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Thursday’s Sports In Brief

- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

BASEBALL

BOSTON (AP) - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games Thursday after being caught using pine tar. He said he won't appeal the penalty that will cost him two starts.

"I accept it," Pineda said before Thursday night's game at Fenway Park. "I know I made a mistake."

The commissioner's office announced the ban, which started immediately.

Pineda was ejected in the second inning of Wednesday night's 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox after umpires found the pine tar on the right side of the right-hander's neck.

After the game, Pineda admitted he used the pine tar to help him grip the ball on a cool, windy night.

BOSTON (AP) - New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament.

Dr. James Andrews is scheduled to perform the operation on Tuesday.

BOSTON (AP) - Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was activated from the disabled list and inserted into the lineup for the first time this season.

He batted in his usual second spot against the New York Yankees after missing the first 22 games with a hamstring injury and the flu.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks placed left fielder Mark Trumbo on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his right foot and recalled outfielder Roger Kieschnick from Triple-A Reno.

Trumbo said he felt pain while jogging to his position Monday against the Chicago Cubs and an MRI revealed the stress fracture. He goes on the DL retroactive to Tuesday.

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A woman who said Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon sexually assaulted her in a Washington hotel a year ago when the team was in town to play the Nationals is suing the player for $15 million.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed the civil lawsuit Thursday in D.C. Superior Court. The suit says she met Simon at a nightclub and went with him by cab to the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel where, she claims, he forced sex upon her.

Adam Katz, Simon's agent, said he had no comment when reached by phone.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Northwestern University's football players will cast ballots Friday on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes - a potentially landmark vote that will be kept sealed for months and possibly years.

The National Labor Relations Board said Thursday it will hear an appeal by Northwestern challenging the decision from a regional NLRB director who ruled the players are university employees and thus have the right to unionize. The board said the ballots will be impounded at least until it issues its decision later this year. If the case lands in court, it could be a far longer before the results of the vote are known.

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SWIMMING

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Michael Phelps is 0 for 1 in his comeback to the pool.

The 22-time Olympic medalist lost to Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly final at the Arena Grand Prix.

Lochte touched first in 51.93 seconds, second-fastest in the world this year. Phelps took second in 52.13 in his first meet since retiring after the 2012 London Olympics.

He is the three-time Olympic champion and current world record-holder in the event. His time tied for fourth-quickest in the world.

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NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA's board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation's biggest schools more autonomy in how to fund scholarships, handle health care and decide other increasingly hot-button issues involving their athletes.

If approved later this year, schools in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC could implement some rules on their own and would get more voting power over legislation that would affect every NCAA member school.

A formal vote on the recommendations is tentatively scheduled for the board's August meeting, and if it passes then, the transition could begin this fall.

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PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL will discuss expanded playoffs at the owners' meetings next month in Atlanta.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told a gathering of Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday that a vote is uncertain on the proposal to add two teams to the postseason. Should the owners vote on the increase in May, Goodell said the 14-team playoffs could be implemented for the upcoming season, or for 2015.

If no vote is taken, then 2015 would be the target for expanded playoffs, with a vote possible in October or next March.

The league also would need to consult with the players union on the matter, but it seems clear more playoff teams are on the way.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year.

Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said she has suspended operations through at least the end of the season. The decision was made two days after five former Jills filed a lawsuit complaining they worked hundreds of hours for free, and were subjected to groping and sexual comments.

The civil action was filed in state Supreme Court and seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees. It names Mateczun's company, Stejon Productions Corp., the Bills, and the Jills' former manager, Citadel Communications Co., as defendants. Stejon took over managing the cheerleaders in 2011.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar believes he has been unfairly sacked as a TV broadcaster.

Kosar has been removed as a color commentator for Cleveland's preseason games by the team. The Browns said Wednesday night he was being replaced by Solomon Wilcots, who will work with play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan.

Kosar contends he's been removed because of slurred speech he attributes to "a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL."

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PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts was fined $20,000 by the NBA for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Miami Heat forward LeBron James.

McRoberts' foul against James with 50 seconds remaining Wednesday night in Miami in the Heat's 101-97 playoff victory over the Bobcats also was upgraded to a Flagrant 2.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger calls guard Mike Conley the kind of man a father would want to marry his daughter. Conley's peers certainly think highly enough to award him the NBA's Joe Dumars Trophy for sportsmanship.

Conley received 77 first-place votes of a possible 334 and earned 2,335 points overall for the award announced Thursday. He was followed by Boston's Jeff Green, Phoenix's Channing Frye, Washington's Bradley Beal, Portland's Damian Lillard and Chicago's Mike Dunleavy.

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GOLF

AVONDALE, La. (AP) - Ben Martin treated a tiny gallery to a course-record round, shooting a 10-under 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

Martin's 10th birdie was his most spectacular shot in a round full of them as he chipped in from 55 feet on the par-3 17th hole. That came a hole after the 26-year-old former Clemson player he hit the flag on a chip from behind the green, setting up a tap-in par.

DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) - Karine Icher of France birdied four of her first seven holes and finished with a 6-under 66 at Lake Merced to take the lead in the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

The start was delayed two hours because of fog and play was suspended because of darkness with 24 players unable to finish the first round.

SHENZHEN, China (AP) - Spain's Alvaro Quiros and England's Simon Dyson shared the China Open lead at 5-under 67 when play was suspended because of darkness at Genzon Golf Club.

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MOUNTAINEERING

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season took another hit Friday as more Sherpa mountain guides packed and left the base camp for their village homes a week after the deadliest disaster on the world's highest mountain.

Their departures come as major expedition companies canceled their climbs and other Sherpas quit the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 of their fellow guides last week.

It also snowed Thursday night, and by Friday morning a layer of snow covered the tents and rocky surface of the base camp. There was also a small avalanche Thursday near the spot where the big one swept through a week ago, but no one was in the area.

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CYCLING

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Texas appeals court rejected Lance Armstrong's attempts to block an arbitration panel from reviewing $12 million in bonuses paid to him by a company that wants its money back, a setback for the cyclist who is fighting multiple legal battles that could strip him of his personal fortune.

The Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals had temporarily halted the case at Armstrong's request in March, but ruled Thursday it doesn't have jurisdiction at this stage of an arbitration matter.

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George Hincapie was the "Loyal Lieutenant" who helped Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall.

Now, Hincapie is talking again about one of the darkest eras in cycling.

In a book due out next month, part memoir and part mea culpa, Hincapie discusses not only his rise in cycling, from the son of a Colombian immigrant in the New York City borough of Queens to the top teammate of Armstrong, but also the pervasive use of performance-enhancing substances that came to mark an entire generation - and ultimately turned Armstrong from hero into pariah.

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SOCCER

LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Substitute Lima scored in the 84th minute to give Benfica a 2-1 victory over Italy's Juventus in the first-leg of their Europa League semifinal.

Sevilla beat Valencia 2-0 in the other semifinal.

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SKIING

VIENNA (AP) - The head coach of the U.S. Alpine speed team, Andreas Evers, was fired by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, hours after the Austrian was sentenced to four months in prison plus 20 months on probation for money laundering.

"Core values, including integrity, are a cultural mainstay of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and the standard that we expect of our athletes, staff, coaches and volunteers," association president and CEO Tiger Shaw said.

The team said it had no immediate plans on replacing Evers, who was hired two years ago.

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AUTO RACING

MUNICH (AP) - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed $44 million payment.

Ecclestone said at the beginning of a four-hour personal statement read out in German by his lawyers that he was "grateful" to be able to give his side of the story - though he told judges that he would answer questions from the Munich state court through his lawyers, rather than personally.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust, and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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