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Update on the latest in sports:

June 20, 2017


NL West Showdown

UNDATED (AP) — Winning streaks are on the line when Arizona and Colorado, probably the two most surprising teams in baseball this season, begin a three-game series at Coors Field. Rookie right-hander German Marquez starts for the Rockies, who have won five straight and own the best record in the National League at 46-26. They are 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2009.

Zack Greinke pitches for the Diamondbacks, winners of seven in a row and just a game behind Colorado in the NL West at 44-26. This is Arizona’s best 70-game start in team history.

— Red Sox ace Chris Sale comes off his best start in more than a month — and his only loss during that span — when he takes the mound at Kansas City. The major league leader in strikeouts allowed one run and four hits over eight innings while striking out 10 in a 1-0 loss at Philadelphia last Thursday. Boston expects to be without Dustin Pedroia for the second consecutive game after the second baseman was hit by a pitch Sunday night in Houston, causing him to spit up blood.

— After dropping the final six games of a 1-6 road trip in California, rookie slugger Aaron Judge and the Yankees return to the Bronx on their longest losing streak of the season. Up first, a rematch with the Angels. Michael Pineda pitches for New York, which lost two of three to Los Angeles last week. Parker Bridwell makes his second start for the Angels, taking the rotation spot vacated when Matt Shoemaker went on the disabled list.

— The Twins will try to rally after a deflating four-game sweep against Cleveland knocked them out of first place in the AL Central. Minnesota has dropped seven of nine overall and is just a game over .500 entering a series against the White Sox. Ervin Santana can spark a turnaround when he faces Chicago left-hander Derek Holland.

— Keeping St. Louis leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter off the bases has been nearly impossible of late. The first baseman has five walks over his past two games and a .528 on-base percentage during a 12-game on-base streak, a breakout stretch that followed a 5-for-41 slump. All that table setting hasn’t done St. Louis much good, though — the Cards have dropped five of six heading into a three-game series against Philadelphia.


The G League is here, replacing the NBA’s D-League

UNDATED (AP) - The G League has arrived.

The rebranding of what had been known as the NBA Development League went into effect today, and it’s designed to coincide with NBA draft week — since it’s certain many of the players who will be selected will spend some time in the G League this coming season.

It’s a partnership with Gatorade, in a deal that was announced back in February, but the new name is no abbreviation: What was often called the D-League is now officially the “NBA G League.”

Part of the deal with Gatorade calls for G League players to benefit from an association with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which works with players on research and education to find how they can get the most out of their bodies.


Former White Sox infielder Iguchi announces retirement plans

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese infielder Tadahito Iguchi (tah-dah-HEE’-toh ih-GOO’-chee), who helped the Chicago White Sox win the World Series in 2005, will retire at the end of the 2017 season.

The 42-year-old Iguchi, the oldest active player in Nippon Professional Baseball, currently plays for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League.

Iguchi had a .278 batting average with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases during the 2005 season, the first of four in Major League Baseball.

He also had stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres.


Austrian player Paszek to take indefinite break from tennis

VIENNA (AP) — Tamira Paszek is taking an indefinite break from tennis after being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain disorder.

A winner of three WTA titles, the 26-year-old Austrian says on her Instagram account that she is “unsure when I will be able to return back to competition ... the chances are high that I will only be back on tour in 2018.”

Paszek hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since September 2016, and failed to win a game before pulling out of two lower-level matches this year.

Paszek was 15 when she won her first title in Portoroz, Slovenia, in 2006. In a career marred by injuries, she also won in Quebec in 2010 and Eastbourne in 2012 before reaching a career-high 26th the following year.


Judge denies request to block funding tied to Detroit arena

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request to block some public funding for Little Caesars Arena and the Detroit Pistons’ move from the suburbs.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his decision late Monday, saying a requested injunction would cause “catastrophic damage” to Detroit.

The lawsuit says Michigan law prohibits spending school property tax revenue on the projects because a tax voters approved in 2012 was to be used exclusively for Detroit’s public schools. It said a vote from city residents was needed first.

Activist Robert Davis and D. Etta Wilcoxon, who is running for City Clerk, had sought to block the Detroit Downtown Development Authority from using the money.

The arena, which will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons, opens this fall.


Timberwolves sign 3-year deal with Fitbit for jersey patch

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves are jumping into the jersey patch game, signing a three-year deal for a Fitbit patch on their new uniforms.

The Timberwolves say Fitbit also will be featured in the renovated Target Center, including logging the new concession offerings into the Fitbit food section to help users make healthier choices.

Fitbit chief marketing officer Tim Rosa tells The Associated Press that the wearable company chose the Timberwolves over four other NBA teams bidding for its business. Rosa says the combination of young players on the team and CEO Ethan Casson’s vision for a collaborative relationship put the Wolves out front.

The new patch will be introduced with the team’s new jerseys later this summer.


PGA Tour to start blood testing next season

UNDATED (AP) — The PGA Tour is beefing up its anti-doping policy by adding blood testing next season.

The tour also is bringing its list of banned substances in line with the World Anti-Doping Association. The revised policy takes effect in October at the start of next season.

Blood testing will allow the tour to detect any use of human growth hormone, which is on the list of banned substances but cannot be detected through urine. The tour, however, still plans to use urine samples for most of its drug testing next season.

The tour says it will report any suspensions for drugs of abuse. Under the current policy, the tour is required to announce when a player has been suspended only for performance-enhancing drugs.


No racism in Sochi, mayor insists after racism row at parade

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The mayor of the Russian city of Sochi’s has promised football fans there is no racism in the 2018 World Cup host city after FIFA denounced a parade featuring people in blackface.

The procession in the Black Sea resort featured costumes of the Confederations Cup participants ahead of the eight-team World Cup warm-up event.

One person was pictured wearing an afro-style wig and bananas on a string, while the other was wearing a Cameroon jersey and a headdress while holding a drum.

Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov accepts “we need to inform the residents of the city about what is unpleasant for different ethnicities.”

But speaking through a translator, Pakhomov maintained that “there is no racism in Sochi because this is a city where many ethnicities live.”


Former soccer coach charged with 14 more counts of abuse

LONDON (AP) — A former English soccer coach has been charged with 14 more counts of child sexual abuse against four boys from the ages of 11-14.

Prosecutors say Barry Bennell will appear via videolink at a magistrates’ court on June 28 in relation to the charges. The alleged offenses took place between 1983 and 1990.

Between November 2016 and May this year, Bennell was charged with a total of 41 counts of child sexual abuse against boys under the age of 16 between 1980 and 1990, following investigations by Cheshire Police in northwest England.

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