Thursday Sports in Brief
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks are the captains for this year’s NBA All-Star Game.
James and Antetokounmpo were the leading vote-getters from each conference, making them the players who will choose who plays on which team for the Feb. 17 matchup at Charlotte.
They will draft their teams on Feb. 7. As the leading overall vote-getter, James will have the first pick — just as he did last year, when the captain’s-choice format was used for the All-Star rosters for the first time.
James extended his NBA record by being chosen as a starter for the 15th straight time. Antetokounmpo is now a three-time All-Star.
The starting guards from the East are Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker — who’ll get to start on his home floor. The East frontcourt picks were Antetokounmpo, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. From the West, Stephen Curry and reigning NBA MVP James Harden were the picks at guard, with James, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City’s Paul George getting the frontcourt spots.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers have landed a right-handed hitter to complement their deep, left-handed heavy lineup in free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock.
Pollock and Los Angeles agreed to a $55 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the agreement had not been announced.
The 31-year-old outfielder hit .257 last year with 21 home runs, 65 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 113 games for NL West rival Arizona.
—By AP Sports Writer Beth Harris.
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay on Thursday strongly denied allegations from the team’s former high performance director that they disparaged Latino players.
Answering questions about the allegations for the first time since they surfaced in November, Dipoto and McKay reiterated the team’s stance that Lorena Martin is fabricating claims against members of the front office. Dipoto said he’s embarrassed by what has happened. He denied Martin’s claims while taking responsibility for hiring her.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jon Rahm began with an eagle and kept going lower until he had a 10-under 62 on the North Course at Torrey Pines for a one-shot lead over Justin Rose in the first round Thursday of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Tiger Woods made his 2019 debut on the tougher South Course and opened with a 70.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein strained his non-kicking foot at halftime of the NFC championship game by slipping on a turf-covered metal plate during warmups on the Superdome field.
Zuerlein’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and the Rams expect him to kick in the Super Bowl next week, coach Sean McVay said Thursday.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has opted for surgery to repair his ailing right throwing shoulder.
The team announced Newton had an “arthroscopic procedure” on Thursday and that he will begin the rehabilitation process immediately. There is no timetable listed for when he can begin throwing again.
The Panthers also said the procedure was successfully performed by team physician Pat Connor.
Carolina still has not disclosed the exact nature of Newton’s shoulder injury. The quarterback also had surgery in March of 2017 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Ravens coach John Harbaugh has received a new four-year contract following a season in which he guided Baltimore to the AFC North title.
The new deal is designed to keep the winningest coach in Ravens history under contract through the 2022 season. It replaces a pact that was slated to end after next year.
The 56-year-old Harbaugh took over as Ravens coach in 2008. Under his guidance, the team has reached the playoffs seven times and won a Super Bowl.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs hired Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator Thursday, moving swiftly to replace Bob Sutton after his unit’s dismal performance against the Patriots in the AFC title game.
Spagnuolo began his coaching career as Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s assistant in Philadelphia, where he worked with several position groups over the course of eight seasons. He left to become the Giants’ defensive coordinator, and has held similar roles with the Saints and Ravens.
He’s best known for his two stints as head coach, though. Spagnuolo went 10-38 over three seasons with the St. Louis Rams and 1-3 as the Giants’ interim coach during the 2017 season.
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Justify finished unbeaten, on and off the track.
The Triple Crown winner for 2018 added Horse of the Year to his resume, getting the nod over Accelerate for the biggest prize handed out at the Eclipse Awards on Thursday night. Justify didn’t race as a 2-year-old, won all six of his starts last year and then was retired about a month after winning the Belmont Stakes because of an ankle injury.
Chad Brown won his third consecutive Eclipse Award as the top trainer, making him only the sixth person to win that many in a row.
Irad Ortiz Jr. won his first Eclipse as the top jockey, keeping the award in the family — his younger brother, Jose Ortiz, won last year.
Other Eclipse winners included Weston Hamilton (apprentice jockey), Jaywalk (2-year-old filly), Game Winner (2-year-old male), Unique Bella (older dirt female), Roy H (male sprinter), Shamrock Rose (female sprinter), Stormy Liberal (male turf horse), Sistercharlie (female turf horse), Zenjabeel (steeplechase horse) and John D. Gunther (top breeder).
DENVER — After 20 years in the halfpipe, Kelly Clark is retiring.
The five-time Olympian who won gold in 2002, then two bronze medals after that, says she’s excited to start a new chapter that will involve more riding for fun and promoting the sport she helped bring into the mainstream.
The 35-year-old Clark has had plenty of wins along the way: A gold medal in her Olympic debut. Two bronze. Five X Games titles. Nine more at the U.S. Open. A total of 78 victories and 137 trips onto the podium spanning a career that began 20 years ago, back when the halfpipes were handmade and only about half the size of the 22-foot behemoths that challenge the riders in today’s pro game.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The Missouri Valley Conference has given Evansville coach Walter McCarty a one-game suspension for criticizing the referees after Wednesday’s 78-66 loss at Drake.
He will sit out Saturday’s game at Northern Iowa. Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin made the announcement Thursday.
McCarty made his comments on the local postgame radio show after Drake shot 20 free throws. The Purple Aces had 11 free-throw attempts.
Five-time Olympic champion swimmer Nathan Adrian has been diagnosed with testicular cancer, but he plans to continue training for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Adrian revealed the news on his verified Twitter account on Thursday, saying he recently went to the doctor because “something didn’t seem quite right.” He was told the cancer has been caught early and he has begun treatment, which includes having surgery next week. Adrian says he plans to be back in the water in a few weeks to resume training.
Adrian, who turned 30 last month, won the 100-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics. He earned bronze four years later in Rio de Janeiro. He has four other Olympic gold medals as part of U.S. relay teams.
LONDON (AP) — The active search for the plane carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was called off on Thursday with authorities saying the chances of survival are “extremely remote” three days after it disappeared from radar over the English Channel.
A three-day air-and-sea operation, covering 1,700 square miles near the Channel Islands, has failed to locate the aircraft or the two people on board, Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.
The plane was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, where the 28-year-old Sala was due to start playing for the Welsh capital’s Premier League club.
HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — The New York Red Bulls have signed German midfielder Marc Rzatkowski using targeted allocation money.
Rzatkowski played with the Red Bulls last season on loan from Red Bull Salzburg. The 28-year-old started 16 of the 24 matches he appeared and had two goals and seven assists.
Jim McKean, who umpired 10 no-hitters and three World Series during a big league career from 1973-01, has died. He was 73.
Jamie McKean, one of his sons, said McKean died in his sleep early Thursday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, near his home. Jim McKean had kidney issues and while at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg around Thanksgiving developed an MRSA infection. He had appeared to have recovered from the infection but remained weakened.
A Montreal native, McKean umpired All-Star Games in 1980, 1982 and 1993, and the World Series in 1979, 1985 and 1995.