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Friday’s Sports In Brief

December 22, 2018

GYMNASTICS

DETROIT (AP) — A special prosecutor accused Michigan State University of stonewalling his investigation into the school’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar and called for “top-down cultural change” at the school.

Bill Forsyth released a report that accuses the school of fighting the release of certain relevant documents and releasing others that were heavily redacted or irrelevant. It says such actions hampered the investigation.

Hundreds of women and girls, most of them gymnasts, accused Nassar of molesting them when they sought treatment during his time working for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which trained Olympians. He received long prison terms after pleading guilty to child pornography possession and sexual abuse charges.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — The average major league salary dropped this year for the first time since 2004 and for only the fourth time since record-keeping started 50 years ago, according to the players’ association.

The union said its final average was $4,095,686, down $1,436 from $4,097,122 last year.

Since the union started keeping track in 1967, the only previous declines had been by $66 in 1987, when owners were found to have conspired to hold down salaries among free agents; a 4 percent decline in 1995 following a 7 1/2-month strike that wiped out the World Series for the first time since 1904; and by 2.5 percent in 2004.

Major League Baseball calculated this year’s average at $4,007,985, a 0.77 percent increase from a revised figure of $3,977,446 for 2017. The union includes a pro-rated share of option buyouts that may be earned if the option is declined, while MLB does not take those into account in its average.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas traded infielder Jurickson Profar to the Oakland Athletics in a three-team deal that included Tampa Bay and netted the Rangers four prospects.

Oakland also finalized a $15 million, two-year contract with free agent right-hander Joakim Soria, giving the A’s a reliable and versatile reliever.

The Rangers acquired right-hander Yoel Espinal and left-handers Kyle Bird and Brock Burke from Tampa Bay, and infielder Eli White from Oakland. Texas also got $750,000 international signing bonus pool allocation from the A’s.

Texas sent right-hander Rollie Lacy to Tampa Bay. The A’s also sent right-handed pitcher Emilio Pagan and a 2019 competitive balance Round A pick to the Rays, a selection projected to be in the high 30s overall.

NEW YORK (AP) — Left-hander CC Sabathia had a stent inserted after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart, and the New York Yankees anticipate the 38-year-old pitcher will report to spring training on time.

Sabathia’s procedure was first reported by The Athletic.

Sabathia is listed as 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, and his weight has contributed to a chronic right knee problem that has required several operations.

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers had a surplus of outfielders. With one attention-getting deal, they reshaped their roster in hopes of another pennant run.

The reigning NL champions shook up their lineup, trading Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and left-hander Alex Wood along with cash to the Cincinnati Reds for a pair of prospects as part of a seven-player deal.

The Reds included starter Homer Bailey in the swap, a way of freeing them from the $28 million owed him in the final year of his contract. Bailey didn’t fit into the Reds’ pitching plans, so they wanted to include him in a deal if possible. The Dodgers plan to release him.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — When healthy, Andrew Miller has been one of baseball’s top relievers. The St. Louis Cardinals are banking on a return to form.

Miller agreed to a $25 million, two-year deal with St. Louis that includes a club option and performance bonuses that could make it worth $36 million over three seasons.

The 6-foot-7 left-hander has been dominant for much of this decade, but he went just 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in 37 games with Cleveland last season while dealing with hamstring, knee and shoulder issues.

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — Patrick Mahomes has dazzled NFL audiences with no-look passes, left-handed throws and stellar performances in just his first full season as a starter.

The dynamic Mahomes has the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) leading the AFC and he’s already earning top honors.

Mahomes barely squeaked past Drew Brees as the NFL’s top quarterback in 2018 in voting by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press. Mahomes received six first-place votes, three seconds and one third. Brees got the other four first-place votes.

MIAMI (AP) — Even though Frank Gore’s ironman streak is about to end, he wants to keep going.

The injured Miami Dolphins running back has decided against retirement and hopes to play a 15th NFL season next year, a person familiar with the situation said.

The NFL’s leading active rusher suffered a season-ending sprained foot last week against Minnesota , but the injury won’t require surgery. The 35-year-old Gore has played in 126 consecutive games with 122 starts in a row.

Those streaks are the longest by an NFL offensive skill player, and they’ll end Sunday when Miami plays Jacksonville .

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry made it clear that center Anthony Davis will not be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers or anywhere else as long as he remains under contract to the Pelicans.

Gentry’s stance on comments by Lakers forward LeBron James about Davis was less consistent.

Gentry defended James against allegations of tampering, hours after declaring an interview with ESPN earlier in the week in which James said it would be “amazing” if the Lakers traded for Davis represented an effort to interfere with the Pelicans’ star.

Gentry clarified his comments in a reversal from his press conference following the Pelicans’ shoot-around Friday morning in which he said James’ answer about Davis was tampering. Gentry intimated that players should be held to a different standard when talking about potential future teammates than coaches or league executives discussing potential player acquisitions and signings.

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