the former Notre Dame coach, is only 25, yet Lane Kiffin has entrusted him to run the Owls' high-powered offense. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 750 words, photos.

TENNESSEE-FULMER

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nearly nine months after coming on board to rescue a football coaching search gone awry, Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer has settled into his role and has big plans for his first full school year on the job. By Steve Megargee. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— Also:

— FBC--T25-ALABAMA-CONTRACTS — SENT: 150 words.

— FBC--NEBRASKA-NEAL — By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 650 words, photos.

— FBC--OKLAHOMA ST-QUARTERBACKS — By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 500 words, photos.

GOLF

GLF--LPGA TOUR

REGINA, Saskatchewan — Ariya Jutanugarn shares the lead entering the second round of the CP Women's Open, with Canadian star Brooke Henderson and three-time champion Lydia Ko in contention. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 10 p.m.

— Also:

— GLF--PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS —Jerry Kelly opens title defense in seniors' Boeing Classic at Snoqualmie, Wash. UPCOMING: 300 words by 11 p.m.

— GLF--CZECH MASTERS — John Daly drops to seven shots behind leader Gavin Green after second round of European Tour play in Prague. UPCOMING: 150 words by 5 p.m.

— GLF--WEBCOM TOUR FINALS — Henrik Norlander up by a stroke entering second round of Web.com Tour Finals opener in Columbus, Ohio. UPCOMING: 400 words by 8 p.m.

AUTO RACING

CAR--INYCAR-WICKENS RESPONSE

MADISON, Ill. — IndyCar's president says the car Robert Wickens was driving during his horrific wreck at Pocono performed exactly as designed when it shredded along the catch-fencing early in the race. By Dave Skretta. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 4 p.m.

— With:

— CAR--INDYCAR-WICKENS INJURED — Wickens has surgery on right arm, lower extremities; extent of spinal cord injury still unknown. SENT: 200 words, photos.

— CAR--INDYCAR QUALIFYING — Qualifying for Saturday, with Alexander Rossi having won back-to-back races. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos. Qualifying starts 5 p.m.

— Also:

— CAR--NASCAR-XFINITY — Hall of Famer Bill Elliott driving again, competing in Xfinity race at Road America in Wisconsin. By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 650 words by 6 p.m.

WNBA

BKL--TAURASI-CLOSE OUT GAMES

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — She doesn't lose when it matters most. Diana Taurasi is 13-0 in winner-take-all WNBA playoff games. The Phoenix Mercury star did it again Thursday night in a victory over Connecticut. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 5 p.m.

NBA

BKN--HAWKS-CARTER

ATLANTA — Vince Carter, the NBA's oldest active player, is about to begin his 21st season and first with the Atlanta Hawks, a rebuilding team likely to be among the league's worst. Carter will serve as a mentor to the younger players as he eyes his 42nd birthday in January. By George Henry. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.

HORSE RACING

RAC--TRAVERS STAKES

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. —This is Chad Brown's home track and the Travers means the world to him. The trainer has every reason to feel good about Saturday's showcase race at Saratoga. He has the two favorites going in Good Magic and Gronkowski. By John Kekis. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.

SOCCER

SOC--FIFA-PALESTINIANS-MESSI

FIFA bans the head of Palestinian soccer from attending games for a year for inciting violence toward Lionel Messi as part of a campaign to stop Argentina's national team from playing in Israel. Arab fans had been urged to burn posters and shirts of the Argentine star. The game was not played. By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 450 words, photos.

SOC--MLS-LAFC-GALAXY

CARSON, Calif. — Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy host LAFC in the third edition of this new MLS rivalry that could not be better named given the location — "El Trafico." By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 10:30 p.m.

— Also:

— SOC--TOTTENHAM-LLORIS CHARGED — France's World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris charged with drunken driving in London. SENT: 100 words, photos.

— SOC--Women's U20 World Cup Final — Spain vs. Japan in Vannes, France. UPCOMING: 200 words by 5 p.m.

LITTLE LEAGUE

BBY--LITTLE LEAGUE-US CHAMPIONSHIP

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — With a hurricane barreling toward its state, a team from Hawaii prepares to play Georgia for the U.S. championship and a spot in the Little League World Series final. The winner will play Japan or South Korea for the title. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

— With:

— BBY--LITTLE LEAGUE-INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP — Japan chasing a second straight championship. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

ESPORTS

ESPORTS TOURNAMENT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Professional video gamers will be competing this weekend for more than $25 million in what's being described as the esports Super Bowl. Fans and organizers say the tournament's success shows esports has exploded from a niche hobby to a booming industry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— With:

— ESPORTS-DEBATE — Are esports players athletes? UPCOMING: 450 words, photos by 5 p.m.

ASIAN GAMES

ASIAN GAMES-TAIWAN'S QUANDRY

JAKARTA, Indonesia — It is formally known as the Republic of China. But at the Asian Games, as well as the Olympics, the island is listed as Chinese Taipei. But whatever the name, Taiwan is very much a player at the Asian Games. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 650 words, photos.

CAPSULES

— BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES

— FBN--NFL PRESEASON CAPSULES

— SOC--MLS CAPSULES

___

Friday's Time Schedule (EDT)

Baseball

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Philadelphia at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Detroit, 7:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

Washington at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Oakland at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

Cleveland at Kansas City, 8:15 p.m.

St. Louis at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

Seattle at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.

Houston at L.A. Angels, 10:07 p.m.

San Diego at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

Texas at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

NFL Exhibition

New England at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at N.Y. Jets, 7:30 p.m.

Denver at Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Seattle at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Detroit at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m.

Green Bay at Oakland, 10:30 p.m.

MLS

Atlanta United FC at Orlando City, 8 p.m.

Los Angeles FC at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.