Arbitration hearing set for later this month
NEW YORK (AP) — An arbitration hearing into whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') has jurisdiction to punish players involved in the Saints' bounties program has been set for May 30.
The players' union has asked arbitrator Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania to rule if the players should be punished for the system that the league says ran for three years in New Orleans. The union argues that Burbank, not Goodell, should hear the appeals filed by Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.
Vilma has been suspended for the 2012 season, Hargrove will sit out eight games, Will Smith was hit with a four-game suspension and Fujita got three games.
A separate hearing is being held today before arbitrator Shyam Das after the NFLPA filed a grievance saying Goodell can't discipline players for their actions before the collective bargaining agreement was signed in August.
Can't get any closer than the first two
UNDATED (AP) — The nip-and-tuck Eastern Conference semifinal between the 76ers and Celtics resumes tonight in Philadelphia, where the Sixers are 3-0 this postseason.
The 76ers stole home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series with an 82-81 victory on Monday in Boston that knotted things at a game apiece.
The Celtics won the opener 92-91.
The Lakers will be out to avenge Monday's ugly 119-90 loss to the Thunder when they take the court tonight in Oklahoma City for Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal. The Lakers are just 2-17 after losing the first two games of a best-of-seven series.
The Pacers evened their Eastern Conference semifinal with the Celtics at a game apiece with a 78-75 victory last night in Boston. Indiana hosts Game 3 on Thursday.
And the top-seeded Spurs opened their Western Conference semifinal with a 108-92 victory over the visiting L.A. Clippers. They'll play Game 2 in San Antonio on Thursday.
NBA-EXEC OF YEAR
Bird continues to shine
NEW YORK (AP) — Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is the NBA's Executive of the Year. He's the first person to win that award, plus the league's MVP and Coach of the Year honors.
The Pacers went 42-24 and are tied 1-1 with Miami in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Bird's moves to strengthen the team during the offseason included promoting Frank Vogel from interim to head coach and signing starting forward David West.
Bird received 88 points and 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives Wednesday. San Antonio's R.C. Buford was second with 56 points.
Rangers hoping to avoid deja vu
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Rangers will be looking to grab a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference final tonight when they host the Devils. New York shutout New Jersey 3-0 on Monday night in Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have been here before. They led 1-0 in each of their first two postseason series before losing Game 2s at home.
The Kings bring a 2-0 series lead over the Coyotes back to L.A. for Game 3 of their Western Conference final following last night's 4-0 win in Phoenix. It was the Kings' NHL record-tying seventh straight postseason road win. Game 3 is Thursday night.
Dodgers looking to start new winning streak
UNDATED (AP) — The major league-leading Dodgers will hand the ball to undefeated Chris Capuano for this afternoon's game in San Diego. The veteran left-hander is off to his best start in five years. He's 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA. The last time Capuano was 5-0, in 2007 with the Brewers, he finished 5-12.
Los Angeles is 24-12 following last night's loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks that snapped a five-game winning streak.
At 13-24, the Padres are dead last in the National League.
Tonight in the senior circuit, Washington hosts Pittsburgh, New York is home to Cincinnati, Miami plays in Atlanta, Houston is home to Milwaukee, Philadelphia puts a three-game winning streak on the line in Chicago, Arizona is at Colorado and San Francisco hosts St. Louis.
All of the AL action will be under the lights, including a pitching matchup of five-game winners in Texas. The Rangers send 5-1 Yu Darvish out to face 5-2 Tommy Milone of the Oakland Athletics. Darvish is 3-0 in his home ballpark and Milone is 2-2 on the road.
Also in the AL tonight, Boston puts its five-game winning streak on the line at Tampa Bay, Kansas City rides a four-game winning streak into its home outing against Baltimore, Toronto will be out to end a three-game skid when it hosts New York, Detroit is home to a Minnesota team that's a major league-worst 10-26, Cleveland hosts Seattle and the L.A. Angeles of Anaheim entertain the White Sox of Chicago.
MLB-2013 ALL STAR GAME
Mets to host next year's midsummer classic
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has finally announced that the 2013 All-Star game will be hosted by the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 16.
Baseball decided at least four years ago that the Mets would host the game at the ballpark, which opened in 2009, but held off an announcement until it reached agreements with the city and agencies for All-Star services and related events, such as the FanFest.
The Mets last hosted the All-Stars in 1964, the year Shea Stadium opened. The game was last played in New York in 2008, the final season of the old Yankee Stadium.
Cinderella story has less-than-satisfying ending
CHICAGO (AP) — Former major league pitcher Kevin Hickey is dead at age 56.
Hickey didn't play high school baseball but in 1978 he was the only one of about 250 players at an open tryout to sign with the Chicago White Sox. He pitched for his hometown team from 1981-83 and for the Baltimore Orioles from 1989-91.
Hickey had been working as the White Sox's pre-game instructor since 2004.
The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
McNamee being grilled by Clemens' defense team
WASHINGTON (AP) — Roger Clemens' former trainer is back on the stand at the pitcher's perjury trial in Washington for more cross examination.
Brian McNamee (MAK'-nuh-mee) concedes that the first time Clemens asked for help with a "booty shot," the pitcher did not specifically use the word "steroids." McNamee says he assumed Clemens was referring to steroids when asking for the shot while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998. He says he was under the impression Clemens was already doing steroids.
McNamee says he had no physical evidence, but he referenced a conversation he overheard Clemens have with slugger Jose Canseco (kan-SAY'-koh), but could not provide specifics. Clemens' request for help came less than a month before the date on which McNamee says he gave Clemens his first injection.
Sandusky renewing effort
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky again is asking a judge to throw out the child sexual abuse charges against him. The former Penn State assistant football coach argues that some counts are too vague to defend and others involve alleged victims whose identities have not been determined.
Sandusky's trial is scheduled to get under way in less than three weeks, although the judge has yet to rule on a separate motion from Sandusky asking for a delay.
GENEVA, N.Y. (AP) — The wife of a fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach says ESPN trampled her reputation and destroyed her life by broadcasting stories about her and about accusations that her husband molested children.
Laurie Fine broke six months of silence and threatened to file a lawsuit in federal court against ESPN and two employees. ESPN broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys who claimed Bernie Fine molested them decades ago.
Bernie Fine has denied wrongdoing and hasn't been charged.
ESPN says Fine's complaint is without merit and the network stands by its reporting.
Federer and Nadal cruise...Serena overcomes slow start
ROME (AP) — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were straight-set winners in their opening matches Wednesday at the Italian Open. Federer won the Madrid Open on Sunday and replaced Nadal at No. 2 but is still seeded third this week in Rome.
In women's play, sixth-ranked Serena Williams rallied past Nadia Petrova (NAH'-dee-uh peh-TROH'-vah) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Third-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska (ahg-nee-ESH'-kuh rahd-VAHN'-skuh), No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-AK'-ee) and No. 7 Marion Bartoli were upset victims.